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Nova Scotia projects selected in second round of Atlantic Innovation Fund annnouncements


Halifax, NS September 22, 2003 The Nova Scotian government has announced that 21 Nova Scotia projects have been selected for funding under the second round of the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF).The announcement was made today, Robert G Thibault, minister responsible for nova scotia and member of parliament for West Nova on behalf of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

The projects will receive up to a total of $47.5 million from the AIF.

Last week, Gerry Byrne, minister of state for ACOA, announced that a total of 54 research projects from across Atlantic Canada have been approved for funding under the second round of the AIF.

In total, up to $136 million in funding is being awarded to these research and development projects that have a total value of $291 million. (Project proponents are expected to leverage the additional $155 million in funding from a variety of private sector and public sector sources, including contributions from other national funding programs.)

Some of the Nova Scotia AIF projects announced today include:

1) Atlantic Centre for Global Change and Ecosystem Research, Acadia University

This project will establish laboratory facilities for the Atlantic Centre for Global Change and Environmental Research that will maximize the potential of the KC Irving Environmental Science Centre and its $8-million research facility. Labs at the centre will study biological responses of selected species and entire communities of climate change as variables such as temperature, CO2 concentrations, UV light, rainfall, moisture and nutrients are manipulated. Complementary state-of-the-art laboratories are to be developed in a new research wing connected to the Irving Centre and will house complex instruments for analyzing test subjects at the tissue, microbiological and molecular levels. In addition, research is planned on freshwater resources and sources of faecal contamination.

The project, with total costs of $9,237,089, will receive up to $1,500,000 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

2) Advanced Processes for Transportation Infrastructure Health Monitoring, Dalhousie University

This transportation infrastructure research project, led by Dr Jean-Franois Trottier, Canada Research Chair for Intelligent Structures and Innovative Materials of the Department of Civil Engineering, aims to improve processes for assessing the deterioration of bridges and roadways through non-destructive evaluation. The research and development of innovative processes within this project combine off-the-shelf technologies, such as ground penetrating radar, heavy-weight deflectometer, and other stress wave devices in unique ways to achieve the necessary accuracy and consistency to enable efficient infrastructure management practices.
The project, with total costs of $2,964,852, will receive up to $1,471,831 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over four years.

3) Molecular and Statistical Tools to Improve Tree Breeding, Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University, in partnership with the University of New Brunswick and the private sector, will undertake a project aimed at developing and testing cost effective approaches to improve tree breeding programs. This project will determine the technical feasibility of using molecular (DNA fingerprinting) and statistical tools to enhance breeding programs; and evaluate the economic benefits of these approaches over traditional breeding programs.

The project, with total costs of $917,816, will receive up to $596,379 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

4) Nutritionally Enhanced Milk Products, Nova Scotia Agricultural College

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at NSAC, in collaboration with partner industries and academic institutions, will develop the technologies to produce a premium milk with a nutritionally enhanced fat composition based on feeding a novel, marine algae supplement to dairy cows.

The primary research partners for the project include: Acadia University, Universit de Moncton, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia, Farmers Dairy, Dairytown Products, Acadia Seaplants, and Reed Mariculture.

The project, with total costs of $2,774,737, will receive up to $1,942,303 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

5) Geomatics Development of Time-Space Activity Data, Saint Mary’s University

Saint Mary’s University, in collaboration with public and private sector partners, will develop the international “reference standard” for time-space-activity (TSA) studies globally. This will be accomplished by developing commercial technologies capable of collecting human behavioural data for use in urban modeling and simulation. Working with local private sector partners, the research team intends to develop a state-of-the-art “smart” Global Positioning System (GPS) data collection hardware; next-generation analysis and visualization software; and a Nova Scotia consortium capable of bidding on major international TSA contracts.

The project, with total costs of $4,131,236, will receive up to $2,513,332 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over three years.

6) Gemini Surfactant Technologies Research Laboratory for Drilling Mud Remediation, St Francis Xavier University

St. Francis Xavier University, in partnership with Newpark Canada, will create and synthesize novel gemini surfactants for deployment in new remediation technologies for contaminated drilling muds. The project proposes the use of surfactants in conjunction with existing mechanical separation procedures. Though the principal thrust of the research at St FX will be the synthesis of new gemini surfactants for Newpark and other oil and gas companies, the laboratory will also have the ability to carry out future research and development programs related to new mud remediation systems. This project will also build research capacity and core expertise to provide rapid solutions to field problems, to develop new mud systems, to explore the use of new chemical additives and to design fluid systems responsive to the unique drilling environment of the Atlantic oil and gas fields.

The project, with total costs of $8,398,754, will receive up to $3,447,825 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

7) Centre for the Study of Physical & Biogeochemical Climate Processes, St Francis Xavier University

This project will focus on defining the potential value of carbon stored in the soils of Atlantic Canadian forests, and to assess alternative forestry practices and their impact on the carbon volumes of forest lands. A key objective is developing process models to estimate carbon dioxide emissions from soils as a function of land use and climate change. The project will look at the important role of factors such as temperature, heat and moisture on the production of CO2 in the soil profile using, for example, stable isotopes.

The project, with total costs of $4,669,062, will receive up to $3,000,000 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

8) Petroleum Applications of Wireless Systems, University College of Cape Breton

This project will explore new development opportunities for innovative technologies in oil- and gas-producing environments. It will involve developing and commercializing a wireless smart sensor system for offshore platforms and land-based refineries. The key objective will be the replacement of wired sensors with wireless technology.

