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REF NO.: 217

SUBJECT: Official opening of new Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory at Memorial University
DATE: June 8, 2010

Ice-covered regions, such as the Arctic, will be vastly more accessible for research with the official opening of the new Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory (AOSL) at Memorial University.
“Memorial is extremely pleased to officially open this new Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory on its St. John’s campus. This research facility will advance harsh environment research and is yet another indication of how important the research at Memorial is to industry partners. This laboratory will benefit the university, our faculty and students and people nationally and internationally,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, president and vice-chancellor pro tempore of Memorial.
The new lab will provide a uniquely designed/equipped space to researchers, including undergraduate and graduate students, co-op students and research engineers. This new environment will help catalyze research on autonomous oceans systems; foster a culture of team work in applied research related to harsh environments, such as the Arctic; and assist the university in reaching a better understanding of ice-covered regions, which have been in otherwise inaccessible environments, through the use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).
The AOSL has been established through generous financial support from the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC), the Canada Research Chairs program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
“This new research facility will help generate knowledge, as well as technical expertise, focused on our ocean and harsh environment,” said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of the Research & Development Corporation. “Research using underwater vehicles represents a significant opportunity for Memorial University to build expertise for the benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
To initiate the partnership with Memorial, RDC is investing a total of $540,755 through its Industrial Research and Innovation Fund (IRIF), the Canada Research Chairs program has committed $500,000 and the Canada Foundation for Innovation through its Leaders Opportunity Fund has committed $192,944. Their contributions have not only established the lab but will also help grow Arctic research in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Providing researchers with the tools they need to undertake leading-edge research is what the CFI is all about,” said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, president and CEO of the CFI. “The research advancements and knowledge sharing that this new lab will enable are sure to have a real and positive impact for all Canadians.”
“The Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory is a demonstration of the partnership between Memorial and provincial and national funding agencies to establish a world-class facility for Arctic research,” said Dr. John Quaicoe, dean pro tempore, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University.
“Our government is investing in science and technology to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve Canadians’ quality of life,” said federal Minister of state for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear. "I would like to wish Dr. Bachmayer and all the researchers involved in the Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory success in their work. Through your hard work and dedication you are helping to realize the full potential of our natural resources, while ensuring a cleaner, safer environment."
The official opening event will include a guided description and demonstration of the latest research projects and equipment in the AOSL, which include:
           an autonomous surface vessel being designed to launch and recover underwater gliders in harsh conditions with minimal personnel requirements;                                           
           an hybrid underwater glider project which is critical to the extended use of underwater gliders off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in ice-covered waters;
           the ocean current profiling glider being calibrated to study hurricanes and their impact on ocean environments; and
           a demonstration of the Seaeye Falcon Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in Memorial’s Ocean Engineering Research Centre.
 
Backgrounder
About the Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory
Research in the lab will focus on helping Canadian researchers, institutions and industry explore areas that are of growing interest because of their economic potential, their relevance to Canada’s security and their impact on our climate. The results will lead to a better understanding of the processes and interactions in these ice-covered regions including local and global environmental issues such as climate change. The research will also provide better tools to explore and exploit the natural resources in these regions.
 
About Memorial University
Founded in 1925 as a memorial to Newfoundland’s war dead, Memorial University College was elevated to degree-granting status in 1949 as Memorial University of Newfoundland. Today, the university is the largest in Atlantic Canada, with about 18,000 students. Memorial provides excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in virtually all disciplines. With locations in St. John’s and Corner Brook in Newfoundland, Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador, the French-owned island of Saint-Pierre, and Harlow in England, Memorial is committed to experiential learning. The university's many interdisciplinary programs abound with opportunities for experiential learning, ranging from on-campus employment to work terms around the world.  
Outstanding research and scholarship, extraordinary teaching and a focus on community service are the university's hallmarks. Many teaching and research activities reflect our mid-North Atlantic locations; these unique settings and our cultural heritage have led to the creation of highly-regarded academic programs and specialized facilities in areas such as music, linguistics, folklore and human genetics, as well as earth sciences, cold-ocean engineering, rural health care and archaeology. For more information about Memorial University of Newfoundland, please go to www.mun.ca.
 
About the Research & Development Corporation
The Research & Development Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s R&D performance. The RDC works with R&D stakeholders including industry, academia and government agencies and departments. For more information about the RDC, go to www.researchnl.com.
 
About the Canada Research Chairs program
The Canada Research Chairs Program is designed to attract the best talent from Canada and around the world, helping universities achieve research excellence in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities. Since its launch in 2000, chair holders improve Canadians’ depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen the country’s international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people. There are currently 1,855 research professorships at 70 universities across Canada. Of these positions, 555 researchers were recruited from abroad, including 252 Canadian expatriates.
 
About the Canada Foundation for Innovation
The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research
infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed $5.3 billion in support of 6,800 projects at 130 research institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.

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