Among those helping to launch the Aerospace Innovation Hub were, from left: Neeraj Gupta, Brad Parry, Jyoti Gondek, Ed McCauley, Chris Dinsdale, and Christian Novosel.
Helping to launch the new hub were, from left: Neeraj Gupta, Brad Parry, Jyoti Gondek, Ed McCauley, Chris Dinsdale, and Christian Novosel. Riley Brandt, University of Calgry

March 12, 2024

New Aerospace Innovation Hub launches in Calgary, propelling industry forward

Hub uses $3.9M investment, industry partnerships to revolutionize aerospace innovation

Calgary has marked a milestone in aerospace innovation with the launch of the Aerospace Innovation Hub (AIH), led by Innovate Calgary. The move is a significant step toward positioning the city as a global leader in aerospace innovation.

With an investment of $3.9 million over four years from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF), alongside the support of inaugural industry partners including WestJet, the Calgary Airport Authority, and Chapter AI Ventures, the AIH aims to revolutionize aerospace innovation.

"Our aerospace sector is thriving, and we can ensure its continued growth by attracting the right talent and industry leaders to create and scale their ideas here in Calgary," said Mayor Jyoti Gondek. "I look forward to seeing how Calgary-based innovators will emerge and transform the global aviation and aerospace industry."

The AIH is set to offer a comprehensive range of resources, including funding, prototyping equipment, and business support, to facilitate the development and scaling of innovative technologies in the aerospace sector.

As part of this, the AIH will directly fund six companies through the accelerator program aimed at attracting talent to the province. Moreover, the hub is projected to generate $1.5 million for research and development and 40 patents supported through ElevateIP Alberta.

The Aerospace Innovation Hub joins the University of Calgary's network of four themed innovation hubs managed by Innovate Calgary, including the Life Sciences Innovation Hub, the Energy Transition Centre, and the Social Innovation Hub, providing resources and expertise for aerospace ventures.

John Wilson

John Wilson

“This investment in our fourth innovation hub underlines the important role that the University of Calgary plays in the economic development of the city and the province,” said Dr. John Wilson, president and CEO, Innovate Calgary. “University-supported innovators and startup companies add depth and diversity to our local economy.”

"We are proud of our robust innovation ecosystem, both on-campus and off," said Dr. Ed McCauley, UCalgary president and vice-chancellor. 

"This network ensures that researchers, innovators, and startup founders have seamless access to the resources, space, and expertise they require, precisely when they need it."

Projected to support up to 180 companies and create 150 net-new skilled, indirect jobs between 2024 and 2028, the AIH underscores Calgary's commitment to fostering economic development and prosperity in the region. 

Ed McCauley

Ed McCauley

"By making this investment, we are fortifying Calgary as an aerospace centre of excellence," said Brad Parry, CEO, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund and president and CEO, Calgary Economic Development. 

"Innovators will be able to create, test, and scale their ideas more effectively while existing industry players gain visibility and input into up-and-coming technologies. It's a win-win for the sector and for the ongoing diversification of our economy."

The active involvement of inaugural industry partners adds significant weight to the AIH's mission, with the Calgary Airport Authority offering physical space for the hub and opportunities for real-world testing. WestJet, serving as the anchor airline company, will provide insights and support, while Chapter AI Ventures will offer access to capital and investment support for innovators.

The recent infusion of funds from OCIF bolsters the initial financial backing of over $2.5 million from PrairiesCan toward the Aerospace Innovation Hub. This initial commitment was first announced in June 2023.

With this latest development, Calgary solidifies its position as a key player in the global aerospace landscape, poised to drive innovation, attract talent, and shape the future of the industry.

Innovate Calgary was founded in 1986 to support the University of Calgary’s innovation community. Our team of experts offers intellectual property and business incubator services to researchers, entrepreneurs, and businesses within the advanced technology sector. Innovate Calgary supports commercialization by providing business and technical advice, workshops, assessments for commercial potential, access to sector resources and networking events, licensing and intellectual property protection, impact measurement discovery, company creation/incubation programs, and office and lab space. Learn more about Innovate Calgary.

Sign up for UToday

Sign up for UToday

Delivered to your inbox — a daily roundup of news and events from across the University of Calgary's 14 faculties and dozens of units

Thank you for your submission.