Minister of State Rempel announces energy research ‘star’ at University of Calgary

Dr. Steven Bryant’s research will develop new, more efficient oil sands extraction processes

October 16, 2014—Calgary, Alberta—Chairs Secretariat

The Government of Canada has demonstrated its commitment to attracting and retaining the world’s best researchers with today’s announcement of the new Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Materials Engineering for Unconventional Oil Reservoirs. On behalf of the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification), was at the University of Calgary today to announce the arrival of one of the world’s most respected energy researchers to the university.

Dr. Steven Bryant will take up the position of Canada Excellence Research Chair in Materials Engineering for Unconventional Oil Reservoirs at the university. Dr. Bryant is working to make Alberta’s world-class oil sands easier to extract. Through his research, he will aim to develop processes at the nano-scale that require less energy and water during the extraction process while reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted.

Since its launch in 2008, the CERC program has positioned Canada as an international leader and destination of choice for research and development, and continues to attract and retain world-leading researchers.

Quick facts

  • This is the University of Calgary’s first CERC.
  • Through the CERC program, the University of Calgary will receive up to $10 million in funding over seven years to support Dr. Bryant’s ambitious research program.
  • Dr. Bryant, who comes to Calgary from the University of Texas at Austin, has a reputation as one of the world’s most innovative and insightful energy researchers.
  • The announcement of the new chair at the University of Calgary reaffirms the Government of Canada’s commitment to innovative scientific research, sustainable and responsible resource development, job creation, growth and long-term prosperity.
  • With this announcement, there are now 22 chairs in place at 16 universities across the country.
  • The CERC program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). It is administered by the Chairs Secretariat, which is housed within SSHRC.


“Our Government is focused on developing, attracting, and retaining world-leading researchers through record investments in science, technology and innovation. Dr. Steven Bryant’s application of new nanomaterials and technology will seek to develop new efficiencies within the oil sands industry while training the next generation of highly talented Canadian researchers.”

Ed Holder
Minister of State (Science and Technology)

“Our government is committed to ensuring advancement in sustainable energy resource technology. Dr. Bryant’s arrival at the University of Calgary will further consolidate Canada’s position as a global leader in this area. The research being conducted at UofC is good for Calgary, good for the economy and good for Canada.”

Michelle Rempel
Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

“Dr. Bryant is an exceptional educator and researcher whose presence in Canada will not only contribute to a more sustainable supply of energy, but will help develop the next generation of homegrown research talent. The numerous applications of his research promise to have a significant impact on the oil industry, and to have wide-reaching benefits for Canadians.”

Ted Hewitt
Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

“Dr. Bryant is conducting engineering research that will help revolutionize Canada’s energy production. He and his team at the University of Calgary will help oil sands producers harvest more energy with lower environmental impact, striking a balance between satisfying our future energy needs and preserving Canada’s reputation as a respected environmental leader.”

Janet Walden
Chief Operating Officer, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

“The University of Calgary is thrilled to have Dr. Steven Bryant join our energy research team, where, as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Materials Engineering for Unconventional Oil Reservoirs, he will play a key role, exploring new and sustainable ways of developing unconventional resources. We are confident that Dr. Bryant and his colleagues, working here in Canada’s energy capital, will offer innovative solutions to the pressing challenges faced by our society: meeting ever-growing energy demands and drastically reducing our environmental footprint.”

Elizabeth Cannon
President, University of Calgary

Additional links


Scott French
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Honourable Ed Holder
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
Tel.: 613-943-6177

Julia Gualtieri
Communications Adviser
Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program
Tel: 613-944-4347

Scott Donaldson
Director, Communications
University of Calgary
Tel.: 403-220-8993