Alberta is becoming one of the fastest growing and most innovative tech sectors in North America, according to Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation.
This trend has led to increased investments in the province, job creation, and talent retention across the sector, explains the Strathcona-Sherwood Park MLA.
To help continue this success in tech, Alberta’s government announced this week that it will provide the universities of Alberta and Calgary with a combined $27 million over four years under the Major Innovation Fund.
“Alberta’s post-secondary institutions have delivered world-class research in many fields including artificial intelligence, health care, energy, agriculture, and so much more,” Glubish stated. “I am excited for this investment of $27.3 million to build upon that strong foundation of research, innovation and technology commercialization.”
Between 2019 and 2021, the Major Innovation Fund invested $20 million to three pan-Alberta initiatives led by the universities of Alberta and Calgary in the fields of quantum technologies, antimicrobial resistance, and autonomous systems.
These collaborative projects resulted in attracting more than $25 million in funding from other sources; over 200 industry partnerships; and eight spinoff companies attracting nearly 500 highly qualified personnel to Alberta.
Glubish is hoping to replicate this success in 2023 and beyond.
The fund will help the universities lead strategic initiatives to accelerate research and commercialization in the areas of medical devices, electronic and mobile health, clean energy, and space and defence technologies, says Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education.
“Alberta has a long, proud history of post-secondary research working in concert with industry, driving groundbreaking advancements in technology,” Sawhney stated. “This investment will highlight the world-class talent and state-of-the-art facilities at our academic research universities and support Alberta’s booming economy as it continues to grow and diversify.”
The universities of Alberta and Calgary will partner with other post-secondary institutions, such as the University of Lethbridge and Athabasca University, as well as industry partners, in order to capitalize on Alberta’s research excellence and attract investments into the technology sector.
“This is great news for Alberta’s post-secondary institutions,” affirmed the University of Alberta’s president and vice-chancellor, Bill Flanagan. “Alberta is home to a world-class research ecosystem, and this government funding will reinforce our province’s reputation as a place where academics and industry work together to commercialize ideas and solve real-world problems.”
The investments made through the Major Innovation Fund drive the implementation of the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy, which aims to cement Alberta as an internationally recognized technology and investment hub.
“Alberta’s students are eager to engage in innovative and commercialized research while in school, and the Council of Alberta University Students welcomes this investment into our post-secondaries,” stated Chris Beasley, who serves as chair for the Council of Alberta University Student.
The announcement comes just weeks after Alberta Innovates unveiled $13.6 million in investment across 19 partners, another sign of the region’s momentum in tech and beyond.