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Students net $835,000 for ocean-related research

2011 Ocean Industries Student Research Awards recipients. Photo courtesy of RDC

By Meaghan Whelan

Twenty Memorial University students are receiving a total of $835,000 for research related to this province's growing ocean industries sector through the Research & Development Corporation (RDC) Ocean Industries Student Research Awards competition.

In total, nine doctoral, nine master's and two undergraduate students are receiving $835,000 in support of their ocean-related research over a three-year period. The awards range in value from $7,500 per year for undergraduate research to $20,000-$30,000 per year at the graduate level. The students' research supervisors are also receiving a research allowance to support their students' research activities.

"In order to build on Newfoundland and Labrador's world-class capacity and performance in ocean-related research, it is paramount that we recruit, foster and retain research talent," said Keith Hutchings, minister responsible for the Research & Development Corporation. "Capitalizing on research opportunities in ocean science and technology to further support industry advancement and commercialization is a key element of the province's economy and its continued prosperity."

The investment supports research and development in areas relevant to Newfoundland and Labrador's ocean industries including offshore petroleum engineering, ocean engineering, fisheries, aquaculture and marine science. The students are enrolled in Memorial's Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

"The Research & Development Corporation's investment supports the culture of innovation at Memorial University, enabling these students to conduct research that is critical to the future prosperity of this province," said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of RDC. "These 20 students have a personal stake in ocean-related research. They are tackling technical research challenges that will contribute to innovative solutions relevant to industry and future economic growth."

Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research) of Memorial University, said these awards will enrich Memorial's research programs.

"Students are essential to research success. Their fresh ideas, tenacity and hard work will advance knowledge in their respective fields and will build our capacity for research in the ocean industries that are so important to our university and province," said Dr. Loomis.

The successful students are selected through a competitive process, based on their strong academic achievement, the technical merits of their proposed research plan and the relevance of the research to Newfoundland and Labrador's ocean industries. Final selection of award recipients was made with advice from RDC's research awards committee, comprised of academia, industry and government stakeholders.

The awards target post-secondary students in Newfoundland and Labrador, across Canada and internationally, enrolled in science, engineering and technology programs that have an interest in pursuing research in the province's growing ocean industries sector. They are open to post-secondary students who are interested in pursuing their studies and conducting leading-edge research at Memorial University of Newfoundland or College of North Atlantic.

Applications for the 2012 Ocean Industries Research Awards will be accepted until Jan. 27, 2012.