The industry group Eastern Canada Oilseed Development Alliance, or ECODA, and supercluster Protein Industries Canada have inked a deal with Dalhousie University and the University of Prince Edward Island to research plant protein-based food ingredients.

The collaboration, which Protein Industries Canada said in a press release is worth $350,000, is aimed at “laying the groundwork” for an expanded plant protein industry in Atlantic Canada.

Like Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Protein Industries Canada provides matching funds for research and development projects. The federally funded organization is based in Regina.

ECODA, meanwhile, is a Charlottetown non-profit that was founded in 2009 and focuses on promoting innovation in oilseed supply chains. Oilseeds are crops like peanuts and soybeans that can be used to produce food oils.

“When people think about plant protein, their first thought is usually the Prairies – with images of fields of canola, wheat, peas and lentils,” said Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel in a press release.

“Now with this project, we are strengthening the plant-based ecosystem of Atlantic Canada – connecting the value chain from coast-to-coast, and further strengthening Canada’s position as a global leader in plant-based food and ingredients.”

The project partners plan to work with local communities and businesses to identify pain points in Atlantic Canada’s plant protein industry and ways to improve the region’s supply chains.