Federal funding helps SAIT’s CIRUS take flight
The Centre for Innovation and Research into Unmanned Systems (CIRUS) receives $2 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's College and Community Innovation Program
Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced SAIT has been awarded a five-year $2 million operational grant to support the Centre for Innovation and Research into Unmanned Systems (CIRUS), a unique applied research facility in western Canada.
The funding was received through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's (NSERC) College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program with the goal of supporting applied research in the field of unmanned systems, which has been carried out at CIRUS since 2016.
"On campuses across the country, colleges are pursuing exciting research opportunities and at the same time helping companies enhance their products and processes, bringing promising ideas to the marketplace," says Duncan.
"With research areas ranging from advanced manufacturing to artificial intelligence, the projects being funded today will have real-life benefits for all Canadians."
This research is aimed at addressing industry challenges in three main areas: innovative applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), more commonly known as drones, including sensors and related equipment; application customization; and validation and integration of data products derived from unmanned systems.
The funding announced today is bolstered by an $851,600 grant SAIT received from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Government of Alberta, to enable the development of key infrastructure and the purchase of specialized equipment for CIRUS.
"The investments in SAIT by government and our partners creates an environment where significant advancements can be made in applied research at our institution," says SAIT President and CEO Dr. David Ross.
"As the UAV industry in Alberta continues to grow at a rapid pace, this funding enables CIRUS to be well-positioned in becoming western Canada's leading centre of excellence in unmanned systems."
The research carried out by CIRUS will complement the parallel development of unmanned systems and related curriculum at SAIT, with the centre providing a unique venue for student training. By working closely with industry, CIRUS will provide students with the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research, directly related to the rapidly-expanding adoption of UAVs both in Alberta, and in Canada as a whole.
CIRUS is already involved in industry based applied research in areas such as the detection of fugitive emissions associated with oil and gas production and transmission, construction project planning, search and rescue, instrumentation design and development, use of UAVs for cattle herd management, and mapping sensitive areas. Project partners include organizations such as NASA, PTAC, PCL Construction, Lockheed Martin, Automated Aeronautics, Olds College, Aerium Analytics and Calgary Economic Development, to name a few.