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In Brief

Geography celebrates at GEO

As part of the festivities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Department of Geography, the Johnson GEO CENTRE continues to sponsor a series of public lectures on the role of geography in all of our lives.

Dr. Keith Story, honorary research professor in the Faculty of Arts’ Geography Department, will discuss Home and Away: Alberta-bound on the “Big Commute” on Tuesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the GEO CENTRE in St. John’s.

Newfoundlanders have always gone away to work. Fort McMurray and the oil sands region of Northern Alberta is currently the destination of choice, with its opportunities for work in all phases of oil sands work from exploration through development to production.

SIFE tops region

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Memorial claimed three regional championships at the 2011 Regional Topic Competition held in Halifax, N.S., recently.

SIFE presented on their community outreach programs at the competition. Fourteen students competed in three different topic competitions, representing three different areas of SIFE initiatives. Five students presented on the entrepreneurial projects offered in the community, while another team of five presented on the financial education focused projects.

The remaining four students presented on the environmentally focused projects. Each team was given 10 minutes to provide a comprehensive presentation on their projects and results of the past year. This was followed by a question and answer segment from a panel of judges.

SIFE claimed the regional championship for its projects in all challenges: the SIFE Financial Education Challenge, the Scotiabank Go Green Challenge and the TD Canada Trust Entrepreneurship Challenge. The winning team of each topic challenge will represent Atlantic Canada at the national exposition in May at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

More information on SIFE and upcoming competitions is available at

RDC and Boeing help grow engineering

Researchers at Memorial University of Newfoundland will soon be better positioned to respond to collaborative research and development (R&D) opportunities with industry partners thanks to $723,750 in funding announced recently by the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC).

New specialized R&D tools and scientific equipment will be purchased for the creation of the Mechatronic Development and Prototyping Facility at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

The investment from RDC complements funding from The Boeing Company to Memorial for research on autonomous systems. RDC's funding is provided under the Research Tools and Equipment element of the corporation's April 2010 competitive call for R&D infrastructure proposals.

Mechatronics is the integration of mechanical, electrical and computer engineering to improve the design and functionality of intelligent systems and useful products. The new facility will include the purchase of equipment to provide important technology critical to future product development and growth, including the promotion of improved designs, shorter design cycles and lower costs. The equipment will provide new capabilities that are not available to local researchers and companies within the province. This equipment has been identified as vital to future product development and growth in the province.

The new facility will be a key component supporting collaborative R&D between Memorial University and The Boeing Company. It will also serve the specialized needs of researchers and other industrial partners whose focus is Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles.

The new facility is set to open in late 2011.