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April 8, 2004
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Building bridges in the marine technology community


Memorial University is hosting a new initiative that aims to bring the province's marine technology industry to the world.

The Marine Technology Alliance Building and Marketing Initiative – or “Bridges,” as it’s been dubbed by its creators – is a $2.35-million program that will help private and public players in the marine technology industry access new markets and generate wealth in the province.
Twelve St. John’s-based Centres of Excellence in marine technology serve as the core focus of the initiative (see sidebar). These groups represent a number of marine-related fields including simulation, safety training, marine performance, aquaculture, sustainable fisheries, remote sensing and communications.

Memorial’s Centres of Excellence for this initiative include the Centre for Earth Resources Research (CERR), the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC), the Ocean Engineering Research Centre (OERC), the Telemedicine and Educational Technology Resources Agency (TETRA) and the Centre for Offshore and Remote Medicine (MEDICOR). The Marine Institute is represented through the Centre for Marine Simulation (CMS), the Offshore Safety and Survival Centre (OSSC), the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources (CSAR) and the Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development (CASD). The other Centres of Excellence identified for the Bridges program are C-CORE, the National Research Council’s Institute for Ocean Technology (IOT) and the College of the North Atlantic’s Engineering Technology Centre.

Newfoundland and Labrador – St. John's in particular – possesses an impressive wealth of knowledge as well as an incredible collection of high quality marine technology, in large part owing to these marine-focused groups. It’s no surprise that Bridges should set its sights upon establishing the area as an internationally-recognized “hub” of marine technology expertise. The collaboration of all participants – government, the Centres of Excellence and private sector partners – will in turn increase the commercial viability of Bridges’ membership, provincially, nationally and internationally.

To this end, Bridges is now accepting proposals for funding to support marketing and alliance building initiatives. A call for proposals has just been issued; interested stakeholders must reply by May 31, 2004. Proposals may be submitted by private or public organizations, provided the proposal demonstrates a collaboration with one or more of the identified Centres of Excellence.

As a precursor to this latest call for proposals, Bridges offered small amounts of seed-funding last fall, allowing groups to identify and approach potential partners.

The Bridges office is located at the Marine Institute. A steering committee comprised of industry, academic and government representatives manages the initiative. Dr. Chris Loomis, vice-president (research), represents Memorial on the committee. Bridges is being supported by the federal and provincial governments and is financed through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Development Fund.

For more information on Bridges, please visit www.bridgespartnerships.ca or contact Neil Gall, executive director, at neil.gall@mi.mun.ca or at 758-8364.


 


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Next issue: April 29, 2004

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