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Oceans excellence

Memorial expertise to support industry-led Atlantic Canadian ocean supercluster

By Dr. Gary Kachanoski

Through the Innovation Supercluster Initiative, Canada is investing in an industry-led ocean supercluster.

The initiative will focus on the sustainable development of the ocean industries in Atlantic Canada and position the region as a world leader.

I want to thank the federal government for this significant investment and support for a business-led supercluster in Atlantic Canada. The five superclusters announced today have the greatest potential to energize the Canadian economy and become engines for growth.

This news clearly demonstrates the Government of Canada’s confidence in our region and I congratulate each of the collaborators on the success of the ocean supercluster proposal, including Petroleum Research N.L. (PRNL) and many other investors across the region.

What is the ocean supercluster?

The ocean supercluster has many parts. At its core, it is a diverse partnership of companies from sectors, including oil and gas, fisheries, marine renewable energy, transportation and ocean technology, united by a common set of technical challenges.

Dr. Gary Kachanoski
Photo: Chris Hammond

The work of the partnership is being supported by post-secondary institutions such as Memorial, Dalhousie and others, as well as entrepreneurs and governments, with the goal of addressing technological challenges to benefit the entire sector and region.

Through federal government strategic investments, leveraged by significant private-sector investment from the cluster members, this initiative will drive market growth, startup development, research and commercialization that will change and improve ocean-based industries.

‘International leader’

Memorial is well-positioned to contribute to the success of the ocean supercluster and the sustainable future of the Atlantic Canada region.

As co-ordinated by our Cold Ocean and Arctic, Science, Technology and Society (COASTS) initiative, this university is an international leader when it comes to ocean innovation.

In fact, more than 40 per cent of our research is ocean-related.

“Memorial . . . will make significant contributions to the supercluster, while fulfilling our special obligation to the people and economy of our province.”

With well-established industry partnerships, and through the remarkable strengths of our alumni working in the oceans industries, Memorial’s talented faculty, staff and students will make significant contributions to the supercluster, while fulfilling our special obligation to the people and economy of our province.

For example, Memorial has a decades-long partnership with PRNL, collaborating on more than 40 research and other related projects with PRNL members. The research results have led to the creation and growth of new business enterprises, such as Virtual Marine Technology, Radiant 360 and Seaformatics Inc.

Ocean Frontier Institute

The ocean supercluster will also benefit from massive federal, provincial and institutional investments, and national and international partnerships, associated with the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI).

OFI represents an unprecedented partnership among Memorial, Dalhousie University and the University of Prince Edward Island. Established in September 2016 with more than $220 million in funding from governments, industry and international research organizations, oceans research and development are at OFI’s core.

OFI will provide scientific information to form the basis of the work of the supercluster, helping to inform technical innovation and extend the benefits associated with the supercluster’s goals.

Paired with OFI, the ocean supercluster will bolster the reputation of Memorial University, and the Atlantic region, as a global leader in oceans-related research, teaching and learning, and public engagement, attracting the best of the best in faculty, graduate students and industry partnerships.

Our university’s participation will be further strengthened through our Genesis Centre, Memorial’s award-winning innovation hub for high-potential, high-growth technology companies.

This summer, the centre, along with other innovation and public engagement-focused units, will move to our new Battery Facility on historic Signal Hill, creating an accessible public space for pan-provincial collaboration, development and dialogue.

This supercluster announcement will benefit all Canadians, while providing considerable opportunities for our province and region. Memorial is very proud to be a pivotal post-secondary partner in the success of this important initiative.

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