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Taking root

Providing seed money for innovative, ocean-related research projects

Research

By Patti Lewis

While large, multi-year research projects serve as the cornerstone of the Ocean Frontier Institute’s work, a new funding program has been launched that helps smaller marine-based projects, move forward and grow.

Supporting new ideas or concepts

The Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) Seed Fund provides financial support to ideas that have the potential to advance research, commercial or social concepts related to ocean sustainability.

The OFI Seed Fund supports ocean-related projects that offer high potential for innovation success.
The OFI Seed Fund supports ocean-related projects that offer high potential for innovation success.
Photo: Submitted

While the funding isn’t large — typically ranging between $10,000 and $15,000 — it will help early-stage projects get started.

Funds can be used to conduct feasibility studies or develop prototypes, undertake pilot studies, collect and analyze early stage data and validate new research methodologies or approaches.

‘Ocean of opportunity’

“The criteria are broad, and we did that on purpose,” said Dr. Marlon Lewis, OFI’s scientific director. “We want to encourage innovative ideas that help us better understand the issues that challenge the ocean while we also seek solutions that generate economic and social benefits from all the ocean has to offer.

“There’s an ocean of opportunity out there, and we want to encourage research projects that tap that potential. As the saying goes, good things come in small packages, and through OFI’s investment, we give these creative ideas, a chance to grow.”

Grassroots support

The OFI Seed Fund is available to students, faculty and staff at Memorial University and Dalhousie University. Projects that receive financing must be completed within 12 months.

“That, too, was done on purpose,” said Dr. Paul Snelgrove, OFI’s associate scientific director. “As lead partners in OFI, Dalhousie and Memorial wanted to support concepts at the grassroots level, backing ideas created by those who work or study at our post-secondary schools. The 12-month timeframe means projects can be done within an academic year, playing a key role in driving student success.

“The program will initially fund a small number of seed projects,” added Dr. Snelgrove. “But we hope those seeds will bear fruit in catalyzing larger projects, allowing us to eventually expand the program.”


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