Minister Vandal announces funding for Calgary and southern Alberta businesses to commercialize innovative technologies, creating nearly 200 jobs

News release

$3.5M to help Alberta cleantech and drone companies prepare their innovations for market

Minister Vandal made the announcement of over $3.5 million in federal funding in a visit to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). This investment will help small- and medium-sized firms innovating in clean energy technologies and remotely-controlled aerial vehicle applications.

March 16, 2022 – Calgary, Alberta – Prairies Economic Development Canada

Alberta businesses are developing innovative solutions in clean energy and advancing new applications for remotely-controlled aerial vehicles. Targeted investments by the Government of Canada to local institutions will support these businesses as they commercialize their products, technologies and services, and continue to scale up.

Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, visited the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and announced a federal investment of $3.5 million in three southern Alberta projects supporting small- and medium-sized companies to innovate, grow and compete globally.

The following initiatives are receiving federal support:

  • $1.43 million will enable the SAIT in Calgary to help commercialize emerging, high-growth potential clean technologies for Alberta’s energy sector. Funding will support SAIT's Centre for Energy Research in Clean Unconventional Technology Solutions, Centre for Innovation and Research in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (CIRAMM) and Green Building Technologies (GBT) to work with industry and smaller firms to test and demonstrate clean energy applications such as battery, hydrogen, and water technologies. Alberta Innovates is also providing $325,000 for this initiative.
  • $860,000 will enable SAIT's Centre for Innovation and Research in Unmanned Systems to train small- and medium-sided businesses in demonstrating next generation unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This will help advance the use of UAVs for key applications such as monitoring industrial operations and energy pipelines, and floodplain mapping.
  • $1.26 million will help the Village of Foremost to establish the Beyond Visual Line of Sight Innovation Centre at the Foremost UAS Test Range and develop a training program for companies. This new funding brings total PrairiesCan funding for Beyond Visual Line of Sight flight testing at the Foremost UAS Test Range to $1.86 million.

Today’s investment is expected to support over 240 innovative Alberta businesses and help create nearly 200 jobs. 


“Our government is supporting Alberta’s small- and medium-sized businesses as they develop new and emerging technologies to create a cleaner, safer tomorrow. Today’s investments will help grow and strengthen leading-edge Alberta firms—enabling them to bring their innovative technologies and applications to market, benefitting our environment and creating new, high-quality, jobs for Albertans.”
The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

“Alberta’s leading post-secondary institutions such as SAIT are well positioned to collaborate with industry and innovators to transform new ideas into reality. Our government’s investments in these initiatives will be a catalyst for bringing Alberta-made innovation to the global market and benefitting our communities, from clean energy technologies to new drone applications.”
- The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“I’m proud that our government is making strategic investments to help companies in Calgary and southern Alberta to grow and bring their applications to market. Today’s investments will help create high-value jobs in our community and further strengthen Calgary’s leadership as a hub for technology firms and innovators.”
George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview

“Partnerships such as these help move innovative ideas from concept to commercialization faster. These supports are connecting SAIT researchers with SMEs to develop clean technologies leading to greater energy efficiency, innovative power generation and safer water. It’s a great opportunity to advance solutions the world is waiting for.”
Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“SAIT, as one of Canada’s top applied research colleges, is pleased to be partnering with our governments to solve significant challenges in energy and the environment and to help drive technology and innovation forward. This major investment in applied research at SAIT by the Government of Canada will be key in combating climate change and helping our technology entrepreneurs get their products to the global market faster and create jobs in Alberta.”
- Trish Josephs, SAIT Director of Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS)

“We are delighted to receive this support from PrairiesCan to establish the BVLOS Innovation Centre at the Foremost UAS Test Range. PrairiesCan funding has been a cornerstone of our success to date. With this additional support in place, the BVLOS Innovation Centre is now positioned to benefit individual drone companies and grow the drone ecosystem in Alberta and western Canada.”
Lorne Buis, Mayor, Village of Foremost

Quick facts

  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program stream aims to create, grow and nurture inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs throughout the innovation continuum, and foster an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness.

  • A recent Alberta Energy Transition Study conducted for Calgary Economic Development and Edmonton Global, and supported by Prairies Economic Development Canada, concluded the global energy transition could create 170,000 jobs in the clean technology sector in Alberta and contribute $61 billion to GDP by 2050.

  • Today’s announcement builds on previous investment in Foremost UAS Test Range to test operator competency and evaluate drone collision avoidance technology to prepare operators for beyond visual line of sight operation. 

Associated links


Kyle Allen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Rohit Sandhu
Communications Manager
Prairies Economic Development Canada

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