Industry engagement event focuses on academia-industry collaborations

Jul 11th, 2023

By Jackey Locke

More than 120 delegates representing approx. 30 companies attended the second annual Industry Engagement Day on July 5, hosted by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

The one-day event at the Emera Innovation Exchange, Signal Hill campus, aimed to bring together industry representatives with university researchers to exchange ideas to help tackle challenges related to oceans, shipbuilding, Arctic shipping, energy, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and drones.

Building upon last year’s engagement day, the event featured engaging talks from technical industry, provincial government and Memorial University representatives.

Dr. Octavia Dobre, interim dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, was pleased with how the day went.

“The day was an excellent opportunity for industry representatives and university researchers to showcase their development and research,” she said. “Initiating discussions around current issues and committing to future collaborations to develop plans and solutions is key to our province’s success.”

Sessions held throughout the day encouraged attendees to engage with each other and focus on problem-solving. 


Dr. Octavia Dobre, interim dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, gave opening remarks followed by an overview of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Dr. Dobre highlighted the faculty’s new undergraduate mechatronics program, new internships for graduate students and an increase in the faculty’s global ranking for 2023.

Gerard Dunphy, vice-president, Churchill Falls and Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro, spoke about the past, present and future of electrical systems in Canada.

Charlene Johnson, CEO, Energy NL

In the afternoon, speakers included Charlene Johnson, CEO, Energy NL, and Dr. Neil Bose, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University, pro tempore.

Ms. Johnson spoke about the present and future energy initiatives happening in the province. She highlighted upcoming opportunities in our province related to wind energy. She indicated that Newfoundland and Labrador is poised to be a world leader in wind-based green hydrogen production and that the province is ready to do business and is building a new energy sector.

Dr. Bose shared how Memorial is playing a critical role in supporting and fostering a culture of innovation.

“Memorial has matured into a leading-edge, research-intensive university and is among the top 20 research universities in Canada,” he said. “That expertise has helped secure the largest research funding ever awarded to Memorial with a federal government investment of $91 million.

“The Qanittaq initiative is a global partnership co-developed and co-lead by Memorial University and the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada to help respond to the increase in Arctic shipping, the related environmental impacts affecting Arctic communities and to support Inuit communities’ needs for safe and cost-efficient resupply.”

The final two plenary speakers were Stephen O’Brien, senior advisor, Chantier Davie Canada Inc. and Paul Griffin, president and CEO, C-CORE.

Mr. O’Brien spoke about some of the projects Davie is working on, including an investment in alternative fuels.

Mr. Griffin gave an overview of C-CORE and its capabilities and highlighted a few projects.

“Overall, the day was exciting and enthusiastic highlighting the positive collaboration happening between the university and our partners,” said Dr. Dobre. “We look forward to growing our relationship with industry to raise the province’s international profile as a true innovation hub.

“Thank you to the faculty’s Engineering Research Office for hosting such an important event for your faculty, the university, the province and beyond.”