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Million-dollar investment

New engineering research chair created

Dr. Shawn Kenny is Memorial’s newest research chair.

By Jeff Green

A modest smile stretched across Dr. Shawn Kenny’s face earlier this month as the associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science was named the university’s newest research chair.

During a news conference on Nov. 10, Dr. Kenny was formally appointed the Wood Group Chair in Arctic and Cold Region Engineering.

The international energy services company, John Wood Group PLC (Wood Group), is investing $500,000 to sponsor the chair over a five-year period in collaboration with Memorial, while the Research and Development Corporation (RDC) of Newfoundland and Labrador is contributing $500,000 through its Industrial Research and Innovation Fund (IRIF).

The announcement makes it one of the largest research chair contributions at Memorial.

Dr. Kenny said the investment will be a catalyst for enhancing and developing diverse research opportunities at Memorial.

“The appointment also has strategic importance, from both the regional and international perspective, in terms of technology development that may lead to further growth of local industry, revenue generation and, most importantly, the training of highly-qualified personnel who are critical to sustainability of the research program and industry,” said Dr. Kenny.
With a background in academia, research and development, and the oil and gas industry, Dr. Kenny brings two decades of professional experience to his position.

His specialty is in offshore pipelines in ice environments with a focus on strain-based design of pipeline systems. Dr. Kenny has been involved with engineering studies for offshore pipeline projects located in the Beaufort Sea, Caspian Sea, Grand Banks, Gulf of Mexico, Labrador Sea, Scotian Shelf and offshore Sakhalin Island.

“This new partnership between Memorial and the Wood Group will advance our expertise and abilities in the study of Arctic and cold region engineering,” said Dr. Christopher W. Loomis, president and vice-chancellor pro tempore.

“This initiative builds on Memorial’s world-class status in the field of ocean engineering, especially as it relates to the oil and gas industry. I am delighted by Dr. Kenny’s appointment and wish him well with his research.”

The Research and Development Corporation said the partnership between government, industry and the university will result in new research.

“We are pleased to invest in the Wood Group Chair of Arctic and Cold Region Engineering which will grow the province’s R&D capacity in Arctic research,” said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of the RDC.

“The Industrial Research and Innovation Fund encourages collaboration among academic researchers and industry. Through this fund we are able to support industrial research chairs in priority areas.”

Industry representatives, government officials and members of the Memorial community were on hand for the announcement, including Sir Ian Wood, chairman of the Wood Group, and provincial Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dave Denine.