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Networking tool

New database matches researchers and equipment in Atlantic Canada


By Moira Baird

The Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED), which matches researchers with available equipment throughout the region, officially launched this week.

AFRED is an open-access, searchable, online database designed to increase the use of specialized research infrastructure at Memorial University and other institutions throughout Atlantic Canada by connecting potential users with the facilities that host the equipment.

From left are Dr. David Grant and Daniel Rees in the CREAIT Network lab.
From left are Dr. David Grant and Daniel Rees in the CREAIT Network lab.
Photo: Chris Hammond

It provides industry, academic, non-profit and government researchers, as well as entrepreneurs, with free access to a growing database of nearly 400 pieces of research equipment available in 80 facilities at 19 institutions.

Unique Memorial services

“This database launch is the culmination of several years of work by Science Atlantic and the AFRED team and advisory group, as well as the numerous contributions by researchers and service providers in the region,” said Dr. Brent Myron, manager of operations, Core Research Equipment and Instrument Training (CREAIT) Network, at Memorial.

“It currently includes 60 research instruments distributed across 12 facilities available at Memorial and there is potential to make this number quite a bit larger. The university is well-equipped to serve the research needs of potential regional partners.”

Dr. Myron is also a member of the AFRED advisory group.

“Since Memorial is the only university in the province, the database is of particular benefit to Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said. “AFRED allows our researchers to advertise their facilities to external clients and to forge research and commercial partnerships throughout the province and the Atlantic region.”

Specialized Memorial equipment

Among the Memorial equipment registered in the database follow below:

  • The Mineral Liberation Analysis-Scanning Electron Microscope, which has sophisticated software capable of evaluating the full range and quantities of minerals found in deposits. This internationally recognized analysis and research facility is part of the CREAIT Network.
  • The Cold-Ocean Deep-Sea Research Facility (CDRF) at the Ocean Sciences Centre, which features a unique flow-through water supply in a Level 3 biocontainment facility, along with a suite of histology, microscopy, deep-sea and disease challenge instrumentation.
  • The Centre for Marine Simulation, the industrial arm of the Marine Institute, is internationally recognized as the most comprehensive research and training facility for marine simulation and technology in North America. It features 24 different motion-capable simulators, including two ships bridges and an offshore drilling rig’s ballast control room.
  • The Electron Probe Micro-Analyzer-Scanning Electron Microscope is a powerful research tool used to determine the chemical composition of solid materials, and is often used in geology, engineering and materials science. It’s the newest laboratory in the CREAIT Network.

The federal government invested $198,474 in AFRED through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s business development program and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

AFRED is a project of Science Atlantic, a non-profit association of 16 Atlantic Canadian post-secondary and research institutions, including Memorial University.

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