March 14, 2024

UCalgary receives $55M toward creation of a new science hub

Government of Alberta Budget 2024 investment to create 2,000 openings in science programs
Two people shake hands with another standing beside them
With Minister of Advanced Education Rajan Sawhney, centre, at UCalgary on Friday were Faculty of Science Dean Kristin Baetz and President Ed McCauley. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Science research and innovation at the University of Calgary is in for an extensive and game-changing expansion thanks to a Government of Alberta Budget 2024 investment of $55 million toward the creation of a new Multidisciplinary Science Hub, the construction of which should begin this year, with an expected opening of 2029.

The new hub will allow more students to access science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) facilities and training at UCalgary. It will become the primary home for research and collaboration in the university’s Faculty of Science and help address the gap in STEM talent shortages in Alberta. Once built, the hub will add at least 2,000 openings in science-related programs.

Minister of Advanced Education Rajan Sawhney made the announcement on Friday, March 8, at UCalgary’s Hunter Student Commons. Sawhney said the Government of Alberta’s investment will begin with $15 million in 2025-26 followed by $40 million in 2026-27. UCalgary will provide the initial $130 million of funding for the 2024-25 year with an additional $100 million to be raised through philanthropy and other funding sources. 

“This Multidisciplinary Science Hub will create new opportunities for scientific research and collaboration with partners in government, industry, and society that will benefit Alberta, Canada and the entire world,” said Sawhney.   

“We will be seeing shovels in the ground for the Multidisciplinary Science Hub very soon.” 

Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary, expressed his gratitude for the Government of Alberta investment: “We’re incredibly thankful for their support and confidence in both our university and in the value of science towards improving the world around us and continuing to grow our economy.”

A woman stands behind a podium and addresses a crowd

From left: Tanille Butler, PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science, Rajan Sawhney and Kristin Baetz.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

“Science underpins so many sectors of the Alberta economy. There are obvious ones, like energy, agriculture, and health sciences, but there are also less-obvious ones like secure communications, cybersecurity, and financial transactions. Alberta and Calgary need new ideas and new approaches that can support the economy so that we can be ahead of tomorrow. To do that we need new people, talented people, students, faculty, and staff who are going to create those new ideas that will enable Calgary to prosper well into the future and improve our quality of life.”

Dr. Kristin Baetz, dean of the Faculty of Science, agreed. “Alberta is a province that science built. It’s at the heart of the Alberta advantage and it continues to be the key to our future success.”

Despite this, she noted, there have been challenges. “UCalgary is already a top research institute in Canada and the Faculty of Science has done amazing research, but our capacity to grow has been limited. Now, we will have science facilities to not just match our reputation but also to catapult us to new heights.”

McCauley pointed out that last year the Faculty of Science could only accept 14 per cent of all applicants, compared to an overall UCalgary acceptance rate of 88 per cent. “That's going to change now, thanks to the government’s initial investment,” he said. “This will allow us to expand our capacity in science, producing the Alberta-trained graduates that our economy needs today, and will need more of tomorrow.”

Adds Baetz: “This is an investment in Alberta’s future.”

Sign up for UToday

Sign up for UToday

Delivered to your inbox — a daily roundup of news and events from across the University of Calgary's 14 faculties and dozens of units

Thank you for your submission.