Research in review '19: Infrastructure, expertise and partnerships round out 'tremendous' year

Dec 20th, 2019

By Jeff Green

Memorial adopted a new creator-owned intellectual property model earlier this year. Photo by David Howells.
Research in review '19: Infrastructure, expertise and partnerships round out 'tremendous' year

With last year’s research income totaling more than $100 million – and funding for specific projects (see below) totaling more than $45 million – there are new exciting collaborations and enhanced expertise among the major research highlights this past year.

“As Newfoundland and Labrador’s university, Memorial plays a vital role in helping build a prosperous future for this province and beyond,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“The innovative work led by our talented faculty, graduate students and staff underscores a commitment to research excellence. Their research and scholarship is leading to new knowledge creation, helping solve industry challenges and leading to new commercial activities. I commend them for their contributions in helping make 2019 another tremendous year for research at Memorial.”

Big investments

Over the past 12 months, Memorial welcomed major funding to advance projects across the disciplines. Some key highlights include:

In addition, there was $1.65 million for research aimed at protecting Canada’s oceans and estuaries; nearly $600,000 for high-tech research labs and equipment; $430,000 for emerging scholars; and $64,000 for projects that engage youth.

Memorial also scored high in the yearly Research Infosource report, ranking No. 1 among Canada’s universities with medical schools when it comes to industry research income as a percentage of its total research income.

Expanding expertise

Memorial welcomed two new Canada Research Chairs and more than $2 million to fuel their new projects. The first Wikipedian-in-residence began and we joined a national cancer network.

A global citizen science app was expanded to include N.L.-specific debris thanks to Memorial scientists and ACENET welcomed a new CEO.

Saluting researchers

Memorial celebrated its second annual Research Week with more than 50 events and the Labrador Institute hosted a unique science summer camp.

We also saluted prize-winning researchers in GeographyChemistryMusic; and Engineering. An emerging mechanical engineer was named the Terra Nova Young Innovator; an accomplished ethnomusicologist was recognized for ethical research leadership; two researchers were inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada; and Memorial’s associate vice-president (research) was named inaugural fellow of an international research program.

Below, the Gazette salutes some of the other big stories from 2019.

National leader

A unique pan-Canadian research initiative based at Memorial was recognized as one of the most impactful research collaborations in the country in September.

The On The Move Partnership, which has been based at Memorial for the past eight years, and its project director, Dr. Barbara Neis, were named one of three finalists for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Impact Awards (Partnership category) – one of the nation’s top research awards.

Creator-owned model

To motivate researchers to pursue commercialization and continue to cultivate an entrepreneurial culture, Memorial adopted a new creator-owned intellectual property (IP) model.

The revision puts an enhanced emphasis on creator-driven commercialization and the promotion of innovative research.

Stronger together

Memorial celebrated a new era in its partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, the federal government’s largest science and research organization, with the official opening of the Karluk Collaboration Space in June.

The collaboration will better enable world-leading research, spanning disciplines as varied as maritime technology, oceanography and ocean and naval architectural engineering.

Curating a community

A historic book launch, critical conversations led by Indigenous leaders and youth, research that meets local interests, needs and priorities and a keynote talk by renowned Unangax scholar Dr. Eve Tuck were among the key highlights of this year’s Labrador Research Forum, held in May.

Representatives from the Labrador Institute, Innu Nation, Nunatsiavut Government, NunatuKavut Community Council, the Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat and the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay organized the event.

Canada’s highest honour

Memorial’s Dr. Trevor Bell and the SmartICE team were recognized with a Governor General’s Innovation Award for their groundbreaking work on climate change adaptation.

Jeff Green is a senior communications advisor with the Office of the Vice-President (Research). He can be reached at



230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000