May 1, 2024

Dr. Ian Gates named new associate vice-president (research and innovation)

Serial innovator and accomplished researcher will bring continued leadership to the role
Ian Gates

Dr. Ian Gates, PhD, has been named the new associate vice-president (research and innovation) effective May 1, 2024, for a two-year term (renewable).

Gates, a professor in the Schulich School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, is an accomplished researcher and innovator in the field of fundamental and applied energy. He has been awarded over 30 patents and has commercialized and co-founded multiple companies out of his research discoveries, with additional experience developing technologies in partnership with industry. 

“I am delighted that Dr. Gates is joining the Office of the Vice-President (Research),” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). “His experience in commercializing research discoveries and supporting training and investment opportunities in innovation will be an asset to advancing our research and innovation agenda at the university.” 

Gates comes from his position as director of the Global Research Initiative (GRI) in Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources, which was the first Canada First Research Excellence Fund awarded to the University of Calgary in 2016. 

His research group has been focused on fundamental and applied research which has led to innovative commercial outcomes and working with industry on how to reduce costs and emissions while increasing efficiency. His research group’s agenda has been focused on making tangible impacts that address industry and human challenges such as climate change, methane emissions, hydrogen, clean energy, and acceleration of technology development. 

Gates looks forward to bringing his passion, motivation, and enthusiasm toward research and innovation to his new position and to supporting other researchers to achieve meaningful impact.

“Research and innovation have been a core part of me since I started at the university resulting in startup companies, patents, and new discoveries from my research group,” says Gates. “I am very excited about the new role to engage and support the broader university community in research and innovation.”

Through the GRI program, Gates has supported numerous energy-related training opportunities and innovation supports for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and investment opportunities with support for the UCeed Energy Fund and bringing the expertise of the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF)’s venture team to the university’s downtown campus.

We have amazing students, postdocs, research associates, faculty and staff who innovate to get things done more efficiently, find new solutions, make new discoveries, and create new value for the external communities we serve,” says Gates. 

The challenges with innovation for the research community arise from several sources including the fears of change, failure, and risk, lack of recognition and reward, and a sometimes-confusing innovation pathway. My goal in the new position will be to resolve some of these challenges.”

Gates takes over the role of associate vice-president (research and innovation) from Dr. Stephen Larter, PhD, professor, Department of Earth, Energy and Environment, Faculty of Science, who was appointed in 2019, and who helped to formalize and develop the innovation ecosystem at the university.

Gates will work closely with innovation leads across the UCalgary innovation ecosystem and will advance the research and innovation agenda for the University Innovation Quarter.

“There is an incredible research, teaching, and innovation ecosystem at the University of Calgary, and I look forward to supporting and growing our research and innovation activities.”

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