Investment supports new chair and research
By Jackey Locke
A $2.6-million investment has created Memorial's newest research chair. Dr. Faisal Khan, a professor of process engineering in Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, is the new Vale Research Chair in Process Risk and Safety Engineering.
The chair is supported by Vale, with an investment of $1.5 million to establish the chair, as well as a health and safety program, health and safety laboratories and student support; the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC), with an investment of $800,000 and an investment of $300,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Associated with Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the chair will expand and support the faculty’s safety and risk engineering program.
“The research chair will strengthen the ongoing research, teaching and training initiative in this important area. It will also provide opportunities for students and professionals to acquire knowledge and skill in the area of safety and risk engineering, which is much desired in industry and other professional institutions,” said Dr. Khan.
“The Vale Research Chair in Process Risk and Safety Engineering will help find solutions to the unique challenges faced by process industries, providing inherently safer design and operations, especially in harsh environments. This strategic investment will also enable Memorial University to assume a leadership role in safety and risk management as it relates to process engineering,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research), Memorial University.
“Safety is a fundamental and unassailable priority at Vale. Our goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate all safety related incidents in our operations and to that end we are continuously evaluating and minimizing operational risks to safety. We have been working with Memorial for some time on the development of a process risk and safety engineering program and are pleased to see this becoming a reality,” said Tom Paddon, general manager of Vale’s operations in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Glenn Janes, chief executive officer, RDC, said today’s collaboration bodes well for safety and risk engineering research in Newfoundland and Labrador. He said RDC’s $800,000 investment will further establish essential research expertise.
“Enhancing knowledge and skills in this growing research area will lead the way to future success and growth in our province’s mineral and energy industries,” said Mr. Janes. “Today’s funding will allow Memorial researchers to develop models for risk assessment and safety management systems which can then be applied to industry ultimately allowing for safe and sustainable mineral and energy development.”
“Our government believes that support for innovation is essential to secure Canada’s place as a leader in the development and deployment of technological advancements in our natural resources industries,” said Keith Ashfield, minister of National Revenue, minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and minister for the Atlantic Gateway. “That is why we continue to work with public and private sector partners to support and promote investment in innovation and leading edge research through key programs such as our Atlantic Innovation Fund.”
The Vale Research Chair in Process Risk and Safety Engineering will support Memorial’s long-term vision to establish a cluster of scientists and engineers focused on supporting the minerals and oil and gas industries in the province and Vale’s goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate the incidence of disabling injuries and production loss at all operations and projects.
In addition to the above, the chair will develop highly-trained personnel to create expertise and knowledge in the important area of safety and risk engineering, particularly in process systems relevant to mineral extraction and oil and gas processing.
It will generate new data and develop advanced methodologies and models for risk assessment and design of safety measure for processing facilities. It will also develop expert tools for fault diagnosis and accident prevention in processing facilities, develop advanced systems for risk-based integrity management and loss prevention in harsh and remote operating conditions as well as develop novel methods for inherently safer process design and operations.
With a significant research record in the area of risk assessment and an international reputation in his area of expertise, Dr. Khan brings more than 15 years of experience to his position. He is also sought after by several companies from around the world to provide support and expert advice on safety and risk assessment. His research interests include safety and risk engineering, environmental risk modelling, life cycle analysis, computer aided process plant design and inherent safety. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Dr. Khan has authored four books and more than 150 internationally refereed research papers.
Vale is global mining company that operates the Voisey's Bay mine in Labrador and is building a processing plant in Long Harbour.