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Technology and Innovation

INNOVATION LIVES HERE

It’s been said that the future of business belongs to those who can acquire more skills and apply them in creative ways.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is leading the growth and evolution of new and emerging industries. This innovation is rooted in robust post-secondary research and the strength of many industries that are continually pushing for gains in productivity and new ways of doing things.

The rise of industry 4.0 has enabled this evolution, weaving high-tech and automation throughout the region, and spurring unprecedented opportunity and development. Outstanding breakthroughs in industries such as autonomous vehicles, cleantech, and nanotechnology are happening here, supported by world-class talent in state-of-the-art facilities.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is emerging, pushing boundaries, forming international relationships, and challenging the limits of today to achieve an even brighter tomorrow.

WE HAVE THE TALENT

Technology Fact Sheet

“The Edmonton metro region represents a really rich talent pool for a company like Improbable. Talent is the lifeblood for any technology company now a days. We have to go where the talents is and that means we come to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.” 
-Aaryn Flynn , General Manager, Improbable North America 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Brilliant minds are at play in the region as top-notch researchers and creators are collaborating to generate real investment opportunities in artificial intelligence.

Edmonton is a core member of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy thanks to expertise from the University of Alberta and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii).

The University of Alberta is one of the top 3 AI research institutions in the world, attracting leading minds to study, teach, and work in AI. Amii conducts ground-breaking research and supports commercialization efforts, and has been named a centre of excellence by the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research. Since it launched in 2002, Amii has created over 200 technologies.

Innovations happening here are growing AI, serving as a major source of expertise for industry. The region’s reputation is attracting large corporate investment from the likes of Google, Amazon, Toyota, IBM, Volkswagen, and Microsoft.

The region is known for specializations in reinforcement learning due to Dr. Richard Sutton, a pioneer in this field who is a professor at the University of Alberta and co-founder of Google’s DeepMind facility in Edmonton.

Webinar – Accessing the world’s top AI  talent


Hear from industry leaders who share their perspectives on the strengths in the Edmonton region in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) including:

  • How ML can optimize business functions 
  • Current research in AI/ML 
  • Access to world-class AI talent 
  • Edmonton as part of the Pan Canadian AI strategy 
  • Edmonton region 5G infrastructure and innovation 

A Global Leader in Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning

“[The Edmonton region] has been the largest place for reinforcement learning and I’m going to argue the absolute best place in the world to learn about reinforcement learning…We’re going to solve AI and its going to happen in Edmonton Alberta.

-Adam White, Senior Research Scientist, Google DeepMind


NANOTECHNOLOGY

Though micro in nature, the growing significance of nanotechnology is monumental. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale to create new and improved substances such as catalysts, construction materials, superconductors, and biomaterials. This technology is applicable to many industries and will change the way we do business in health, medicine, energy, agriculture, and manufacturing.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is competitive in this field thanks to advanced research happening at the National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT) and NanoFab Centre, anchored in the University of Alberta. The Alberta Centre for Advanced Microsystems, and Nanotechnology Products (ACAMP) is also critical to nanotech growth at the opposite end of the spectrum as it aids companies in commercialization efforts.

Support Network


UAlberta National Research Council (NRC) Nanotechology Initiative

The Nanotechnology Initiative is a collaborative initiative between the University of Alberta and the National Research Council of Canada. This 20,000-square-metre facility is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, attracting leading minds and producing groundbreaking research.

nanoFab Centre

The NanoFab Centre is an open-access training, service, and collaboration centre based out of the University of Alberta. It features $84 million in specialized equipment and infrastructure. The centre and its helpful staff are focused on attracting talent, sharing knowledge, and conducting progressive research.

Alberta Centre for Micro-nanotechnology Products (ACAMP)

Entrepreneurs and innovators use ACAMP to turn proof-of-concept into a final manufactured product by utilizing their expert talent, equipment, and commercialization savvy.

NanoCanada

NanoCanada serves as a catalyst for the commercialization of advanced materials, quantum, and nanotechnologies. Being a part of the NanoCanada community provides the opportunity for national and international exposure for your organization. NanoCanada delivers a competitive advantage to all its members through its wide network of industrial, research, and government partners.

VIDEO GAMES AND DIGITAL MEDIA

A WORLD LEADER

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is a world leader in videogames and interactive entertainment. Combining a powerhouse of international experts in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer science with a robust and diverse arts and creative community positions the Edmonton region as the ideal place to grow a games company.

“There’s a unique spirit here. A belief — no, an expectation — that we can compete with the best in the world, and win,” says Casey Hudson, Studio GM at BioWare. “That spirit, combined with the talent and work ethic of Albertans, makes the Edmonton region an ideal place to build a world-class company.”

