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Op-Ed: Dr. Neil Bose

Memorial’s global leadership for ocean research, teaching and learning and public engagement scores big results

By Dr. Neil Bose

Nestled among the jagged cliffs, with the harsh North Atlantic literally on our doorstep, views from the Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay never disappoint.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, you get a true sense of place.

You also get a real sense of the many opportunities that lie below the water. The natural beauty is the envy of most research institutions around the world.

Combine that beauty with a sense of shared purpose, deep public partnerships and world-class infrastructure, the opportunities are endless.

Top 30

Memorial and its partners continue to draw inspiration from the ocean and excel internationally in a number of ocean-related research, teaching and learning, and public engagement activities.

Indeed, we are a global leader when it comes to the ocean.

That was evident in the recently released Times Higher Education Impact Rankings that measure the impact of universities in contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Memorial ranks among the top 30 universities worldwide for its leadership in addressing issues related to life below water (goal 14) – placing No. 28 out of 452 universities.

Overall, Memorial’s ranking jumped from 301-400 into the top 101-200, out of 1,406 universities worldwide. We also rank well in areas such as quality education; gender equality; industry, innovation and infrastructure; and partnerships for the goals.

Read more in a Gazette news story here.

An ocean deep

It is little wonder that Newfoundland and Labrador’s physical location – shaped by wind, water and ice – plays a huge role in the lives of our researchers, community partners and students.

Our expertise and resources focused on ocean-related studies is as deep as the water that surrounds us.

Take for example our Department of Ocean Sciences, recognized as a world leader in cold ocean bioscience. The Cold-ocean Deep-sea Research Facility at its Ocean Sciences Centre provides researchers with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment for the study of aquatic organisms, especially those from the cold waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans.

Not far away at our Marine Institute, researchers, industry and students use the world’s largest flume tank to carry out critical performance evaluations, gear tests and other observations.

In Labrador, the Nunatsiavut Government is collaborating with Dr. Max Liboiron from the Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research, on a co-created community-based monitoring program for plastic pollution in water, snow, ice, shorelines and traditional wild foods.

“Working with our collaborators, we are making a positive impact here at home and around the globe.”

University and community researchers are also tackling coastal community sustainability through a two-eyed seeing lens.

Memorial and a consortium of university-affiliated and community-affiliated researchers from Mi’kmaw communities across Newfoundland were recently awarded nearly $15 million to investigate how repurposed marine biomass can develop new products and create a more sustainable future for the province’s coastal communities.

The project is led by Grenfell Campus’s Dr. Raymond Thomas, Dr. Kelly Hawboldt from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and a team of global collaborators.

The Bonne Bay Marine Station and Public Aquarium – ideally located within a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site – provides tremendous opportunities for ecosystem and coastal community research.

A public partnership with an award-winning social enterprise is teaching traditional fisheries skills to youth and new Canadians.

And oceanographers are deploying underwater gliders to gauge ocean health.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Vast and deep

Memorial’s success as an ocean leader is deeply connected to its longstanding relationships and collaborations with people and organizations across Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and the world.

Working with our collaborators, we are making a positive impact here at home and around the globe.

It is also incredibly motivating when we score high on performance indicators such as the impact rankings. It’s something our entire community and province should be proud of. We truly couldn’t do it without you.

Life under water is vast and deep.

Our talented research teams, students and community partners are diving into the unknown, leading critical studies, developing solutions to challenges and gaining a better understanding of this essential global resource.

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the best places in the world to view majestic icebergs, which have already begun to arrive along our rocky shores.

As with those remarkable feats of nature — seven-eighths of which are below the water — Memorial, and Newfoundland and Labrador, has many more stories to tell, as we explore our ocean of potential together.

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