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REF NO.: 51

SUBJECT: Official announcement of the NSERC CREATE Training Program for Offshore Technology Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland
DATE: Oct. 29, 2010

Collaboration between Memorial University, provincial and national research agencies and the oil and gas industry will create an innovative and collaborative program for offshore technology research to address significant scientific challenges in offshore design and operations.
The NSERC CREATE Training Program for Offshore Technology Research will train highly-qualified personnel for the growing offshore industry and build on the research strengths in support of Canada’s research priorities in natural resources and energy, as well as the province’s priority on ocean research. The program will facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce.
The program will give graduate students in engineering the opportunity to take specialized courses and focus research in four thematic areas: floating structures, mooring lines and risers, corrosion material engineering and subsea systems. During the path of their research, students will participate in a four-month internship with an industrial or research partner.
“The innovative nature of the program lies in providing a value-added experience to the university environment by engaging world-class research institutes and universities, leading oil and gas operators, classification societies and engineering firms. Internship opportunities with the national and international partners will help the students develop professional skills and promote interaction between academic and non-academic research environments,” explained Dr. Wei Qiu, an associate professor with Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and principal investigator for the program.
“The oil and gas sector is moving to ultra-deepwater and harsh ice-covered regions and the challenge is to develop these resources while protecting the workers and the environment. The industry is calling for improved technology and highly-skilled workers with specialties in offshore technology to address these challenges and Memorial University is uniquely positioned to respond,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research) at Memorial University. “Our existing research capacity, graduate and undergraduate programs and international collaborators create the ideal environment for a program like this.”
The NSERC CREATE training program has been established through generous financial support from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada (PRAC), the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) as well as funding from Memorial University.  
PRAC has committed $500,000 to the project. “From our perspective this is a great investment,” said Dave Finn, chief operating officer of PRAC. “Our industry members have a long-term commitment to research and development in Newfoundland and Labrador, on harsh environment issues in particular, and this will directly add to the university’s and the province’s capacity in a number of relevant areas. It’s also great leveraging for our industry dollars to co-fund with NSERC, RDC and Memorial.”                                                        
            Glenn Janes, chief executive officer, Research & Development Corporation, said RDC’s $500,000 investment will enable Newfoundland and Labrador to become a global leader in training highly-qualified personnel to address the needs of the offshore industry.
“Thanks to the collaboration between government, industry and Memorial, this graduate training program will significantly enhance the province’s presence in offshore technology and advance R&D and training initiatives,” said Mr. Janes. “Investments such as this will ensure our students receive the best and most innovative training allowing them to address very specialized challenges in offshore design and operations for this province’s increasingly important offshore industry.”
Memorial’s School of Graduate Studies has committed $450,000 in support of fellowships and financial assistance. Memorial’s Office of the Vice- President (Research) has committed $90,000. In addition, Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has committed $50,000 and space for the program.
“The School of Graduate Studies welcomes the opportunity to support the training of our best young scholars on this wonderful project,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
NSERC is the primary investor for this project, with a commitment of $1,650,000.
 
Backgrounder
 
About The NSERC CREATE Training Program for Offshore Technology Research (OTR):
 
The NSERC CREATE training program provides graduate engineering students with the specialized skills needed to meet the demands of a changing and increasingly complex offshore industry.
The program was created in response to identified needs in the offshore industry and has been designed to ensure that trainees receive professional training and active participation; team building; critical thinking; key industry  
problem solving; writing and presentation skills; networking with others and
mentoring and career development. The program includes a blend of research and training for students in the ocean and naval architectural, process, chemistry, electrical and civil engineering graduate programs.
OTR industrial partners will have the opportunity to host the students in their work environment and be active participants in the growth and development of the students, their research and the program. Current partners include ConocoPhillips; Husky Energy; American Bureau of Shipping; Lloyd’s Register; Oceanic Consulting Corporation; BMT Fleet Technology; Intec Sea; Martec Limited; Institute for Ocean Technology, NRC; Canadian Hydraulic Centre, NRC; Dalhousie University; Australia Maritime College and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Interested graduate students will apply to the CREATE OTR Program at the same time they apply to graduate studies at Memorial and graduate at the normal time while participating in the CREATE OTR program. The first group of students entered into the training program in Sept. 2010. For more information, please go to www.engr.mun.ca/research/otr.
 
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 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC):
 
NSERC is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The
agency supports some 28,000 university students and postdoctoral fellows in
their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 11,800 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.
 
About Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada:
 
Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada (PRAC) is a not-for-profit organization that funds and facilitates collaborative research and development (R&D) to support the safe and environmentally-sound development of Atlantic Canada’s petroleum resources. PRAC’s key funding members in Newfoundland and Labrador include the partners in the White Rose, Terra Nova, Hibernia and Hebron projects. For more information about PRAC, please visit www.pr-ac.ca.  
 
About the Research & Development Corporation:
 
The Research & Development Corporation (RDC) is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s R&D performance. RDC works with R&D stakeholders including industry, academia and government agencies and departments. For more information about RDC, go to www.researchnl.com.   

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