Feb. 7, 2019

University of Calgary receives $8.5 million to support new Life Sciences Innovation Hub

Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund selects UCalgary as third recipient for funding

Author

Lauren Phillips, University Relations

From left: Barry Munro, chair of the board of directors of the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi announce $8.5 million in funding for the Life Sciences Innovation Hub at University Research Park.

From left: Barry Munro, Ed McCauley, and Naheed Nenshi announce $8.5 million in funding.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

On Feb. 6, the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) announced the University of Calgary will receive $8.5 million in funding to support specialized programming for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies working in the new Life Sciences Innovation Hub (LSIH).

This future hub will be located in the space previously occupied by the Shell Technology Centre Calgary which was acquired by the university shortly after the Government of Alberta announced the transfer of 76 acres of land and three buildings of University Research Park to UCalgary.

“This funding is critical for the development of the new Life Sciences Innovation Hub at University Research Park, a space designed to accelerate cross-disciplinary projects in discovery and innovation,” says Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary.

“Whether we are investigating the human microbiome or cultivating best practices in production animal health, the university is leading the way in diversifying Calgary’s economy, driving innovation and advancing the emerging life sciences sector through discoveries that benefit Calgary and Alberta.”

Though a broad field, life sciences innovations are a focal point of much of the university’s current research, including addressing the brain and mental health, tackling chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis and exploring health improvements through wearable technologies.

The new Life Sciences Innovation Hub at the University of Calgary.

The new Life Sciences Innovation Hub at the University of Calgary.

Shell International Ltd.

Life Sciences Innovation Hub fills gap in Calgary’s economy

To be selected for funding, OCIF submissions must satisfy numerous criteria including increasing economic benefits, creating high-quality jobs, advancing innovation, and benefiting society. 

As only the third submission approved for funding since the program was launched by The City of Calgary in April 2018, the LSIH was chosen because of its unique ability to accelerate the growth of the life sciences sector while also providing opportunities to incubate numerous new companies in Calgary.

Scheduled to open in July 2019, the LSIH is the first space of its kind in the city and fills a critical gap by enabling researchers, students and businesses to interact, create and explore interdisciplinary ideas and concepts in a collaborative environment.

In addition to offering access to approximately 40 separate labs, including wet lab spaces to facilitate experiments and trials, the hub will also provide shared office space for research, student projects and makerspaces. Through the incubation of 20 to 40 life sciences companies per year, the hub is expected to create between 1,300 and 3,100 new jobs for Calgarians over the long term.