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Province investing in ocean technology at MI and Faculty of Engineering

From left, Dr. Christopher Loomis, Dr. Wei Qiu and Susan Sullivan on equipment in the Faculty of Engineering tow tank. Also pictured is Engineering Technologist Trevor Clark, tow tank technician.


By Meaghan Whelan

Memorial University is expanding its capacity to service the growing demands of the global ocean technology sector with a $647,000 investment from the provincial government.

The investment will enable Memorial University to upgrade its facilities at the Ocean Engineering Research Centre (OERC) and the Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation.

“This support will significantly advance the capabilities of Memorial University’s unique research and training facilities in the Ocean Engineering Research Centre and the Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research), Memorial University.

“They build upon and will help maintain Memorial University’s reputation as a leader in ocean technology research, and training for improved safety and effectiveness in offshore operations.”

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is an active supporter of initiatives that strengthen ties between educational institutions and industry.

“Globally, businesses operating in ocean-related industries are seeking innovative technologies and services that allow them to better-operate vessels and offshore platforms in harsh environments,” said Minister Sullivan. “Memorial University over the years has positioned itself as a leading source for such technologies and services – both through its tow tank and marine simulators. This investment will enable it to continue to expand its scope of services to meet industry needs.”

Located within Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the OERC will be upgrading its tow tank with a $400,000 investment.

“The OERC has leading expertise in the areas of engineering design for harsh environments, Arctic engineering, marine hydrodynamics, marine and offshore structures, offshore engineering and safety, autonomous ocean systems and ocean sensor technologies. OERC researchers lead many large projects funded by the offshore industry, government agencies and national and international partners.

“In keeping with Memorial’s strategic plan, OERC would like to continue advancing its capability to address the challenges in ocean technology and offshore research. The funding announced today and the $100,000 commitment from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science will be used to upgrade the tow tank’s wave making system and to develop the flow visualization capability and the advanced measurement systems. The renewed facility will meet the increasing demands from industry and academia in the growing area of ocean technology,” said Dr. Wei Qiu, director of OERC.

The Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation will use a $247,000 investment to add to its marine simulation activities.

“With this investment, the Marine Institute will develop a "first of its kind" capacity to create training exercises that realistically imitate offshore operations,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute. “By integrating our remotely operated vehicle simulator with our dynamic positioning and navigation simulators and developing an advanced tug simulator, Capt. Chris Hearn and his team at our Centre for Marine Simulation will provide the Newfoundland and Labrador ocean technology sector with enhanced simulation services that will improve the safety and efficiency of marine operations.”

Both projects support Memorial University’s vision for offering a complete range of training exercises for industry, which will help mitigate the risk of accidents, accelerate training and improve performance, and test new equipment designs.

These projects are supported through the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development’s OceanTech Intelligence Program. Established under Oceans of Opportunity, the program is designed to advance initiatives focused on growing Newfoundland and Labrador’s ocean technology sector.