Alberta Innovates expands partnership with NSERC to benefit Alberta-based small businesses

$4.6 million joint program to make small businesses more competitive 

EDMONTON, Alberta, Nov. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alberta Innovates and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) are expanding their partnership to create more opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to access Alberta’s world-class research institutions in order to develop and commercialize new technology innovations. Alberta Innovates, together with NSERC, will each provide $2.3 million per year for up to two years to help small and medium sized businesses grow in Alberta. 

Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE) funding will be expanded to allow Alberta-based researchers to work in a 2-year research and development project with Alberta SMEs as industry partners. The program aims to reduce the time it takes for companies to innovate. The CASBE program allows post-secondary institutions to use their emerging technologies, highly qualified people, and high-tech facilities & equipment to help SMEs diversify their technological products. CASBE will leverage support from NSERC’s Engage, Applied Research & Development (ARD) (Colleges) and Alliance (Universities) programs.

Companies like Edmonton-based Phase Sensors have already benefited from the unique partnership between researchers and business. The company’s partnership with the University of Alberta, along with support from the CASBE-NSERC program, led to the development of a new high-tech sensor placed on the walls of refineries to detect fouling. In 2018, Phase Sensors - after patenting the new idea - was able to demonstrate and commercialize this new technological product with a major international oil and gas company.

“Alberta Innovates CASBE - NSERC Engage program support was critical to the development of new intellectual property for Phase Sensors. By partnering with Dr. John Davis, from the University of Alberta, we were able to create a new optical fouling sensor for the oil and gas industry. Accessing an expert like Dr. Davis enabled my company to increase its patent portfolio.”
Chris Holt, CEO of Phase Sensors

“Our government is proud to support Canada’s innovative small- and medium-sized businesses. Collaborations between companies and researchers – such as those that will be supported through this partnership between NSERC and Alberta Innovates – lead to new ideas, new ways of doing things, and new technologies for Canadians.” 
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Albertans are known for their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. This expanded partnership between Alberta Innovates and NSERC will allow our small and medium-sized job creators to turn their ideas into marketable products, making them more competitive and encouraging economic diversification.” 
Minister Doug Schweitzer, Jobs, Economy & Innovation

“Universities, polytechnics, and colleges around Alberta are benefitting from the investments made by Alberta Innovates and NSERC. The collaborations and partnerships that form out of the work we do today are positioning our post-secondary institutions at the forefront of both research and industry impact. That’s not only good for Alberta but for Canada.”
Minister Demetrios Nicolaides, Advanced Education

“Alberta Innovates is pleased to continue its long-standing relationship with NSERC. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to the research and SME community, Alberta’s research institutions, as well as the small and medium enterprises throughout the province. Since 2016, our relationship with NSERC has allowed Alberta SMEs to diversify their technological products and assisted companies to grow and scale-up. We look forward to the results that will flow from the continuation of this partnership.”
Rollie Dykstra, Executive Vice President, Impact, Alberta Innovates

“NSERC continues to work with our provincial and federal partners to facilitate research partnerships and collaborations.We are pleased to partner with Alberta Innovates to support post-secondary R&D collaborations and small & medium-sized enterprises with the highest potential for economic development and commercialization in Alberta. The streamlined process will enable companies to quickly undertake new research projects with Alberta-based researchers that will result in economic benefits to the SMEs, Alberta, and Canada.” 
 Alejandro Adem, President, NSERC


The Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE) program is funded by Post-Secondary Investments and Emerging Technologies at Alberta Innovates. It is a partnership between Alberta Innovates and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). CASBE is a collaboration between post-secondary institutions and small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Alberta.

Alberta Innovates and NSERC have been partnering on support programs for SMEs and researchers from Alberta-based post-secondary institutions since 2016. Since then, CASBE has supported over 71 projects where companies and researchers have partnered to create new innovative technological products and processes.

To learn more about the new and expanded CASBE and NSERC partnership, visit the CASBE program at Alberta Innovates. 

NSERC funds visionaries, explorers and innovators who are searching for the scientific and technical breakthroughs that will benefit our country. We are Canada’s largest supporter of discovery and innovation. We work with universities, colleges, businesses and not-for-profits to remove barriers, develop opportunities and attract new expertise to make Canada’s research community thrive. We give Canadian scientists and engineers the means to go further because we believe in research without borders and beyond frontiers. Visit NSERC for more information. 

Alberta Innovates invests in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to drive provincial economic growth and diversity. We provide technical expertise, entrepreneurial advice and support, opportunities for partnerships and funding to advance the best ideas. We support a broad range of research and innovation activity – from discovery to use. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do, bringing together bright minds and great ideas. 

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