Working together to adapt and evolve Alberta’s R&I system
The complexity of the challenges we face in Alberta require a R&I system that adapts and evolves to meet our province’s changing needs. Our mandate is to deliver 21st-century solutions for the most compelling challenges facing Albertans, to support and accelerate research, innovation and entrepreneurship.
We work closely with partners and collaborators in government, industry, academia and others to design, deliver and evaluate programs and services to help achieve our mandate. This, in turn, drives the creation of jobs, attraction of investment now and in the future.
Alberta’s innovation network
Our network-based system of partners and service providers work based on a shared understanding of overarching goals and purpose. Alberta Innovates serves as a leader, influencer, convenor and connector. Our understanding of system-level impact drives us to work with others to build an informed community and increase support for the implementation of new knowledge, discoveries and technologies capable of addressing the province’s challenges of today and tomorrow. Further, our relationships with governments and the private sector enhance Alberta’s position as globally competitive in the emerging technology areas.
The Government of Alberta enables R&I through policy implementation and budget allocations. Our partnerships with the Government of Alberta ensure that we launch opportunities that are Alberta-specific and aligned to provincial R&I priorities and initiatives It also affords our organization with opportunities to inform the development of provincial R&I policies, better understand the market needs within and outside our borders and share our technical expertise.
In addition, we engage with the technical and program experts in several government ministries. We also support the Government of Alberta in identifying opportunities to attract investment to the province by foreign government owned entities and energy industry operations.
We work closely with the Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Tourism to promote Alberta technologies and services in the oil, gas and pipeline industries in foreign markets. The co-development, co-funding and/or co-delivery of programs with government and other provincial entities, such as Alberta Health Services help reduce duplication while maximizing the impact of R&I for Albertans.
Federal agencies are important partners whose funds and networks can be leveraged by Alberta Innovates to develop national and international research and development collaborations and industry partnerships. Opportunities exist to develop collaborations examining potential impacts from development and adoption of emerging technologies, including ethical, environmental, economic, legal and social issues. Awareness and management of these issues are important for reducing the barriers to social acceptance and translation to society while increasing value to Albertans and Canadians.
Industry and industry associations play a vital role in Alberta’s economy, creating economic diversity and strength for Albertans. Alberta Innovates actively seeks industry partnerships that work toward the development of new programs, services, treatments and commercial products, including those that aim to solve the Government of Alberta’s Grand Challenges. Industries can discover and adopt new science and technologies faster when these partnerships are used to link Alberta’s entrepreneurs, SMEs and post-secondary institutions to industry, a benefit that can move industry to the next 10 to 20 years of productivity.
At the same time, those who connect with industry develop a better understanding of the issues faced by industry and may find opportunities to prove their innovative technologies. Partnerships with industry and industry associations also provide Alberta Innovates with funds, in-kind resources and expertise that assist us in advancing innovative products while helping to reduce risks for both partners. Our subsidiaries also contribute to several industry associations by serving on technical committees, contributing to new industry standards and organizing technical conferences.
Post-secondary institutions are critical delivery agents of people, knowledge and technologies to the broader R&I system. They are leaders in building and sustaining global networks and connect Alberta to a global pool of knowledge and talent at the forefront of science and technology around the world.
In partnership with Alberta Innovates, these assets can provide greater understanding of emerging technology trends at the global scale, and they can be used to bring the best and brightest personnel to Alberta to address our existing challenges. They also provide the province with critical expertise and infrastructure to create and develop cutting-edge ideas. Our partnerships with post-secondary institutions enable us to support the development of highly qualified personnel through project funding in strategically relevant areas such as emerging technologies.
We also support research within post-secondary institutions that will lead to early-stage technological solutions to industrial and societal challenges, leveraging industry investments in areas of shared research priorities when possible. In addition to funding support, post-secondary institutions gain access to our broad networks and receive support for knowledge translation to industry and the health system.
Ad-hoc collaborations also occur between our subsidiaries and post-secondary institutions. Often these are designed to leverage expertise or advanced equipment not readily available at InnoTech or C-FER facilities. Our subsidiaries are working to strengthen and formalize relationships with several post-secondary institutions in the near future.
Other key partnerships
Our partnership with the SME community provides a conduit for moving knowledge, people and technology in the economy. Additionally, Alberta Innovates works with a network of private incubators, accelerators, angel investors and venture capital groups to develop access to knowledge and capital for our entrepreneurial and SME clients.
Alberta Innovates also maintains several partnerships with not-for-profit organizations, consortia, associations and networks in all sectors and including specific partnerships with jurisdictions globally.
Collaboration with strategic partners increases both the speed and likelihood of successfully achieving our intended outcomes. As such, effective strategic partnerships are viewed as a method to improve the effectiveness of the R&I system. Partnering with industry, non-profits, government and post-secondary institutions is critical to maximizing economic and social benefits that accrue when knowledge and technologies are adopted at scale.
Where appropriate, AI co-ordinates with partners to leverage dollars, resources and expertise. AI’s administration of funds from the GoA’s Climate Change Innovation and Technology Framework (CCITF) stands as a current example of how AI is leveraging external dollars and coordinating its internal programming and investments.