Loyalist College Receives Mitacs Accelerate Funding Awards to Explore Hemp Germination in Space

Belleville, Ontario, April 1, 2022 – Loyalist College’s Centre for Natural Products and Medical Cannabis has received two Mitacs Accelerate funding awards to support an applied research project with Royal Development Group (RDG), a Canadian company providing clients with research knowledge and portfolio strategy in commercialization of products in space. A recent Trent University graduate, and Loyalist College alumna, Natasha Mathieu, has been selected as the intern to support RDG with this applied research project.

The focus of this project is to investigate the feasibility of growing cannabis/hemp in space on the International Space Station. As human space exploration increases in frequency and reaches further into the unknown, astronauts will require effective means to sequester carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and develop various plant-based products. Cannabis/hemp is an ideal crop for this purpose, as it is a highly productive species creating significant amounts of oxygen, essential nutrients, and various products (including food, medicine, shelter, biodiesel, textiles, oils, plastics and many more).


“Loyalist College is always looking for new and innovative ways in which we can deliver unmatched work-integrated learning opportunities for our students and recent graduates while also supporting our industry partners as they develop and grow. We are thrilled that this latest Mitacs Accelerate funding will enable Loyalist’s Centre for Natural Products and Medical Cannabis to help RDG with their mission to bring cannabis/hemp to space. I would also like to thank Mitacs for their ongoing support of the College and our industry partners as we collectively advance applied research and innovation in our communities, and beyond.” – Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, Loyalist College President and CEO

“We at RDG are grateful for this opportunity from Mitacs to see our vision for future deep space missions and to help us gather research and knowledge to turn bright ideas into products for the benefit of earth and beyond to accelerate the rate of advancement for humankind. We look forward to continuing to work with Loyalist College and our international partners on this multiyear mission.” – Emad J. Ghadimi, President and CEO of Royal Development Group

“It’s an honour to be selected as the Mitacs Research Intern for this project with RDG. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to work in state-of-the-art laboratories alongside the knowledgeable researchers, professors, and students at Loyalist College.” – Natasha Mathieu, Research Intern, Loyalist College Graduate and 2019 Valedictorian

To learn more about Loyalist College’s Centre for Natural Products and Medical Cannabis and the College’s Applied Research and Innovation Office, visit loyalistappliedresearch.com.

About Royal Development Group

Since 2004 Royal Development Group inc has managed to create portfolios to meet long-term financial goals for the company and for its clients. RDG inc is active in Aerospace Solutions, Agricultural Developments, Electric Mining/Farming Machinery, Biomedical Technologies, Recycling & Waste Management Systems. www.rdginc.ca

About Mitacs

Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions. Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.

About Loyalist College

Loyalist College is located on the territory of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, and the Haudenosaunee people. We acknowledge our shared obligation to respect, honour, and sustain these lands and the natural resources contained within. Ranked one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges, Loyalist College empowers students, faculty, staff, and partners through experiential, industry cluster-based education, training and applied research programs. As Ontario’s Destination College, the College provides job-ready graduates for, and knowledge transfer to, industry and the community. Located on more than 200 acres in the beautiful Bay of Quinte region, the College is perfectly positioned between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Loyalist College offers more than 70 full-time diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs in biosciences, building sciences, business, community service, health and wellness, media studies, public safety, and skilled trades. Continuing education options are available through LoyalistFocus.com, including hundreds of online, distance and in-class courses, and through the College’s 100+ university transfer agreements. Loyalist College is a key driver of social and economic health in eastern Ontario. It contributes 3.8 percent of the Gross Regional Product, representing $396.3 million annually to the regional economy – based on an October 2021 report by Emsi. For more information on Loyalist College’s Belleville, Bancroft and Toronto campuses and Port Hope satellite location, visit loyalistcollege.com.

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Braden Root-McCaig
Director of Marketing and Communications