Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative

The Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative (HAI) is an international research partnership that effectively amalgamates the scientific and technical expertise of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (Germany) and the University of Alberta (Canada), to jointly develop solutions to key challenges in fields such as energy and environment, terrestrial ecosystem and resource informatics, and health.

As part of the Initiative, since 2010 the University of Alberta has been cooperating with four Helmholtz institutions, namely the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, the UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT in the fields of energy and environment.

The focus of the current HAI Energy & Environment research program (2010-2014) is cutting-edge research on key processes and technologies in six thematic fields:    

  1. Upgrading of biogene and fossil energy sources
  2. Materials for generation of pure gas streams and carbon capture
  3. Measuring, monitoring and verification of geological carbon storage 
  4. Deep geothermal energy
  5. Scale independent risk assessment and site remediation
  6. Ecosystem and landscape development

The jointly developed research findings allow both partners to test the global transferability of their results and to derive new methods through joint collaboration. Corresponding research outcomes will therefore also provide a contribution to the development and global application of science-based standards, best operating practices and respective technologies for sustainability-oriented environmental monitoring.

Against the backdrop of public discourse pertaining to the retreat of Canada from the Kyoto protocol, the participating Helmholtz Centres decided to phase out specific research contributions directly or indirectly related to the exploitation of oil sands and to develop the cooperation in other fields. The HAI Energy & Environment research program will continue academic research in a potential Phase II (2015+) and expand in the area of resource technologies.

The initiative has already broadened into the health research area in collaboration with University of Alberta and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig. Further plans for expansion also exist for additional research programs in the area of neurodegenerative disease research with the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease (DZNE).


Uwe Schneider
Dr.Uwe Schneider
Staff Scientific Executive Board
Building G, Room 322
+49 331 288-1065


Arnd Heumann
Dr.Arnd Heumann
Staff Scientific Executive Board
Building F, Room 351
+49 331 288-1057