University of Calgary


March 26, 2010

Geology partnership to enhance energy, Arctic research

Federal government and University of Calgary team up to create world-class research centre

David Eaton and John Harper
Government of Canada and U of C sign partnership to enhance energy and Arctic research. (MP Rob Anders (left), MP Calgary West, Alan Harrison, U of C Provost and Marc D’Iorio, Director General, Geological Survey of Canada) Credit: Leanne Yohemas

The University of Calgary and the Government of Canada are joining forces to create a world-class research centre in Calgary focused on geoscience for energy and environment.

The two parties signed a collaborative research and development agreement today to officially launch this relationship in which they will share laboratory space and equipment at the Geological Survey of Canada – Calgary facility, located just north of campus, as well as work together on projects of mutual interest.

"The Government of Canada is proud to be joining forces with the University of Calgary to create a world-class research centre on responsible Arctic development and carbon management,” said Rob Anders, Member of Parliament for Calgary West. “This unique collaboration will not only advance our understanding of Canada’s Arctic energy resources but help us manage our greenhouse gases, support our competitiveness and promote our long-term energy security.”

Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Geological Survey of Canada operates a major geoscientific laboratory in Calgary to provide critical research and expertise on the geology, geochemistry, geophysics and resource potential of sedimentary basins in western and northern Canada.

This partnership between NRCan and the U of C is an important collaboration within the earth sciences discipline and may serve as a template for others to align the federal government’s science and technology initiatives with those of the academic community, advancing the integration of Canada’s innovation system.

“We expect transformative research to occur in Arctic Energy Basins, which will provide the scientific framework needed to underpin new exploration and development initiatives,” said Alan Harrison, the U of C’s provost and vice-president (academic).
“This agreement will further enhance our relationship with NRCan and, at the same time, continue to build on our success as one of Canada’s leading research universities.”

The agreement will significantly break barriers between the government and academia and will also create opportunities for graduate students to participate in research in remote areas that will have a direct benefit for all of Canada.

“I expect this agreement to open up new possibilities for field and laboratory-based research, such as in the Arctic, that would otherwise be prohibitively expenses for professors,” said Dave Eaton, the head of the U of C’s Department of Geoscience.
“New research on carbon capture and storage, or possibly geothermal energy sources, will contribute to broad-based efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Consistent with the goals of U of C's Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE) and Arctic Institute of North America, this agreement supports the U of C's Energy and Environment priorities to generate the insights and technologies for reducing fossil carbon emissions and for achieving sustainable energy development in the Arctic.

“This agreement is very exciting. The largest remaining conventional oil and gas fields in Canada are in the Arctic and this centre will provide new and necessary opportunities for research and exploration,” said Benoit Beauchamp, geoscience professor and executive director of the Arctic Institute of North America.

David Layzell, ISEEE's executive director, added: “The geoscience work in NRCan and at the U of C are highly complementary. Through the partnership created by this agreement, we can achieve loftier goals, more quickly and less expensively.”


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