UCalgary energy researchers
UCalgary energy researchers UCalgary files

March 16, 2023

UCalgary launches new energy research strategy focused on energy transition

New strategy brings together traditional and clean energy research through transdisciplinary approach

The University of Calgary formally introduced its second energy research strategy: Energy for the Common Good (ECG) on March 16.

In 2013, the university launched a major energy research strategy, Energy Innovations for Today and Tomorrow, which focused on fostering a transdisciplinary research culture embedded in multiple research themes to address key economic and environmental challenges.  

The newly launched energy research strategy builds on the foundation and success of the initial strategy and aims to further advance research and training activities to promote transdisciplinary collaboration and energy transition, with a focus on ensuring sustainable, climate-appropriate, secure, accessible, and affordable energy services for society.

Dr. Ian Gates

Ian Gates

UCalgary files

“The goal of Energy for the Common Good is to provide a nexus for energy research at the University of Calgary that is inclusive, diverse, and relevant,” says Dr. Ian Gates, professor and director of the Global Research Initiative Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources at UCalgary.

“ECG is focused on how we conduct energy research to ensure that it is impactful to society, including individuals, communities, industry, and governments.”

Using a transdisciplinary approach, ECG was developed by a key group of eight UCalgary energy research leaders across multiple faculties. Researchers from engineering, business, law, arts, and the Office of the Vice-President (Research) engaged in a lengthy consultative process to develop the new strategy, which included collaborating with stakeholders from each of their respective faculties, with additional consultation and collaboration from industry and the UCalgary community at large.

While COVID-19 delayed the plan’s development and initial launch, the group of eight continued developing the strategy, remaining focused on the university’s evolving energy research priorities and commitment to the economy, industry, and environment.

“The energy strategy builds on more than three decades of research and investment, reinforces the university’s commitment to being an international leader in energy research, and will guide us on the path toward energy transition,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). 

“The strategy was created by a transdisciplinary team, and it will be an important part of the university’s transdisciplinary initiatives going forward.”

3 core principles

Research guided by newfound core principles

Energy for the Common Good represents the university’s ongoing commitment to advancing transdisciplinary research, and is guided by three core principles:

Impactful and relevant

Given the dynamic nature of the energy system and its governing priorities, UCalgary will continue to adapt and evolve its research to meet the necessary energy transition needs.

ECG encourages research that questions existing paradigms, and efforts to change scholarly and societal thinking about energy, its challenges, and a sustainable path forward.

Moreover, ECG emboldens UCalgary researchers to think beyond their disciplinary areas and to embrace a true transdisciplinary approach that will have a lasting impact on energy research, industry, and our communities.

Open to all

Energy research at UCalgary is open to all UCalgary scholars, creating a vibrant research community and a welcoming intellectual home for all disciplines to contribute and influence ideas.

This strategy eschews inter-disciplinary boundaries. A standing, open invitation to participate is foundational to this energy research strategy, and scholars will be able to find or carve a place for themselves and their research within this strategy.

Our energy research strategy explicitly promotes an inclusive research environment that is equitable and accepts diverse and divergent views on energy and its place in research, society, policy, and the economy.

For the common good

Energy research at UCalgary will enable impactful outcomes for the common good by working with communities to seek discoveries, innovations, and new insights that can improve society.

ECG aims to have technical impacts, and inform corporate, community-based, and governmental policies, discussions, and practices.

Continuing the commitment to energy research and transition

Highlighted initiatives and activities that stem from the university’s strategic focus on energy research and transition include:

  • Hydrogen systems and economy
  • Achieving net zero GHG emissions: social, policy, regulatory, and economic change
  • Clean energy for remote communities
  • Transportation: energy and emissions intensity, modes of transport of energy
  • Carbon-neutral oil and gas
  • Business and economic implication of energy transition

In addition to other major UCalgary energy initiatives — such as the launch of the Energy Transition Centre in downtown Calgary — ECG further augments the university’s continued commitment to leading energy transition.

“Energy is evolving and we have designed ECG to be an evergreen strategy that will be revisited and updated so the research evolves and remains relevant,” says Gates. “Given the University of Calgary’s long history of energy innovation, new solutions, new directions, new technologies, and scholarly impacts, ECG will empower our energy research into the future.”

For more information about ECG, visit the university’s energy research website.

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