InnovativeInnovationFramework

Doug Horner

Out with the old… in with the new. That’s what the New Year has rung in for Alberta’s research and innovation community.
Effective January 1, 2010, the new Alberta Research and Innovation Act replaces 10 provincial research and technology agencies with five. And they all hang their hats on the “Alberta Innovates” moniker.
The Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research now becomes Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions.
Alberta Ingenuity, iCORE and the 89-year old Alberta Research Council are now combined under one roof as Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures.
The Alberta Energy Research Institute now becomes Alberta Innovates – Energy Solutions.
And ASRA, the old Alberta Science and Research Authority will now be called the Alberta Research and Innovation Authority or ARIA.
The provincial government calls the exercise a re-alignment, and writes in its news release, “A stronger and more aligned provincial research and innovation system will enable the system to focus on Alberta’s strategic priorities, and be proactive in delivering on those priorities.” 
For Advanced Education and Technology Minister Doug Horner, it is the culmination of a process he began a couple of years ago to streamline the innovation framework in the province by introducing four priorities for research—health, biosciences, energy and environment—with a strong emphasis on commercialization.
Last spring, when Horner introduced Bill 27 into the Legislature, he said the change was about alignment and focus. Referring to now the defunct Life Sciences Research Institute, he offered this explanation for the restructuring. “When you look at the number of organizations that we have within the province, they’ve been created in some cases out of a desire to react to a specific sector, or a specific proposal. But, to give you an example, life sciences… the Life Sciences Institute crosses a number of different territories: nanotechnology, biosciences. It crosses into the health field. So why wouldn’t you group that under one?”
There have been some changes at the top. John McDougall, president and CEO of the Alberta Research Council for many years, has retired. Dr. Peter Hackett, president and CEO of Alberta Ingenuity, stepped down in October. Officially he’s on secondment to the University of Alberta where he is now an executive professor with the School of Business, a special advisor to the vice-president of research, and a Fellow with the national Institute for Nanotechnology. Never a dull moment for Peter.
The Minister has also announced some new appointments as chairs of the boards of directors for the new agencies.
Art Froehlich will chair the board of AI – Bio Solutions. Eric Newell takes on AI – Energy and Environment Solutions. Robert A. Seidel, QC, will guide AI – Health Solutions. And Ron Triffo steps up to the plate for AI – Technology Futures. 
As for ARIA, Dr. Marvin Fritzler from the University of Calgary is about the only one to maintain his grip on the helm.
There are still many questions and details to be ironed out as the day-to-day changes become a reality for the people who’ve served these organizations and Alberta’s science and technology community for so many years. 
More in-depth information is available on the government website at: www.aet.alberta.ca/research/system/mandates/framework.aspx

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Cheryl Croucher, Edmonton Tech Community

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: