Research & Development Corporation invests $3.7 million in research

By Meaghan Whelan | Sept. 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 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.

“The Research & Development Corporation is one of Memorial’s strongest allies,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor. “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.”

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.

“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.”

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, Newfoundland and Labrador 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.

Research projects supported through the RDC's academic programs:

Characterization and development of novel materials and coatings for aircraft materials integrity in harsh environments, Dr. Amy Hsiao, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

This project addresses materials challenges encountered by amphibious aircrafts operating in coastal-to-northern harsh environments, such as those experienced in Newfoundland and Labrador. This study investigates corrosion protection of large-scale aluminum alloys used in aircraft structures, explores fatigue and wear mechanisms leading to corrosion, and develops the use of novel coatings to optimize lifetime materials integrity. The anticipated outcomes will contribute to best practices in corrosion monitoring, materials testing and structural marine operations. These technical concerns are shared by multinational companies such as Bombardier.

RDC investment: $300,000. Leveraged investment: $300,000 from Bombardier.

Regional assessment and modelling of epithermal and porphyry-style gold mineralization on the Burin Peninsula, Dr. Graham Layne, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science

This research aims to enhance and accelerate current exploration efforts for gold and silver on the Burin Peninsula, and throughout the Avalon Geological Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The project will involve geological mapping and sampling of select transects through known occurrences of mineralization, as well as detailed assessment of drill core and trench samples from ongoing exploration efforts. The resulting data will help mineral industry exploration managers make informed decisions, which have the potential to better target exploration and thus increase the chances of discovering mineable precious metals deposits in this district. These efforts will include the assessment of geochemistry and geochronology of the host rocks and mineralized systems using advanced instrumentation at Memorial University.

RDC investment: $98,910 with additional contributions from N.L. Geological Survey, and mineral industry stakeholders, TerraX Minerals Inc. and Silver Spruce Resources Inc.

Development of a crustacean biology laboratory, Dr. Iain McGaw, Ocean Sciences Centre, Faculty of Science

New infrastructure will allow for continued research in the area of crustacean responses to environmental change, and the effects of aquaculture operations on the behaviour and distribution of lobsters. This investment will enable benefits such as training more students, raising the profile of the Ocean Sciences Centre and Memorial University and gathering data for publication and for the benefit of the fisheries and aquaculture industry in the province. The long-term research goals are to take a more holistic approach to physiology, investigating the links between behaviour and physiology and how these reactions are modulated by environmental conditions in both the lab and the field.

RDC investment: $121,845. Leveraged investment: $97,475 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and $24,369 from other sources.

Impact of agricultural drainage and climate change on greenhouse gas emissions from northern peatlands, Dr. Jianghua Wu, Grenfell Campus

This project will leverage the Canada Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunity Fund with the objective of acquiring incremental equipment for Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, to research greenhouse gas emissions and waterborne carbon flux from terrestrial ecosystems in Western Newfoundland. The equipment will measure the micro scale ecosystem scale greenhouse gas emissions exchanges between peatlands and the atmosphere and organic carbon fluxes from agricultural peatlands.

RDC investment: $125,000. Leveraged investment: $100,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Leaders Opportunity Fund and $25,000 from other sources.

Maximizing energy efficiency - analytical fuel research for enhanced oil recovery and second generation biofuels, Drs. Kelly Hawboldt and Dr. Lesley James, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and Dr. Robert Helleur, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

This project involves acquiring new equipment to be used in the upcoming Hibernia Enhanced Oil Recovery Lab and in the Thermal Biomass Conversion Lab. This instrumentation will not only support research in advanced methods of increasing the amount of crude oil extracted in the Hibernia oil field but also research associated with the conversion of renewable feedstocks (forestry residues, fish processing waste, and municipal waste) to biofuels. This research places Newfoundland and Labrador at the forefront of sustainable energy-related research and acquiring the instrumentation that will increase capacity at Memorial University.

