Academic-led research at Memorial University receives $3.7 million investment
Monday, September 30, 2013

The Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) is investing $3.7 million in Memorial University to support 34 academic-led research projects aimed at solving technical challenges and closing knowledge gaps. The research is being conducted in a range of areas, including natural resource industries, manufacturing and health and life sciences. These projects have secured additional investments totalling $6.3 million through federal funding, private sector investment and other sources.

“Investment in academic research provides the groundwork to enhance opportunities here in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister Responsible for RDC. “Memorial University has consistently been a strong contributor to new knowledge and innovation. Investments like this can lead directly to long term economic benefits to the province.”

Researchers from Memorial’s Fisheries and Marine Institute, Grenfell Campus and St. John’s campus received support for their projects. On the St. John’s campus, the research is taking place within the Faculty of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Faculty of Science.

“Research drives innovation, which drives a strong knowledge- and technology-based economy,” said Glenn Janes, CEO, RDC. “By investing in highly-qualified researchers at Memorial University and focusing on research that is relevant to the province, we are building a foundation for future economic prosperity. The resulting R&D capacity will position Newfoundland and Labrador to leverage other funding sources and foster business-academic collaboration.”

Funding is distributed through four of RDC’s academic programs, designed to strengthen institutional R&D capacity through supporting business-academic collaboration, providing funding for new researchers and by leveraging against other funding sources.

“The Research and Development Corporation is one of Memorial’s strongest allies,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University. “Its support for our researchers and students fosters the creation of new knowledge that helps Memorial continue to serve the public good in our communities and beyond.”

Collaborative funding partners for these projects include Bombardier Inc., Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Canada Research Chairs, Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd., Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador, the College of the North Atlantic, Ocean Choice International, Dalhousie University, Université Laval, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, NL Geological Survey, Silver Spruce Resources Inc., and others.

The Research & Development Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s research and development performance. RDC works with research and development stakeholders including business, academia and government agencies and departments to make strategic research and development related investments in people, research opportunities and infrastructure. For more information about RDC, go to


Marine Institute Research Projects Supported through the Research & Development Corporation’s Academic Programs

Leverage R&D: attracts public funding for academic-led research and development (R&D) in areas relevant to both industry and the Newfoundland and Labrador economy.

Commercialization of high-pressure processing for crab and other species, Robert Verge, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, Fisheries and Marine Institute
The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) is developing innovative technology that will allow for commercial production of new, high-value crab products, as well as products from other species. The project aims to commercialize high-pressure processing (HPP) technology, helping the crab processing industry in Atlantic Canada improve its international competitiveness and viability, and reduce its labour requirements. The technology offers potential to open new markets and dramatically increase the value of crab products. The project is being led by the CCFI in collaboration with the Marine Institute of Memorial University, the College of the North Atlantic and Ocean Choice International.
RDC investment: $280,000. Leveraged investment: $2,289,618 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Atlantic Innovation Fund (ACOA-AIF), $188,632 from CCFI, $100,000 from Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program (FTNOP), and $600,000 from Ocean Choice International (OCI).


IgniteR&D: attracts highly-qualified academic researchers and builds new research and development (R&D) capacity in areas relevant to both industry and the Newfoundland and Labrador economy.

Newfoundland and Labrador fishery resource dynamics impacted by changing ocean conditions, Dr. Jonathan Fisher, Fisheries and Marine Institute
The influence of ocean conditions and species interaction on Newfoundland and Labrador marine resources has implications for the composition and economic value of the Province’s fisheries. Considering recent changes in ocean conditions surrounding much of Newfoundland and Labrador, processors and harvesters have questioned the effects this could have on cold-and warmer-water fishery resources. This research addresses these issues by increasing research capacity within the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER) and focusing on quantifying potential indicators of ecosystem change and dynamics of species in a changing ecosystem. This project is expected to provide new insights linking physical drivers and biological responses, and assist with fisheries management.
RDC investment: $100,000.

Quantifying maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points when productivity varies, and marine stewardship, Dr. Noel Cadigan, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, Fisheries and Marine Institute
The International Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a major organization involved in setting standards for sustainable fishing practices and certifying responsibly harvested products. As the market is moving towards sustainability, MSC certified fish can result in improved market access, improved prices for harvesters, and more profitable fisheries in the short and long term. This project focuses on the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) of Newfoundland and Labrador cod stocks, while taking into account changes in the province’s marine ecosystem. The research aims to provide realistic targets for fisheries management, and to assist with MSC certification. This project will involve collaboration of experts from the Marine Institute and Memorial University, Dalhousie University, Université Laval, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
RDC investment: $100,000.

Rebuilding Newfoundland groundfish stocks in a changing environment, Dr. Sherrylynn Rowe, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem Research, Fisheries and Marine Institute
The objective of the research is to quantify the behaviour and life history of groundfish species off Newfoundland and Labrador to improve understanding of the impact of human and environmental factors on fish population growth rates and sustainable levels of commercial harvest. Funding will allow acquisition of equipment essential to present and future research objectives, as well as provide support for students and their specific research projects during the next two years. Elements of this research will examine incidence and impacts of the economically damaging parasitic sealworm in Atlantic cod and abundance and life history of haddock with a view to fishery development in Newfoundland waters.
RDC investment: $99,700 and $28,000 from other sources.