December 19, 2008
The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Regional Minister for southern Alberta, on behalf of Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced today federal funding of $4 million towards a new state-of-the-art applied research centre at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT Polytechnic). The funding will help businesses in Alberta's energy, manufacturing and construction industries test and develop innovative technologies and products.
"The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of supporting Western Canadian firms in developing and adopting new technologies," said Minister Prentice. "This world-class applied research facility will enable local businesses to test and develop their ideas through real-life scenarios and aid in the commercialization of new technologies, products or processes."
The funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada, made through its Western Diversification Program, will contribute toward the total project cost of more than $13 million. In addition to the federal investment, Alberta Advanced Education and Technology has also contributed more than $4.2 million toward the project.
"Our plan is for Alberta to become one of the world's preferred locations for turning ideas into products and services," said Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. "It is exciting to know this collaboration means that SAIT post-secondary students will be working together with entrepreneurs and industry to translate their innovations into tomorrow's market-ready realities."
The federal and provincial investments will help develop and equip the new SAIT Enerplus Innovation Centre. The facility, housed within SAIT's upcoming Trades and Technology Complex, will support small and medium-sized businesses by providing applied research services for companies in the energy, manufacturing and construction sectors. Businesses will be able to use the Centre to translate their ideas into successful applications by simulating and validating new technologies or refining products and processes.
"By collaborating with industry partners, SAIT plays an active role in the advancement of technologies," said Dr. Alex Zahavich, Director of SAIT's Applied Research and Innovation Services. "Through the Enerplus Innovation Centre, SAIT will help provide solutions for companies, as well as transfer innovation into the classroom and provide a continuous supply of highly qualified, skilled graduates needed by industry."
The Enerplus Innovation Centre supports SAIT Polytechnic's vision of providing applied research services that enable small businesses to overcome the challenges associated with translating ideas into new technologies. SAIT is uniquely positioned to offer solutions to business clients by leveraging its applied research capabilities and strengths in technology. The Institute has an established track record of conducting applied research projects with industry.
Upon completion, the facility will include laboratories with environmental simulation and containment control systems, prototype fabrication and testing.
Western Economic Diversification Canada in partnership with the provinces, industry associations and communities promotes the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and represents the interests of western Canadians in national decision-making.
For additional information, contact:
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Phone: (780) 495-6892
Cell: (780) 991-7432
Toll-Free Number: 1 888 338-WEST (9378)
Public Relations Specialist
Phone: (403) 284-8473
Cell: (403) 512-3291
WD Toll-Free Number:1 888 338-WEST (9378)
Website: WD is online at www.wd-deo.gc.ca.
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