OCTOBER 4, 2012: St. John’s, Newfoundland—OceansAdvance Inc. of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG) of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Rio Oil and Gas Expo on September 19th to collaborate on research and development, technical exchange, and technology transfer focused in the ocean and marine sector.

OceansAdvance is the organization that represents the Newfoundland and Labrador ocean technology cluster, and FURG is a public university with a mandate to offer a broad suite of academic and research programs and to strengthen its affiliation with the ocean and marine industries and industrial development organizations.

The two parties have agreed to foster the development of direct contacts and cooperation between government organizations, institutions, universities and research centres, private sector firms and intergovernmental organizations. They  have agreed to collaborate in areas such as sharing best practices on cluster development initiatives, sharing human resource development strategies, and stimulating joint research and technology development activities.

“We see tremendous synergies between the ocean technology cluster in Newfoundland and Labrador and our partner in the Rio Grande in the oil and gas, shipbuilding and emerging ocean technology sectors,” said Les O’Reilly, Executive Director of OceansAdvance. “We have a mutual interest in polar activities—the Arctic and Antarctic, we both have a good sense of the role of the University as an economic development instrument, and we appreciate the value of research, training, industry linkages and collaboration.”

“The collaboration between the university and the private sector is emerging in Rio Grande do Sul,” said OceansAdvance Chair Captain Anthony Patterson.  “The university and the companies are banding together like a cluster to help their shipbuilding industry, very much like what we have done in relation to the oil and gas industry here. The mindsets of our new partners in Brazil are aligned with ours. That’s why I think this is a perfect match.”

“We are investing in science and technology, such as the OceanTech Science and Technology Park here at the University,” said Dr. Danilo Giroldo, Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, “in order to increase the competitiveness of the offshore and shipbuilding industry. It’s important to focus on the technological aspects of these industries. OceansAdvance has industry, the university, and technology centres working together which is exactly what we’re thinking needs to take place in Rio Grande. This is necessary for the competitiveness of our shipbuilding companies. The University and OceansAdvance think the same way. We are very similar in our intentions to explore the possibilities for cooperation.”

About OceansAdvance

OceansAdvance Inc. is a private-sector led organization that represents the Newfoundland and Labrador ocean technology cluster. It was largely built from companies with their genesis in Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National Research Council. Membership includes more than 50 private companies who are responsible for driving the fastest-growing industrial sector in the Province, mostly through export revenues. Membership also includes 11 public sector research and development organizations, working in the community to further Newfoundland and Labrador’s research and development agenda, and three levels of government. With the belief that the sum is greater than the parts, OceansAdvance fosters networking, collaboration and alignment among its members. In 2008, OceansAdvance targeted an aggregate of $1 billion in private-sector revenues by 2015, a fourfold increase from $225 million in 2006.

About Universidade Federal do Rio Grande

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), located in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil, is a university focused on the coastal and oceanic ecosystems in a broad sense, and is a center of knowledge and culture. The student population is more than 12,000, including graduate and undergraduate students. Fueled by the demand for ships and platforms by Petrobras, the region excels in the construction of ships and offshore structures of a size and scope similar to other international centers. Recent additions to the FURG Engineering courses include undergraduate courses in automation engineering, civil coastal and port engineering, and mechanical naval engineering. Three post-graduate courses associated with the national program for the mobilization of oil and gas industries include field engineering, planning engineering and naval engineering. Three Engineering Master’s programs are offered in Oceanic, Mechanical and Computing Engineering. Visit FURG’s web site: http://www.furg.br/

Cathy Hogan, OceansAdvance Inc. cathy.hogan@oceansadvance.net

Dr. Danilo Giroldo, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, propesp.proreitor@furg.br