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Olds College is the Gold Recipient of the Applied Research & Innovation Excellence Award at CICan

April 30, 2024

Olds College of Agriculture & Technology is thrilled to be the gold recipient of the 2024 Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). The College received its Award of Excellence during the CICan Awards luncheon on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at CICan’s Annual Conference held in Calgary this year.

“It is a great honour to see Olds College of Agriculture & Technology recognized by CICan for its excellence in applied research and innovation,” says Dr. Ben Cecil, President, Olds College. “We are extremely proud to be leading innovation within the global agriculture industry, accelerating the development and adoption of agriculture technologies and practices, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and providing invaluable work-integrated learning for our students on the Olds College Smart Farm.”

The Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award recognizes a college or institute that has improved the productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and community partners through the development of new and improved products, processes and services and has provided students and graduates with real-world innovation experience.


 “The research we do at Olds College is immensely rewarding, and we’re thrilled to be recognized by CICan for our applied research activities that are leading innovation within the agriculture industry,” says Dr. Joy Agnew, Vice President, Research, Olds College. “I would like to acknowledge the expertise and passion of our research teams, farm staff, faculty and students, as well as the tremendous support from our partners and clients. Being able to support start-up development, validation, scaling and demonstration of smart agriculture technologies and practices benefits producers, innovators and industry stakeholders worldwide.”

Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) is the applied research division of the College, and industry partners actively connect with OCCI for support in the development and testing of innovative products. Since 2018, OCCI has connected with over 387 organizations to discuss opportunities and 263 (68%) were SMEs. From these organizations, a resulting 205 companies engaged on a project with OCCI and the Smart Farm. Many of these projects are Alberta-based and have significant relevance and value to local and regional producers. 

The applied research activities with OCCI and the Smart Farm are connected to campus and integrated into programming to provide students hands-on learning opportunities with land management, livestock, applied research activities, leading-edge technology and equipment, and extensive amounts of agriculture-focused data to analyze and learn from in the classroom. Over 80 individual academic courses are now integrated into Smart Farm-based learning activities. 

In December 2023, Olds College was ranked fourth in Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges according to Research Infosource Inc. The continued growth of the Smart Agriculture Ecosystem and applied research activities launched the College into the top five this year.


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