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C-CORE looking north

By Meaghan Whelan | Jan. 21, 2011

A new initiative at C-CORE has earned a prestigious new designation and significant new funding. The Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North (LOOKNorth) Centre will be dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of technologies and services to maximize the potential of northern resources.

The LOOKNorth initiative was named a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research in December 2010. Administered by the Federal Government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat, centres of excellence support successful research partnerships between universities, industry, not-for-profit organizations, and government.

“To be designated a national centre of excellence is very prestigious and follows a highly competitive process,” said Dr. Charles Randell, chief executive officer, C-CORE. “It is a great testament, and I am quite proud that C-CORE has been selected to establish the LOOKNorth Centre of Excellence here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Despite many attempts, it is the only national centre of excellence in Atlantic Canada.”

Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research) at Memorial, said the designation is a signal of C-CORE and Memorial’s position as leaders in northern and arctic development. “The LOOKNorth project has recognized C-CORE’s and Memorial University’s unique strengths in arctic resource development and operations in harsh environments,” he explained. “It also recognizes this province’s unique position as the geographic, historic and technological gateway to the north on Canada’s east coast.”

LOOKnorth has received $7.1 million in federal funding and a $2 million investment from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Research & Development Corporation (RDC). The funding announcement was made on Jan. 19, 2011, by Susan Sullivan, minister of Innovation, Trade, and Rural Development (INTRD), Glenn Janes, chief executive officer, Research & Development Corporation (RDC), and Fabian Manning, Senator for Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The Harper Government is committed to ensuring the safe and sustainable development of our northern natural resources,” said Senator Manning. “The ideas and technologies generated by LOOKNorth will help position Canada as an international leader in monitoring technologies for northern environments.”

LOOKNorth will identify the needs of northern resource development and areas where technologies and further research and development are required. It will also undertake and foster technology development to advance pre-existing R&D programs to a stage where commercialization can begin.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is positioned at the forefront of developing technologies to best monitor ocean and climate conditions,” said Minister Sullivan. “C-CORE will be able to apply these locally-developed solutions, as well as its experience leading the European Space Agency’s Polar View project, to develop LOOKNorth as a national centre of excellence and a catalyst for applying innovative research and technology to explore Canada’s northern region. Through LOOKNorth, researchers will be able to identify potential transportation corridors and offshore development opportunities. Northern residents will derive economic benefits from the sustainable and environmentally responsible development of northern resources, as well as new employment opportunities.”

The provincial government and the RDC are each contributing $1 million to the initiative. The provincial government’s investment will enable the LOOKNorth Centre to help small-to-medium sized enterprises commercialize technologies and services to the north. The RDC’s contribution is directed at research and development (R&D) programs and projects.

“RDC’s $1 million investment will continue to build upon this province’s R&D expertise in emerging technologies used to monitor Canada’s north and critical to the development of our natural resources,” said Mr. Janes. “A key component to the success of this new centre is having specialized staff in place to identify R&D needs, pursue research opportunities and commercialize new technologies and services in partnership with local companies and northern communities. RDC’s funding will facilitate the development of highly-qualified research personnel dedicated to the safe and sustainable exploration and development of Canada’s natural resources in the north.”

Dr. Randell said LOOKNorth will have a significant impact on small businesses in the industry. “We thank the provincial government, RDC, Memorial University and the many private sector companies who supported us through the competition. Canada is a world leader in satellite surveillance, but most of our companies in the business are small with limited ability to expand outside their niche markets. LOOKNorth will help them grow by offering resources and serving as a commercialization pipeline for their new, innovative products and services.”

C-CORE is a separately incorporated research and development corporation of Memorial University that has provided innovative engineering and technology solutions to national and international clients in industry and government since 1975. Its core expertise is in radar and vision systems, ice engineering, and geotechnical engineering. C-CORE's dynamic team of over 70 engineering and business experts respond to clients' regulatory, security, operational and market challenges, with special emphasis on the natural resource and energy sectors.


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