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Getting back to research

Dr. Ray Gosine takes visiting professor post at the University of Toronto

Campus and Community

By Susan Flanagan

From the moment Dr. Ray Gosine stepped into a biomedical engineering research lab at the University of Toronto in 1984, he realized he had a passion for research.

Now after 15 years in various administrative roles at Memorial, from associate dean (graduate studies) and dean in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to the last 10 years as associate vice-president (research) and vice-president (research), Dr. Gosine is finding time to do more of something he loves – research.

Visiting professor: Munk School of Global Affairs, Toronto

Effective Aug. 1, Dr. Gosine was appointed as a visiting professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Over the next year he will use his expertise in robotics and automation for applications in the resource industries (mining, oil and gas, aquaculture and fisheries, and forestry) as part of a multidisciplinary research project in the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School.

“The University of Toronto is the university that first instilled in me an interest in research,” said Dr. Gosine, who spent three work terms there as a Memorial co-op student in the mid-1980s before going on to pursue a Ph.D. at Cambridge University.

“It will be interesting to go back to where I first experienced research and join a multidisciplinary team of talented researchers at the Munk School to study how robotics, automation and intelligent systems impact Canadian industry, employment and the economy.”

Creating Digital Opportunity

Dr. Gosine’s work will be related to a project entitled Creating Digital Opportunity a large project that includes researchers from 16 universities and 12 partner organizations working together to understand how Canada can best respond to the ever-evolving digital landscape, and identify economic opportunities that come with it.

“Digitalization of natural resource industries, such as mining and oil and gas, through the widespread application of computers, robotics and intelligent systems will be transformative,” said Dr. Gosine. “Canadian industry must embrace these technologies in order to remain competitive. There are opportunities for Canada to also lead in the development of the enabling technology.”

“The opportunities, challenges and consequences arising from such a transformative proposition, however, need to be analysed, understood and managed,” he added. “This project gives me a unique chance to put my engineering research into a broader context and, as part of a multidisciplinary team, consider the impacts and implications of these advanced technologies.”

The research also has applications close to home where there is a growing interest in digitalization of ocean industries and Dr. Gosine looks forward to looking for opportunities to involve students and colleagues from Memorial in the project.

VPR strengthened

Over the past decade, the Office of the Vice-President (Research) (VPR) has strengthened under Dr. Gosine’s guidance.

“I am honoured to have worked with great colleagues in the Office of the VPR, who are motivated to do everything possible to help our researchers be successful,” — Dr. Ray Gosine

The VPR has continued to enhance the university’s support of researchers through initiatives under the Strategic Research Intensity Plan (SRIP).  In addition, a new creator-owned Intellectual Property (IP) policy is set to go to the Board of Regents for approval which will create opportunities for greater transfer and commercialization of research results.

“I am particularly proud of our recent efforts to encourage our researchers to create spin-off companies, such as Agile Sensor Technologies, Seaformatics Systems Inc. and Intelligent Materials and Monitoring Inc. from research projects at Memorial,” said Dr. Gosine. “Our new IP policy and approach to transfer and commercialization of research results will see this sort of activity increase significantly in the coming years. That will be good for Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“I am honoured to have worked with great colleagues in the Office of the VPR, who are motivated to do everything possible to help our researchers be successful,” said Dr. Gosine. “The research portfolio is a very upbeat place to work. It is wonderful to have your day filled with positive news about research success or discussions with researchers with great ideas and ambitions. It is also very satisfying to have been able to play a role in helping some of these initiatives move forward.”

Ocean Frontier Institute

One of those initiatives is Memorial’s launch of the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), a collaborative research initiative with Dalhousie University and the University of Prince Edward Island to create a world-leading ocean science institute.

“Success in such initiatives also requires talented and dedicated administrative support staff and I am grateful to the members of the VPR team who have always been greatly supportive in my various roles in the VPR portfolio, particularly during the last year while I was unexpectedly back as VPR. I know the portfolio will be in great hands going forward, and I’m sure everyone involved will provide outstanding support to the university.”

For the next 12 months Dr. Gosine will continue to supervise Memorial engineering graduate students and looks forward to connecting the research here with the project in Toronto. Following his administrative leave at the University of Toronto, he plans to return to his role as associate vice-president (research) (AVPR). In the meantime, Dr. Gosine notes that he is very pleased that Dr. Mark Abrahams will serve as AVPR in his absence.

“Mark has demonstrated great leadership as our Dean of Science and in his capacity as AVPR over the last seven months, in particular in his leadership of the OFI proposal and implementation,” said Dr. Gosine. “I feel very comfortable leaving Mark to bring his own touch to the AVPR position and know he will make excellent contributions to the portfolio.”

“I get a chance to return to the life of a graduate student, albeit without the pressures of having to write a thesis. This is a privilege of being an academic that I have not yet experienced since I graduated with my PhD. From the time I became an Associate Dean in Engineering in 2002, up until now, the timing of a sabbatical or leave was never good nor possible. Now 15 years later, that time has come and, to be honest, I can’t wait.”

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