The heart of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (SAIT) applied research and innovation infrastructure is without a doubt its Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department that began as the Innovative Technology Development Office in 1999. Since ARIS was formally established in 2003, applied research at SAIT has been responsive and adaptable with six research areas currently prioritized: Green Building Technologies, Sports and Wellness Engineering Technologies/Design, Testing and Fabrication, Environmental Technologies, Information Technology Solutions, and Unmanned Systems.
ARIS is home to 35,000 square feet of research facilities, with a staff of 40 full-time researchers, administrators, grant-writers, and communications and marketing personnel who support social innovation in the community through industry transformation and public education and outreach.
Since 2012, SAIT has worked with 925 small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), created 509 prototypes, developed 227 new products, and improved 142 existing products and services. SAIT’s applied research department has worked with local, national, and international organizations. In 2016-17, ARIS worked with the Insurance Bureau of Canada to support the rebuilding of Fort McMurray with a public outreach project that will ensure a superior rebuild. SAIT also developed a one-of-a-kind template competition chair for Wheelchair Basketball Canada to help its athletes optimize their performance for the 2016 Olympics.
ARIS’ funding has engaged 815 students in applied-research projects and opened up opportunities for internships or capstone projects, allowing students to gain industry experience, as well as innovation and entrepreneurial skills.