Research Funding Programs

Every year, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) invests in human nutrition and health and dairy production research in Canada. DFC manages and administers several research programs on a cost-sharing basis in partnership with organizations like Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

Research Clusters

Dairy Research Cluster 3 - 2018-2023

The Dairy Research Cluster 3 (DRC3) builds on the success of the Dairy Research Cluster 1 and 2 (2010-2018) to stimulate productivity, sustainability and profitability on farms, and to improve knowledge of the health benefits of milk and dairy products. Joint industry and government commitments to the Dairy Research Cluster 3 total $16.5 million, including $11.4 million from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership AgriScience Program, $2.8 million from Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), $1 million from Lactanet, $736,300 from Novalait, $75,700 from Dairy Farmers of Ontario and in-kind contributions from many dairy sector partners. Investments will be made in 15 research projects targeted to address DFC's strategic research priorities identified in the National Dairy Research Strategy.

Communications, knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) activities are also planned for the Dairy Research Cluster 3 with a focused and strategic approach based on the National Strategy for Dairy Production Research Knowledge Translation and Transfer.

Dairy Research Cluster 2 - 2013-2018

Dairy Farmers of Canada completed a second Dairy Research Cluster and invested $5.3 million in addition to the $13.7 million invested by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. There were 27 research projects involving more than 100 scientists in 15 institutions and 8 government research centres across the country.

Project Summaries and Results

Dairy Research Cluster 1 - 2010-2013

The first Dairy Research Cluster was launched in 2010 as part of the Canadian Agri-Science Clusters Initiative of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Close to $12 million was invested in 46 human nutrition, health and dairy production research projects until March 2013.


Organic Research Cluster II: Dairy Projects

Dairy Farmers of Canada invested $185,000 in four research projects focused on optimizing animal health and welfare under the Organic Science Cluster II (2013-2018). The Organic Science Cluster II was an industry-supported research and development endeavor initiated by the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at Dalhousie University in collaboration with the Organic Federation of Canada. The Cluster was supported by the AgriInnovation Program of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and over 65 organic sector partners.

Project Summaries and Results

Nutrition and Human Health Research Funding

Dairy Farmers of Canada has been funding research for over 30 years.  One of the first food industry’s to do so, DFC is proud to support Canadian research in the areas of nutrition, food science and health and to contribute to the development of a Canadian network of experts in those fields.  Studies are selected by a peer-review committee comprised of renowned Canadian researchers with expertise in various areas of food science, nutrition, health, and medicine.  DFC funds research in order to respond to research gaps related to the role of dairy products in nutrition, health, and sustainability.  Research funded is subject to its Guiding Principles for Research Funding in order to ensure the quality and the independence of the research. For more information or to apply for funding under Dairy Farmers of Canada’s program, visit:

Dairy Production Research Funding - Production Expert Scientific Advisory Committee

In 1996, Dairy Farmers of Canada launched the Production Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (PESAC). Effective in 2010, this program is no longer in operation. The purpose of the program was to participate directly in the development of technology and to influence the direction of research conducted in Canada by government laboratories and universities. The titles and results of hundreds of projects funded between 1996 and 2010 under PESAC are available on this site.

Dairy Cattle Genetics Research and Development (DairyGen)

DairyGen is the national dairy cattle genetics research council of Canadian Dairy Network and regroups all dairy cattle improvement organizations including artificial organizations representing artificial insemination services, breeds, milk recording and Dairy Farmers of Canada. DairyGen is responsible for establishing research priorities in the area of dairy cattle genetic improvement, reviewing research proposals and allocating industry funds to approved projects. Letters of intent and applications for research funding may be submitted throughout the year by applying at

Industrial Research Chairs Program

Dairy Farmers of Canada invests in the advancement of dairy production innovation by supporting the creation of Industrial Research Chairs in Universities. DFC partners with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and other industry organizations to fund the Chairs. The purpose is to direct support to a specific area of research that targets the industry’s needs, provides training to graduate students and promotes close interaction between the university, students and industry. A research Chair is established for a period of five years.

Industrial Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Welfare

Industrial Research Chair on Nutritional Control of the Production of Milk Components in Dairy Cows

Industrial Research Chair in Infectious Diseases of Dairy Cattle

Industrial Research Chair in Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle

Request for a letter of support from DFC for a research project (no funding contribution involved)

Requirements for submitting a request for a letter of support:

  • The request must be received at least 4 weeks prior to the deadline date.
  • A clear summary (not more than 2 pages) of the program requirements, project description, partners and budget must be provided.

    • N.B.:  DFC will only consider support for projects that are national in scope and that clearly address DFC's National Dairy Research Strategy investment priorities and targeted outcomes, other DFC priorities, or emerging issues affecting/threatening the majority of Canadian dairy farmers and/or Canada's dairy production sector, or that propose a new opportunity/innovation that would be of great value to dairy farmers.

  • A brief description of the investigator(s) knowledge and experience in the area of research in question must be provided.

  • A draft letter of support, including a list of the benefits/reasons why the project would be of interest for the dairy industry, must be provided.

  • Upon request, more detailed information or a copy of the final full funding application should be shared with DFC.

  • The request (including required documents) must be sent by email to