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(February 22, 2001, Gazette)

International technology transfer in action
From Space to Earth

(L-R) Jamie King and Lloyd Smith, Intrignia, Dr. Meisen, Minister Tobin, Judith Whittick and Paul Mills, vice-president of ACOA for Newfoundland and LabradorBy James O’Brien
Special to the Gazette

Visitors to C-CORE observe the interaction between mining telerobots in a demonstration conducted by C-CORE’s Intelligent Systems group and Intrignia, a company formed by a group of Memorial graduates. (L-R) Jamie King and Lloyd Smith, Intrignia, Dr. Meisen, Minister Tobin, Judith Whittick and Paul Mills, vice-president of ACOA for Newfoundland and Labrador

The European Space Agency announced the award of a $1.3 million contract to C-CORE to implement Phase III of the Harsh Environments Initiative at a ceremony at C-CORE on Friday. The initiative, which was launched in 1997, is an international network to identify, transfer and adapt technologies developed by European and Canadian space agencies into terrestrial and marine environments. These technologies span diverse projects, including satellite monitoring of pipelines on slopes, remote robotic mining operations, and automation of inspection tasks in sawmills, among others.

Federal Industry Minister Brian Tobin, Premier Roger Grimes and space agency representative Dr. Pierre Brisson headlined the Feb. 17 event.

“C-CORE is providing opportunities for graduate research to students of Memorial University,” said Minister Tobin to an audience of industry and academic leaders as well as space agency partners. “This helps make Canadian companies become more innovative and competitive in the global marketplace by adapting leading-edge space technologies and driving Canadian innovation in the development of smart robotics and sensors

Dr. Brisson, head of the technology transfer, assessment and promotion for the ESA, contributed a European perspective.

“The C-CORE-led Harsh Environments Initiative has ... exceeded our expectations and we look forward to continuing to support (its) future expansion.”

The focus of the initiative is on industrial operations in the economies of Canada and Europe, especially, oil and gas and mining, both of which undertake operations in inhospitable terrestrial and marine environments. Industries that operate in harsh or geographically remote terrestrial and marine environments are faced with major challenges: to keep costs down, minimize the impact of their operations on the environment, and ensure human safety. These are precisely the operational imperatives that gave rise to the HEI.

“We’ve been very successful in obtaining international support for the program, which helps us achieve the goal of transferring the products of space research and development to industrial and commercial exploitation in Earth’s harsh environments,” explained Judith Whittick president and CEO.

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