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Promoting innovation at Alberta colleges, tech schools

Provincial Press Release September 21, 2020 @ 11:17 AM published at 11:40 AM.

Alberta taxpayers are funding new research projects that will attract job-creating investment and promote innovation in energy and agriculture.


The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Red Deer College and Olds College are receiving almost $2.1 million in grants through the province’s Research Capacity Program (RCP). The money will help these post-secondary institutions perform cutting-edge research in areas like 3D printing, clean energy technology and smart agriculture, helping companies in these fields use this research to grow and expand.

These projects will showcase the innovative spirit that exists at Alberta’s post-secondaries, and will help diversify the province’s economy by training Albertans with technical skills in new and emerging technologies.

On Sept. 17, Alberta’s government announced it will move faster than any province in Canada to modernize intellectual property laws, making it easier to turn Alberta’s research and innovation into jobs and investment.

“This investment will help get Albertans back to work now, and prepare our next generation for the jobs of tomorrow in manufacturing, energy and agriculture. One of Alberta's greatest strengths is our ability to tackle challenges through innovation. Growing these programs will make our province even more competitive as we turn ideas into reality, creating jobs and prosperity.” Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

This spending will attract almost $6 million in additional research funding to the province, including more than $2.7 million from the federal government through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada.

“A key part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan is preparing our grads for jobs in the real world. By focusing on innovation and research, this announcement will help our post-secondary institutions ensure our students have the skills they need in a future economy.” Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

“Olds College continues to lead in innovation and research. Olds College leads the country in smart ag technology while meeting the needs of producers right here in Alberta.” Nathan Cooper, MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills

“We appreciate the continued investment by the Government of Alberta towards our work in applied research. This funding supports our Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) mandate to collaborate with industry to solve the issues of today and develop the innovations of tomorrow. Funding like this, to diversify research and introduce new technology applications not only advances innovation, it attracts investment and in turn rebuilds our economy, ensuring graduates from our institutions get jobs and have rewarding careers.” David Ross, president and chief executive officer, SAIT

The Investment and Growth Strategy is part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan – an ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs, now. By building schools, roads, and other core infrastructure, we are benefiting our communities by putting Albertans back to work. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for economic growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the COVID-19 curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow back our businesses, and thrive as a province.

Quick facts

  • The RCP helps Alberta’s post-secondary institutions get the small equipment and large research infrastructure they need to attract, retain and develop researchers in the province.

  • SAIT’s $1 million in funding will be used to expand its applied research training programs.

  • Olds College is using its almost $1 million in funding for agricultural equipment, sensors, devices and computers for its Smart Agriculture Applied Research Program.

  • Almost $150,000 will go to Red Deer College for its Integration of Alternative Energy Lab – a teaching, research, and data hub designed to increase financial and scientific knowledge and access to clean energy technologies.

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