RDC investment: $148,743. Leveraged investment: $100,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Leaders Opportunity Fund and $44,005 from other sources.

Far-infrared spectromicroscope for assessing disorder in solids, Dr. Kristin Poduska, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science

Changes to the structural arrangement of atoms can have a dramatic influence on a material's physical properties and reactivity, and they can also provide clues about how a material was formed. The infrared spectromicroscope purchased with RDC and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) funds will be used to track differences in structural arrangements of atoms in a wide range of materials. The analysis capabilities of this spectromicroscope will lead to new research and long term benefits in applied fields such as biomaterials, geoscience, and archaeology.

RDC investment: $110,000. Leveraged investment: $150,000 from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program.

High performance scientific computing infrastructure for Canada Research Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modeling, Dr. Lev Tarasov, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science

This high-performance scientific computing cluster will provide the resources for Memorial University to develop significant Earth and climate system modeling capability. Such modeling provides a powerful window on past and future changes in the climate system from which we can infer potential impacts and risks to both the natural environment and society. This data-integrated focus will offer opportunities for detailed model/data comparisons and will strongly promote interdisciplinary research and training at Memorial University. Results of the research will provide guidance on long-term coastal infrastructure planning, aid mineral prospecting, and inform fisheries management in the province. RDC funding will leverage Canada Foundation for Innovation funding to provide required high performance computing resources for the Canada Research Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modeling at Memorial University.

RDC investment: $141,476. Leveraged investment: $100,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and $41,476 from other sources.

Canada Research Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modeling, Dr. Lev Tarasov, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science

This research involves understanding changes in the glacial system in which ice, climate and earth interact. This work spans the last million years of ice age cycles and poses questions about the stability of ice sheets and polar climate over the next 500 years. Results of this research have wide societal relevance from mineral exploration, to long-term planning of coastal infrastructure, to fisheries management and general environmental policy.

RDC investment: $100,000. Leveraged investment: $500,000 from Canada Research Chairs Program.

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 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, $188,632 from CCFI, $100,000 from Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program, and $600,000 from Ocean Choice International.

Climate change impacts on carbon reservoirs in boreal ecosystems (Canada Research Chair in Environmental Science), Dr. Susan Ziegler, Faculty of Science, Department of Earth Sciences

Predicting changes to boreal forest ecosystems, including soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in Newfoundland and Labrador, is critical to the development of strategies for coping with climate change. SOC is essential to ecosystem function and central to global carbon cycling. Understanding the fate of SOC in a warmer climate is also critical to understanding feedbacks necessary for the development of climate change predictions. This research is aimed at determining to what extent losses of boreal forest SOC may occur with climate warming and what factors may regulate those losses. It is anticipated that these investigations will provide flux rates and chemical indicators useful in developing a predictive understanding of key climate change responses in boreal forests. Results will inform provincial forestry practices aimed at reducing potential negative interactive effects of climate change and other disturbances to carbon stocks and forest productivity.

RDC investment: $100,000. Leveraged investment: $433,333 from Canada Research Chairs Program.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as regulators of metabolic pathways: A mechanistic study, Dr. Abeer Ahmed, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science

People living in industrialized western countries eat up to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. This project is reporting on the beneficial effects of optimizing the balance of these fatty acids and establishing mechanisms by which these fatty acids regulate metabolic pathways.

RDC investment: $22,500. Leveraged investment: $22,500 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

Analysis of the role of the p7 protein in the hepatitis C virus life cycle, Ali Atoom, Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Hepatitis C virus infects 170 million people worldwide, causing liver cirrhosis and cancer. This research is investigating the role of a small protein in the virus called p7, about which little is known. The results may help explain what this protein does and why it is so crucial to the virus. The identification of a critical function for such a small viral protein could present a new strategy for targeting this virus by antiviral agents.

