Research Chairs and Strategic Investments
To enhance and grow the world-class research capacity Alberta needs to diversify its economy, create new businesses and industries, and become more financially competitive, it must attract and keep high-calibre scientific talent in the province. Alberta Innovates’ Research Chair Program is designed for this purpose.
Strategic Chair grants range from $100,000 to $1,000,000 and are awarded for three- to five-year terms. Grants are awarded to world-class researchers and research teams working in computing science, computer engineering, mathematics, physics and other areas related to the platform technologies of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Nanotechnology and Omics. Alberta sees these platform technologies as essential in creating globally competitive commerce in the strategic focus areas of Energy (including Oil & Gas, and Pipelines), the Environment, Food & Fibre and Health.
Grants are renewable on a competitive basis and may be used in complement with funding programs from existing Chairs or Institutes provided by other provincial or federal bodies.
Proposals should contain a transition plan to secure funding following the conclusion of the initial grant term, in the event that the grant is not renewed.
Grants available through the Strategic Chair Program are structured to support a range of research experience levels:
AI Chair (Tier 1): Five-year grants supporting experienced and exceptional researchers with outstanding research records that place them in the top five percent of their field.
AI Chair (Tier 2): Five-year grants supporting mid-career researchers with solid research records.
AI Chair (Tier 3): Three-year grants supporting researchers in the early stages of their careers.
Industry Chair grants are developed collaboratively in conjunction with one or more sponsoring companies in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Nanotechnology and Omics, as well as our sectors: Energy (which includes Oil & Gas, and Pipelines), the Environment, Food & Fibre, and Health.
The sponsoring company(ies) must be willing and able to develop the strong working relationships with the research team required for effective operational problem solving and research optimization.
Through the Industry Chair Program, industry funded amounts are matched by Alberta Innovates’ funding. An AI Industry Chair grant often is complemented by a senior NSERC Industrial Research Chair grant.
The size of funded research teams supported by the Industrial Chair grant can vary to include the Chair, professors, research associates, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students and research staff. Funds can be used to cover equipment and operational costs, as well as salaries.
Industry Chair grants range from $100,000 to $500,000 per year for three- and five-year terms. AI grants are matched by the equivalent funding from industry. Under exceptional circumstances grant awards may be renewed.
Industry Chair Grants are structured in three tiers:
AI Chair (Tier 1): Five-year grants supporting exceptional researchers with outstanding research records that place them in the top five percent of their field.
AI Chair (Tier 2): Five-year grants supporting mid-career researchers with outstanding potential.
AI Chair (Tier 3): Three-year grants supporting exceptional researchers at the early stages of their careers.
Collaborative Grants are designed to help and facilitate AI-funded researchers to collaborate and work together when they are involved with different aspects of the overall research-related challenges, particularly when they work in different Institutions. The collaboration must advance Alberta’s research focus in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Omics and Nanotechnology and our areas of focus in Energy (including Oil & Gas, and Pipelines), the Environment, Food & Fibre and Health.
Also, when different areas of research can come together with greater impact for industry and future industrial endeavours this becomes even more important. There are two tiers, 2 and 3, and in essence these are the beginnings of possible full-fledged centres. Tier 1 is reserved for full-fledged AI-funded centres.
Sustainable Centres or Institutes that have proven their worth and viability and are now an integral part of Alberta’s research, development and commercialization community. Funding, within the order of $1 million per annum, would be for successive five-year periods as justified by their achievements.
Established teams, institutes or collaborations which show the promise of becoming sustainable, but in the meantime will contribute substantially to the research, development and commercialization of the areas they are working in. Funding is for five years renewable for a further five years at levels of $500,000 per annum and up, upon review.
Teams that are working successfully, but see the potential to increase collaboration across discipline areas and across the industry and institutes within Alberta. Essentially, at this level, the funding would be for pilot projects that hopefully will result in emerging institutes or centres. Funding would be for up to three years at levels from $50,000-200,000 per annum.
Please note: we are not accepting new or renewal applications for the Strategic and Industrial Chair Awards, Collaborative or Visiting Researcher programs at this time. In the interim, strategic research funding is being invested through the Strategic Research Projects Initiative.
Program Contact Information
Name: Adam Brown
Title: Program Coordinator