Our Work

Society and Culture

Insight, clarity, and understanding of cultural, historical, and economic influences within societies are essential to creating or sustaining greater justice, equity, and productivity. U of A scholars are changing ways of understanding human history, framing legal and political questions, and thinking about individual, family, cultural, and national responsibility and identity. Their work is making influential contributions on complex issues ranging from peace and conflict resolution to water rights and legislation, from to law reform to the preservation of linguistic and material practices of indigenous people. Key Faculties: Faculty of Arts, the Alberta School of Business, the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Extension, the Faculty of Law, and the Faculty of Native Studies, and Campus Saint-Jean

Vibrant and Resilient Communities

The U of A continues to focus on social structures and mechanisms leading to community innovation and vibrancy, in both urban and rural settings. The university's Community University Partnership program and its City-Region Studies Centre both mobilize and develop research on the nature of towns, cities, and regions through collaborative projects with community partners. The Canada Circumpolar Institute studies these same issues with partnerships in northern communities. 

Science Impacts 

Scientific and technological advances present opportunities and challenges that can outpace our ability to fully understand their social and individual implications. The university's contributions to social innovation and scholarship focus on legal and policy developments and debates surrounding health and biomedical issues, as well as public scientific literacy more broadly.

Corporate and Public Citizenship

There are many ways that corporations and members of public move through the world. The U of A's Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility is a global research-intensive centre that fosters discovery and innovation in the way business is used to contribute to the social good of communities and their enhanced quality of life. And the Centre for Public Involvement dedicated to researching the theory and practice of optimal public involvement.


Rated one of the top business schools in the world, the U of A's School of Business has developed research expertise in several areas related to entrepreneurship. For example, the Technology Commercialization Centre facilitates technology and venture development by linking skilled professionals at the science-business interface and supports the development of fundamental knowledge in the areas of technology innovation and commercialization through scholarly research. Further, the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise has emerged as a research leader in the area of family enterprise.

Canada's Francophone Heritage 

Work on the Francophonie, minority-language rights and legislation, as well as intercultural research, distinguishes the U of A nationally and supports provincial and federal mandates to recognize and preserve the Canada's francophone heritage. The Canadian Studies Centre supports interdisciplinary research on issues that impact Canadian, particularly western Canadian, francophones. At Campus Saint-Jean, the Institut pour le patrimoine de la francophonie de l'Ouest Canadien conducts cultural research using unique archives and digital resources of historical material.

Global Perspectives

The U of A acts a bridge to the world, with researchers at the Centre for Global Citizenship Education & Research focusing on both theoretical and practical works in the areas of citizenship education, human rights education, and education for social justice and social development, while the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology is an archive and research resource documenting musical and cultural traditions locally and internationally.

Indigenous Languages & Cultures

The U of A has developed rich research partnerships with Canada's Aboriginal and other indigenous people on topics in culture, history, education, health and wellness, language and literacy, and social and legal frameworks. For example, the recently established Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research, the culmination of a decade-long partnership between the U of A and the Métis Nation of Alberta, will co-ordinate and sustain academic research activity with and for Métis communities.

Law Justice and Legal Frameworks

The law provides the framework for how our nation and society functions. U of A’s legal scholars lead and shape discussions on how that framework is tested, amended and interpreted, at both the provincial and national levels. Rapid advances in science and technology also present new opportunities and challenges for our society, and health law scholars are clarifying complex implications those advances have for our society and our policies and laws.

Educational Frameworks

Teaching and learning interact in a complex and changing manner. Researchers at the U of A are seeking to understand better—and improve—the ways teachers reach their students. For example, the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technological Education synthesizes research and outreach to improve the scientific, mathematical and technological literacy of students, teachers and citizens while the Centre for Research for Teacher Education and Development  researches teacher education. 

Circumpolar Regions

Canada's north and the world's circumpolar regions have unique cultural riches and complex challenges. Anchored by the Canadian Circumpolar Institute, the university's extensive work in this area examines social and cultural resilience and adaptation; cultures and languages; arctic and subarctic environmental change; exploration and management of natural resources; cold regions engineering; economic development; and history and governance.

Political and Economic Systems 

Policies and choices about healthcare, energy, environment, and international relations are shaped by complex social, political, and economic forces, and they impact Albertans and Canadians in their everyday lives. The Parkland Institute and the Institute for Public Economics both seek to inform and create public dialogue on these issues and others, through widely-disseminated data, reviews, and analyses of trends and behaviors that underpin our social well-being, now and in the future.

Recent Impacts