RDC investment: $24,375. Leveraged investment: $24,375 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

Genetic and epigenetic determinants for juvenile-onset ovarian tumourigenesis, Dr. Ann Dorward, Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Much of our understanding of cancer susceptibility comes from investigations of heritable cancer syndromes. However, identification of the genetic risk factors for cancer is challenging if the cancer is rare in the population. Dr. Dorward’s lab is investigating the genes that contribute to spontaneous ovarian granulosa cell tumour susceptibility in a model organism, for translation to the human disease. The overall research goal is to better understand genetic factors that lead to tumour susceptibility, while exploring interventions that will prolong life, preserve fertility, and ensure the long-term health of infants, young girls and women who develop this subtype of ovarian cancer.

RDC investment: $179,771. Leveraged investment: $179,771 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

The role of FGF23 in fetal phosphorus metabolism, Dr. Christopher Kovacs, Division of Endocrinology, Faculty of Medicine

Phosphorus is critical in the formation of the skeleton. Without phosphorus, calcium cannot bind, and the skeleton is deformed and weak (rickets or osteomalacia). The growth factor called FGF23 plays a critical role in regulating phosphorus processes in adults, but nothing has been known about whether it regulates phosphorus metabolism during fetal development. This research examines the role of FGF23 in regulating fetal-placental phosphorus metabolism. Once the normal role of FGF23 has been clarified, the data will be used to identify if human disorders involving FGF23 will alter phosphorus and skeletal metabolism before birth.

RDC investment: $176,772. Leveraged investment: $176,772 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program and $30,000 from other funding sources.

Discovering the neuroendocrine features of obesity with food addiction, Daniel Wadden, Faculty of Medicine

Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the country’s highest rates of obesity, which is associated with conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The new concept of food addiction suggests that food can induce an addictive process and lead to overconsumption. This research hypothesizes that obesity caused by food addiction is a specific type of obesity with unique hormonal features that influence appetite. This study expects to define this subgroup (obesity with food addiction) and offer better treatment and prevention plans.

RDC investment: $8,750. Leveraged investment: $8,750 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

PAR2-calcium signaling in vascular endothelium, John Hennessey, Faculty of Medicine, Division of BioMedical Sciences

High blood pressure is associated with dysfunctional blood vessels, which in turn can make some blood pressure control drugs less effective. This research involves applying live cell imaging techniques to measure specific cellular communication signals that affect blood vessels. The goal of the research is to uncover new strategies to counter blood vessel dysfunction in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

RDC funding: $8,750. Leveraged investment: $8,750 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

Identifying intervention to increase breastfeeding duration in Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Julia Temple Newhook, Faculty of Medicine

Breastfeeding rates in Newfoundland and Labrador are among the lowest in the country and nearly 90 per cent of women who wish to breastfeed discontinue prematurely. This project focuses on gathering detailed information on why this occurs. The goal is to use this information to identify proven, evidence-based interventions that may help Newfoundland and Labrador breastfeeding women overcome difficulties so they can continue to breastfeed for a longer period of time.

RDC investment: $22,500. Leveraged investment: $22,500 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

Mechanisms of Ras-dependent oncolysis, Dr. Kensuke Hirasawa, Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Oncolytic viruses are engineered or naturally occurring viruses that replicate in cancer cells, but not in normal cells. Clinical studies have shown these viruses to be quite promising for cancer therapy. This research will provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of viral oncolysis as well as the future development of new oncolytic viruses with improved efficacy and safety.

RDC investment: $167,329 from RDC. Leveraged investment: $167,329 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Regional Partnerships Program.

Role of neuroinflammatory mediators in energy homeostasis, Maria Licursi, Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Obesity is believed to be largely due to the Western-style diet suppressing the mechanisms within the brain that control food intake. A diet rich in fat induces inflammation of the brain and other tissues. However, it remains unclear how brain inflammation modulates appetite control. This project investigates how the inflammatory response in different brain areas influences body weight and food intake control mechanisms. Improved understanding will allow for the development of strategies that could be applied to obesity treatments.

