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Biodiversity institute to be based at Grenfell

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Science will be based on the campus of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook. Julie Bettney, minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, announced April 26, 2003.

The mandate of the biodiversity institute is to ensure the research and knowledge requirements of the provincial government will become a focus of the academic community within the province. Government departments, non-governmental agencies and the private sector will conduct research and Memorial University will extend its expertise on resource conservation.

"The institute will be a means to encourage research on natural resources, including research which involves students at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and the university's campus in St. John's," said Ms. Bettney. "By locating the institute in Corner Brook, we will be able to promote student research which will complement and enhance government's research activity."

The institute will coordinate opportunities and activities associated with aspects of natural science, research and development pertinent to provincial interests in wildlife, wildlife habitat, biodiversity and ecosystems.

By focusing these energies, it is anticipated that a core of 15-20 student projects will be dedicated annually to an improved understanding of the province's wildlife resources.

Dr. Axel Meisen said the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Science would be a welcome addition to the university.

"The university is already host to a number of other outside research agencies and this new provincial government institute suggests an excellent fit, particularly for our Corner Brook campus," said Dr. Meisen. "It will be complementary to the work we are conducting at the Bonne Bay Marine and Research Centre in Norris Point. We expect the institute will encourage more collaboration between government and university scientists on important environmental issues and spur new research and teaching activities at Grenfell College.

"It should provide outstanding new educational and research opportunities for students, faculty and staff of the university."

The institute will be staffed by two people in Corner Brook, a program development officer and an administrative assistant. It will be guided by a board of directors representing the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and Memorial University.

Ms. Bettney said funding of $2.8 million was announced in Budget 2002 to enhance stewardship of this province's natural resources. Of this amount, $150,000 was provided to establish the institute. The majority of the funding, $2.2 million, is committed to enhance wildlife population surveys and research by the science division. The remainder is allocated to the Natural Heritage Stewardship Secretariat.

{Memorial University of Newfoundland}