Alberta Research Council

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Alberta Research Council
Alberta Research Council Edmonton Alberta Canada 14.jpg
Abbreviation ARC
Formation 1921
Type provincial Research Council
Legal status
Purpose Government-funded applied research and development corporation
Headquarters Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Region served
Official language

Alberta Research Council (ARC) is an Alberta government funded applied research and development (R&D) corporation. In January 2010, the name was changed to Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures [1]



As a result of initiative on the part of Henry Marshall Tory ARC was established in 1921 (as the Alberta Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) by a provincial government Order-in-Council, with Tory as the first chairman.[2]

From 1921 to 1940 some progress was made on geological surveys of Alberta and resource energy research including preliminary coal and oil sands investigation. Further progress was made on oil sands research in the 1940s with an extraction process patent issued to Dr. Karl A. Clark in 1948,[3] laying the foundation for investment in oil sands development.


The energy sector is the primary focus of research activities. But ARC has sponsored from 1956 to 1985 the Alberta Hail Project, a major research on mesoscale meteorology and hail suppression.

In 1997 John R. McDougall, the current President of the National Research Council, became president and CEO of the ARC and remained there for 12 years. ARC was first established in 1921 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Alberta Science and Research Authority (ASRA). By 2005,[4]

McDougall has engineered a major paradigm shift for the organization. He turned the 80-plus year-old Council from a government-funded, government-centric agency into a nationally recognized, market-driven, innovation juggernaut, serving 900 local and international industry clients a year and garnering more than $80 million in annual revenue.

—Collins 2005

ARC with a $80 million in 2003, focused on developing and commercializing technology including "tire recycling, chemical technologies, fuel-cell technology, aviation safety standards, heavy oil extraction technology, pest management, pulp and paper manufacturing, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical chemistry."[5]

[Canadians] do a great job of generating fundamental knowledge with a lot of basic research and we’re very sophisticated users of technologically intensive products and services, but historically we’ve done a very poor job of converting ideas into marketable products and services.

—McDougall 2003

In 2003 the ARC McDougall argued that by 2013 parts of the technology to make clean energy would be available. He believed there would be technological changes in place for the whole system by 2023-2028.

We’re very interested in clean energy. The system we’re working on really relates on how to integrate our various energy activities, systems and resources together in ways that are quite unique and have huge synergies by playing one off against another. Given the fact that we have a third of the oil in the world in the oilsands and more energy in the form of coal, we can find ways to put the two together in an environmentally benign form and we’ve got something that is incredibly powerful in decades to come.

—McDougall 2003

By 2003 ARC had initiated "integrated resource management" to take into account "the interaction between the different uses of air, water and land resources."[5]

ARC was one of the developers of a technology that "transforms manure into green electricity, heat, organic fertilizers, and reusable water, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts."[4] ARC "validated a new steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) process and undertook collaborative research and technology improvements in Canada's wood products industry.[4]

Pine beetle research[edit]

ARC is a member of I-CAN,[6] a not-for-profit organization incorporated in 2006[7]that focuses on commercializing research. In his role as President of Innoventures, McDougall used a market-based competitive business model and focused on results-orientated research that reduced business risk.[8] Major projects included a project on utilization of pine beetle damaged wood.[9] I-CAN and the Alberta Research Council (ARC) are part of a $28-million research project with the Government of Alberta contributing $11 million and the Alberta Newsprint Company contributing $17 million, initiated in 2008 that transforms beetle-killed wood into newsprint.[10]



External links[edit]