Memorial University’s Marine Institute Launches New Ocean Innovation Hub and Dedicates New Building to Former President
Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute announced today a new ocean innovation hub that will see the Holyrood Marine Base renamed as The Launch. Its newest building at the facility was also dedicated as the Dr. Arthur W. May Building.

The Launch provides the Canadian ocean research community with the capability and capacity to capitalize on the dynamic and often scalable environment required to deliver leading-edge research in applied ocean science.May Family Launch Event

“The Launch will fill a critical role for Canadian ocean science and operations, providing a unique collection of expertise, facilities, and infrastructure to support critical at-sea research and education, which cannot collectively be found at any other institution in the country,” said Dr. Robert Shea, Vice-President, Memorial university (Marine Institute), pro tempore.

With collaborative and inclusive access to a comprehensive suite of ocean focused resources for faculty, students, researchers, and private industry, The Launch provides a unique contribution to ocean science through a ‘one-stop shop’ for ocean exploration, observation and management with a suite of assets including research vessels and work vessels equipped with leading edge technology available for academic and research purposes.

Strategically located at the most southerly point of for the Labrador current, The Launch is adjacent to some of the coldest, most pristine waters in the world, offering access to deep water, cold ocean research and development, almost year-round.

Designed to support a comprehensive approach to ocean research, The Launch provides access to vessels, technology, technical expertise and collaborative partnerships, creating an ideal environment to further Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy and support opportunities presented by the UN Decade of Ocean Science.

“Through its strategic investment in people, technology and infrastructure The Launch will serve as an enabler for industry, academia and the research community.  The Launch will be an integral pillar in advancing work in the Oceans Sectors, building on the solid foundation of people and place. It will be a convening space for inclusive collaboration and partnerships and will provide access to an unparalleled depth of knowledge in the oceans sectors- propelling our vision forward,” said Laurie Skinner, Marine Institute’s vice president of Administration and Finance.

“With its state-of-the-art infrastructure and technical expertise, the collaborative environment of The Launch gives researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs an opportunity to take advantage of MI's long-standing partnerships with industry, governments, communities and Indigenous groups creating opportunities for rich collaborations in the ocean industry,” explained Paul Brett, Marine Institute’s Associate Vice-President (Research and Strategic Partnerships).May Family Launch Event

Kelley Santos, MI’s new Director for The Launch added, “Expansion of this facility, combined with the tremendous opportunities currently available for the ocean technology sector will provide a vibrant, innovative centre for advancing technology development, training and research for Memorial University and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The Launch supports capacity building for the ocean technology ecosystem in Newfoundland and Labrador and Atlantic Canada with continued advances in ocean observation technology development. This is highlighted by the success of SmartAtlantic, and SmartBay Holyrood, long standing initiatives that foster the development of new technologies, in the ongoing endeavor to understand oceanographic and meteorological processes through real time data monitoring. A subsea center of excellence that includes a subsea observatory with real time data monitoring, a first for east coast Canada, is also under development.

The Launch continues to support research development and training in ocean safety.  Innovations in training and the systems that keep our people safe continue to shape activities of the Launch.

The Launch is fostering new industry collaboration with local, national, and international partnerships. Collaborations made possible by the Ocean Supercluster initiative would see strengthened partnerships with Pangeo, Cellula Robotics, and others in the GeoScan and GeoTrac projects. National initiatives with Ocean Networks Canada, COVE, and many universities demonstrate the value this centre has in the ocean science and technology space.

Memorial University has named the Launch’s newest addition, currently under construction, the “Dr. Arthur W. May Building”. The late Dr. May was Memorial’s president and vice-chancellor from 1990-99, during which time the Marine Institute joined the University.

Dr. May was instrumental in strengthening MI’s education, industrial training and applied research programs for the fisheries and marine sectors within Memorial and oversaw the introduction of its first bachelor degree in maritime studies. He became the founding chair of MI’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research upon its creation in July 2010 and was committed to expanding the university’s research capability in fisheries ecosystems.

President Vianne Timmons stated, “We are honoured to have Dr. May’s name associated with The Launch at the Marine Institute. It is fitting that Memorial recognizes his outstanding contributions to fisheries science and post-secondary education in our province with this new building that will serve a new generation of students, researchers and innovators in the oceans sector.”May Family Launch Event

“This is a very fitting tribute to Arthur, who built his career in marine research and had a life-long interest in the ocean’s mysteries, its inhabitants and its preservation. He was passionate about the Marine Institute and Memorial University and our family is grateful for this recognition. We look forward to seeing how this world-class facility moves marine research forward into the future for the benefit of all,” said Mrs. Sonia May, wife of Dr. Arthur May.

The 36,000 ft2 building, scheduled for completion in September 2022, featuring technical workspace, dry laboratories, classrooms and multiple collaboration spaces, will be a convening space where business, academia and research will collaborate to advance the ocean industry.