Lab Canada

Marine network to foster scientific research and innovation

Halifax, NS – A new collaborative marine research and innovation organization, called the Halifax Marine Research Institute (HMRI), has been launched.

It will bring together partners from industry, government and the post secondary education system with the aim of increasing the scale, quality, internationalization and impact of marine research, enhancing both the competitiveness of oceans industries and our knowledge base by taking advantage of synergies and crafting partnerships that build on the region’s existing strengths.

“We’re extremely excited about the launch of this innovative new organization,” says Dr Tom Traves, president of Dalhousie University, one of the partners in the HMRI. “A collaborative activity like this truly represents the future of marine research and innovation.”

Scientific director for the institute is Doug Wallace, Dalhousie University’s first Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Ocean Science and Technology. Dr Wallace has made significant scientific contributions throughout his career to date, including through his participation in the third round of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and his work for the US Department of Energy, where he developed a survey detailing new observations of sequestering atmospheric carbon emissions in the ocean.

The HMRI will also co-ordinate international projects like the $150-million Ocean Tracking Network and The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (UK) Chair in Modeling and Prediction of Marine Environmental Extremes.

While Dr Wallace heads the institute’s central organizing structure, network members include Acadia University; Cape Breton University; Dalhousie University; Nova Scotia Agricultural College; Nova Scotia Community College; University of New Brunswick; University of Prince Edward Island; Department of Fisheries and Oceans – Maritimes Region; Defence Research and Development Canada – Atlantic; Environment Canada – Atmospheric Science and Technology; National Research Council of Canada – Institute for Marine Biosciences; Natural Resources Canada – Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic); Irving Shipbuilding Incorporated; Ocean Nutrition CANADA; Satlantic; Ultra Electronics and Vemco. In addition, expansion plans are underway to include other members from private industry, universities, government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Stephen Hartlen, assistant vice president and executive director, industry liaison and innovation, at Dalhousie University, says the operating budget is in the process of being finalized, and the organization’s central office will be located in the new Oceans Excellence facility currently being constructed on Dalhousie’s campus.

“HMRI will work strategically with its partners to build additional research capacity and attract significant new research funding to grow both the research and private industry that comprise the oceans sector in the province. It will help increase exports, grow high value jobs, increase GDP and grow the economy,” says Dr Martha Crago, Dalhousie’s vice president, research.