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Ocean research

$16-million investment focuses on climate change, coastal communities


By Patti Lewis

The Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) has launched its next phase of ocean research, with a plan to invest approximately $16 million in projects that will examine climate change and how changes to the North Atlantic impact coastal communities.

The OFI investment will focus on climate change and coastal communities.
The OFI investment will focus on climate change and coastal communities.
Photo: Submitted

The funds will be distributed through a two-phased, peer-reviewed application process. OFI, a partnership led by Memorial, Dalhousie University and the University of Prince Edward Island, seeks collaborative proposals from consortia representing academic, government, business, Indigenous and international researchers, Indigenous leaders and coastal community members.

To qualify, each project must be led by a principal investigator who is a faculty or staff member, or adjunct faculty, at one of OFI’s lead partner universities.

“OFI is all about research, and research, when tackled collaboratively has the ability to resolve many of the issues that challenge our one, common ocean,” said Dr. Paul Snelgrove, OFI’s associate scientific director. “And, research also has the ability to help us leverage the many opportunities the ocean offers.”

Dr. Paul Snelgrove
Dr. Paul Snelgrove
Photo: Chris Hammond

OFI was established in September 2016 thanks to an investment of $227 million from the Government of Canada and various private and public-sector organizations.

The funding is primarily used to support ocean research projects that explore innovative approaches to ensure sustainable management of North Atlantic use. OFI currently has 16 large research projects underway; each are expected to be completed in 2022.

Designed through consultation

Through a four-month consultation process, OFI’s management team sought input on its second phase of research, scheduled to run from late 2019 to 2023.

Compared to Phase 1, OFI’s next phase will support fewer projects but will provide more resources per project.

OFI expects to fund two to five research projects which would each receive about $1 million per year in funding to investigate the following topics:

  • The North Atlantic as a Climate Ocean — This theme centres on understanding the role of ocean dynamics and climate in the North Atlantic and Canadian Arctic gateways. Through research, OFI seeks an improved understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes governing climate, productivity and ecosystem structure.
  • Coastal Communities and the Ocean — Canada’s coastal communities face significant challenges and opportunities in their interactions with the ocean. These include both climate and human-induced ecosystem alteration, shifts in fishery abundance and distribution, sea level rise, as well as rapidly-evolving social, institutional and economic conditions. Research projects will address how changing ocean dynamics impact coastal communities and how rapidly-evolving social and economic conditions impact the marine environment.

“By working together, we will generate research results that intersect the economy, environment and societal well-being. And we will put our research to work, ensuring those who depend on the ocean have the tools necessary to respond to ongoing change,” said Dr. Snelgrove.

The deadline to submit Expression of Interest is April 11. Learn more about OFI’s second phase of research and how to apply online.

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