RDC investment: $22,500. Leveraged investment: $22,500 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

A cross-sectional and case-control analysis of physically independent and physically dependent cohorts of octogenarians: Part one of the life after 80 study, Dr. Marshall Godwin, Division of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

The health, living situations and activity levels are wide ranging for those over the age of 80, the fastest growing population group in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some reach 80 having accumulated many medical problems while others are healthy, active and alert. This project will identify the differences between these groups, including life circumstances and experiences, to help improve our understanding of health outcomes and the needs of the aged.

RDC investment: $89,653. Leveraged investment: $89,653 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

Identification of novel copy number variants (CNVs) using a custom genome-wide microarray chip for diagnosis of familial spondyloarthritis, Dr. Proton Rahman and Dr. Darren O’Rielly, Faculty of Medicine

Spondyloarthritis (SpA) represents a collection of chronic inflammatory conditions primarily affecting the spine and peripheral joints. It also exhibits extra-articular features, particularly psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and uveitis. SpA constitutes a major health challenge because of its prevalence in Canada (affecting 400,000 Canadians), its propensity to affect young adults, and the necessity for lifelong medical management. Despite a high heritability for SpA, only a fraction of the entire disease heritability is explained. This research is expected to help identify the missing heritability in SpA families and lead to better diagnostic tools for these diseases.

RDC investment: $146,389. Leveraged investment: $146,389 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

Improving cholesterol efflux by targeted disruption of hepatic lipase interactions with the cell surface, Dr. Robert Brown and Dr. Valerie Booth, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science

The blockage of blood vessels is one of the major causes of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the Western world. Existing medications are designed to reduce bad cholesterol and other bad fats in the blood. However, medications are also needed to promote the removal of the cholesterol and bad fats from the vessel walls by good cholesterol (or HDL), and the removal of these fats from the body. This project studies an enzyme with the potential to create more HDL in the blood, and how to modulate the enzyme through the use of engineered molecules. The results of this study may yield a new beneficial treatment against the initiation of blockages in blood vessels.

RDC investment: $68,073. Leveraged investment: $68,073 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

Mechanisms of molecular regulation of pre-adipocyte differentiation by CD24, Dr. Sherri Lynn Christian, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science

Weight loss in obese individuals can be very difficult to achieve and/or maintain by lifestyle changes alone. Conversely, treatments for fat-wasting conditions, including lipodystrophia and cancer-associated cachexia, have had limited success. Therefore, development of targeted therapies is essential to address both the excess and lack of fat tissue. This project investigates how the development of precursor cells to mature fat cells is controlled. The long-term goal is to develop non-invasive and potentially long-lasting therapies that could reduce the amount of fat tissue in obese individuals. This research may help to design drugs for maintenance of a healthy amount of fat.

RDC investment: $79,438. Leveraged investment: $79,438 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

NMR structural studies of surfactant protein B, Drs. Valerie Booth, Department of Biochemistry, and Michael Morrow, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science

This project investigates the structure of the protein SP-B, a lung protein essential for life. This knowledge will be used to improve treatments for common and frequently fatal health conditions such as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and also may be useful in developing systems for general drug delivery through the lungs. The research will generate better knowledge on the structure of SP-B and how it can improve the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and general drug delivery through the lungs.

RDC investment: $173,090. Leveraged investment: $173,090 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program.

Assessment of human exposure to flame retardants using size-resolved particle sampling, Dr. Cora Young, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Flame retardant chemicals are added to many household products, such as furniture and electronics, to reduce the risk of fire, but can have negative effects on the environment and human health. Inhalation of atmospheric particles in various locations has been linked to human exposure of these chemicals. This research examines concentrations of flame retardants in indoor and outdoor particles in Newfoundland, which will lead to an improved understanding of human exposure to flame retardant chemicals.

RDC investment: $99,500; $5,000 from other sources.

