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‘Win-win-win situation’

A Memorial, not-for-profit and local business seafood collaboration


By Jeff Green

Pursuing new ideas and bringing technologies to market.

Memorial’s Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office acts as a sort of “matchmaker” between businesses and researchers, says Kara Strickland (B.Sc., B.Comm.’05) intellectual property advisor in the office.

A woman is seen wearing a teal-coloured jacket, yellow hard hat and glasses, with hands placed in coat pockets.
Kara Strickland
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

A member of the Springboard Atlantic network, the TTCO is designed to support faculty, students and staff with their research industrial liaison, technology transfer and commercialization activities.

“We help establish connections, put projects together and license developed technologies,” said Ms. Strickland.

Strategic focus

One example is its work with the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI), a not-for-profit corporation formed in 1989 and sponsored by Memorial, industry and government.

Alumnus Keith Hutchings (BA’90), who also completed a certificate in public administration in 1990, is the managing director of CCFI.

He says his organization plays a similar role as that of the TTCO – facilitating partnerships to solve challenges.

“CCFI is strategically connected to ocean technology, seafood processing, fishery gear development and harvesting enterprises, to name a few,” explained Mr. Hutchings.

He says his group focuses on collaborations between academic and research institutions and private industry in the wild capture and aquaculture fisheries.

“Seeing the outcomes brought to life through industry partnerships is very rewarding.” — Kara Strickland

Over the past 30 years, CCFI has led research and development in the start of new fisheries, such as the sea cucumber industry and the expansion of others, such as the crab industry. Mr. Hutchings says CCFI has also researched and developed vaccines and treatments for the aquaculture sector.

“CCFI and its partners have undertaken more than 830 research and development projects over its 30-year history with a total value estimate of $180 million. CCFI supports the vision of a seafood industry that integrates the latest technology and innovation to ensure sustainability and profitability for those directly involved and for the communities it supports.”

‘Full suite’

The TTCO has provided CCFI with “invaluable expertise and insight” into technology development, patent and commercialization process, he added.

The centre also partnered with the TTCO for the development, commercialization and patent process for a sea cucumber prototype. TTCO staff assisted with a licensing agreement with C&W Industrial Fabrication and Marine Equipment Ltd.

Three individuals are seen outside an industrial warehouse.
From left are Keith Hutchings, Kara Strickland and Dennis Crane.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“Working with Memorial helps our family business access new technology for sea cucumber processing,” said Dennis Crane, vice-president with C&W.

“Our Bay Bulls-based company employs more than 50 people and designs and manufactures food processing equipment for national and international markets.”

It’s a win-win-win situation.

“Having the support from TTCO allows CCFI to offer a full suite of service to industry partners,” explained Mr. Hutchings.

In turn, CCFI developed and applied innovative technology with C&W for the sea cucumber processing machine, helping the company become a leader in the development and manufacturing of the technology.

“The focus on sea cucumber has supported a substantial increase in landed value over the past decade from approximately $700,000 landed value in 2014 to $8 million today and growing,” noted Mr. Hutchings.

So far, nearly 20 machines have been sold and used in various facilities in Atlantic Canada.

An orange machine works on a sheet of material, outlining shapes.
C&W Industrial’s laser cutting machine
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

For her part, Ms. Strickland says the TTCO team welcomes opportunities to collaborate with Memorial researchers, industry and organizations to support innovative ideas.

“We are an interface between companies and research to help create partnerships that can improve lives, support jobs and transform ideas into business opportunities,” she said.

“Memorial produces great research that impacts our communities and the businesses that operate locally. Seeing the outcomes brought to life through industry partnerships is very rewarding. C&W, for example, has a strong product that is backed by solid research and development and protected by patent. All of this work combined is aimed at improving sea cucumber processing.”

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