Parker: Haskayne School of Business launches forum series to link academia and business

The inaugural event will explore the theme of the new digital era, focusing on topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cryptocurrency, trust and privacy in data management, and tradable efficiency

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Gina Grandy, dean of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, is launching a new forum series aimed to help bridge the academia-industry divide. The launch of the series under the banner of the Haskayne Business Exchange (HBX) will take place June 13 at The Grand theatre.

HBX is designed to spotlight the most relevant research in management practices, engaging audiences to inspire in real-world applications and contribute to resolving some of society’s most pressing issues.

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The inaugural event will explore the theme of the new digital era, focusing on topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cryptocurrency, trust and privacy in data management, and tradable efficiency.

“As Calgary’s business school, we recognize our pivotal role in supporting the business community’s growth and innovation. One of the ways we can do this is by bringing academia and industry together through engaged managerial research,” says Grandy. “The rigorous, evidence-based research conducted at Haskayne can provide sound pathways forward to shift the trajectory on an entire industry. The new HBX will harness the power of purposeful partnerships between academia and industry. Together, we can create practical solutions and meaningful change.”

Understanding that one of the barriers to research dissemination is its accessibility and perceived practicality, HBX will address both challenges head-on by having featured speakers from both Haskayne and the Schulich School of Engineering deliver short, impactful, 15-minute presentations, followed by an engaging industry panel where business thought leaders will discuss how research and insights can be integrated into mainstream business practices.

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University speakers include Mohammad Keyhani, who will explore new pathways created by generative AI in the science and practise of organization. Lina Kattan will address solutions to urban traffic management using tradable efficiency measures, Alfred Lehar will speak on how smart contracts can automate and secure transactions such as real estate deals and business invoicing, while Sule Nur Kutlu will focus on empowering users to control their data and its effect on data sharing and business reputation.

Sandy Hershcovis, the senior associate dean of research at Haskayne, said: “As we navigate the landscape of digital technologies, we find ourselves in a transformative era. Our researchers are exploring the depths of these groundbreaking technologies and their impacts on the work we do. HBX is an opportunity to bring these insights to industry and explore together how technology will revolutionize business. We aim to leverage our faculty’s expertise to inspire attendees to view research as an exciting opportunity for collective benefit.”

To ensure that academic research is effectively paired with industry practicality, HBX is inviting a panel of business thought leaders to discuss the ramifications of new digital technologies, offering insights on trends and innovations. The panellists include Neeraj Gupta, serial entrepreneur, angel investor and board member to several startups and non-profit organizations, as well as co-founder of Lawcubator, FormulateIP and Kfx labs, and he is chief adviser for technology and innovation investments at Invest Alberta.

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Joining him are Ross Ballendine, vice-president of information technologies at Trimac, and Danielle Gifford, director of AI Cloud at PwC, who says, “With over a decade of experience in the technology space, I strongly advocate for the adage that knowledge is power — particularly in the realm of emerging technology. Initiatives such as HBX are critical to fostering innovation and collaboration between academia and industry. By dismantling silos and promoting unity, we unlock the full potential of both worlds.”

HBX says it is comfortable with the number of registrants to date, but would like to see a full house of attendees to dive into a curated program of engaging talks and panel discussions, addressing complex problems about how we thrive as people and as a society.

Grandy says she is excited for the opportunity for HBX to help bridge the gap between academic research and practical supplication.


Trico LivingWell Retirement Community has announced a partnership with Alzheimer Calgary, the local organization dedicated to supporting families affected by dementia. From 2024 to 2029 it has committed a total of $150,000 to the organization as the presenting sponsor of the Alzheimer Calgary Walk and Run — to be held this year on Oct. 13.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at He can be reached at 403-830-4622.

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