New program to advance remediation at fertilizer sites
November 27, 2017
Sustainable In-situ Remediation Co-operative Alliance (SIRCA) partners are establishing a new program to improve research and training on soil remediation for properties adversely impacted by fertilizer distribution.
The Sustainable Applied Fertilizer Environment Remediation (SAFER) graduate training program aims to develop cost-effective solutions to address the harm caused by accidental releases of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur.
“Fertilizer is an important part of Co-op’s long-term growth strategy in the agriculture sector,” said Brad Bauml, Executive Vice-President of Ag and Consumer Business at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL). “By collaborating in SIRCA and supporting initiatives like SAFER, we’re developing innovative solutions and managing the impact of our business at fertilizer sites.”
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The SAFER Program will receive $2.7 million in funding over six years, including $1.65 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), $432,000 from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), $432,000 in internship stipends from the four industry partners (FCL, UFA, CHS Inc. and Amec Foster Wheeler) and $239,000 from other participating universities (University of Alberta, University of Manitoba and University of British Columbia).
“The goal of SAFER is to integrate training with addressing the scientific and practical challenges of remediation, and help students transition into research and industry careers,” said Dr. Steven Siciliano, a U of S soil researcher and the NSERC/Co-op Industrial Research Chair in In-Situ Remediation and Risk Assessment.
In collaboration with the European Union’s International Masters in Applied Ecology (IMEA) program, SAFER will train 29 master’s and 13 PhD students from Western Canada and Europe, providing them with a unique learning opportunity that transcends disciplines and borders.
Canadian students will spend nine months in France and Portugal learning about applied ecology before returning to apply their knowledge at home. Some of the best European students have the chance to work in Canada at universities and paid internships in private-sector companies.
SIRCA was formed in 2014 to bring together researchers, co-operatives and industry to advance research activities and remediation technologies. More information on the SIRCA initiative is available at www.sirca.coop.