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Smooth sailing

Industrial Research Chair focuses on marine passenger transportation technology

By Kim Thornhill

A new investment from the Canadian Ferry Association (CFA) will enhance the Marine Institute’s research expertise in marine passenger transportation technology.

The establishment of the $695,000, five-year industrial research chair in the School of Maritime Studies was announced by Serge Buy, chief executive officer, Canadian Ferry Association, and Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute).

Remote and Indigenous communities

“Members across the country have helped the association fund this effort in order to enhance knowledge on key issues related to the ferry sector,” said Mr. Buy.

“This announcement is the culmination of efforts that started in 2017 by the association. The impact will be felt throughout the country, including in remote and Indigenous communities where ferries play an important role.”

“I thank the Canadian Ferry Association for its confidence in the Marine Institute with this investment in our research, education and mainly, our people,” said Mr. Blackwood.

“Industrial research chairs reinforce our strong partnerships with the oceans industries we serve. It ensures that the research that follows is responsive to current and future needs, accessible, and beneficial to our stakeholders, in this case, those who operate and use our national ferry transportation system.”

Expand technology research

The funding of the industrial research chair will make it possible for the institute to expand its research capabilities into technologies used on marine passenger vessels, recruit elite researchers, and develop new academic programming in this field.

“The impact will be felt throughout the country, including in remote and Indigenous communities where ferries play an important role.” — Serge Buy

The chair, along with post-doctoral fellows and graduate students, will conduct research related to new marine technologies and how they will benefit the marine passenger transportation industry.

The research will focus on emerging technologies in the areas of efficient propulsion systems, robotics and autonomous systems, analysis of data collected onboard vessels, and underwater radiated noises.

The research will take a multi-year approach in collaboration with stakeholders in the marine industry and faculty from the Marine Institute.

Fall 2019 start date

The selection process to fill the CFA Industrial Research Chair will begin immediately with a researcher to be announced by fall 2019.

The industrial research chair will have access to research and testing facilities at the Marine Institute, including its Holyrood Marine Base and suite of maritime simulators, and will be provided support by Canadian Ferry Association members.

The chair is expected to foster collaboration in related transportation sectors across the country and internationally and develop new graduate programming at the Marine Institute in the marine passenger transportation field.

A nine-member steering committee will provide advice and recommendations on the progress of the chair’s research.

The CFA chair is the third research chair established at the Marine Institute since 2017. It joins the Ocean Choice International Chair in Fish Stock Assessment and Sustainable Harvest Advice for Northwest Atlantic Fisheries and the Canada Research Chair in Ocean Mapping.

Since 1987 CFA has represented the interests of the ferry sector in Canada. It encourages high standards for safe, reliable, cost effective and environmentally responsible passenger vessel management. CFA has approximately 100 members, with its owner/operator members accounting for nearly all of the major ferry routes in Canada. Collectively, CFA’s members carry more than 55 million passengers and 22 million vehicles annually.


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