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Olds College Centre for Innovation


Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) is the applied research division of Olds College of Agriculture & Technology, and focuses on practical, industry-driven applied research that can be easily implemented by the agriculture industry.

Industry partners connect with OCCI for support in the development and testing of innovative products in the core areas of crop production, livestock production, environmental stewardship, cereal breeding and technology integration. These focus areas align with infrastructure at the College, available expertise and gaps identified by the agriculture sector.

Areas of Focus

Each area of focus within OCCI demonstrates excellence as measured by the connection to student learning, industry partnerships, government investment, and the expertise and facilities that we offer. Olds College is committed to using innovative partnerships to sustain and enhance the ability of the institution to achieve its established outcomes. OCCI actively pursues involvement in applied research that advances innovation-based rural economic development in Alberta.

The Smart Farm was built to support start-up development, validation, scaling and demonstration of smart agriculture technologies and practices. Olds College is connected with Alberta Innovates, the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN), SVG Thrive and UCeed with the goals of:

  • Encouraging innovation, creating and sustaining a healthy economy, and solving problems within the agriculture industry. 
  • Supporting businesses by guiding them to the right partners through Olds College networks of businesses and organizations throughout Alberta and Canada. 
  • Providing training and resources to developers to help them market their products effectively. 

Applied Research Activities

On average, OCCI works on 80 to 100 projects per year — with 106+ projects happening throughout 2022 to 2023. This research includes both public-facing projects that are promoted externally as well as confidential projects. Intellectual property (IP) gained throughout the duration of all projects stays with the industry partner. 

Project funding

  • 70% - Public funding
  • 30 % - Industry & partner funding

Project type

  • 75% - Grant-based research
  • 25% - Fee-for-service contracts

Work-Integrated Learning

Through applied research and work-integrated learning, Olds College provides a unique student experience with advanced learning environments where students connect with real-world opportunities and businesses. The 3,600-acre Smart Farm is integrated into programming to provide students hands-on learning opportunities with land, livestock, applied research activities, leading-edge technology, and extensive amounts of agriculture-focused data to analyze and learn from in the classroom. Students also receive research opportunities through year-round employment as student research assistants with Olds College Centre for Innovation. Faculty are contracted directly to provide expertise on a project, or play a mentorship role for student researchers.

Funding Model

Since 1999, applied research activities have expanded significantly at Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI), through increased support and involvement from Olds College, learners, staff, industry partners and funding organizations. We have received support from many organizations, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Prairies Economic Development Canada and the Government of Alberta. OCCI provides research services for industry partners on a fee-for-service basis, and will assist industry in leveraging research funding from alternate sources and funding agencies.

Research Data Management Institutional Strategy at Olds College

The Canadian Tri-Agencies (NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR) created a Tri-Agency Research Data Management (RDM) Policy to ensure data and information is accessible and useful to other researchers and society. A component of this policy is to develop an RDM Institutional Strategy to foster a culture — and develop capacity — that supports researchers in adopting responsible RDM practices which follow the internationally recognized FAIR Data Principles to make research data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. This strategy will continue to be updated as the implementation plan is developed and the College continues to grow. If you have comments or questions about this Institutional RDM Strategy, please reach out to

Research Data Management Institutional Strategy at Olds College

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property

Intellectual property gained throughout the duration of all projects stays with the industry partner. Your organization’s intellectual property is yours and working with Olds College Centre for Innovation will not compromise or change that. Whether we are hosting a trial for you, organizing a focus group, or supporting your business under a grant, you can think of OCCI as part of your organization's research and development team. As is often the case with early-stage product development, intellectual property is not yet formally protected with patents, and must therefore be protected with confidentiality. Our staff, researchers and partners take confidentiality seriously and understand the importance of keeping your intellectual property safe.

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