The China Institute at the University of Alberta (CIUA) was established in 2005 with an endowment fund of C$37 million from the Government of Alberta. The endowment matched the appraised value of The Mactaggart Art Collection, donated to the University of Alberta Museums by Edmonton philanthropists Sandy and Cécile Mactaggart, under an agreement by the University that the funds so obtained would be used to create a China Institute, dedicated to enhancing understanding between Canada and China.

The CIUA is focused on the study of contemporary China, including cutting-edge and policy relevant research on Chinese energy policy, politics, economy, social issues, culture and Canada-China relations.