Market Overview

Building on excellence


CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 8, 2012) - The University of Calgary is among eight universities selected by the federal government to recruit world-renowned researchers for the prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC). The program will help position the nation at the leading edge of research breakthroughs that will generate significant social and economic benefits for Canadians.

"Our government is committed to supporting research and innovation in areas that are vital to Canada's future economic prosperity and growth," says the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). "Canada Excellence Research Chairholders are among the world's most accomplished researchers. Their presence in Canada's universities will position us at the global forefront of innovative research."

When the new CERC is recruited, the University of Calgary will receive up to $10 million from government and $15 from other sources over seven years to support the proposed new chair and team in Materials Engineering for Unconventional Oil Reservoirs.

"It is an honour to be invited to search the world to attract the best of the best as we strive to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community of Calgary," says Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of Calgary.

"This new chair position builds on current excellence in energy research and fits in with the future goals of the university and society as it follows previous groundbreaking research on Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), which transformed in situ oilsands industry practice worldwide nearly two decades ago."

Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage, or SAGD, uses heat to soften thick heavy oil or bitumen so it can then be taken from the well. This chair is looking at new technologies to increase recovery and access resources in situ.

Today 80 per cent of all oilsands reserves in western Canada, approximately 1,500 billion barrels valued at $13 trillion, are in situ.

"By harnessing the University of Calgary's research excellence in new materials, chemistry, micro- and nanomaterials science, engineering and technology development, this new CERC will develop new approaches for in situ extraction," says Ed McCauley, the University of Calgary's vice president (research).

"With the CERC and our increasing research capacity we will continue to build a dynamic 'ecosystem' in energy research. Students and post-doctoral scholars attracted by new research opportunities will be challenged to create transformative technologies in the area of heavy oil and oil sands. At the same time, this is a timely opportunity for the oilsands community, which is actively pursuing formal university-industry partnership models to advance technology."

Recruiting a CERC is an extremely rigorous process, which will be led by President Cannon.

Nationwide, 46 research proposals were submitted by 27 universities. Following an extensive, multilevel peer review process-including evaluation by external experts, assessment by a review panel, strategic review by the selection board, and final approval by a steering committee-11 applications from eight universities are being retained for the next phase.

Government of Canada news release:

The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction - Eyes High - to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community of Calgary. For more information, visit

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University of Calgary
Leanne Yohemas
Media Relations Manager
403-220-7722 or Cell: 403-540-6552

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