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New $6.8-million R&D centre open for business at Memorial University

By Jackey Locke | Dec. 5, 2014

Construction of a new offshore research and development centre at Memorial University is complete, paving the way for increased collaborative research focused on solving technical challenges facing Newfoundland and Labrador industries. 

The new Suncor Energy Offshore R&D Centre will house innovative ocean- and offshore engineering-related R&D projects that will be carried out in collaboration with local and global industry partners. It is estimated that the new expansion will help grow Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science R&D by $6-$8 million per year over the next five years and will involve approximately 100 full-time equivalent researchers. 

“Public-private collaboration is critical for economic diversification in this province,” said Darin King, minister, Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development, and minister responsible for the Research & Development Centre (RDC). “Having dedicated R&D space such as this will allow Memorial University’s research teams to collaborate with local technology and offshore companies with greater ease.” 

The 1,320-square-metre expansion to the Engineering building on Memorial’s St. John’s campus was made possible through investments of $4.8 million from the RDC and $2 million from Suncor Energy. This contribution from Suncor was received in 2011 through Memorial’s Dare To fundraising campaign.

“With the completion of this new R&D centre, we are resolving a space constraint and enabling an increase in focused R&D performed in this province,” said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer, RDC. “These R&D projects are crucial for the future of our ocean and offshore industries, and I look forward to many new developments emerging from this expanded collaborative research centre.”

The new facility builds on a long-standing relationship between Suncor and Memorial University. 

“Legendary innovators past and present have shown us that time, effort and collaboration are key ingredients to success in research and development,” said Brent Janke, vice-president, East Coast Canada, Suncor Energy. “This space provides a place where all of these ingredients can come together to enhance the research and development capability in our province. Suncor is pleased to be involved.” 

“Memorial University has some of the top researchers and expertise in the world in the areas of offshore engineering,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor. “The Suncor Energy Offshore Research and Development Centre has created a collaborative space for faculty, graduate students and industry partners to advance their cutting-edge research and to further elevate Memorial’s status as a centre of expertise in offshore research and development.”