Our Work


With both state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure and over 19000 acres of research land holdings, the U of A advances the fundamental sciences, the social innovation, and new technologies that will help preserve and sustain our environment. Research in ecology, plant genetics, wildlife management, climate change research, and biodiversity monitoring is coupled with investigations of the economic, social and cultural issues that arise with land management practices and policies; watershed management; water quality, supply and demand; and the response of small communities to ecological change. Key faculties: Augustana Campus, the Faculty of Agriculture, Environmental, and Life Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Native Studies, and the Faculty of Science. Affiliated Institutes: National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), Edmonton Waste Management Centre for Excellence (EWMCE), Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Program (ABMI), Bamfield Marine Science Centre, Rangeland Research Institute.


Agriculture & Resource Development

There are unique challenges associated with balancing economic and environmental sustainability in communities dependent on resource development and agriculture, within Alberta and globally. Research on land management policies and approaches to agribusiness production is conducted in the context of technological advances and their social and economic implications.

Land Use Policy & Practices

U of A creates the integrated cross discipline, cross sector knowledge that is needed to balance biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife management with natural resource development requires. The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute provides sound scientific information on biodiversity trends to inform decisions about land management practices. And the Alberta Land Institute advances our understanding of the economic, legal, and social requirements for policies at the intersection of natural resource development and environmental stewardship.

Animal and Human Health

The close interaction of humans and animals presents public health challenges related to water quality and waterborne diseases, animal-to-human pathogen spread, and exposure to soil and air contaminants. The Alberta Veterinary Research Institute focuses on these challenges within the context of livestock development and market access. Prion research into neurodegenerative disorders that lead to 'mad cow' and chronic wasting diseases in wildlife and livestock, also reduces significant risk to human health.

Advanced Technologies For Monitoring & Modelling

The U of A integrates advanced computing, remote sensing, earth observation sciences , and ecology to create more effective and efficient ways to monitor the soil conditions for agriculture, assess the health of forests for pine beetle infestation, and evaluate climate change impacts. Mathematical biology is another cross-disciplinary strength that identifies complex environmental influences, patterns, and trends for understanding phenomena such as the spread of West Nile virus to the nutrient elements in ecological systems. Policies about resources ranging from Brazil's tropical dry forests to Canada's fish population are impacted by university leadership in these areas.


Sustaining Alberta's own biodiversity is the focus of a unique consortium of public and private sector partners, which has developed advanced scientific protocols for monitoring of more than 2000 species and habitats to support policy and practice in government and industry. The university leads international efforts throughout the western hemisphere that develop and exploit advanced monitoring technologies from Alberta's forests and rangelands to Brazil's dry tropical forests.

Climate Change

Integrated climate change research deploys remote sensing, computing science, mathematics, ecology and earth observation sciences to assess and monitor global changes in the biosphere, sea and land ice, and impacts on agricultural and forestry productivity. The Canadian Circumpolar Institute aggregates the university's extensive expertise on arctic and antarctic challenges related to wildlife, glacier dynamics, pollutant transport, and sea ice monitoring in collaboration with international partners and agencies.

Ecosystems & Wildlife

Sustaining plant and wildlife species is even more challenging as human and natural disturbances increase. By understanding, modeling, and predicting how basic biological and genetic processes in plants and animals operate, especially in response to these disturbances, we create the ability to protect them with informed practices or new technologies. U of A's contributions here are especially strong in boreal, alpine, and arctic ecology and water systems, large Arctic and northern mammals; and wildlife biology and management.

Land Reclamation, Remediation, & Restoration

The U of A and the Helmholtz Association of Research Institutes are working to develop more effective ways to relcaim pit and quarry landscapes.  And an international graduate school examines the scientific, economic, and policy context of land reclamation with industry and government partners. Genetics and molecular biology advances are harnessing the genetic potential of naturally occurring microorganisms for biodegragation of petroleum hydocarbons in contaminated groundwater.

Forest Management

The Centre for Enhanced Forest Management conducts collaborative research in the development and testing of innovative forestry practices. This work links genetics, silviculture, protection, growth and yield, and management for enhancing wood production and other values (including watershed, recreation, wildlife, and biodiversity).


Through its Water Initiative, the University of Alberta will seek research, technology and policy solutions to local, regional and global water quality, supply and demand challenges. We will harness our vast water expertise and capacity across social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering to tackle integrated water challenges in energy, food, health and environmental sectors.

Recent Impacts