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Posted: May 23, 2008
Alberta steps up nanotechnology development promotion
(Nanowerk News) Alberta is stepping up its nanotechnology development strategy by increasing efforts to link up industry and academia, and offering more undergraduate seats in top universities.
The province has launched a $15 million nanotechnology industrial research partnerships program linking academic researchers with industry to develop market-driven nanotechnology products. The program, operated by Alberta Ingenuity, opens the door to innovative projects that build on Alberta’s growing strength as Canada’s nanotechnology centre.
Another $30 million has been set aside to support nanotechnology programming for Bachelor of Science in Engineering students at the University of Alberta and Bachelor of Science students at the University of Calgary as part of the province’s $130 million strategy to make it a centre of nanotechnology research and product commercialization.
The $15 million nanoWorks programme will stretch over five years to increase industrially driven research and commercialization in line with the Alberta government’s priorities in energy, life sciences, information communications technology, and nanotechnology.
nanoWorks is open to industry and academic collaborative proposals focusing on growing new nanotech businesses, garnering nanotech talent, building nanotech infrastructure, and creating economic and social benefits for the province.
Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology, said: “Through this new program our pure research capability can now more easily be accessed by the industrial sector to develop nanotechnology for global markets that will benefit all Albertans.”
“Nanotechnology is a key area for the province, and the impact of this new program will be significant as it promotes industry and researchers working collaboratively together,” said Dr Peter Hackett, President and CEO of Alberta Ingenuity. “Alberta Ingenuity prides itself on its ability to deliver high-quality programs based on scientific excellence and commercializing research. nanoWorks will be part of the same rigorous peer review processes as other Ingenuity programs and will build on the excellent work already happening across the province in this field.”
Investment in key universities
With the new funding, undergraduate students in Alberta’s largest universities will be able to add nanotechnology to their course mix.
“Building Alberta’s presence in the global nanotechnology market means we have to build talent,” said Mr Horner. “Alberta has had success attracting world class researchers. Now we are training a next generation that will contribute to research, go on to develop products, and even start their own nanotechnology companies.”
The $30 million investment will allow expansion of undergraduate BSc seats by nearly 600 full-load-equivalents by the end of the five-year investment. Undergraduate nanotechnology programming at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary begins in 2008.
In addition, the universities will receive one-time grant funding to enhance facilities and develop curriculum for nanotechnology programming. This can include new laboratories and equipment and new staff with nanotechnology expertise.
The University of Alberta will receive $5.7 million in one-time funding while the University of Calgary will receive $3 million.
On May 2, 2007 the Alberta government announced $130 million towards its nanotechnology strategy, of which $30 million was dedicated to build, attract and retain quality talent as described in the document “Alberta Nanotechnology Strategy, Unleashing Alberta’s Potential.”
Alberta’s nanotechnology sector now tops $300 million in annual revenues, and fits in with the government’s plan to develop a more environmentally friendly economy.