Powering development is our incredible technical talent pipeline with proven expertise in art and design, publishing, video, creative writing, computer science and especially AI. The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), based in the Edmonton region is one of three national Artificial Intelligence hubs that make up the Canadian AI Strategy along with Toronto-Waterloo and Montreal. The University of Alberta (UAlberta) is globally ranked in the top 5 for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning research according to the world Computer Science Rankings. Researchers from UAlberta and Amii have been at the forefront of AI-game advancements since beating the world’s top checkers players in the 1980s, to tackling the world’s best at poker and Alpha-Go. Today, our researchers are creating AI’s that can build their own playable video games. The advances taking place in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region are at the forefront of internationally recognized AI research and game development.

Edmonton region games companies


Founded in 1995 by University of Alberta trained medical doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, BioWare was started to make simulators for the health market before the staff quickly decided they would rather be making videogames. Quickly, BioWare established itself as one of the world’s leading voices in narrative games. In December if 2018, “The Doctors” as they are warmly known as within the community, were recognized with the order of Canada for their impact on  games and the creation of the games community in Edmonton.

Led by former BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn, Improbable Edmonton is combining the specialty of the studio’s parent company — building highly technical middleware to ease development across the industry — with the core specialty of the game development community in Edmonton — building award-winning Role-Playing Games. Currently, working toward announcing details of its first project, Improbable Edmonton sits at the heart of Edmonton’s downtown in a custom office space.

Formed in 2009, Beamdog is now the largest independent game studio in Edmonton. The Edmonton-based company of close to 60 people has one eye on the city’s legacy as a game developer, producing remastered versions of past-hits produced in the city, while keeping another eye on the future with talent focused on new, original projects set to grow the studio.

Founded in 2005 as 3D Interactive, Edmonton-based Serious Labs is an award-winning technology company that develops virtual reality (VR) training solutions for the global heavy equipment industry. An experienced team of videogame industry veterans, eclectic professionals, and subject matter consultants, Serious Labs applies the benefits of gamification to non-entertainment fields. Offering companies a significant competitive advantage in the form of innovative skills training and data-driven assessment, Serious Labs’ mission is to provide workforces with the tools they need to get home safely each day.

AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

Autonomous vehicles are hitting the streets — changing the way we do business and bringing more convenience to people around the globe. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is at the forefront of this tech revolution given its background in artificial intelligence. Machine learning is the backbone of self-driving autonomous vehicles, and the research conducted here is propelling new developments in AI. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is a driving force in the world of transportation and logistics — with artificial intelligence at the wheel.

Support network

University of Alberta – Centre for Smart Transportation

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta’s Centre for Smart Transportation is developing connected vehicle technology, allowing vehicles to “speak” with each other and with other road technology such as stop lights.

Advanced Systems for Transportation Consortium (AST)

ACAMP is a tech-focused development centre, helping businesses commercialize their products. It founded the Advanced Systems for Transportation Consortium (AST): a consortium for autonomous vehicle testing and development, which promotes Alberta’s autonomous vehicle sector through research and networking with multinational automotive companies.

Alberta Machine Intelligence Institue (Amii)

Amii is a world leader in machine learning and artificial intelligence, contributing research insights and collaborating with industry to impact the AI landscape in the region and beyond.

CLEAN TECH

Cleantech focuses on reducing the overall environmental impact of traditional energy sources like oil and gas. Through emerging innovations, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region has the opportunity to improve energy production by serving as a global leader in sustainable energy practices.

Clean tech practices

Innovative drilling

Reducing energy consumption at drill sites through robotic drilling that uses solar-powered motors and natural gas generators instead of less-efficient diesel generators. New technologies also allow for offsite remote control and a reduction in manpower, disturbance and emissions.

Efficient completions

New technology driving higher well production and reservoir recovery, better surface management, more recycling and reuse of fluid and the evaporation of produced water into clean steam instead of having to truck and pump it into disposal wells.

Cleaner fuels

Using liquid natural gas (LNG) and other gas products at drill and mine sites instead of diesel and propane to reduce flaring and emissions.

Electrical generation conversion

Using high-efficiency gas generation units instead of coal-fired units. This results in increased flexibility and extended operating life, lowering emissions and production and maintenance costs.

 

AGRI TECH

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region has a flourishing food and agriculture sector, providing an abundance of foodstuffs and associated food processing. In this growing business climate, industries are looking for ways to enhance the sector and make activities more profitable, efficient, and eco-friendly. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is located on the Canadian Prairies, among the most productive agricultural lands on the planet. And 35% of Alberta’s best agricultural land is right here in our region. It’s one of the reasons we’re part of Canada’s plant protein supercluster.

