This release was issued under a previous government.

Innovation Forum 32625

Premier Dave Hancock attends the Innovation Forum in Edmonton on April 29, 2014

“What we heard at the Innovation Forum gives government and innovation stakeholders the direction we need to move together quickly to align, set priorities and focus on an Alberta framework for innovation.”

Dave Hancock, Premier and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education

In fall 2013, government engaged a panel of experts on technology commercialization and innovation system design to make recommendations to help the province compete more successfully in the global market. The panel consulted with stakeholders and drew upon their own expertise in research and commercialization. Their report, Sustainable Prosperity Through Innovation, provides a foundation to grow innovation in the province and includes six recommendations.

“The expert panel confirmed that Alberta’s previous investments in talent, training and research facilities give us tremendous potential for success. More importantly, it notes the critical importance to act now to focus and coordinate provincial investments in research and innovation.”

Dave Hancock, Premier and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education

Based on recommendations in the report and with feedback from the Innovation Forum, government intends to move quickly to drive evolution of the system to be more responsive to the marketplace and Albertans’ priorities. This includes finding opportunities to leverage the Social Innovation Endowment to support new approaches to solving our province’s complex social challenges.

Immediate actions include:

  • establishment of an Innovation Council to provide strategic advice to government, and coordinate communication and action among government, Campus Alberta, innovation organizations and industry partners
  • a follow-up access to capital forum will be organized to address gaps and opportunities
  • coordination with core government departments through the Portfolio Advisory Committee will continue to focus government priorities
  • a forward looking framework document that will clarify roles and outline an implementation plan to enhance the innovation system

The results outlined in the report and action plan discussed at the Innovation Forum will bring efficiencies to the more than $800 million invested annually by Alberta government ministries in research and innovation. Costs associated with the expert panel and the report are approximately $1.2 million.

Alberta’s innovation system brings together basic and applied research as well as commercialization and leverages opportunities among Campus Alberta institutions, Alberta Innovates corporations, industry, innovation organizations and entrepreneurs.


“The Innovation Forum was an excellent opportunity for key stakeholders to discuss the innovation system in Alberta. Innovation, commercialization of technologies, and the creation of globally competitive knowledge-based companies are essential for the economic future of Alberta. It is very encouraging that the government is focused on ensuring an innovation system which is relevant and effective for innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Kristina Williams, Interim Managing Director, Alberta Enterprise Corporation

“As an entrepreneur building a knowledge economy business in Alberta, I have found the “innovation eco-system”, intended to support innovation, economic development and economic diversification, can actually frustrate these important outcomes. This is mostly due to inefficiencies and sometimes a competing or overlapping set of interests. I am excited to see the commitment under Premier Hancock’s leadership, to better organize the province’s role, so it adds more value, more quickly, to support real outcomes. It’s clear that Albertans value innovation; it’s exciting to see government willing to re-imagine a model of innovation lead by innovators and entrepreneurs, inside and outside of institutions.”

Chris Labossiere, Founder and Co-CEO, Yardstick

“There is no shortage of new technology developed through applied research and innovation that can be commercialized at a profit to make Alberta more competitive. AIMCo has just been asked to deploy 3% of the Heritage Fund (about $500 million) for that purpose. We are working with industry experts to do so quickly and efficiently.”

Leo de Bever, Chief Executive Officer, AIMCo

“The Innovation Forum assembled an impressive brain trust of influential Albertans passionate about advancing the innovation agenda. The Premier’s call to action was well taken and timely. I have high expectations for near-term results.”

Wayne Karpoff, President of Willowglen Systems and Chair of Technology Alberta

Under the Building Alberta Plan, our government is investing in families and communities, living within our means, and opening new markets for Alberta's resources to ensure we're able to fund the services Albertans told us matter most to them. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.