Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence & Food Processing Mission – February 4-9, 2019

Request for expression of interest

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) is pleased to invite Canadian small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) and National Research Council of Canada researchers to submit an expression of interest to participate in the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence & Food Processing Mission, which will take place in the United Kingdom from February 4 to 9, 2019.

1. Mission objective

The mission is focused on establishing industrial co‑innovation opportunities in the area of artificial intelligence‑supported design in food processing, and in food processing and nutrition between Canadian and British enterprises.

2. Sectors of focus

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Machine learning
  • Food processing

3. Canadian delegation profile

Canadian participants should meet the requirements in one of the categories below in order to participate in this initiative:

Small and medium‑sized enterprises

  • Profit‑oriented small and medium‑sized enterprises incorporated in Canada
  • Previous experience in commercializing technology for domestic or international markets
  • Capacity and interest to co‑develop technology with British partners
  • Sufficient working capital and human resources to undertake a multi‑year research and development collaboration and commercialize the results


  • Researcher with the NRC specializing in AI, machine learning or food processing

4. Mission description

The Canada-UK AI & Food Processing Mission will take place over a 4 day period. Elements of the mission will include:

  • tailored B2B meetings with British companies to discuss co‑innovation opportunities
  • site visits to leading British companies and research centres
  • participation in the AI & Food Processing Project Outline Days event where British companies, industry associations, researchers and public agencies will be invited to attend and pitch project ideas
  • speaking opportunities for Canadian participants to present company capabilities in co‑innovation collaborations

Areas of focus for the Canada-UK AI & Food Processing Mission to the United Kingdom include:

  • artificial intelligence supported process, bioactive and packaging design
  • enhancing nutritional value of foods
  • novel ingredient development
  • sustainable protein development
  • food safety solutions
  • authenticity and traceability systems (e.g. blockchain)
  • processes for improved shelf life and reducing food waste
  • smart packaging
  • improved manufacturing efficiency
  • lean manufacturing

5. Background information

UK consumers spend £230 billion (CAN$390 billion) annually and see 8,500 new products introduced to their supermarkets. Research and development on food processing is amongst the most innovative globally, having been at the forefront of ready meals and instant coffee, and more recently functional foods, which have grown from £335 million (CAN$568 million) in 2000 to over £1.2 billion (CAN$2 billion) by 2014. The UK has amongst the lowest wastage rates internationally and high recycling rates, due in part to a leadership position in food packaging, which is responsible for annual sales of £10.9 billion (CAN$18.5 billion) annually.

Within artificial intelligence and machine learning, clusters around major universities in London, Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh are part of a rapid development and adoption of automation that are expected to add £630 billion (CAN$1069 billion) to the UK economy by 2035. While still strongly rooted in academic research, the industrial application of AI/machine learning is growing in financial services, law and medicine, and is expected to have substantial impacts in manufacturing and supply chain management.

6. Financial support for participants

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) may provide financial support to eligible participants for 50% of all eligible expenses up to a maximum of $3,000, such as:

  • economy airfare
  • local transportation
  • accommodation
  • meals

7. How to apply to participate

Interested participants should request an application form from the NRC IRAP International Office ( The application form will request additional information about your company, your technology, and your interest in discussing possible co‑innovation opportunities.

Completed application forms are due no later than January 7, 2019 to the NRC IRAP International Office (

NRC IRAP will select companies to participate in the mission. Successful applicants can expect to be notified no later than January 11, 2019.

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