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Executive Council
September 29, 2010

The following is being issued at the request of the Research & Development Corporation:

Research & Development Corporation Announces $8.3 Million Investment
in Ocean Sciences Centre, Newfoundland and Labrador's Ocean Research Facility

Newfoundland and Labrador's cold-oceans research facility, the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC), received a landmark infrastructure investment of $8,325,477 from the Research & Development Corporation (RDC). The announcement was made today at the OSC, located in Logy Bay on the Avalon Peninsula.

The funding will be used to build new infrastructure at the OSC that will include a deep-sea water supply to provide consistent, low temperature sea water year-round. The cold-water source will enable researchers to expand the amount of time they can hold deep-water animals for research.

"The Research & Development Corporation, through this $8.3 million investment, is building on a unique asset that the province already has in the Ocean Sciences Centre," said Glenn Janes, Chief Executive Officer of the Research & Development Corporation. "By significantly enhancing the infrastructure of the OSC, we are seizing an opportunity to turn the OSC into a world class asset for cold-ocean research and achieve international excellence in this area."

The funding will also facilitate the development of a bio-containment facility for research on infectious diseases affecting marine animals, as well as invasive aquatic species. In the OSC's current capacity, research on hazardous subjects has been limited due to the risks involved with accessing and handling live specimens. The bio-containment facility will address this limitation.

"Newfoundland and Labrador's researchers and private sector enterprises are engaged in ground-breaking work that has positioned them at the forefront of the global ocean technology sector," said the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. "The expansion of the Ocean Sciences Centre is a critical step in advancing the capabilities of local researchers and will enable them to acquire a better understanding of the vast opportunities in our ocean environment. As highlighted in Oceans of Opportunity, the Provincial Government's five-year, $28 million ocean technology development strategy, this government is committed to encouraging growth in the ocean technology sector by making strategic investments to enhance Newfoundland and Labrador's capacity for innovation."

The OSC was first opened in 1967 and is an internationally-renowned facility for research on cold-water organisms.

"The Ocean Sciences Centre has long played a unique and important role in ocean research at Memorial University," said Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research). "Like much of our infrastructure however, it is need of renewal. This investment from RDC will significantly enhance our research capabilities, thereby enabling new specialized work on invasive species, deep-water organisms and marine diseases. The results of this investment will also help to attract world-class students and scientists to Memorial University and the province."

"This major investment by the Research & Development Corporation is truly exciting for the Ocean Sciences Centre, allowing for the creation of new state-of-the-art facilities for the study of cold-water and deep-sea organisms and ecosystems," said Dr. Ian Fleming, a professor at the centre and its former director. "It opens new horizons for research and innovation, allowing significant advances in the knowledge of how organisms inhabiting the North Atlantic and Arctic respond to changes in their environment, as well as the risks posed by infectious diseases and invasive organisms. Given the growing recognition of the critical importance of the world's oceans and its biodiversity during this period of rapid global change, the investment is very timely."

The $8.3 million investment from RDC leverages in excess of $10 million for a total project cost of over $18 million. Co-investors include the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for $8.4 million, the Department of Education for $1 million, and the Canadian Hydrographic Institute, and others. The project, which includes state-of-the-art equipment, laboratories, cold-water holding tanks, pressurized holding tanks, and a stable cold water intake, is expected to be complete in 2012.

Photo: Pictured from left: Dr. Ian Fleming, a professor and former director of the OSC; Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research), at Memorial University; Glenn Janes, CEO of RDC; and Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development.

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Media contacts:

Libby Carew
Director, Marketing
Research & Development Corporation
709-758-0973, 728-6852
Meaghan Whelan
Communications Co-ordinator
Office of the Vice-President (Research)
Memorial University of Newfoundland
709-864-4073, 687-9243
Kelly Foss
Communications Co-ordinator
Faculty of Science
Memorial University of Newfoundland
709-864-2019, 699-3788
Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290

About the Research & Development Corporation

The Research & Development Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador's R&D performance. RDC works with R&D stakeholders including industry, academia and government agencies and departments. For more information about RDC, go to

About Memorial University of Newfoundland
Memorial University of Newfoundland is the largest university in Atlantic Canada, with more than 100 degree programs for a student population of 17,000. Memorial is home to a vibrant and innovative research community. Our researchers are exploring all disciplines in science, medicine, arts, social sciences, engineering, education, and business.

Memorial was named number one in research income growth over 2002-2007 among Canadian medical/doctoral universities by Research Infosource, Canada's premier publication about research and development. The university's research income grew by 116.7 per cent between 2002 and 2007.

About the Ocean Sciences Centre

The Ocean Science Centre (OSC) is one of Canada's largest marine laboratories. By virtue of its location, the OSC provides scientists in Newfoundland, throughout Canada and abroad with access to the unique flora and fauna of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. The facility is located at Logy Bay, approximately 10 km from the main campus of Memorial University, and provides unique and ready access to a wide range of shallow-to-deep environments, including the rocky intertidal zone, the continental shelf and the sub-zero deep waters of the inshore branch of the Labrador Current.
It meets the special needs of researchers in five important areas: (1) the capacity to hold marine organisms, from bacteria to seals, for physiological and behavioural experimentation; (2) the capacity to support and participate in large, oceanographic expeditions making use of state-of-the-art field equipment; (3) the capacity to collect, maintain and study sub-Arctic, Arctic and deep-sea species at a well-equipped, land-based marine facility; (4) the capacity to explore and develop the aquaculture potential of marine organisms in cold waters; and (5) the capacity to conduct a wide variety of sample analyses (from oceanographic to molecular).

The continuing strategic goal of the OSC is to carry out world-class research that focuses on organisms and processes in cold oceans, and to provide associated educational and training opportunities, particularly at the graduate level. Core programs central to the internationally recognized research include oceanography, aquatic ecology and aquaculture, and the physiological, biochemical, genomic, evolutionary and behavioural processes that are central to these themes.

2010 09 29                                                       10:35 a.m.

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