The following is being issued at the request of the Research & Development Corporation:
Memorial Universitys cold-oceans research facility, the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC), received a landmark infrastructure investment of $8,325,477 from the Research & Development Corporation (RDC). The announcement was made today at the OSC, located in Logy Bay on the Avalon Peninsula.
The funding will be used to build new infrastructure at the OSC that will include a deep-sea water supply to provide consistent, low-temperature sea water year-round. The cold-water source will enable researchers to expand the amount of time they can hold deep-water animals for research.
The Research & Development Corporation, through this $8.3 million investment, is building on a unique asset that the province already has in the
Ocean Sciences Centre, said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of the Research & Development Corporation. By significantly enhancing the infrastructure of the OSC, we are seizing an opportunity to turn the OSC into a world-class asset for cold-ocean research and achieve international excellence in this area.
The funding will also facilitate the development of a bio-containment facility for research on infectious diseases affecting marine animals, as well as invasive aquatic species. In the OSCs current capacity, research on hazardous subjects has been limited due to the risks involved with accessing and handling live specimens. The bio-containment facility will address this limitation.
Newfoundland and Labradors researchers and private sector enterprises are engaged in groundbreaking work that has positioned them at the forefront of the global ocean technology sector, said Shawn Skinner, minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. The expansion of the Ocean Sciences Centre is a critical step in advancing the capabilities of local researchers and will enable them to acquire a better understanding of the vast opportunities in our ocean environment. As highlighted in Oceans of Opportunity, the provincial governments five-year, $28-million ocean technology development strategy, this government is committed to encouraging growth in the ocean technology sector by making strategic investments to enhance Newfoundland and Labradors capacity for innovation.
The OSC was first opened in 1967 and is an internationally-renowned facility for research on cold-water organisms.
The Ocean Sciences Centre has long played a unique and important role in ocean research at Memorial University, said Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research). Like much of our infrastructure, however, it is need of renewal. This investment from RDC will significantly enhance our research
capabilities, thereby enabling new specialized work on invasive species, deep-water organisms and marine diseases. The results of this investment will also help to attract world-class students and scientists to Memorial University and the province.
This major investment by the Research & Development Corporation is truly exciting for the Ocean Sciences Centre, allowing for the creation of new state-of-the-art facilities for the study of cold-water and deep-sea organisms and ecosystems, said Dr. Ian Fleming, a professor at the centre and its former director. It opens new horizons for research and innovation, allowing significant advances in the knowledge of how organisms inhabiting the North Atlantic and Arctic respond to changes in their environment, as well as the risks posed by infectious diseases and invasive organisms. Given the growing recognition of the critical importance of the worlds oceans and its biodiversity during this period of rapid global change, the investment is very timely.
The $8.3 million investment from RDC leverages in excess of $10 million for a total project cost of over $18 million. Co-investors include the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for $8.4 million, the Department of Education for $1 million, and the Canadian Hydrographic Institute, and others. The project, which includes state-of-the-art equipment, laboratories, cold-water holding tanks, pressurized holding tanks, and a stable cold water intake, is expected to be complete in 2012.