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New nanotechnology centre helps turn big ideas into real products

Centre helps Alberta entrepreneurs move products to market

EDMONTON, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ - Small or large companies and tech-savvy entrepreneurs that want to bring nanotechnology products to world markets can now access technical and business services thanks to a new leading-edge centre in Edmonton's Research Park.

The Alberta Centre for Advanced Microsystems and nanotechnology Products (ACAMP) is supported by $11.5 million in total funding with contributions of $8 million from the Alberta government and $3.5 million from Canada's Western Economic Diversification. The centre will support the province's growing nanotechnology sector in three critical areas of commercialization - packaging and assembly, business and product development and marketing.

"Alberta's global reputation for nanotechnology research just became enhanced as we will now be recognized as a place for putting that technology on the store shelves and into peoples' lives," said Doug Horner, Alberta's Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. "This new centre - the first of its kind in Canada - will give entrepreneurs a place to turn ideas into viable, market-ready products."

Alberta produced nanotechnology products have applications in vital sectors such as medicine, resources and information and communications technology. Products made by Alberta companies include: lab on a chip microchips that speed medical diagnoses; nano-particle coatings to enhance the service life of earth moving machine blades; motion sensors for use in electronics; and, numerous other products that can impact the lives of Albertans.

"The launch of ACAMP helps position Western Canada at the forefront of innovation and is an important milestone in Alberta's growing capacity for science and technology commercialization," said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification. "In concordance with the Canada's Science and Technology Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, our government is proud to contribute $3.5 million, through its Western Diversification Program, to help Alberta become a centre for nanotechnology development and production."

"It's incredible the number of emerging technology companies in Alberta with the potential to develop exciting new consumer products for world-wide markets," said Ken Brizel, the recently appointed CEO of ACAMP. "Alberta is a prime location for world-class research, and ACAMP can provide the means to turn research into viable products. In fact, we are already helping our clients produce marketable products to compete globally."

ACAMP will identify commercial market opportunities in global markets and promote Alberta's nanotechnology capabilities nationally and internationally. An ACAMP team will work with start-up and established technology companies to coordinate product packaging and assembly in-house or through the University of Alberta's NanoFab, the University of Calgary's Advanced Microsystems Integration Facility or the National Institute for Nanotechnology of the National Research Council (NINT). ACAMP will also align its product development activities with the Microsystems Technology Research Initiative and Alberta Ingenuity's nanoWorks program.

"ACAMP is the result of a collaborative effort between industry, government and academia to create a platform for product development activities in the province," said Bruce Alton, Chair of the ACAMP Board of Directors. "And we are very pleased to have obtained the services of Ken Brizel as the first CEO of ACAMP."

On June 11, the Alberta government introduced the $178-million Action Plan for Bringing Technology to Market. This plan includes numerous resources that companies and technopreneurs can access to help move ideas into the marketplace in concert with ACAMP's services. Alberta's $130-million nanotechnology strategy, announced in May 2007, aims to capture two per cent of the world's nanotechnology market by the year 2020, projected to be $1 trillion U.S., equaling $20 billion in annual commercial activity.

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