Funding Opportunity

Irrigation Targeted Call

Funding Details


The Irrigation Targeted Call for Proposals, which focuses on Drought Management and Production Resilience, invites researchers who are interested in conducting irrigation research related to:

Why irrigation?


A 2021 study from Alberta's Irrigation District Association (AIDA) reported that irrigated lands contributed $5.4B of Alberta's GDP and 46,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Nearly a billion dollars (30% of which was from the provincial government) has been allocated to upgrade irrigation infrastructure and increase southern Alberta's water storage capacity.  

Producers within the sector adopt new technologies and practices because of a positive return on investment. Moreover, the entire value chain, including producers, feedlots, processing plants and multi-national companies benefit from better products, access to quality water supplies, and enhanced public perception of the sector. 

Through discussions with industry, we've identified research areas that can help accelerate the growth and sustainability of the irrigation sector. All submitted research projects should consider topics that are feasible and economically adoptable by the intended beneficiary. The research results should contribute to educating the public about how water is responsibly and sustainably managed under irrigation. 

Program Priorities

This program invites eligible applicants to submit Letters of Intent (LOIs) for projects that address these priorities. If the LOI is accepted, applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. 

  1. Result: Productivity

    Support a growing livestock sector:

    • Increased yield, quality and efficiency of nutrient and water use for irrigated forages in support of the cattle feeding industry. 

    • Best management practices for feedlot water reservoirs for water quality to maintain animal health. 

    • Capture runoff from feedlots to reuse in irrigation if economically viable. 

    Crop production:

    • Development or improvement of practices supporting new marketable crops with irrigated production and value-added potential in Alberta (including niche crops). 

    • Continued genetic improvement in support of yield, quality, agronomy and water use efficiency for irrigated crops with significant value-added potential. 

    • Agronomic studies and analyses for irrigated crops, including pest control. 

    • Adaptation of new cropping options for production under irrigation to diversify crop rotations, including full system cropping system management. 

    • Forecasting and modelling to predict the needs for on-stream storage for the following decades. 

    • Predictive analysis – when to apply water to finish the crops appropriately; knowing when to apply water and how much water is available. 

  2. Result: Increased Efficiency

    Improvement in technology and product availability:

    Development, testing and demonstration of products and technology to increase irrigated water use efficiency and farm profitability, which may include: 

    • Adaptation of surface and subsurface drip systems for Alberta.

    • Variable rate irrigation technology, adoption, and decision support systems, using data collected over many years.  

    • Invasive algae control strategies within the delivery infrastructure to reduce irrigation system impacts. 

    • Improvements in filtration technology and systems for the management of algae and silt at the farm level.  

    • Gather and use sensor data for predictive modelling to manage water allocation depending on crop conditions. 

    • How to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive decision-making for best water management practices. 

  3. Result: Environmental Stewardship

    Develop sector while ensuring sustainability:

    • Evaluate the economic and environmental impact of invasive species. Increasing public awareness of preventing the spread of species.  

    • Evaluate alternative energy sources for irrigation application to power assets.  

    • Withstanding variability in water supply and within the allocation model. 

    • Evaluate alternative strategies for sustainable management and control of infrastructure-related invasive species and weeds. 

The Details

Before you apply

Please review the content below before you apply for answers around eligibility, funding considerations, project timelines, proposal evaluations and reporting requirements.

Program Eligibility

Funding will be available to qualified applicants from, or under contract with, organizations that directly and/or indirectly participate in the service and development of the Alberta livestock or crop industry, provided that such organizations are in good standing and not in default under any other agreements or programs with RDAR. 

Eligible applicants include but are not limited to: 

a. Marketing boards and commissions established under the Marketing of Agriculture Products Act

b. Educational institutions, including universities, colleges, and technical schools;  

c. Government organizations and agencies; 

d. Incorporated not-for-profit agricultural associations representing Alberta's agriculture producers; and 

e. For-profit companies operating in Alberta and contributing to research benefitting Alberta's crop and livestock producers.  

The research may occur within or outside Alberta as long as at least one team member is in Alberta, and benefits will be returned to Alberta's producers. 

Ineligible activities include commercialization of new technologies beyond pilot studies; marketing activities; and private research and development activities.  


Funding Considerations

Eligible project expenses are those directly related to the project's execution, including 15% of indirect overhead expenses. Ineligible expenses include taxes, costs incurred outside the project's timelines, and ongoing operational costs.  

Applicants are encouraged to obtain funding from other sources. As a condition of the project, eligible non-capital expenses will be cost-shared: 

  • at 60% grant and 40% eligible applicant if the eligible Applicant is a post-secondary institution or a for-profit legal entity; and  

  • at 80% grant and 20% eligible applicant if the eligible Applicant is not a post-secondary institution or a profit legal entity. 

Eligible minor equipment expenses must be cost-shared at 25% grant and 75% eligible applicant. Depending on the project and funding source, there is a potential for funding up to $500,000 in capital expenses on a similar cost-shared basis.

Important Dates

  • Letters of Intent (LOIs) open: June 6, 2024

  • LOIs close (intake 1): July 15, 2024

  • LOIs close (intake 2): August 15, 2024


Priority will be given to projects with a two-to-three-year completion timeline but will not exclude projects with a longer timeline if the economic benefit and research extension benefits are quantifiable.

Each project must have a clear research extension component and show how the results of the projects are shared with those who will benefit from the study.  

Proposal Evaluation

If proponents are invited to submit a full Proposal after the LOI stage, the proposals will be evaluated based on the following: 

  • Alignment to priorities and benefits outlined in the priorities.

  • Projects demonstrate measurable, reportable and verifiable impact on the target producer group.

  • The uniqueness of the project relative to other irrigation projects underway.

  • Project timelines are achievable and appropriate 

  • Adoption / commercialization potential of the project's result.

  • Budget items are clear and justified.

Program Reporting Requirements

Applicants will be required to submit detailed interim reports and financial statements, as well as a final report and financial statements, online through ARGO at and in accordance with the terms and conditions in the project's grant agreement.  

Funding from RDAR must be acknowledged on appropriate signs, stickers, posters, publications, and press releases dealing with the project. The Applicant will be granted permission to use RDAR's name and logo when acknowledging RDAR's contribution to the project. The use of RDAR's name and logo must comply with RDAR's Grant Communications Guide.


Application Process

RDAR is currently accepting Letters of Interest (LOIs). If you have any questions about the Targeted Call for Irrigation Proposals or require application assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to RDAR at We are here to assist you.

  1. 1

    Submit a Letter of Intent in ARGO

    ARGO (Agriculture Research Grant Organizer), is RDAR’s grant management system. To apply to the Targeted Call for Irrigation Program in ARGO, select ‘Targeted Call for Irrigation’.

  2. 2

    Await review process results

    Applications completed to the satisfaction of RDAR will be considered for approval on a case-by-case basis subject to the Program eligibility criteria, assessment criteria, and funding constraints.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens once I submit my proposal?

Once you've submitted your Letter of Intent (LOI), it will undergo a thorough review process and will be evaluated based on several factors, including alignment with the program, benefit to Alberta producers, and extension plans.

How do I ensure my proposal is going the Final Mile?

Your Final MileTM, or research extension plan, should emphasize activities that ensure results of your research will reach producers and value chain partners.

Where do I go for help?

If you have any questions about the Targeted Irrigation Call or require application assistance, please contact RDAR at Please ensure you read the Terms and Conditions for full details of eligible and ineligible expenses before applying.