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  • Writer's pictureLenora Thomas

35 Years of Innovation: 1995 ASTech Winners

This post is in partnership with Technology Alberta and the ASTech Awards, celebrating the impact of 35 years of innovation in Alberta, tying our past to our present.


The impacts of the internet started to show in 1995. Hotmail became the first free web-based email service, eBay was launched as was Amazon.com. In Alberta, a future ASTech Award Winner, BioWare, established their Edmonton studio in early 1995 by Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk, and Augustine Yip, three doctors who studied together at the University of Alberta. They released their first game in 1996 and went on to release six more in the studio’s first ten years, including Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, MDK2, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Jade Empire. In late 2005, BioWare and Pandemic Studios joined forces; two years later, they announced that Electronic Arts, a leading global interactive entertainment publisher, had bought the partnership, with BioWare retaining its culture and brand. BioWare started the gaming industry in Alberta, and is actively hiring today!


For the ASTech Awards, our winners advanced biochemistry research, environmentally responsible treatments for handling wastewater contaminants, and increasing knowledge of technology innovation through journalism.


Dr. Robert Hodges, a renowned figure in science and sports, received the Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Science award. He was a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta and Director/CEO of the Protein Engineering Centers of Excellence in Canada. A former world-class speed skater for Canada, Hodges made significant scientific contributions, including pioneering work on the SARS coronavirus Spike protein and synthetic vaccine development. He was a Life Member of the Royal Society of Canada.


Epsilon Chemicals, based in Edmonton Research Park, won the Industrial Research award for their environmentally friendly wastewater treatment solutions. Their Envirofloc™ process turns food-processing plant waste into animal feed using natural plant materials. In 1998, Epsilon Chemicals won the Alberta Emerald Foundation for Environmental Excellence. Today, they continue to provide research and development for environmentally responsible products and services, to industrial customers around the world. Their company contains biodegradable surfactants that are produced from renewable or natural sources in order to help preserve human health and environmental quality.


Dennis Urquhart, a skilled science and technology journalist, was recognized for his outstanding work as a writer and photographer at The University of Calgary's Public Affairs Office. His talent was for effectively conveying intricate scientific concepts and demonstrating their relevance to our everyday experiences. Through his articles in Catalyst, Urquhart delved into diverse topics such as the significance of research, remote medical consultations, education, geology, and the intersection of biotechnology.


Dr. Norbert R. Morgenstern, an innovative geotechnical expert, was honored with the Innovation In Oil Sands Research award. A Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta, Morgenstern's research addressed the challenges of oil sands development, including geotechnical properties and tailings treatment. He's also received recognition from various engineering institutions and was appointed to the Alberta Order of Excellence and the Order of Canada.with reproduction, enlightening readers on their implications for society.


In 1995, ASTech Awards also celebrated the following winners:


  • Praxis Science Outreach Society was awarded for its Excellence In Science And Technology Public Awareness.

  • Yellowbird Products Limited received an Industrial Research award for Acoustic Continuous Monitoring, (ACM) technology to monitor failures of post-tensioning cables in buildings.

  • NOWSCO Well Service Ltd. was presented with the award for Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Science for their technology improving well performance.

  • Merak Projects Ltd. was presented with an award for Outstanding Commercial Achievement in Alberta Science and Technology (Sales less than 25 million) for their economic and risk assessment software for the petroleum industry.

  • TRLabs received an ASTech Special Award for their work in helping get Alberta Tech to Market faster.

  • Dr. Karl T. Chuang was awarded for Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Technology for his work in environmental catalysis – work that has resulted in a patented process that assists pulp and paper mills reduce the environmental impact of their effluents. his work 

  • Dr. John S. Colter was celebrated for his Outstanding Contribution To The Alberta Science And Technology Community for his biochemical virology work.

  • Dr. Robert S. Hodges was recognized for Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Science for his research into peptide chemistry.


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