This project brings together the National Research Council’s wireless systems research team and the University College of Cape Breton’s Information Technology Innovation Centre (ITIC) and Centre of Excellence in Petroleum Development, the University of New Brunswick’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the College of the North Atlantic.

This project, with total project costs of $7,782,071 will receive up to $5,560,278 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

9) Develo
ping Marine Bioproducts to Improve Crop Health, Establishment and Productivity, Acadian Seaplants

This project will undertake the development of new, commercially viable products from marine plants and extracts in order to improve agricultural crop productivity. It will also establish protocols for the provision of commercially relevant technical knowledge for each new product and its application and utilization in the agrifood industry. The project will develop a process that will enable biologically active components from sustainable, harvested marine plants to be identified, refined, and used as the basis for the formulation of new products. The intended utilization of these products will lead to a reduced need for pesticide inputs and will help improve the sustainability of farming practices and food safety. The challenges are to discover these bioactive components, obtain them in commercially acceptable quantities, and manufacture the compounds in order to deliver them in a stable and highly active form.

This project will receive up to $1,481,751 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

10) Composite Struts for Aeronautics, Composites Atlantic

The objective of this project is to develop a reproducible process and product to qualify an advanced composite strut for the aeronautic market. The primary target market is the floor support beam on Airbus aircraft. There are hundreds of struts (support beams) in each aircraft. Currently these struts are either hybrids (i.e., a composite cylindrical tube with metallic end fittings) or all metal. The proposed project is to create a one piece, “all composite” strut that will be corrosion-free, stronger, and lighter than those currently in use. The strength and the weight reduction associated with this corrosion-free product will allow for a new concept in designing aircraft, initially with Airbus, then with other manufacturers, such as Boeing. This project will develop and bring Composites Atlantic to the highest technology of components produced by resin transfer moulding.

The project, with total costs of approximately $1,222,530, will receive up to $700,000 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over one year.

11) Voice Biometric Speaker Identification System, Diaphonics

The project is to develop a voice-biometric-based, speaker identification software system that will permit the automated identification of a speaker based upon samples of their speech. The Diaphonics Speaker Identification system will recognize a speaker based on the unique characteristics of his or her vocal patterns.

The project, with total costs of $3,773,278, will receive up to $2,650,152 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over two years.

12) New Peptide-Based Vaccines, ImmunoVaccine Technologies

This project entails development of the company’s existing proprietary vaccine platform, VacciMax, for use with peptide antigens to induce a potent targeted immune response for disease prevention and therapy in humans and animals. The innovation of IVT’s approach lies in the vaccine formulation using liposomes that permit the use of a single dosage to achieve a long-lasting antigenic response.The company’s research program will encompass its own laboratory in Halifax and laboratories at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, and the University of Prince Edward Island’s Veterinary College.

The project, with total costs of approximately $9,975,997, will receive up to $3,786,474 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over three years.

13) Environment Technologies and Precision Agriculture Initiative, Oxford Frozen Foods

The objective of this research project is to enhance production and environmental technologies to increase the yield of blueberries and processed carrots, improve product quality, composition and production sustainability and enhance the efficiency of all production costs. The program will include development of improved nutrient assessment equipment, stress monitoring and management processes, and developing and integrating leading edge environmental monitoring, precision farming and variable agrochemical application technologies.

The project will be carried out in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and includes significant participation from both the public and private sectors. The Nova Scotia Agricultural College will have a prominent role in the research and development activities associated with the initiative and will be collaborating with researchers from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Community College and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as well as with departmental blueberry specialists from the provinces.

The project, with total costs an estimated $4,459,160, will receive up to $1,566,272 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

14) Aquatic/Terrestrial/Agriculture CKD Liming Project, Salmon River Salmon Association

The Salmon River Salmon Association (SRSA) proposes to conduct a pilot project aimed at utilizing cement kiln dust (CKD) to remediate acid rain impacted rivers and streams. CKD is a by-product from the cement manufacturing process containing calcium carbonates, potassium and calcium hydroxide, which gives it buffering qualities superior to traditional lime. Preliminary lab experiments have indicated that CKD is not toxic to fish. SRSA has been assessing the suitability of this new substance for the purpose of acid rain remediation, in a small-scale laboratory setting.

Project activities will focus on providing an accurate assessment of the potential for this new buffering agent. All facets of the river environment including salmon population levels, water quality (including pH), and invertebrate species will be monitored throughout the project. In addition to the aquatic application, terrestrial application of CKD will be conducted to increase the soils’ ability to neutralize acid deposition and increase forage production on agriculture land.

The project, with total costs of $1,030,470, will receive up to $365,016 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over five years.

15) Broodstock Biosecurity and Domestication Project, Scotian Halibut

The main objective of this project is to produce a domesticated, certified disease-free Atlantic Halibut broodstock for fish farms and other breeding facilities. The proposed research team will be the first group to effectively develop a comprehensive broodstock program, incorporating the latest genetic protocols for establishing a select, disease-free, certified breeding stock of marine animals.

The project, with total costs of approximately $4,145,514, will receive up to $2,736,537 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over four years.

16) Expansion of Research and Development Capability of Manufacturing Processes for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, Sepracor Canada

The project involves the development of a select group of innovative compounds referred to as active pharmaceutical ingredients. Through this project, Sepracor Canada will expand its research and development capability of manufacturing processes for its parent company. This will include the design, acquisition, and installation of specific process equipment (reactors, separators, and dryers) in order to establish an FDA-approved, bulk-manufacturing process.

The project, with total costs of approximately $7,953,163, will receive up to $2,734,437 from the Atlantic Innovation Fund over two years.