University of Calgary Acquires New Innovation Hub

Where innovation fails for one company, it may shine for another post-secondary institution.

The University of Calgary today announced a new Life Sciences Innovation Hub. The hub will be located in the newly acquired former home of the Shell Technology Centre Calgary (STCC). In early 2019, that centre will be converted to the innovation hub and act as a central location for new projects and advances in life sciences. Acquisition terms were not disclosed, but the University of Calgary is renaming the main atrium after Shell, and language in a release points towards Shell donating a large chunk of the centre’s overall value.

“This acquisition is a critical next step in our vision for a revitalized University Research Park,” said Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of Calgary. “It also reinforces our commitment to fostering the next generation of talented thought leaders through innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.”

Located right in the middle of the University of Calgary’s Research Park, students, researchers, and startups will be able to network and create life sciences solutions through the use of a dedicated wet lab and office space for young companies. Prior to the STCC closing, it acted as a hub for lab and technical services for Shell and other businesses. One breakthrough achieved at the STCC was improved yields in oilsands processing using paraffinic froth treatment, which is now the core technology used in Albertan oilsands.

“For more than 30 years, our teams at the site led energy sector innovation and it’s fitting that the building’s legacy of spurring innovation in Alberta will continue as part of UCalgary,” said Michael Crothers, president and country chair at Shell Canada. “Shell will continue pursuing research and development activities right here in Canada from our operating sites and with third parties.”

Calgary has become increasingly more important to Canada’s innovation economy over the past few years, growing through programs like the CDL-Rockies and increased support from Calgary Economic Development.