University of Calgary getting $55M multidisciplinary science hub

File photo of the University of Calgary campus. Global News

Shovels will soon be going in the ground at the University of Calgary for a new multidisciplinary science hub.

Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education Rajan Sawhney announced a commitment of $55 million over three years to build the seven-floor structure, as part of the province’s latest budget’s “targeted investments” in high-demand programs that support industry sectors the province has prioritized.

“Alberta needs more people trained in STEM careers – science, technology, engineering, and math – and the new hub will help at least 2,000 more students each year get the training they need right here in Alberta,” Sawhney said on Friday. “Our future relies on Albertans with the skills, knowledge and competencies to take on the challenges we face. Our post-secondary institutions are the doorway to that future.”

The university’s science dean said the building would be designed to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration, have incubator space, and allow industry to come in and work alongside the researchers.

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“Our capacity to grow, honestly, is limited,” Kristin Baetz said. “But now we will have science facilities to just not just match our reputation, but to catapult us to new heights.

“We’re going to now be able to hire more professors, attract the best of the best graduate students to this province. And it’s important to note once they come to the province, most of them stay here. So this really drives our economy.”

U of C president Ed McCauley said the new building will allow the post-secondary to expand its science faculty.

“We could only accept 14 per cent of all applicants in the faculty of science last year, compared to an overall acceptance rate of 88 per cent. And that’s going to change now, thanks to the government’s initial investment,” he said.

The announcement came the year after the Alberta government announced $5 million in planning funding for the tech hub.

Also included in the 2024 provincial budget was the expectation that post-secondary institutions like the U of C finance a “reasonable share” of their operations from non-government sources, like tuition, fees and private support. The government said it would be reducing its support for post-secondary budgets provincewide from 47 per cent in 2022-23 to 42 per cent in 2026-27.

Click to play video: 'Highlights of Alberta’s 2024 budget'
Highlights of Alberta’s 2024 budget

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