ISEEE partners with TransAlta to create chair

By Katy Anderson

The Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy announced a new key position Wed., Jan. 25.

Dr. Robert Page, former vice- president of TransAlta Corporation was appointed as TransAlta professor of environmental management and sustainability. The position is made possible by a donation to the University of Calgary from TransAlta.

“He has a long history of academic service but also the experience in industry is really important,” said ISEEE managing director Dr. Robert Mansell. “He understands the policy, the industry and the academic, analytical side. That’s a real powerful combination. It’s not just the theory but the applications, and of course he has all the connections. He’s worked in this area for a long time so he knows all the key players.”

TansAlta is not the only industry partner of ISEEE. Other energy companies including Shell, EnCana Nexen, Husky, and Petro-Canada have made contributions.

“If you’re in the energy business today you’re desperately trying to understand where the future’s going,” said Page. “The universities are a very important breeding ground for new ideas, new technology, new public policy and new economic thinking. We face huge challenges with technology, economics and society but the greatest difficulty of all is with innovation in public policy. Inertia in public policy really hurts us. Climate change is probably the best example of our difficulty to understand how we have to think and how we have to act for the future. There is no silver bullet.”

Although ISEEE has secured funding for 1,000 seats, the institute is still awaiting funding from the provincial government for building costs.

“We’re under great pressure,” said Mansell. “We’ve got funding for 1,000 new student spaces, now we have to hire 100 faculty as an institution which means now we have to find spaces for them–physical space. Now we have to get the money to build a building.”

Leave a comment