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Helping good ideas grow

Applications accepted until March 31 for OFI Seed Fund


By Patti Lewis

The ocean research world is not short on great ideas. What it is short of is the funding that’s required to put those great ideas to work.

And that’s where the Ocean Frontier Institute’s (OFI) Seed Fund comes in.

The Seed Fund supports innovative projects that have the potential to advance research, commercial or social concepts relating to the ocean.
The Seed Fund supports innovative projects that have the potential to advance research, commercial or social concepts relating to the ocean.
Photo: Submitted

The seed fund provides awards that range from $10,000-$30,000 to support innovative projects that have the potential to advance research, commercial or social concepts relating to the ocean.

The ideas stem from projects initiated by students or faculty at Memorial and Dalhousie University (OFI’s lead partners). OFI’s role is to help these unique ideas move forward — and grow.

“We hope those seeds will bear fruit in catalyzing larger research projects,” said Dr. Paul Snelgrove, OFI’s associate scientific director. “As the saying goes, good things come in small packages and through OFI’s investment we give these creative ideas a chance to grow.”

Seed Fund at work at Memorial

Dr. Natalia Prieto Vidal, a post-doctoral fellow with the Boreal Ecosystem Research Initiative at Grenfell Campus, wants to reduce the amount of waste mussels that are discarded and disposed in landfill sites because they don’t meet the aquaculture industry’s criteria for consumer sales.

Her work examines the feasibility of extracting oils enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids from the waste mussels, which she would then infuse with Newfoundland wild berry extracts with superior antioxidant content.

Dr. Natalia Prieto Vidal
Dr. Natalia Prieto Vidal
Photo: Lori Lee Pike

“This could create high-value secondary products from an aquaculture industrial waste product, which will contribute to a sustainable exploitation of mussel aquaculture. This innovative high-value product could be marketed as specialty products in fine dining applications,” said Dr. Vidal.

Dr. Brad deYoung, professor, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science, is overseeing a Seed Fund award to evaluate the feasibility of using underwater gliders to monitor for hydrocarbons in Placentia Bay.

“Placentia Bay is one of six regions in Canada that are included in the Ocean Protection Plan, and this work will help us better understand environmental baseline conditions — essential information in the event of a major oil spill,” he said.

Apply for funding

Applications are being accepted until March 31.

To qualify, applicants must be current faculty, staff, and students at Memorial and/or Dalhousie University.

Please note: Due to university regulations, successful applications submitted by students must be supervised by a current faculty member who would be identified as the grant holder and assume responsibility for distribution of finances and terms of the deliverables.

Other Seed Fund recipients from Memorial University

  • Scott Grant, Marine Institute: Can light-weight drones provide spatial assessments of edible macroalgae in the intertidal and shallow subtidal zone of Kimmirut, Nunavut?
  • Javier Santander, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science: Climate change influences on marine bacterial pathogens: temperature and iron linked to virulence and vaccinology
  • Brian Veitch, Department of Ocean and Naval Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science: A new technique for human factors research in complex socio-technical operations

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