Alberta Government Invests $15 Million in Health Tech Industry Growth
The Alberta government is taking significant steps to support the development of the health technology industry in the province. With an investment of over $15 million, the government aims to encourage innovators and entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into market-ready products.
Through the Alberta Innovates’ new Ecosystem Development Partnerships Program, 19 technology companies, community organizations, and post-secondary institutions will receive funding over the course of three years. The program intends to create a supportive and productive environment for the health technology sector to thrive.
Alberta’s Minister of Technology and Innovation, Nate Glubish, emphasized the significance of this investment in fostering the growth of small and medium-sized technology companies. He stated that Alberta is rapidly becoming a prominent technology hub and that providing the necessary supports is crucial for technological advancements in the province.
One of the largest grants, amounting to $1,853,750, has been awarded to ST Innovations, the business arm of the University of Alberta’s SMART Network. This network brings together professionals from various fields, including engineering, medicine, rehabilitation, computer science, neuroscience, and social sciences, to develop intelligent augmentative and restorative technologies for individuals with diverse abilities.
With the funding, ST Innovations aims to utilize the University of Alberta’s cutting-edge facilities, skills, and resources to advance digital health technologies. The goal is to take innovations from conceptualization to prototyping, validation, and eventually market-readiness. By collaborating with industry partners, ST Innovations aims to accelerate the translation of discoveries and ideas into practical solutions that can have a significant impact on healthcare.
The University of Alberta will also benefit from the program, with projects such as the 5G Living Lab and the Alberta Collaborative Resources Empowering Advanced Technology Experiences (CREATE) Centre receiving funding. These initiatives will provide open-access resources and support for innovators involved in building big, small, and intelligent technologies.
ST Innovations, established in 2019 with an initial investment of $2.3 million from the Government of Alberta, has already made a substantial impact. Over the past four years, the organization has provided services to more than 40 Alberta companies and launched 15 medical technology prototyping projects with industry partners. Additionally, they have created 90 highly skilled jobs and trained 150 highly qualified personnel.
The funding will also support companies like Kinetisense, which has developed a markerless motion capture system for individuals who use wheelchairs, and Health Gauge, which has created a smartwatch utilizing artificial intelligence to provide vital signs. The innovative use of resources, equipment, and expertise available at the University of Alberta has allowed these companies to develop groundbreaking solutions.
Alberta Innovates CEO Laura Kilcrease highlighted the importance of supporting entrepreneurs across the province, including rural and under-represented populations. The Ecosystem Development Partnerships Program aims to bridge gaps in the innovation continuum, foster a growth mindset, and bring specialized knowledge into the ecosystem to fuel entrepreneurial growth in all regions of Alberta.
By focusing on improving the abilities of individuals with neurological conditions and spinal cord injuries, ST Innovations and the University of Alberta’s projects align with the objective of enhancing patient care. They aim to develop commercializable solutions that address real-world health challenges and improve the overall well-being of Albertans.
With substantial investments in the health technology sector and a collaborative ecosystem, Alberta has the potential to become a leading hub for digital and health technology innovations. As the province nurtures its innovative talent and supports groundbreaking research, the impact could extend far beyond the national borders, benefitting individuals worldwide.