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The origins of the VALGEN Group trace back to a Genome Canada funded project titled ‘Value Addition to Genomics and GE3LS (VALGEN)’ from the Competition in Applied Genomics Research in Bioproducts or Crops. In Canada, GE3LS is an abbreviation for genomics, economics, environmental, ethical, legal and social research (primer accessible here). The $5.4 million VALGEN project was active from the period 2009-2014, undertaking research on intellectual property management, regulation, governance and democratic engagement. Drs. Castle and Phillips were co-principal investigators, with Dr. Smyth serving as Research Scientist. This research project developed and applied social science research tools that assessed what was known about the challenges of applied genomics, what constraints needed to be resolved and what was unknowable with current methods. This research was undertaken by applying existing models and developing new models and methods to solve the identified challenges. The results of the VALGEN project’s research aided other science projects in finding strategies to realize the market potential of their inventions.


Following conclusion of the VALGEN project in 2014, Drs. Castle, Phillips and Smyth extended their research undertaken by collaborating with other large-scale science projects to undertake additional GE3LS research. These research collaborations expanded the research experiences and knowledge regarding innovation, regulation and governance. Between 2015 and 2020, the three principals developed extensive research programs, produced numerous publications and engaged in a range of consulting opportunities. As the demand for provision of consulting services increased, in 2020, Castle, Phillips and Smyth decided to reconstitute the research focus from the VALGEN project as a consulting agency -- VALGEN Group. 

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