The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) held a news conference today in Memorial’s Inco Innovation Centre to announce details of Round IV of the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF). The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, released the details of the eight projects in Newfoundland and Labrador that will receive up to $16.7 million in funding under the Government of Canada’s Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF).
“These projects build on the tremendous expertise we are developing here in Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly in oceans technology but also in information technology, medical research and alternative energy,” said Minister Hearn. “The partnerships created through these projects allow us to accelerate the speed of commercializing good ideas and products and bringing them to markets around the world."
“The Atlantic Innovation Fund helps to create unique opportunities in our region to support R&D for the purpose of advancing existing and developing new industries. At Memorial University, it also enables us to attract and educate more graduate students from our Province and from elsewhere. The AIF is therefore a key strategic initiative for ensuring that our future is bright in an increasingly competitive global economy,” said Dr. Meisen, president of Memorial University.
Two Memorial University researchers received a total of $ 3.7 million from the AIF:
- Small Craft Simulation – Backbone Technology Development Researchers at Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science will develop market-ready prototypes for small craft simulation. The simulator training will replicate scenario-based, mission-oriented conditions to the extent necessary to trigger behavioral responses in the trainees. The project will improve skills and situational awareness, enhance human performance, and reduce the probability of human error and accidents. The project leader is Dr. Brian Veitch, associate professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Virtual Marine Technologies Inc. will market and sell the simulators. With total estimated costs of approximately $4.1 million, the project will receive up to $2 million in assistance from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over three years.
- Advanced Well Completion Modeling and Optimization
Memorial will lead the research and development of a three-year oil and gas related project with industry partners. The end products will be implemented in commercial software for oil and gas industry applications in field developments with emphasis on optimal well design and flow assurance. The products will be directly applicable to developments in Atlantic Canada and in particular to offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. These fields will be continuously subject to well optimization and implementation of new technology for increased production and delineation of reserves. With total estimated costs of approximately $2.8 million, the project will receive up to $1.7 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over a three-year period. Dr. Thormod Johansen, Canada Research Chair in Petroleum Reservoir Engineering and Characterization, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is the project leader.
Memorial is also a participant on two other projects which received AIF funding in the fourth round:
- Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro -- Remote Community Wind-Hydrogen-Diesel Energy Solution
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) is a provincial crown corporation that generates, transmits and distributes electrical power and energy to utility, residential and industrial customers throughout the province. This project will see Hydro partner with several other organizations including Memorial University and Natural Resources Canada to develop a green technology mix of wind, hydrogen and diesel power for remote communities. With total estimated costs of approximately $9.7 million, the project will receive up to $3 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over a five-year period.
- NewLab Clinical Research Inc. -- Psoriasis Target and Drug Development
St. John’s-based NewLab Clinical Research Inc. is a medical research company founded by Dr. Wayne Gulliver, who has an international reputation in the genetics of psoriasis. NewLab has expanded to do clinical research with other conditions associated with psoriasis. Through this project, NewLab will study the genetics and clinical aspects of these links and provide drug targets for Memorial University of Newfoundland to design drug molecules. The molecules will be licensed to the pharmaceutical industry and are expected to attract significant future research investment and to generate substantial royalties. With total estimated costs of approximately $4.9 million, the project will receive up to $2.3 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.
The AIF announcement came as part of a series of announcements to release details on the 29 innovative research and development projects that will receive up to $67.1 million in AIF funding throughout Atlantic Canada.