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Ocean research facility receives $8.3M in infrastructure funding


St John’s, NL – Memorial University’s cold-oceans research facility, the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC), received a landmark infrastructure funding of $8,325,477 from the province’s Research & Development Corporation (RDC).

The funding will be used to build a deep-sea water supply to provide consistent, low-temperature sea water year-round. The cold-water source will enable researchers to expand the amount of time they can hold deep-water animals for research.

“The Research & Development Corporation, through this $8.3 million investment, is building on a unique asset that the province already has in the Ocean Sciences Centre,” said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of the Research & Development Corporation. “By significantly enhancing the infrastructure of the OSC, we are seizing an opportunity to turn the OSC into a world-class asset for cold-ocean research and achieve international excellence in this area.”

The funding will also facilitate the development of a bio-containment facility for research on infectious diseases affecting marine animals, as well as invasive aquatic species. In the OSC’s current capacity, research on hazardous subjects has been limited due to the risks involved with accessing and handling live specimens. The bio-containment facility will address this limitation.

The OSC was first opened in 1967 and is an internationally renowned facility for research on cold-water organisms.

“The Ocean Sciences Centre has long played a unique and important role in ocean research at Memorial University,” said Dr Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research). “Like much of our infrastructure, however, it is need of renewal. This investment from RDC will significantly enhance our research capabilities, thereby enabling new specialized work on invasive species, deep-water organisms and marine diseases.”

The project, which includes state-of-the-art equipment, laboratories, cold-water holding tanks, pressurized holding tanks, and a stable cold water intake, is expected to be complete in 2012.