Thanks to a significant investment from both industry and government, Memorial University today welcomed its newest research chair.
Dr. Shawn Kenny was formally appointed the Wood Group Chair in Arctic and Cold Region Engineering during a ceremony on the St. John’s campus.
The chair is sponsored by international energy services company, John Wood Group PLC (Wood Group).
The industrial research chair is associated with Memorial’s Ocean Engineering Research Centre in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and will benefit both undergraduate and post-graduate engineering students.
The Wood Group is investing $500,000 to sponsor the chair over a five-year period in collaboration with Memorial University.
The Research and Development Corporation (RDC) of Newfoundland and Labrador will contribute $500,000 in support of building research capacity in this priority area through the Industrial Research and Innovation Fund (IRIF).
Today’s announcement marks one of the largest research chair contributions at Memorial.
With exploration in the Arctic still in its infancy, Wood Group’s objective is to develop cutting-edge technology for use in Arctic and cold regions for the oil and gas industry. Through the chair position, research will be conducted on pipeline design, construction and operations for northern regions.
Dr. Kenny said today’s investment will be a catalyst for enhancing and developing diverse research opportunities at Memorial.
“The appointment also has strategic importance, from both the regional and international perspective, in terms of technology development that may lead to further growth of local industry, revenue generation and, most importantly, the training of highly qualified personnel who are critical to sustainability of the research program and industry,” said Dr. Kenny, an associate professor in Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
“The investment demonstrates the relevance and strength of research activities at Memorial with respect to ocean technology in harsh and ice environments. This is a recognition of Memorial's legacy and future that is aligned with the provincial strategic vision.”
With a background in academia, research and development, and the oil and gas industry, Dr. Kenny brings two decades of professional experience to his position. His specialty is in offshore pipelines in ice environments with a focus on strain-based design of pipeline systems. Dr. Kenny has been involved with engineering studies for offshore pipeline projects located in the Beaufort Sea, Caspian Sea, Grand Banks, Gulf of Mexico, Labrador Sea, Scotian Shelf and offshore Sakhalin Island. In addition to his professorial responsibilities, he serves as a committee chair and member for the Canadian Standards Association Z-662 Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems standard and as the associate editor of the ASME Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology.
“This new partnership between Memorial and the Wood Group will advance our expertise and abilities in the study of Arctic and cold region engineering,” said Dr. Christopher W. Loomis, president and vice-chancellor pro
tempore at Memorial. “This initiative builds on Memorial’s world-class status in the field of ocean engineering, especially as it relates to the oil and gas industry. I am delighted by Dr. Kenny’s appointment and wish him well with his research.”
“We are pleased to have found such a qualified applicant to fill the new Wood Group chair,” said Mike Straughen, group director and chief executive of Wood Group’s Engineering activities. “A number of our engineering businesses have conducted projects or research in regards to subsea and pipeline engineering in arctic and harsh environments, and Dr. Kenny’s unique mix of experience will fill that need. We’re looking forward to the innovation that will result from this partnership.”
The Research and Development Corporation said it is delighted to be a part of partnership between government, industry and the university.
“We are pleased to invest in the Wood Group Chair of Arctic and Cold Region Engineering which will grow the province’s R&D capacity in Arctic research,” said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of the RDC. “The Industrial Research and Innovation Fund encourages collaboration among academic researchers and industry – and through this fund we are able to support industrial research chairs in priority areas.”
Industry representatives, government officials, and members of the Memorial community were on-hand for today’s announcement.