The Alberta Research and Innovation Advisory Committee (ARIAC) works with key innovation support agencies, publicly funded post-secondary institutions, industry and government to advance research and innovation in the province and make Alberta more competitive in the global economy.

The Committee provides strategic advice and recommendations to the Government of Alberta through the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism on matters such as:

  • identifying leading research areas and innovation policies that will support the diversification of Alberta's economy
  • providing the Minister with regular reviews and reports on the performance of Alberta's research and innovation system
  • making recommendations to increase Alberta's competitiveness
  • exploring, gathering and synthesizing information on best practices in other jurisdictions
  • utilizing benchmarking strategies to assess the status and progress of Alberta's research and innovation system
  • identifying emerging global science, research, technology and innovation trends of greatest impact to Alberta


The following documents are available in the Open Government Portal:

These documents are also available by searching the list of public agencies.


The Alberta Research and Innovation Advisory Committee comprises international research, innovation and business leaders.

  • Heather Culbert

    Heather Culbert, Chair

    Ms. Heather Culbert has more than 27 years of experience in the oil and gas sector and was a senior vice president at Enerplus, a mid-sized oil and gas company.

    She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Export Development Canada and is a director on the Board of Whitecap Resources Inc., serves as Chair of the United Way World Leadership Council, and is a member of the She Leads Economic Council of Alberta. Ms. Culbert is an Ex Officio member of the Board of United Way Calgary and area, and founded the Women on Boards initiative in Calgary. She recently completed two terms as Chair of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

    As an active volunteer and philanthropist for many years, Ms. Culbert was a trustee of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, founder of Concerned Citizens for the Calgary Cancer Centre, Board Chair of the Alliance to End Violence, and Campaign Chair of the SAIT Promising Futures Campaign. Ms. Culbert was awarded the Governor General’s Sovereign Volunteerism Medal and was appointed a presiding judge for Canadian citizenship ceremonies. She has received numerous other awards including the BMO Celebrating Women Community and Charitable Giving.

  • Chris Shipley

    Chris Shipley, Vice-chair

    Ms. Chris Shipley is an author, consultant and technology analyst with experience in analyzing emerging technology companies around the world, and producing large scale events to examine current issues and future trends related to innovation. As co-founder and Chairman of Guidewire Group, she partnered with industry and government agencies responsible for innovation to develop programs to mentor start-up companies across multiple sectors. She produced DEMO Conferences and InnovateEurope, both large-scale international conferences bringing together IT investors, entrepreneurs, executives, and the media to showcase technology innovation and trends. Ms. Shipley has dedicated her career to bringing diverse industry leaders, academics, and entrepreneurs together to advance innovation. She serves on the boards and is an advisor to several innovative startup ventures. She is committed to leveraging her expertise and network into positive initiatives in economic development and social enterprise. Currently, she is writing a book which examines the impact of automation, robotics and the sharing economy on the future of work in the global economy. She resides in Silicon Valley, California.

  • Helena Acheson

    Helena Acheson

    Ms. Helena Acheson has 30 years of professional experience in national and regional economic and enterprise development organizations. She is recently retired from her role as Head of Division, Cultural and Creative Industries and Services for the MFG Public Innovation Agency, a state funded enterprise created by the Baden-Wurttemberg region of Germany to advance innovation. She specializes in interpreting future trends in technology as a basis for prioritising public investments in science and innovation and, has an advanced understanding of best practices in policy development across multiple jurisdictions in the European Union and internationally. She is a former member of ARIAC and also is a board member for Bilat USA 4.0, which serves to enhance research and innovation cooperation between the EU and United States. She resides in Germany and has a strong network in the EU countries.

  • Lori Knowles

    Lori Knowles

    Ms. Lori Knowles is a Canadian expert in international comparative law, working as a consultant in Boston and as a professor, adjunct, at the University of Alberta School of Public Health. She has in-depth knowledge of the regulatory regimes in medicine, science and health care from several EU countries, the U.K. and the U.S. Her extensive areas of sector expertise include life sciences, stem cell research, biotechnology, health care and forestry. Ms. Knowles is knowledgeable in the regulatory environment of precision medicine in other countries and has access to a global network of best practices. She is also the Chair of the Institute of Forest Biosciences (IFB), a U.S. and Canadian-based organization that promotes the responsible use of innovation and technology to advance the forestry sector. She resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Erasmus Okine

    Erasmus Okine

    Dr. Erasmus Okine is the Vice-President (Research) at the University of Lethbridge. The impact of his research which is focused on the mitigation of greenhouse gases and increasing the efficiency and productivity of livestock has resulted in deep connections with industry in Alberta, Canada and internationally. He has mentored over 30 PhD and MSc students and educated hundreds of undergraduate students in his career. He was the lead in the development of CowBytes, an innovative nutrition and ration balancing and decision making tool for producers and students, used worldwide. He is the author of more than:140 scientific articles, 100 extension articles, 150 abstracts and several book chapters. For his leadership in Agricultural Research, Dr. Okine has received several awards including the Alberta Premier’s Silver Award for Excellence, Fellowships of the Canadian Society of Animal Science, and the International College of Nutrition, and the Canadian Society of Animal Science Industry Award in Extension and Public Service. He is a past President of the Canadian Society of Animal Science and has been Associate Editor of various journals including the American Journal of Animal Science. He and his wife Dr. Christine Murray reside in Lethbridge, Alberta.


Compensation disclosure

Public sector bodies are required to post online the names and compensation paid to:

This disclosure is a requirement under the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act. The postings are required by June 30 each year and will be maintained for 5 years.


Main office

4th Floor, Phipps-McKinnon Building
10020 101 A Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta

ARIAC Secretariat

Jutta Rohrschach
Senior Director, Strategic Integration
Phone: 780-422-2835
Email: jutta.rohrschach@gov.ab.ca

For general enquiries:

Email: ariac@gov.ab.ca