Government of Canada supports Atlantic Canadian research database  

News Release

Funding project boosts regional innovation by matching researchers with available equipment

March 8, 2017 – Halifax, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

A database designed to connect entrepreneurs and researchers with almost 400 pieces of equipment available at 19 post-secondary institutions across Atlantic Canada is making its official debut today, thanks to an investment of $198,747 from the Government of Canada. This networking tool will help make costly projects possible, accelerate research projects, and bring innovative products and processes to market faster, thereby helping to grow the region’s economy and create jobs for the middle-class and those who seek to join it. 

The Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED) is an open-access databank service that links users with the facilities and equipment they need at the stroke of a key. AFRED not only helps them save time, but also saves them buying costly equipment that already exists, while helping ensure expensive research assets in the region are utilized to their full capacity. 

AFRED is an initiative of Science Atlantic, a non-profit association of 16 post-secondary and research institutes in Atlantic Canada.  

Funding for this project is made possible through a non-repayable contribution of $181,897 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency’s Business Development Program, which assists businesses to start-up, expand, modernize, develop and commercialize products or services and improve their competitiveness. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which also supports innovation research partnerships and commercialization of research, is providing $16,850 to the project.


“The Government of Canada is committed to working with Atlantic Canada’s world-class research and academic facilities to promote innovation and foster effective partnerships between businesses and research partners. This project will help maximize available resources, increase research and development interaction between business, academia and government, and strengthen the research and innovation base in Atlantic Canada.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Our government is committed to supporting scientists whose discoveries provide us with the evidence we need to build a strong economy, a sustainable environment and a vibrant middle class. By strengthening the opportunities for collaboration between scientists and entrepreneurs, we are ensuring future generations will benefit from the incredible research being conducted in labs throughout the Atlantic region.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science
“AFRED will enable researchers in Atlantic Canada to use specialized equipment they might otherwise not know even exists. We see AFRED as a powerful tool for building cross-sector partnerships and opening the door to new possibilities for innovation, business development and wealth creation in the region.”
 – Dr. David McCorquodale, Chair, Science Atlantic and Dean of Science and Technology at Cape Breton University

Quick Facts


    • In the making since 2010, AFRED has progressed from a simple tool for universities to share equipment information to a powerful database built to support economic development by fostering innovation and inter-sectoral collaboration. 
    • Nearly 400 pieces of equipment in 80 facilities at 19 post-secondary institutions are currently registered in AFRED. Science Atlantic receives new listing requests on an ongoing basis and plans to expand the database until all eligible facilities in the region are listed.  

    • AFRED is well positioned to foster innovative collaborations and business growth. The database provides any researcher or entrepreneur access to equipment at universities, government and not-for-profit facilities for proof-of-concept and product-development studies in diverse sectors such as aerospace, information technology, renewable energy, food sciences, nutraceuticals, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, animal health, and more.  

    • All R&D spending in Atlantic Canada averaged $1.2 billion per year from 2011 to 2013 and the region’s business R&D grew by an annual average of 2.1 per cent, between 2003 and 2013 compared to 1.3 per cent at the national level.*Source: Statistics Canada, Table 358-001


Stéphanie Bilodeau
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Nyree St-Denis
Manager, Public Affairs
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Melanie Jollymore
AFRED Media Consultant

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