April 2, 2012, St. John’s: Newfoundland and Labrador’s knowledge and technological capacity for ships and offshore structures operating in harsh ocean environments is about to be strengthened with the launch of a research program at Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

The Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) and ABS of Texas today announced a combined $600,000 investment for the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Centre and associated research program. This investment will fund research on how ship and offshore structures can be improved to work more effectively in unpredictable ocean conditions, such as the North Atlantic.

“This partnership further demonstrates Newfoundland and Labrador as a recognized leader on the international stage when it comes to research and development of technologies for ships and offshore structures operating in harsh environments,” said the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister Responsible for the RDC. “Worldwide, there is an industry need for this type of research and development. Our geography, academic environment and strong economy make Newfoundland and Labrador the best place for international companies to learn about operating in cold ocean environments.”

The research program within the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Centre will focus on themes such as dynamic positioning in ice, produced water management, ballast water management, corrosion protection of ships and platforms and fire and explosion assessment.

“This investment is a significant development for our province as we continue to build research capacity in the ocean technology sector,” said Glenn Janes, CEO of the RDC. “Academic researchers at Memorial University will be able to work with international partners such as ABS to expand research that can develop solutions for companies operating in challenging marine conditions.”

Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading non-governmental international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.

“ABS collaborated with Memorial University of Newfoundland and RDC to establish the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Centre,” stated Todd Grove, ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “ABS and Memorial University have developed a strong working relationship during the last few years while producing important research in this field. With this additional support we will build on our previous efforts and continue to assist the marine and offshore industry in tackling the challenges they face in harsh and arctic environments.”

ABS has a longstanding relationship with Memorial University. In 2009, a memorandum of understanding was signed to create the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Centre on the St. John’s campus to support the development of technologies for ships and offshore structures operating in harsh environments. Today’s investment builds on the relationship with ABS and will strengthen Memorial University’s expertise in a strategic research area.

“Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering has the unique resources and expertise needed to address the challenges of ship and structure design for harsh offshore environments,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, President and Vice-Chancellor, Memorial University. “Ultimately, the research stemming from this investment will help our students, faculty and industry partners make ocean-related industries safer and more productive.”

ABS has worked closely with the Ocean Engineering Research Centre (OERC) within Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to develop the ABS Harsh Environment Technology Centre and the associated research program, which will be led by Dr. Wei Qiu, associate professor and director of the OERC.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with ABS and RDC,” said Dr. Qiu. “This support will allow the OERC to expand its activities in improving ship and offshore structure design and safety operations in harsh ocean environments.”

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Media contacts:

Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290

Jeff Green
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Research & Development Corporation
709-758-0973, 691-8892


ABOUT RDC: Research & Development Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s R&D performance. The RDC works with R&D stakeholders including business, academia and government agencies and departments. In Budget 2011 Standing Strong: For Prosperity. For Our Future. For Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Government allocated more than $19 million to make strategic research and development related investments in people, strategic opportunities and infrastructure.

For more information about the RDC, go to www.researchnl.com .