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New Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory launched


Dr. Ralf Bachmeyer


By Jackey Locke


Ice-covered regions, such as the Arctic, will be vastly more accessible for research with the official opening of the new Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory (AOSL) at Memorial University.

“Memorial is extremely pleased to officially open this new Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory on its St. John’s campus,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, president and vice-chancellor pro tempore of Memorial. “This research facility will advance harsh environment research and is yet another indication of how important the research at Memorial is to industry partners.

“This laboratory will benefit the university, our faculty and students and people nationally and internationally.”

The new lab, headed by Dr. Ralf Bachmeyer, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, will provide a uniquely designed/equipped space to researchers, including undergraduate and graduate students, co-op students and research engineers. This new environment will help catalyze research on autonomous ocean systems; foster a culture of team work in applied research related to harsh environments, such as the Arctic; and assist the university in reaching a better understanding of ice-covered regions, which have been in otherwise inaccessible environments, through the use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

The AOSL has been established through generous financial support from the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC), the Canada Research Chairs program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

“This new research facility will help generate knowledge, as well as technical expertise, focused on our ocean and harsh environment,” said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of the Research & Development Corporation. “Research using underwater vehicles represents a significant opportunity for Memorial University to build expertise for the benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
To initiate the partnership with Memorial, RDC is investing a total of $540,755 through its Industrial Research and Innovation Fund (IRIF), the Canada Research Chairs program has committed $500,000 and the CFI through its Leaders Opportunity Fund has committed $192,944. Their contributions have not only established the lab but will also help grow Arctic research in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Providing researchers with the tools they need to undertake leading-edge research is what the CFI is all about,” said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, president and CEO of the CFI. “The research advancements and knowledge sharing that this new lab will enable are sure to have a real and positive impact for all Canadians.”

“The Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory is a demonstration of the partnership between Memorial and provincial and national funding agencies to establish a world-class facility for Arctic research,” said Dr. John Quaicoe, dean pro tempore, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University.

“Our government is investing in science and technology to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve Canadians’ quality of life,” said federal Minister of state for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear. “I would like to wish Dr. Bachmayer and all the researchers involved in the Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory success in their work. Through your hard work and dedication you are helping to realize the full potential of our natural resources, while ensuring a cleaner, safer environment.”
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