Victoria, B.C. – Vancouver Island's ocean research and technology capabilities will be strengthened through a $3 million investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada. The Honourable Stephen Owen, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport) made the announcement today at the University of Victoria.
“Our oceans offer a frontier of unexplored territory and endless opportunities within a diverse ecosystem,” said Minister Owen. “This investment enables ocean researchers to protect the environment and identify commercialization opportunities in the marine sector.”
The $3 million investment includes $1.8 million for the University of Victoria for six projects related to oceans research and technology, $1.15 million for the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre for its new Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries, and $67,000 for the Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre (VIATeC) to conduct marine research and development and help small businesses that market ocean technology to compete in a global market.
The University of Victoria is recognized internationally for its excellence in earth, ocean, and atmospheric systems research and education. It is the lead institution in the NEPTUNE Canada project, the northern component of a major international initiative to build a high-tech scientific observatory on the Juan de Fuca plate in the north-west Pacific.
"The funding to NEPTUNE Canada increases the capacity of the project to
transform our understanding of our ocean," said Dr. Martin Taylor, University of Victoria's Vice-President, Research. "Western Economic Diversification Canada's support for our Centre for Applied Remote Sensing allows us to create a unique airborne platform with a wide range of vital environmental management applications."
The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre is Canada's leading marine research institute and has made a number of important discoveries in the areas of cancer treating chemical compounds, neurobiology and managing isolated nature reserves. Opened in 1972, the Centre was established to give researchers and students an opportunity to engage in field research at the only open-ocean laboratory on the Pacific west coast. The main goal of the Centre is to become a state of the art facility that provides a fertile environment for research and commercialization.
“The opening of the Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries is the most significant event at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre since its inception,” said Dr. Dennis Jelinski, Director of the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. “Dr. Donald B. Rix's vision for the Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries was to foster innovative applications of science and technology in the ocean/marine sectors, and to lay the groundwork for a spirit of commercialization that creates new opportunities in marine life-sciences.”
The Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre is a not-for-profit, industry-driven venture, which actively promotes and enhances the development of the advanced-technology industry on Vancouver Island. It is designed to facilitate the development of Vancouver Island as a global centre of excellence for advanced technology.
"I believe the ocean technology sector is a vast resource with unlimited potential," said Dan Gunn, Chief Operating Officer for Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre. "This initiative will allow VIATeC and Vancouver Island businesses to capitalize on the opportunities this emerging market presents."
Western Economic Diversification Canada is the federal department mandated to support economic diversification in communities across Western Canada through activities that advance Sustainable Communities, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Federal funding for this project was provided for in the February 2005 budget.
For additional information, contact:
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Tel: (604) 666-1318
Office of the Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport)
Tel: (613) 954-1110
University of Victoria Communications
Web site: www.uvic.ca
WD Toll-Free Number
1 888 338-WEST (9378)
World Wide Web Site:
On August 16, 2005, the Honourable Stephen Owen, Minister of Western Economic Diversification Canada and Minister of State (Sport) announced $3 million in funding to further ocean research and technology on Vancouver Island. The $3 million investment includes $1.8 million for the University of Victoria for six projects related to oceans research and technology, $1.15 million for the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre for its new Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries , and $67,603 for the Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre to conduct marine research and development and help small businesses that market ocean technology to compete in a global market. A further breakdown of this investment is provided below:
University of Victoria – $1.8 million total investment for six projects:
1. Airborne Hyperspectral Spectroradiometer : $900,000
Funding enabled the university to purchase an Airborne Hyperspectral Imager. The imager can be used to expand remote researching capabilities in environmental and resource management, to study coastal and marine water characteristics, and to study the severity of pine beetle infestation in remote areas. It can also be used for other applications such as oil and gas exploration, erosion studies and agriculture management.
2 & 3. Centre for Applied Remote Sensing, Modeling and Simulation: $368,000
Funding enabled the Centre to develop a business plan and marketing strategy and to purchase remote sensing equipment. Two hyperspectral field scanners were purchased to assist in the completion of several research initiatives. These imagers will open up new research opportunities related to environmental and resource management by examining spectral characteristics (i.e. ground cover, soils, water) to a finer level of resolution and over much larger areas than was previously possible. Applications include forestry, agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, mining, oil and gas, watershed management and defence planning. Additional funding of $170,000 was provided through the B.C. Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management.
4. Ocean Science Development Centre: $298,400
Funding assisted in the establishment of the Ocean Science Development Centre, housed in the Technology Enterprise Centre at the University of Victoria. The Centre houses the management of the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) and Canadian management of the North East Pacific Time-Series Undersea Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE). These projects are related to the establishment of undersea infrastructure and data management to support ocean and geological research. The facility will also house the Centre for Earth and Ocean Research.
5. North East Pacific Time-Series Undersea Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE): $200,000
Funding enabled the University of Victoria to purchase equipment for the NEPTUNE project. The NEPTUNE cable network will feature 30 or more seafloor “laboratories” spaced about 100 km apart. From these laboratories, land-based scientists will control and monitor sampling instruments, video cameras and remotely operated vehicles to collect data from the ocean surface to under the seafloor. Instruments will be interactive – scientists will instruct them to respond to events such as storms, fish migrations, earthquakes, tsunamis and underwater volcanic eruptions as they happen. N EPTUNE will expand the boundaries of ocean exploration and provide a new way of studying and understanding the planet. NEPTUNE is a joint Canada - U.S. venture led by the University of Victoria and the University of Washington.
6. Canadian Ocean Information Network: $60,000
Funding will enable the University of Victoria to develop a business plan and establish a new not-for-profit society called the Canadian Ocean Information Network Pacific Partnerships Office. The Network will advance the interests of B.C.'s ocean technology stakeholders, and serve as a network hub for ocean information and technology users in western Canada.
Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre (VIATeC) – $67,603
Funding supports the Ocean Technology Sector Development Project. This project assists in identifying potential markets in the ocean technology sector and helps B.C. companies benefit from those markets. The project assists B.C.'s small- and medium-sized enterprises in the ocean technology sector participate in large-scale ocean technology projects.
Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre – $1.15 million
Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) received a total of $1.15 million to purchase equipment and toward facilities at the new Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries which houses a marine biotechnology laboratory, a coastal integrity laboratory, a digital imaging and analysis laboratory, new classroom space and a conference centre. The Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries will add new capacity to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre's infrastructure, encourage partnerships among universities, industry and other communities, and strengthen western Canada's technological transfer and commercialization capabilities in the marine sector.