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Memorial University of Newfoundland researchers named recipients of Petro-Canada Award

Ref. No. 132

RELEASE DATE:     April 6, 2001
SUBJECT:     Memorial University of Newfoundland researchers named recipients of Petro-Canada Award

Memorial University of Newfoundland and Petro-Canada jointly announced today that Dr. Serpil Kocabiyik, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics; and Dr. Len Zedel, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, have been selected as recipients of the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award.

Petro-Canada created this national awards program to help support Canada's "brain gain" by attracting, recognizing, promoting and supporting outstanding and innovative young faculty researchers. With $4.3 million invested to date in 22 learning institutes across the country, the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Awards Program is fast building a strong and talented alumni of some of Canada's brightest young minds.

Dr. Kocabiyik's research project is in fluid dynamics and focuses on the impact of the unsteady flow of fluids around a cylindrical body. This project is of significant importance in the field of ocean engineering, in that it will be used to accurately predict the design life of cylindrical offshore structures and help refine offshore designs.

Dr. Zedel is undertaking a research project to field test Doppler sonar systems optimized to measure the speed of swimming fish. Doppler sonar systems are routinely used to measure ocean currents but existing systems actually eliminate the acoustic signature of fish when used for current measure. In the long term, it is hoped that this application of Doppler sonar technology will provide fisheries managers with a better view of changing fish populations and distributions.

Commenting on the awards, Dr. Christopher Loomis, acting vice-president (research and international relations), extended his congratulations on behalf of the university. "We are very pleased that both Dr. Kocabiyik and Dr. Zedel have received this award and commend them for their dedication and hard work," Dr. Loomis said. "It is heartening to see companies like Petro-Canada making serious contributions to basic and applied research at Memorial."

Gary Bruce, Vice-President of Offshore Development and Operations commented on Petro-Canada's support of the two researchers and the University: "Memorial University has a reputation as one of Canada's best universities in the areas of marine and ocean research. We are enormously proud of our affiliation with them and of the opportunity to make an impact through our funding of faculty research. The research undertaken by both Dr. Kocabiyik and Dr. Zedel are examples of the high calibre of innovation and initiative found at Memorial. We congratulate both award recipients and wish them success in their research projects."

Petro-Canada is a strong supporter of institutions of higher learning in the country, and is proud to sponsor Memorial University of Newfoundland. Over the past five years, Petro-Canada has contributed $500,000 to The Opportunity Fund, $250,000 of which has been used to create the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Awards Program. The remaining $250,000 helps sponsor, in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. This Chair was created to encourage women to enter and remain in science and engineering careers.

Memorial University is committed to excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and service to the public. The university recognizes a special obligation to educate the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, to undertake research on the challenges the province faces, and to share its expertise with the community.

Petro-Canada is one of Canada's largest oil and gas companies, operating in both the upstream and the downstream sectors of the industry. Through its Offshore Development and Operations headquarters in St. John's, the company is a major player in the development of Canadian offshore oil and gas assets, with a focus on the Grand Banks area. Petro-Canada is a partner in both Hibernia and Terra Nova, and is operator of Terra Nova on behalf of its owners.


For more information, contact Deborah Inkpen, information officer (research), Memorial University, at 737-4073 or e-mail: inkpend@mun.ca or John Downton, corporate communications Petro-Canada (709) 724-2915.


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