Our strength in food and agriculture has lead to growth and innovation in the machinery manufacturing sector and more revolutionary farming approaches. Local experts are creating world-class air seeders, advanced spraying systems, precision GPS seeding technologies, and harvesting machinery, to name a few.  

INNOVATION  IN LIFE SCIENCES

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is the perfect incubator for innovation in the health and life sciences sector. An unrivaled network of research facilities and funding opportunities paired with leading minds allows for exciting breakthroughs in med tech and health tech. These advancements are complemented by regional strengths in artificial intelligence, high-tech, and advanced manufacturing, where collaborative efforts lead to profound discoveries in the medical field. 

Health Innovation Ecosystem

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) is a not-for-profit institution with an expert interdisciplinary team that works with a network of collaborating organizations. As a whole, they provide the expertise, services, and infrastructure of a pharmaceutical company. They help innovators launch their ideas into the real world, connect industry to the services they need for commercial success, and accelerate all aspects of the drug development process.

Edmonton Health City

In April 2016, the City of Edmonton announced an initiative to prioritize health innovation and build Edmonton as “Canada’s Health City.” The strategy aims to create an ecosystem that attracts and retains health-related talent, increases access to capital for health-related projects, and accelerates commercialization of local health technology and research.

Alberta Innovates

Alberta Innovates is a publicly-funded corporation with a mandate to support and accelerate research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Alberta. Through their health division, they deliver funding and support to transform the health and wellbeing of Albertans through research and innovation.

BioAlberta

A member-driven association that represents and promotes the province’s vibrant and diverse life sciences industry. BioAlberta is dedicated to Alberta’s life science sectors locally, nationally and internationally.

Genome Alberta

Genome Alberta is a publicly-funded not-for-profit corporation that initiates, funds, and manages genomics research and partnerships. They strive to be the leading source of information and administration related to genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, and bioethics research in Alberta.

TEC Edmonton Health Accelerator

TEC Edmonton is one of the leading incubators of innovative companies in the health field. TEC’s Health Accelerator initiative aims to assist at least 50 new healthcare company clients over the next 5 years and to broker 12 major financing or partnership deals for those clients.

University of Alberta

The University of Alberta has one of the largest pharmacy and pharmaceutical science facilities in Canada. UAlberta has many established corporate partnerships with research facilities in the region contributing talent, funding, and equipment.

Institute of Health Economics (IHE)

IHE is an independent, not-for-profit organization with key competencies in health economics and decision analytic modelling, health technology assessment, and knowledge transfer and exchange. The institute plays a vital role in linking researchers with health data across academic, private, and public sectors.

STARTUP AND INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM

The region’s innovation network cultivates growth and ensures ample opportunities for success. An extensive startup support system and established, prominent research hubs position the Edmonton Metropolitan Region as a place to unlock your potential and achieve the unthinkable.

 

Startup assistance


  • Edmonton Research Park

    The Edmonton Research Park is dedicated to fostering research-based growth stage companies within the region, focusing on IT and software development, biotechnology, nanotechnology, clean energy, and oil and gas support.  

    With over 1,500 members representing more than 55 companies, the research park provides access to workspaces, on-site programs, soft-landing programs, personalized referrals to support and funding agencies, and a network of local, national, and international accelerators, science parks, and incubators all looking to collaborate.

    The research park has two buildings designed to nurture different initiatives: the Advanced Technology Centre, and the Biotechnology Business Development Centre.

  • TEC Edmonton

    TEC Edmonton is a business accelerator program out of the University of Alberta that supports the commercialization of technological innovations. It’s been named the world’s 3rd best business incubator linked to a university, and helped launch almost 200 products and services in 2016-17.  

    TEC also provides more industry-specific programs to ensure that your business is getting the help it needs.

    • TEC Health Accelerator
    • Advanced Technology Centre
    • Merck Invent Accelerator
    • DynaLIFE Accelerator
    • TusStar Accelerator Exchange
    • TEC Launch Program  
    • University of Alberta Health Accelerator
  • Business Link

    This accelerator program helps individuals throughout Alberta start and grow their businesses by giving free one-on-one support and guidance, market research, access to experts, and training and networking events.

  • Startup Edmonton

    Startup Edmonton focuses on helping tech startups, providing them with mentorships & programs, workspace, access to talent, and community. Since 2010, they have helped successfully launch over 75 different companies.

  • NABI

    NABI helps tech businesses grow and flourish by offering services such as consulting, marketing, and everyday operational support.

