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Alberta invests in innovation to fuel the future

Premier Notley announces investment in high tech with (L-R) Laura Kilcrease, John Shillington, Minister Bilous and Minister of Finance Joe Ceci.

The Alberta government is investing $100 million to attract more artificial intelligence-based high-tech companies to invest in Alberta. Coupled with last year’s investment of $50 million to create 3,000 new high-tech training seats at post-secondary institutions across the province, this represents a significant diversification initiative.

“Innovation is a critical tool for competitiveness in nearly every sector of the economy, including energy. By investing in technology and the talent that powers it, we are ensuring Alberta continues to be a world leader in clean, efficient energy production and that our economy is more resilient and diversified for the future.”  

Rachel Notley, Premier

The province’s investment in technology will build the industry and business capacity needed to help talented Albertans find jobs here at home. This investment in both Alberta Innovates and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) will leverage partnerships with Alberta’s leading research universities and support long-term research and job creation.

The overall investment is estimated to result in:

  • more than 6,000 trained, skilled Albertans
  • the creation of over 140 new companies
  • over 30 new multi-national offices, labs in Alberta
  • over $207 million in leveraged investments by industry
  • increased competitiveness and productivity of at least 150 Alberta businesses through the use of artificial intelligence (AI)

“By investing today, we are setting Alberta up for long-term economic diversification and success, while creating thousands of jobs and generating millions in value in the near term.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

An initial investment of $27 million will allow Alberta non-profit Amii to develop a new program that supports companies looking to build their in-house AI capacity, incorporate innovative solutions and drive benefits. It also means the Edmonton-based organization can expand its presence and open a new Calgary office. This new investment, along with the federal government’s commitment of $25 million, will accelerate the positive impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning on the Alberta economy.

Amii is already home to some of the world’s top talent in AI. Estimates from across the high-tech community suggest this funding will result in about 5,600 new high-paid jobs and roughly $1.5 billion in overall value to Alberta businesses and Amii-affiliated startups.

“This landmark investment will catalyze economic growth stretching beyond Alberta's machine intelligence sector. Businesses around the world are turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence as key drivers of innovation across every industry sector. With this renewed support from the Government of Alberta, Amii will advance transformational business programs offering scientific mentorship and educational opportunities. Together, we’re helping Alberta businesses seize the opportunities presented by machine intelligence.”

John Shillington, CEO, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute

The funding will also support Alberta Innovates with work focused on company growth and acceleration, applied research and development, industry solutions and establishing a stronger global market presence for Alberta.

“The support for these programs demonstrates the shift in how Alberta Innovates drives innovation and builds on past expertise to accelerate Alberta’s digital transformation towards a data-enabled economy.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

Alberta is attracting top-level talent and investment from around the world, including Google DeepMind, the Royal Bank of Canada and Mitsubishi which have all opened research facilities here. Interest from other major high-tech industry leaders is anticipated which will mean additional millions in new private-sector investment in the province and hundreds of new jobs for Albertans.

Quick facts

  • Since 2002, the Government of Alberta has invested about $44 million in AI-related research at the University of Alberta and Amii.
  • Alberta’s researchers are already ranked third in the world in the area of AI and machine learning, thanks in part to Amii.
  • More than 200 companies from around the world have expressed interest in working with Amii.
  • In 2017, the federal government committed $25 million for AI and innovation funding through the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to Alberta, delivered by CIFAR.

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