Including $432,000 in funding from the U of S, $432,000 in internship stipends from four industry partners, and $239,000 from other participating universities, the Sustainable Applied Fertilizer Environment Remediation (SAFER) graduate training program is worth a combined total of about $2.7 million.
Siciliano has assembled a 10-person team of academic and industry experts in soil science, renewable resources, land and food systems, indigenization, toxicology, fertilizer management and agriculture for the SAFER program.
Major changes in recent years to environment regulations require companies to clean up fertilizer sites, Siciliano said. Remediation is important because the high concentrations of fertilizer can pollute groundwater. But remediation costs can often surpass $1 million per location, often far exceeding the property value of bulk fertilizer plants, requiring the development of more cost effective solutions.
The Canadian component of the program includes collaboration among researchers from the U of S and three other universities (University of Alberta, University of Manitoba and University of British Columbia), and private-sector companies — consulting engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler, Federated Co-operatives Limited Ltd. (FCL), United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), and CHS Inc. Also collaborating is the International Minerals Innovation Institute, jointly funded by industry and government to provide education, research, and training partnerships to support a world-class minerals industry.