Impact of insulin therapy on cardiovascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes, Dr. John-Michael Gamble, School of Pharmacy

Exposure to high levels of insulin is known to have adverse physiological effects including vascular dysfunction, weight gain, fluid retention, and exacerbation of hypertension. Previous research investigating the cardiovascular effects of insulin has been limited, resulting in the widespread use of anti-diabetic agents that have uncertain cardiovascular effects. This research will provide some of the highest levels of evidence in Canada on the relationship between the use of insulin to treat patients with type 2 diabetes and the risk for heart attacks or stroke. The research will also provide information on the safety and effectiveness of insulin use for patients with diabetes and heart failure.

RDC investment: $100,000.

Modelling and behaviour of a flexible subsea structure and associated risk, Dr. Ayhan Akinturk, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

The tragic Deep Water Horizon event in 2010 identified a need for faster deployment of containment systems, increased effectiveness of the containment equipment in rough weather, and increased availability of storage capacity (such as barges and tankers) for recovered oil. An alternative approach to solve these challenges is to use a large, flexible membrane structure that would provide a more cost-effective, easy-to-deploy and reliable solution. Before such flexible structures can be implemented, their performance must be predictable. The objective of this research is to develop tools to simulate the behaviour of a flexible structure and develop a risk model for flexible structures under different environmental and operational conditions.

RDC investment: $100,000.

Study of boreal vegetation responses to support economic competitiveness of the forest and agriculture sector, Dr. Dmitry Sveshnikov, Grenfell Campus

Global climate changes affect vegetation dynamics and therefore interfere with recovery of natural resources after natural and anthropogenic disturbances. This research is studying the responses of Newfoundland and Labrador vegetation to such disturbances, identifying the underlying physiological and molecular mechanisms, and observing the ecological consequences. Findings from this research will enforce the current climate change research programs run by forestry, agriculture and academic sectors in the province, aid in decision-making regarding sustainable resource management, and contribute to current undergraduate programs at Grenfell Campus by exposing students to contemporary field and laboratory research in environmental science and biology.

RDC investment: $99,976.

Multiphase flow and heat transfer in offshore energy applications, Dr. Greg Naterer, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

A safety challenge in offshore oil and gas operations involves the uncontrolled formation of hydrates. Hydrates are ice-like crystals that can form in subsea pipelines. They affect flow patterns and may lead to flow blockage in a pipeline. This research will develop new methods to better understand and control fluid and heat transfer processes in multiphase flows involving oil, gas, sand and water mixtures for the purpose of improved pipeline safety. Research will be performed on the conditions of pressure, temperature and composition to better predict how hydrates form and grow in cracks and unsmooth surfaces of multiphase subsea pipelines. This research will lead to better control, safety, prediction and understanding of multiphase flows in Newfoundland and Labrador offshore energy applications.

RDC investment: $100,000.

System of multisource data fusion for operational ice monitoring, Dr. Igor Zakharov, C-CORE

C-CORE, an independent, not-for-profit R&D corporation housed at Memorial University, is developing a prototype system for combining ice-monitoring data from multiple sources. This system, to be demonstrated through monitoring in the Labrador Sea or other Arctic/sub-Arctic areas, will help address the ice charting needs of the energy sector and allow C-CORE to offer enhanced services to existing and prospective clients.

RDC investment: $100,000.

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 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 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.

Development of a novel risk-based alarm system, Dr. Salim Ahmed, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

Industrial operations such as power plants, mining operations, refineries, gas pipelines, and nuclear reactors are inundated with false alarms. Operators must acknowledge hundreds or even thousands of alarms, which are often sounded or displayed simultaneously. This project seeks to reduce the number of false alarms by developing a risk-based system in which individual variables should not be alarmed; instead, alarms will be assigned to indicate specific events. The outcome of this project will use a risk-based approach to help provide industrial plants and their operators with a well-designed alarm system that can provide more effective, accurate and actionable warnings of abnormal situations.

RDC investment: $95,459.

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.


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