Largest investment ever from Calgary's innovation fund goes to U of C project

The University of Calgary will receive $8.5 million to help create an estimated 3,100 jobs and benefit 20 to 40 life sciences companies.

City announces $8.5M that will help create an estimated 3,100 jobs in life sciences sector

Mayor Naheed Nenshi speaking at the announcement of $8.5 million in funding for the University of Calgary. (CBC)

The city announced its biggest payout yet from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund on Wednesday. 

The University of Calgary will get $8.5 million to help create an estimated 3,100 jobs in the life sciences sector. It's expected that will assist 20 to 40 companies a year in the university's research park. 

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says life sciences is a critical part of the city's economic development strategy.

"So that 3,100 job estimate, it's way too low because fundamentally what we're doing here is we're making a transformative early investment," he said. 

"It's sort of like when the federal government said we've got a lot of good knowledge about how to get oil out of those sands up north and we've got to make a few transformative investments to turn the research into commercializable technologies."

The U of C is spending $28 million to renovate an existing building in its research park for the life sciences innovation hub.

The city money comes from a $100-million fund created by city council to help diversify the economy and create jobs in the wake of the oil price crash. 

With files from Scott Dippel