Key strengths

As one of Canada’s top five research universities we are helping drive, build and and shape the future through research, teaching and innovation. It is what we do and who we are.

World firsts
We are home to leading experts in many fields, whose work is supported by our research facilities, tools and resources, some of the best and most advanced  in Canada, and the world. While our technology transfer and entrepreneurship programs help transfer many new discoveries and innovations out of the university and into society, so everyone benefits. Here are just a few examples of this:

  • Purifying synthetic insulin in the 1920s so diabetes didn’t have to a fatal diagnosis and in the 1990s a new technique that eliminates dependence on daily insulin injections for many.
  • Canada's 1st open heart surgery; and world’s first microprocessor knee (i.e., bionic knee).
  • World’s first hepatitis B antiviral, that is also used for HIV/AIDS
  • Helping save canola and helping make Alberta beef the world leader it is today.
  • Simple new urine test to prevent colon cancer before it starts, and a blood test to predict prostate cancer’s spread.
  • Alberta's first satellite--now orbiting earth as part of European Space Agency Program.

It is these experts and innovators that teach our students. And this environment that our students (undergraduate and graduate) and postdoctoral fellows experience, and work and learn in.  

Improving our lives and our world
We tackle challenges big and small. Our researchers ask and explore questions that push boundaries. Their findings advance and improve our knowledge, our lives and our world. Our diverse research areas include established and emerging fields, including: health and life sciences, social sciences, agriculture, business and law, engineering, natural sciences, fine arts, and the humanities. Because many of today’s most pressing challenges--e.g., energy, water, climate change, cancer, Alzheimer's--are so complex, expertise and collaboration across diverse fields is demanded.

Key strengths
While our research spans multiple fields, we have have significant strength in areas such as artificial intelligence, transplantation, food safety & security, climate change, bioengineering, clean energy, precision health, smart technology and the Internet of Things (e.g., autonomous cars). Buttons to your right provide highlights of our key strengths. Many more examples can be found on individual faculty websites.

Expertise recognized and sought by many
We attract over $500 million research funding annually, from federal and provincial government, industry, foundations, public donors and others. Our expertise and collaboration is sought by many, including: IBM, Google Brain, RBC, Servus Credit Union, 3M, Mercedes, Ford, GE, De Beers, HP, CISCO, Honda, Mitsubishi Electric, Deep Mind, Amazon, Twitter, Merck, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, PCL, TELUS, BASF, HP, Microsoft Research, Zubex Robotics and NASA.

Our global government partners include Germany, the US, India, Mexico and China. With China, our collaboration spans 40 years and many areas. One of the most recent developments, is a China based joint research center on future energy and the environment. China’s Ministry of Education is building strategic international research centres across China--this is the first with a Canadian university and will be the only one.