The province’s Research and Development Corp. (RDC) is investing more than $5.3 million into projects at Memorial University of Newfoundland in areas relevant to offshore petroleum, ocean technology, health care, aquaculture and other natural resource industries.
The funding will focus on solving technical challenges and identifying new opportunities, such as ice-structure interaction in polar regions, effective oil spill cleanup methods that minimize environmental impact and more efficient ways to extract precious metals.
Keith Hutchings, minister responsible for the RDC, said Tuesday this investment is “paving the way for the future success of our researchers and academic institutions and to the collaborative efforts among academia and industry for the future economic growth of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Hutchings said these projects are essential for “enhancing the R & D capacity within Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Increased activity is leading to further economic growth in this province, the minister said, as well as strengthening Newfoundland and Labrador’s international reputation as a world-class centre for innovation.
More than 30 researchers from the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Music, Grenfell Campus, Faculty of Medicine and C-CORE are receiving funding that will leverage more than $16.9 million from other research sponsors, including the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Husky Energy and Rolls Royce Marine.
“RDC is helping facilitate local, national and international R&D collaboration between Memorial, other institutions and industry leaders,” said RDC chief executive officer Glenn Janes. “This investment builds upon the existing base of research expertise in Newfoundland and Labrador and is another example of how R&D plays a critical role in driving future innovation.”
The funding announced Thursday is provided through RDC’s academic programs.
MUN president and vice-chancellor Gary Kachanoski said the funding announced and investments that will be leveraged from federal and private sources will “advance strategic areas of research” for which MUN is already well known and on which much of its prosperity depends.
As an example, RDC has invested $800,000 into research led by Claude Daley, chairman of Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering at Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
Daley is examining the technical challenges of operating large ships and offshore structures in ice environments. The total cash and in-kind value of the research effort is $7.15 million over five years.
Daley said his research team is tackling issues that will enable the offshore energy industry to grow and develop in the province in ways that are safe, sustainable and profitable for all.
“The support I am receiving enables graduate and undergraduate students to gain valuable experience while allowing us to benefit from their creativity and enthusiasm,” said Daley. “The research climate in our faculty has improved remarkably in recent years, thanks in large part to the creation of RDC and as a result, we are conducting ambitious and practical research that produces lasting results.”
More information on the RDC and the projects it funds can be found online at www.rdc.org.
The RDC is a provincial Crown corporation.