A new research working group will examine funding disparities and engage the federal government to get Alberta’s post-secondary institutions their fair share of research dollars. This group will also complement the Alberta 2030: Transforming Post-Secondary Education project by exploring ways to increase the commercialization of intellectual property at post-secondary institutions and help identify benchmarks for research and innovation.

Over the last 15 years, post-secondary institutions across Canada received an average of 48 per cent of their total sponsored research revenue from the federal government. However, Alberta’s post-secondary institutions only received an average of 37 per cent of their total sponsored research revenue. That’s why government is bringing post-secondary institutions and industry together to study this issue.

“Alberta taxpayers have contributed the highest percentage of provincial-sponsored research revenue of any other province, at 31 per cent. By bringing universities, government, Alberta Innovates, and representatives of various industries to the table, we will forge stronger relationships between researchers, government and business enterprise, and we will secure a fair deal for Alberta.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

“Our platform committed to finding ways to increase the commercialization of intellectual property at post-secondary institutions, and to measure Alberta’s performance against leading innovation hubs. We’re working closely with our colleagues at Advanced Education so that we keep our promise, and bring in the federal funds that Alberta’s post-secondary institutions deserve and need to succeed, now and in the future.”

Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism

“We know first-hand the important role intergovernmental collaboration plays in unlocking world-renowned research capacity: first as a centre of artificial intelligence excellence supported by the Government of Alberta and now as part of the federal Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. We’re pleased to be part of this important work, which will further enhance Alberta’s position as a global leader in research.”

Cam Linke, CEO, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute

“Technology and innovation will increase opportunities for more jobs and investment and improved environmental performance. The research working group provides a constructive opportunity to help define research priorities that will attract increased investment and drive the commercialization of innovation in Canada’s oil and natural gas industry.”

Joy Romero, vice president, technology and innovation, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

“We thank the ministries of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism and Advanced Education for convening this research working group.  This initiative exemplifies the Government of Alberta's commitment to supporting the research and innovation activities of Alberta's post-secondary institutions. At the University of Calgary, we are excited to work with government leaders and our partner institutions to advance Alberta's performance in research and innovation.

William A. Ghali, vice president, research, University of Calgary

“The University of Lethbridge is currently ranked third among research-intensive Canadian universities in the primarily undergraduate category by Research Infosource. The Government of Alberta’s research working group creates inter-ministry and inter-university synergies – and brings crucial perspective from industry – that will strategically support the University of Lethbridge in achieving even greater levels of research success. The additional federal and external funding that we leverage will support innovative research for the health, well-being, and enrichment of our society, as well as the commercialization of important intellectual property for the benefit of all Albertans.”

Robert Wood, vice-president, research, University of Lethbridge

“The University of Alberta is proud to be a member of the initiative and to further enhance our longstanding history of working with the Government of Alberta and partner institutions across the province to secure and leverage federal research funds. This is good news not only for Albertans, but for all Canadians, as these research funds support world-leading research in areas such as artificial intelligence, energy development, and public Health, such as our world-leading research in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Having a team Alberta approach will help us secure the resources needed to spur the innovation that drives economic growth and diversification, improves societal outcomes, and creates new jobs.”

Walter Dixon, interim vice-president, research and innovation, University of Alberta

“I’m proud to support this research working group – this is a great opportunity to bring together technology, innovation and research. I believe investing in today’s post secondary research will be of huge benefit to Alberta’s future.”

Yeatland Wong, senior ITS engineer, Stantec

“We’re very encouraged to be included in the research working group. We continue to be impressed by the commercialization opportunities that are available for the research being conducted at our universities. Measuring economic impacts from university research is progressive and helps align industry and research for the benefit of all Albertans.”

Rohit Joshi, CEO, Brightsquid

Alberta’s post-secondary institutions are leaders in various areas of research, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, antimicrobial resistance, autonomous systems, hydrodynamics and biophysics, energy systems, and quantum science and technology.

Quick facts

  • Members of the research working group include:
    • Deputy Ministers of Advanced Education and Economic Development, Trade and Tourism
    • Vice-presidents of research at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge and Athabasca University
    • Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates
    • Joy Romero, vice-president of technology and innovation, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, and chair, Clean Resources Innovation Network
    • Rohit Joshi, CEO, Brightsquid Secure Communications Corp.
    • Cam Linke, CEO, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii)
    • Keith Jones, general manager and chief financial officer, Rowland Farms
    • Yeatland Wong, senior ITS engineer, Stantec
  • Any costs incurred by the research working group will be covered by existing government budgets. Members of the research working group will not receive any compensation.
  • Between the fiscal years 2003-04 and 2017-18, Alberta’s universities and degree-granting colleges received an average of 37 per cent of their total sponsored research revenue from the federal government. Over the same 15 years, other provinces received between 46 per cent and 72 per cent (or an average of 48 per cent) of their sponsored research revenue from the federal government.
  • In 2017-18, Alberta’s institutions received about nine per cent of total federal research funding, while the province’s population was about 12 per cent of Canada’s total population; this was the largest discrepancy in per capita funding of all the provinces.

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