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Tech projects get $1.9M funding for research


St John’s, NL – Twelve business-led projects are receiving a total of $1.8 million in support from the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC).

The funding supports small- and medium-sized businesses in areas ranging from ocean technology and natural resources to life sciences and advanced manufacturing. With co-funding from the participating companies and other partners factored in, the total project costs are nearly $5 million.

The projects are as follows:

R&D Vouchers:

WELY Health: WELY Health is a natural health products company that combines science and nature to develop and formulate therapies to provide health and medical benefits. A part of St. John’s-based NewLab Group of Companies, the company is engaging the services of Bio Food Tech, a nationally accredited food and bioprocessing lab owned by the Government of Prince Edward Island, to undertake a preliminary analysis of eight fruit pomace and/or whole fruit materials for potential beneficial natural health properties. RDC’s investment is $7,500 of a total project cost of $10,000.

R&D Proof of Concept:

New World Dairy: Located in St. David’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, New World Dairy Inc. is the largest dairy farm in the province and the one of the largest in Canada. Incorporated in 2004, the farm has a herd of more than 1,200 milking and dry cows and roughly 1,000 heifers. The farm produces 33,500 litres of milk daily or approximately 25 per cent of the industry’s daily production for Newfoundland and Labrador. RDC is supporting New World Dairy with the development of an anaerobic digester technology that generates electricity from methane gas produced from waste at the farm. This technology can help New World Dairies modernize their operations through eco-friendly methods in order to lower energy costs. RDC’s investment is $250,000 of a total project cost of $735,498.

British Confectionery Company: Established in 1958, British Confectionery Company Ltd. is a wholesale confectionery distributor located in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Through this project, the company is focusing on the software architecture of a break-open/pull ticket lottery dispensing machine. Through assistance from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the company has developed an alpha prototype of the machine’s hardware which has garnered positive responses from multiple lottery corporations within Canada. The company is now focusing on enhancements and improvements to its machinery with an aim to providing a new market ready break-open ticket dispensing kiosk machine. RDC’s investment is $250,000 of a total project cost of $1,044,566.

Quinlan Brothers Limited: The aim of this R&D project is to design, fabricate and test automation technologies for crab packing led by Quinlan Brothers Limited, a family-owned and operated snow crab and shrimp processor based in Bay de Verde, Newfoundland and Labrador. To assist in the development of a new system, the company will be collaborating with specialty design and fabrication firms. This new packing process technology could change the current industry standard to packing crab by reducing worker strain and repetition, improving ergonomics, and increasing productivity while decreasing human resource constraints. For Quinlan Brothers Limited, this system would strengthen the plant’s capacity and long-term viability. RDC’s investment is $246,530 of a total project cost of $614,635.

ExtremeOcean Innovation: ExtremeOcean Innovation Inc. is a marine technology start-up company formed in 2010 and located in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The aim of this project is to advance the development of a unique vessel for accessing offshore wind turbines known as the TranSPAR Craft (TranSPAR). The TranSPAR is a propelled spar marine vehicle. It was created due to a need defined by a consortium of energy companies through the United Kingdom-based Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator Access global design competition. RDC’s investment is $250,000 of a total project cost of $607,300.

eSonar: Based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, eSonar Inc. was incorporated in 2008 to service, develop, manufacture and market electronic and acoustic products for the marine and ocean technology markets. eSonar Inc. is currently involved with developing a product to improve the commercial fishing market. In order to successfully penetrate this market, eSonar Inc. is using RDC funding to develop an integrated purse seining system that will transmit data to aid in the launching and retrieving of a purse seine. This project could improve the purse seine fishing market by providing vessel captains with a monitoring system for launching and retrieving the seines. RDC’s investment is $250,000 of a total project cost of $445,713.

