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Alberta Innovation and Science

In January 2003, Sun Microsystems, Inc. teamed with the province and the University of Alberta to establish a nanotechnology design centre in Edmonton. This photo depicts members of the Alberta delegation, including representatives from Alberta Innovation and Science, TRLabs, the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary, outside the entrance to Sun Microsystems.Alberta Innovation and Science is the branch of the Alberta government responsible for developing policy on high-tech research and development. They also work to attract and encourage companies specializing in high-tech industries including microelectronics, information networks, multimedia, telecommunications, advanced materials, computer technology and manufacturing.

Alberta Innovation and Science policies place a heavy emphasis on growth and development to establish the province as a world-leader in high-tech industry. The ministry refers to the strategic investment in cutting-edge technologies as the Innovation System. Alberta's Innovation System, according to the ministry, is critical to the future prosperity of the province.

The policies of Alberta Innovation and Science call for investment and development in three key areas

  • Energy Research. Alberta's oil and gas supplies are declining, and relying on old methods of production is not an option, according to Alberta Innovation and Science. Research is necessary to improve the extraction of oil and gas that remains, as well as reduce the impact on the environment. This research is conducted by a collaborative effort between government funding and university-industry laboratories. Research resulting from these government-industry partnerships has created significant innovations; all major technologies currently used in the province's energy sector were developed from government-industry partnership.
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT). In 1998, Alberta Innovation and Science helped draft "Information and Communication Technology—A Strategy for Alberta" to promote growth and investment in Alberta's ICT sectors. ICT is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world's economy and predicted to annually generate more than $30 billion for the province's economy under the new strategic plan. Alberta Innovation and Science plans on making Alberta a global leader in ICT with investments in university research and technological commercialization (or the marketing of inventions).
  • Life Sciences. Alberta has a long-standing tradition of funding health and agriculture research. Life sciences, which includes human health, agriculture, forestry and the environment, is predicted to be one of the fastest growing industries in the coming years. The Alberta Government has already invested large sums of money into these areas, having established the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute. The previous and current investments in life sciences show Alberta is transforming its traditional economy and creating a strong knowledge-based economy.

The policies of Alberta Innovation and Science show the strong initiative and commitment necessary to transform Alberta’s economy and recreate Alberta as a technology-driven economy.

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