It is amazing how quickly time goes by, and beyond all our best intentions, more time than I would have liked has gone by since some of you last heard from me.
At Protein Industries Canada our priority continues to be progressing technology projects, developing our ecosystem strategy and building partnerships. Every day we continue to see progress on our mandate - though there are times when it feels as if we are trying to boil the ocean and eat the elephant at the same time. There is no question that the opportunity, as well as the challenge, is large. Though I am confident that in the next short while we will be able to show significant progress.
On the technology side, we moved 17 projects from our first round of Expression of Interest (EOIs) to full project proposals. Those projects are working through the process and many are currently being evaluated by our Eligible Project Selection Committee. We expect to announce more successful projects very soon.
Our second round of EOIs closed September 13, resulting in the submission of 19 EOIs. From those 19, six were successful in progressing to the next round of full project proposal. The project proposals being submitted continue to represent the full value chain, with most of the projects falling under the “make” category. In terms of crops, most are pulses and canola, though there is interest in other crops such as hemp.
To date, the total value of projects received exceeds $480 million, with a request of $205 million from Protein Industries Canada. While not all these projects were successful, it is a demonstration of the interest from the industry, and the strength within the sector. We are expecting to have a significant portion of our $153 million committed into projects by the end of March 2020. We are currently completing our science plan to help identify gaps and will be communicating this as part of any future calls for EOIs. It is important that most of our money is committed to projects within the next year. This will allow the successful consortiums time to complete the research and begin the process of commercializing their work, in advance of March 2023 – when the initial round of funding for the Superclusters is set to expire.
On the Ecosystem side, we continue to advance work in priority areas – specifically regulatory modernization and international engagement. Chris Anderson, our Chief Technology Officer, recently returned from a trip to Europe where he focused on making connections for Protein Industries Canada and our members. The goal of the trip was to build beneficial partnerships for Canadian companies and to advance mutual work around regulations and sustainability. The feedback from international partners around Canada as a reliable supplier of plant protein ingredients and co-products is positive. We continue to have discussions both domestically and internationally to advance our technology and ecosystem priorities.
Over the next six weeks, the team of Protein Industries Canada will be attending many industry events throughout Canada, as well as hosting some of our own. We will host IP workshops in Calgary on November 20 and Saskatoon on December 3. We will also be hosting an industry reception in Saskatoon on Tuesday, December 10 – if you are in the area, we hope to see you there. If you see us out and about, please do not hesitate to stop for a chat. We are more than happy to discuss our progress and answer any questions you may have.
I am confident that you will be hearing from me again shortly with more news around more successful projects.