The Canadian federal government announced a major new research grant on Tuesday, 6 September 2016, that will support the work of the new Ocean Frontier Institute at Dalhousie University. Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board, confirmed that the government has approved Dalhousie’s application to the Canada First Research Excellence Fund for $93.7 million. The approval of this research grant to Dalhousie, the largest in the university’s almost 200 year history, prompted business person and philanthropist, John Risley, to donate $25 million to Dalhousie to support the work of the Institute. These funds, combined with an additional $125 million from industry and international partners represent an exceptional investment in ocean research that will be led by Dalhousie University and pursued in collaboration with researchers at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Prince Edward Island. The seven year funding is expected to position Dalhousie and the Atlantic region as world leaders in oceans-related research.
As Dalhousie President, Richard Florizone, noted in a memo to the Dalhousie community, the Ocean Frontier Institute “will be an international hub for ocean science and for developing new solutions for the safe and sustainable development of the ocean. It will address critical challenges like climate change, food production and Arctic access that are too large-scale and complex for any one country or research discipline to tackle alone. It will focus its efforts on the globally significant Northwest Atlantic and Canadian Arctic gateway — one of the few places on Earth where ocean changes are happening first and fastest. OFI’s impacts will be truly global in scope, positioning Canada as a world leader in ocean science, sustainability, management and innovation.” He emphasized that the research grant is the result of collaboration across the university and disciplines – sciences, social sciences, law, management, computer science, engineering, and others.
The research operating under the umbrella of the Ocean Frontier Institute will provide a significant opportunity to be both transdisciplinary and transformative. Members of the Environmental Information: Use and Influence (EIUI) research team, Bertrum MacDonald, Suzuette Soomai, and Ian Stewart, along with other social science researchers at Dalhousie and Memorial, participated in the development of the CFREF proposal. The EIUI team will be pursuing research that will address questions about the complex information interactions at the science-policy interface, including studies in modules on “Governance Responses to a Changing Ocean” and “Social License and Planning in Coastal Communities.”
More information: dal.ca/ofi