About Us


The strategic scientific alliance between the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, was initiated in September 2009 through a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the former president of the Helmholtz Association, Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, and the former president of the University of Alberta, Dr. Indira Samarasekera.

The memorandum sets out arrangements for the purpose of joint development, intensification of international cooperation and execution of collaborative scientific research projects. An additional goal is to support graduate education and exchange of the next generation of scientists in both countries.

The first joint collaborative research project under the initiative started in 2010 with six topics of global relevance in the area of Energy and Environment research. In 2011, advanced negotiations have been conducted on the topic of Infectious Diseases Research. Other novel cooperation projects followed in the area of Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Terrestrial Ecosystem and Resource Informatics and Resource Technologies.

Indira Samarasekera (President, University of Alberta) and Jürgen Mlynek (President, Helmholtz Association) signing the agreement. In the background Lorne Babiuk (Vice President Research, University of Alberta)

Memorandum of Understanding signed in Edmonton (Canada) on September 29, 2009

Participants left to right: Andreas Schmidt (Administrative Director, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ), Detlev Stöver (Director of Institute for Energy Research (IEF), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH), Harald Bolt (Member of the Board of Directors, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH), Indira Samarasekera (President, University of Alberta), Jürgen Mlynek (President, Helmholtz Association), Reinhard Hüttl (Chairman of the Board and Scientific Executive Director, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences), Peter M. Boehm (Canadian Ambassador to Germany), Karl-Friedrich Ziegahn (Member of the Board of Directors, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - KIT)

Research Consortium Agreement for the establishment of the HAI signed in Berlin (Germany) on April 8, 2011

Dirk Heinz und Lorne Babiuk signing the agreement

Research Consortium Agreement on Infectious Disease Research signed in Berlin (Germany) on September 23, 2013

Participants left to right: Ursula Weyrich (Administrative Director, DZNE), Pierluigi Nicotera (Scientific Director and Chairman, Executive Board DZNE), Jürgen Mlynek (President, Helmholtz Association), Lorne Babiuk (Vice President Research, University of Alberta), Marie Gervais-Vidricaire (the Canadian Ambassador to Germany)

Research Consortium Agreement on Neurodegenerative Disease Research signed in Berlin (Germany) on September 15, 2014


The initiative operates on separate Canadian and German funding streams made available to the individual national research partners. On the Canadian side this cooperation is supported by the Government of Alberta. On the German side, funding has been assigned from the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association, as well as from the resources of the participating Helmholtz Centres.