September 6, 2016 12:07 pm
Updated: September 6, 2016 2:25 pm

‘Unprecedented investment’ in ocean science to create world-leading institute in Halifax

It's being touted as one of the world's most significant international ocean science collaborations and it's happening in our region. As Global's Natasha Pace explains, a major funding announcement is hoping that Atlantic Canada will lead the way in ocean research.


Nearly $900 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund was handed out across the country Tuesday, with the largest portion coming to Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“Dalhousie University will receive $93.7 million of this funding,” said Treasury Board President Scott Brison. “Today’s announcement will demonstrate to Canadians and to the world that in Canada science is back.”

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The federal funding combined with support from provincial governments in the Maritimes, partners and a donation of $25 million from prominent business leader John Risley brings the total investment in a new initiative called the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) to $220 million.

READ MORE: University of Alberta receives $2M in federal funding to further research

“This massive investment in ocean science between the government of Canada and its many partners, the donors will take Canada from world class to world leader, and what better place for this visionary investment than right here in Atlantic Canada,” said Dalhousie President Richard Florizone.

“We are entirely up to this challenge.”

Risley wasn’t at Tuesday’s announcement but did provide a written statement.

“I have every confidence that the OFI can become an engine for regional economic growth and firmly establish us as global leaders in ocean science,” the statement reads.

The institute will focus on understanding key aspects of the ocean and ecosystem change. Experts say if they’re able know what’s happening now, it will help them predict changes that may come in the future and adjust properly.

READ MORE: 815 foreign scientists urge Canada to increase freedoms, funding

The main office for the OFI will be located in Halifax, but Dalhousie will be partnering with Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and the University of Prince Edward Island for the seven-year project.

“Today, we witness an historic partnership,” said Dr. Richard Marceau, vice president of research at Memorial University.

“A partnership that inoculates a world-leading university alliance that places new direction in ocean research, that recognizes Canada as an oceans nation and shows what can be accomplished when Atlantic Canada partners with Atlantic Canada.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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