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Alberta’s collaborative approach to education and innovation highlighted in Ottawa talks

Leaders in Alberta education, government meet with federal officials
February 17, 2017

From left: Lorne Babiuk, vice-president of research, University of Alberta; Judy Fairburn, board chair, Alberta Innovates; Mike Mahon, president, University of Lethbridge; Hon. Deron Bilous, Alberta minister of economic development and trade; Hon. Jane Philpott, minister of health; Hon. Marlin Schmidt, Alberta minister of advanced education; Elizabeth Cannon, president, University of Calgary. 

This week, President Elizabeth Cannon and colleagues from the universities of Alberta and Lethbridge travelled to Ottawa with senior officials from the Province of Alberta to demonstrate the collaborative approach that Alberta is taking to its research and innovation system. President Cannon made the trip to the nation’s capital along with Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt, and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous, as well as Alberta Innovates Chair Judy Fairburn, University of Lethbridge President Mike Mahon, and University of Alberta Vice-President (Research) Lorne Babiuk.

The Alberta delegation met with key federal officials including the ministers of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Environment and Climate Change, Health, Infrastructure and Communities, and Natural Resources to discuss provincial research and innovation excellence and alignment with the federal research and innovation agenda. They also spoke about the importance of maximizing impacts from joint federal and provincial innovation and research funding.

The leaders from Alberta’s three Comprehensive Academic Research Institutions (CARIs) highlighted areas of strength within their institutions — including clean energy technology, smart agriculture, and health innovation — as opportunities to leverage economic diversification and other policy goals at the federal and provincial levels of government.

President Cannon noted: “Alberta’s research universities are the hub of the Alberta innovation ecosystem. The CARIs have the critical mass, diversity of expertise, facilities and equipment, and international connections — we are key partners in Canada’s innovation network.

“Research and innovation must be a cornerstone of any response to changing economic, social and environmental dynamics. It is an essential ingredient that will drive the transition to a modern, diversified economy — one that is nimble and resilient in times of change.”

President Cannon and her colleagues supported increased collaboration between the two levels of government and our universities in advancing research and innovation priorities.

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