ArcticTECH:

Canatec Associates International: Formed in 1988, Canatec Associates International Ltd. provides services and products to the Arctic offshore petroleum and Polar shipping industries. The company’s head office is located in Calgary, Alberta and it has recently expanded its operations and opened an office in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Funding from RDC will allow the company to test the transmission capabilities of its Ice Drift Beacon in water and upon refreeze, as well as make modifications to its size, shape and surface as needed to optimize its performance. RDC’s investment is $14,930 of a total project cost of $21,573.

Rutter: Based in St. John’s, Rutter Inc. specializes in the global provision of enhanced radar systems and custom solutions for marine, military and security/surveillance applications. RDC funding for this project will allow Rutter to develop a fully functional prototype of their SeaFusion Platform system. This system is a 24/7 real-time ice hazard detection, validation and monitoring system that brings together multiple technologies into a common software application. This will provide increased safety to offshore personnel and vessel employees during operations, as well as enhance crew safety, as the most dangerous ice conditions will be detected, verified and avoided. RDC’s investment is $375,248 of a total project cost of $831,397.

NSERC Industrial R&D Fellowships:

Northern Radar: Northern Radar Inc. is located in St. John’s, and has been in operation since 1986. The company focuses on maritime surveillance, search and navigation equipment for tracking ships, icebergs, sea ice and low flying aircraft as well as measuring surface currents and wave height. RDC and NSERC funding will enable Northern Radar to hire Dr. Maryam EtezadBrojerdi as an industrial R&D fellow for two years. Dr.  EtezadBrojerdi, a PhD graduate in Electrical Engineering from Concordia University, will work on commercializing the company’s OceanView system, a compact/portable HF radar system for remote sensing of the ocean environment. By routinely mapping vector currents of a large area of the ocean surface in near real time, the capabilities of the OceanView system could be extended to monitor surface wind conditions and sea state, tsunami warning and target tracking such as ships and icebergs. RDC’s investment is $60,000 of a total project cost of $154,000.

NovaLipids: NovaLipids is a privately held company that was founded in 1998, located in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The company is committed to becoming a premier supplier of lipid-based delivery systems to key pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. RDC and NSERC funding will enable NovaLipids to hire Dr. Michael Hayley as an industrial R&D fellow for two years. Dr. Hayley is a PhD graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science. The goal of this project is to research and develop a biological t
herapeutic treatment for psoriasis, a lifelong non-contagious skin disease that affects an estimated 125 million people worldwide.  RDC’s investment is $60,000 of a total project cost of $140,000.

INTECSEA Canada: INTECSEA Canada is located in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and is a project management, engineering, procurement and construction management company. This project is divided into two distinct parts: asset integrity management for Arctic and cold regions, as well as subsea leak detection for Arctic and cold regions. This project will help develop advanced engineering solutions to address technical challenges for developing offshore hydrocarbon resources. Incorporating risk-based integrity modeling into the overall design and implementation of required facilities will ensure improved reliability of the structures and minimal human intervention for inspection in harsh environments. RDC and NSERC funding will enable INTECSEA Canada to hire Dr. Premkumar Thodi as an industrial R&D fellow for two years. Dr. Thodi is a PhD graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. RDC’s investment is $60,000 of a total project cost of $160,000.

Kraken Sonar Systems: Kraken Sonar Systems Inc. is based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador as a developer, manufacturer and marketer of sonar devices for the deep sea commercial fisheries, defence and ocean sciences sectors. Through this project, the company has developed a program to create a bathymetric synthetic aperture scanning sonar product. This product would be deployed on unmanned underwater vehicles, as well as untethered and tethered towed bodies/equipment and could capture a higher resolution than the most advanced side scan sonars. Kraken Sonar Systems Inc. is collaborating with a number of organizations including the Ocean Technology Enterprise Centre, Defence Research Development Canada and Memorial University of Newfoundland. RDC and NSERC funding will enable the company to hire Dr. Jeremy Dillon as an industrial R&D fellow for two years. Dr. Dillon is a PhD graduate from Memorial University’s Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science. RDC’s investment is $60,000 of a total project cost of $155,000.