In 2014, federal funding was secured through the NSERC CREATE program to establish a national meat science graduate internship program in Canada. This program, known as the Meat Education and Training Network (MEaTnet), is housed at the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta. The MEaTnet, which includes Université Laval, University of Guelph, University of Saskatchewan and Olds College as members, will play a key role in transitioning graduate students from academia to industry jobs through internships and specialized university-level professional training courses. Graduates will work with industry partners to conduct industry-focused research, will develop new technologies and strategies to improve meat safety and quality, and will participate in new meat product development.

The meat industry is among the top ten most important manufacturing industries in Canada with manufactured goods revenues worth over $20 billion and it is seeking to reinforce its position in very competitive international markets so as to capitalize on emerging export opportunities. The Canadian meat industry anticipates significant turnover in senior employees within the next ten years, and needs highly qualified personnel trained in meat production, safety, and processing. The MEaTnet formed to meet this need by training graduates that are “job-ready” for leadership positions in industry, government or academic. To do this, the MEaTnet provides a comprehensive mentoring and training platform for Canadian meat science graduate students and a supportive research environment for industry partners with the purpose of assuring the safety and quality of meat products manufactured in Canada.

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