Autumn on the UCalgary campus

Oct. 19, 2021

UCalgary is top startup creator amongst research institutions in Canada

2020 rankings from Association of University Technology Managers show UCalgary leads the way in nurturing startups

The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) recently released the results of its 2020 Canadian Licensing Activity Survey, placing the University of Calgary as the top startup creation institution, a key metric in the research and innovation ecosystem. The annual survey provides an in-depth review of technology licensing and related activity for Canadian academic and non-profit research institutions. 

This survey marks the first year that UCalgary has ranked number one amongst research institutions in Canada for startups, surpassing previous leaders, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo. This most recent survey shows that UCalgary is responsible for 21 of 104 startups across all Canadian research institutions. Those 21 startups are ahead of Toronto’s 17, Waterloo’s 11, McGill’s 10, and UBC’s 8.

Within the survey, AUTM Chair Olivia Novac highlights that universities drive the innovation economy through small, entrepreneurial businesses. Novac notes these startups directly impact local economies, with more than 86 per cent of new businesses remaining in their institution’s home province. 

Innovate Calgary directly assisted the UCalgary startups listed in AUTM’s 2020 survey as the central incubator for innovation transfer on campus. Founded in 1989, Innovate Calgary serves as the tech commercialization office at the University of Calgary and is the lead group named in AUTM’s Canadian Licensing Survey. Innovate Calgary works closely with researchers, faculty, and students at UCalgary to help bridge the gap between discovery and creating economic and societal impact. 

John Wilson

John Wilson, president and CEO, Innovate Calgary

“This survey underscores the leadership being shown here at the University of Calgary through Innovate Calgary,” says John Wilson, president and CEO, Innovate Calgary. “My hope is that we can build on those 21 startups and produce more this year and next. It’s reasonable to expect that Innovate Calgary will support more than 100 startups within the next five years.”

LysisLogic is one of those startups counted in AUTM’s 2020 survey. Their commercialization process includes a focus on early-stage solutions for the transitioning oil industry. As a spinoff company from the Department of Geosciences at UCalgary, LysisLogic plays a part in the landscape beyond oil combustion by developing large-scale carbon management applications.