It was a big week for post-secondary institutions in our province, with the announcements of funding for the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.
Another $500,000,000 will be invested in infrastructure on campuses in Alberta, made up of funding from the federal and provincial governments, along with the institutions themselves.
Alberta Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt says while infrastructure means brick and mortar, it’s also more than that.
“A lot of renewal of lab spaces, and investment in developing new research stations and restoring research stations that need to be upgraded, that kind of thing. But you know, it’s more than just bricks and mortar right. We’re investing in building so that the students have good places to learn and to develop their skills.”
He says the research these two universities are doing can help move Alberta to a renewable energy economy.
“Yesterday I was at the U of A and they were talking about a lab where they’re looking at researching smart electrical grids right, so our government is committed to moving towards more renewable electricity but we have 100 year old infrastructure designed to deliver electricity generated by fossil fuel. So this kind of research is really important in moving Alberta into the new renewable energy economy.”
But it’s not only big institutions that will be receiving funding, Olds College is getting a new state of the art research facility for livestock production.
Schmidt says, it’s these kinds of research projects that will help shift our province to a renewable energy economy.
“We can’t switch to a renewable energy economy overnight there’s a significant amount of work that we need to do and a lot of that will be research in innovative technologies and processes that will be developed at universities. So we need to get started now because it’s a long term process in getting to that renewable energy economy.”
Schmidt says the research will have a significant impact on the daily lives of Albertans.