The Government of Alberta has made numerous new investments into the province’s technology sector within the last week as part of the recently-unveiled $75 million strategy aimed to drive investment.
The Investment and Growth Strategy was first hinted at by the Alberta government in its June economic recovery plan.
The Investment and Growth Strategy (IGS) is led by Alberta’s ministry of jobs, economy, and innovation. The IGS highlights Alberta’s areas of strength and is aimed to address longer-term actions needed to strengthen the provincial economy. It also outlines strategies for specific sectors currently under development by the government. Sectors included in the IGS are technology and innovation, FinTech, agriculture, and tourism, among others.
A strategy around technology and innovation was first hinted at in the Alberta government’s economic recovery plan, released in June. That plan also included a reduction of the corporate tax rate from 10 to eight percent, the creation of a new investment-focused provincial agency, and $175 million to the Alberta Enterprise Corporation.
One component of the IGS includes a consultation with Alberta’s technology sector to “modernize” intellectual property laws. Those consultations were first announced last week, although no details on what the changes could be or when they may be implemented have been released.
“Creating an infrastructure that helps entrepreneurs develop and commercialize their IP right here at home creates high-skilled, high-paying jobs that will expedite recovery for Alberta’s economy,” said Sandi Gilbert, CEO of InterGen and chair at the National Angel Capital Organization.
Two investments have already been deployed by the Alberta government through IGS. The first is a $9 million investment into the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii). That funding is aimed to help Amii continue its work in developing and commercializing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology.
The commitment to Amii includes $4 million from Alberta Innovates and $5 million through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system. Amii also recently received $5 million from the province to lead a project aimed to help Alberta companies identify key opportunities for emission reductions by providing technical advice through AI.
“With renewed funding, we’re able to continue our trajectory of long-established excellence in AI and machine learning and leverage scientific advancement to speed industry adoption, job creation and innovation for Alberta’s most forward-thinking organizations,” said Cam Linke, CEO of Amii.
Another investment through the IGS is $2.1 million in grants for Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Red Deer College, and Olds College, through the province’s Research Capacity Program (RCP).
RCP is a competitive funding program designed to support the acquisition of small equipment and large research infrastructure to build capacity in Alberta’s post-secondary institutions and attract and retain researchers. The funding is aimed to help post-secondary institutions conduct research in areas including 3D printing, clean energy technology and smart agriculture.
The province hopes the $2.1 million commitment will attract nearly $6 million in additional research funding to the province, including more than $2.7 million from the federal government through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada.
Image source Unsplash. Photo by Denisse Leon.