Arctic research project to provide unique opportunity for doctoral students

Jan 29th, 2014

By Jackey Locke

Arctic research project to provide unique opportunity for doctoral students

Students interested in doing a PhD centred on Arctic shipping and operations have yet another reason to consider Memorial University.

Memorial is one of four partnering universities sponsored to conduct research on safer Arctic shipping methods and, as part of the program, students will have an opportunity to conduct some of their research at partnering universities.

The Joint Center of Excellence for Arctic Shipping and Operations, made up of researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Aalto University in Finland, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Helsinki in Finland, recently won an international competition that resulted in C$3 million in funding from Lloyd’s Register Foundation to examine Arctic shipping and operation risks.

Memorial engineering professors Drs. Brian Veitch and Faisal Khan are two of the researchers in the Center of Excellence. They are thrilled with their recent win and take great pride in the fact that international wins like this validate that Memorial’s leadership in Arctic and ocean engineering.

“We are so excited to have won,” said Dr. Veitch, professor of ocean and naval architectural engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Husky Energy Chair in Oil and Gas Research. “Not only does it show Memorial’s credibility as being internationally competitive in Arctic and ocean engineering, but it enables us to conduct what we feel is very important research and it also provides our student researchers with the unique opportunity to spend time at the partnering universities which will enable them to establish their professional network.”

Dr. Khan believes that providing students with unique opportunities like this one is key to attracting the brightest students.

“The Arctic is a strategic area for Memorial University and as the area is being utilized more, it is also becoming more vulnerable,” said Dr. Khan, chair of processing engineering in Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and Vale Research Chair in Process Risk and Safety Engineering. “We are in a position to bring talented PhD students in to conduct leading-edge research to make Arctic shipping safer. This international and competitive win benefits Memorial but, more importantly, its students.”

Doug Smith is a PhD student recently hired for this project and he is thrilled to be on the team and is excited about this project for several reasons.

“I was attracted to this project because of its state-of-the-art research goals that were outlined in the project proposal. The four partner universities are highly regarded, especially in the area of Arctic technology, and the opportunity to travel to the partnering universities is a great opportunity to meet exceptional research teams and industry professionals internationally. This international networking opportunity is invaluable to my professional development,” he said. 

Drs. Veitch and Khan will hire at least four PhD students to work on this project. Interested candidates should send their resume to bveitch[at] or to fikhan[at]


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