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Value of the gulf

Grenfell partnering with Quebec universities in oil and gas research

special feature: Environment

Part of a special series showcasing faculty, staff and students’ commitment to placing the environment at the forefront of  research, public engagement and teaching and learning activities at Memorial.

By Pamela Gill

Research capacity at Grenfell Campus will help researchers in Québec learn more about the socio-economic and cultural impacts oil and gas development could have on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Notre Golfe is a research group with representatives from Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université du Québec à Montreal and Université de Laval; their scientists are studying the Gulf of St. Lawrence from Quebec’s standpoint, but are looking to increase the scope of work to include a “pan-gulf” perspective.

Sustainable research management

Grenfell Campus researchers will be the first gulf members from outside of Québec to participate.

Dr. Robert Scott of Grenfell’s sustainable research management program is one of those researchers.

Dr. Robert Scott
Dr. Robert Scott
Photo: David Howells

“At Grenfell, we have socio-economic and cultural research capacity through our environmental programs and the Environmental Policy Institute,” he said, adding that the work of Notre Golfe has significance for Newfoundland and Labrador.

“While a significant portion of the economy of Western Newfoundland is dependent upon the Gulf of St. Lawrence, oil exploration and development has the potential to impact these economic and social drivers. It is the broader objective of Notre Golfe to understand the nature and scale of those impacts.”

Western N.L. employment

The Gulf of St. Lawrence supports roughly $259 million in coastal and offshore fisheries value and an estimated $299 million in tourism value, with combined employment of 7,800 individuals in Western Newfoundland.

Recently, Dr. Scott and community partner Raymond Cusson, chair, Gros Morne Co-operating Association, brought representatives of Notre Golfe to Grenfell Campus to investigate the establishment of a formal partnership with the group.

Labrador Institute collaboration

The group met with representation from the Labrador Institute, which has capacity to study the gulf along the Labrador coast, and also travelled to the Bonne Bay Marine Station in the community of Norris Point.

The aims of the meeting were threefold: to share the research each of the partners is currently conducting; to make plans for future regional collaboration involving the sharing of expertise (faculty, local community members) and facilities (buildings, research vessels, equipment); and to discuss the establishment of a formal partnership.

“This partnership between Notre Golfe, Grenfell and our community partner will support the fostering of collaborative multidisciplinary research based at Grenfell Campus.” — Dr. Robert Scott

Dr. Scott’s community partner, the Gros Morne Co-operating Association, is engaged in dialogue concerning the linking of biological, social and economic research along the coast of Western Newfoundland to the Notre Golfe project. The association is keen to support local research that will benefit the sustainable development of industries in the in the Gros Morne region.

“This partnership between Notre Golfe, Grenfell and our community partner will support the fostering of collaborative multidisciplinary research based at Grenfell Campus,” added Dr. Scott.

For more information about Notre Golfe, please visit here.

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