  • Start Alberta

    Start Alberta connects AB tech startups with investors, resources and programming, all in one place. Thanks to partnerships with Crunchbase and Pitchbook, startups that make a Start Alberta profile will be visible to over 60 million people in the tech ecosystem nationally and internationally. 

    The Start Alberta platform is continuously evolving to provide you with the best possible experience and connection with Alberta’s growing ecosystem.  The platform is  accomplishing this by establishing a growing list of new partnerships with incubators, accelerators, investors, and government agencies across Alberta; as well as continuing to improve on features and user experience.

  • StartUp TNT

    StartUP TNT (Thursday Night Tradition) is a community networking initiative that connects entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, innovators and startup supporters on a weekly basis.

    StartUp TNT  actively works with local angel groups, seed funds, and early-stage VC funds to educate new and potential investors. Their flagship program, TNT Investment Summit, provides a fun, approachable way to become an angel investor.

Research and Development Centres


  • Alberta Innovates

    Alberta Innovates is Alberta’s largest research and innovation agency with a vision to deliver solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing Albertans and the world. They provide research and financial support to focus sectors including health, environment, energy, food, artificial intelligence, and nanotech.

  • UAlberta/NRC Nanotechnology Initiative

    The Nanotechnology Initiative is a collaborative initiative between the University of Alberta and the National Research Council of Canada. This 20,000-square-metre facility is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, attracting leading minds and producing groundbreaking research.

  • Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII)

    Founded in 2002, The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute, or AMII, is a world leader in machine learning and artificial intelligence research. As a forward-thinking and influential organization, they collaborate with other sectors to produce innovations that have monumental implications.

  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)

    NAIT fosters progressive and dynamic industry growth through their 4 research centeres. Almost all of NAIT’s research is done in partnership with industry to ensure that innovation is relevant and can be quickly adopted. Majority ownership of patents developed through this collaboration is maintained by industry, with a nominal fee for its services.

    Applied Research Centres:  

    • Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability
    • Centre for Sensors and System Integration
    • Centre for Innovative Media
    • Boreal Research Institute
    • Center for Culinary Innovation
  • University of Alberta

    The University of Alberta is a top 5 research institution in Canada with 88 research chairs specializing in areas such as health, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, food safety and security, and cleantech. With access to over 100 world class facilities and an abundance of strategic partnerships, UAlberta is the heart of innovation in the region.

    Key Centres include:

    • Institute for Oil Sands Innovation
    • Centre for Earth Observation Sciences
    • Alberta Centre for Surface Engineering and Science
    • Centre for Intelligent Mining Systems
    • Oil Sands Tailing Research Facility
    • Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment
    • Canadian Centre for Clean Coal/Carbon and Mineral Processing Technologies
    • Oil Sands Research and Information Network
    • Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute

Business Spotlight

DeepMind

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is home to Google DeepMind’s first international research lab. DeepMind is a world leader in artificial intelligence research, focusing on how technology can make a positive impact. Backed by some of the most successful technology entrepreneurs in the world, DeepMind is using AI to solve complex problems like climate change, while looking at solutions for daily challenges in fields like healthcare. Led by teams of renowned scientists and engineers, DeepMind maintains close ties with the University of Alberta.

OENano

OENano is a local business that uses nanotechnology to create revolutionary products for a number of sectors including the energy, agriculture, and transportation industries. OENano’s products include an eco-friendly water cleanup additive for wastewater and oil spill remediation, biodegradable and non-toxic cleaners for farm and petroleum supplies, and heavy-duty sealers that protect pipelines and storage containers from corrosion and damage.

ELA

ELA is the first electric autonomous shuttle open to the Canadian public. It was the perfect fit for the region’s City of Beaumont to test a driverless shuttle in one of its busiest commercial areas.

Powered by electricity, the accessible shuttle can carry up to 12 passengers. Driving alongside regular traffic, the shuttle is covered in sensors allowing it to stop quickly and safely. The pilot project in the region was the first of its kind in North America, showing the region’s commitment to welcoming the industry and applying new technologies to local planning.

Blinc Lab

Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control (BLINC) Lab brings together researchers and clinicians to advance prosthetic care through robotics and machine learning. Major projects include building custom prosthetic prototypes, improving myoelectric prostheses that mimic human motion, developing assessment tools for industry, and using machine learning to help restore human abilities lost due to amputation.

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What 5G access means for the Edmonton region

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New networks seen as boon for attracting investment Access to 5G networks is now available through a...
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Alberta project validates first synthetic health dataset in province

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The health innovation community has one more approach towards increasing the timely and safe utilization...
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