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Dalhousie To Lead $220-Million Ocean Research Institute

The Ocean Frontier Institute, which partners Dalhousie with Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Prince Edward Island, was announced this morning in Halifax and will support scientific research aimed at the safe and sustainable development of ocean resources.

The federal government will provide more than $93 million over seven years to explore issues related to global warming and sustainable ocean harvesting. The money is Dalhousie’s share of $900 million in Canada First Research Excellence Fund grants being announced today for 13 post-secondary institutions nationwide, according to a news release.

All had to apply and pass peer review and a panel of international science experts to obtain the funding.

Seafood billionaire John Risley is the third-biggest backer of the Ocean Frontier Institute, behind Ottawa and the province, putting up $25 million for the project.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison had kind words at this morning’s announcement for the man who built his fortune from the sea but grew it investing in telecommunications and other sectors.

“Let’s add ocean science visionary to that list of accolades,” Brison said at the Dalhousie event.

Nova Scotia is already Canada’s ocean think tank, and Dalhousie University is on record as the recipient of 25 per cent of all federal oceans research grants.

According to provincial numbers, Nova Scotia has the highest concentration in the world of PhDs (450) in ocean-related disciplines.

The Bedford Institute of Oceanography’s 700 scientists, engineers, and technicians has been named Canada’s largest centre for oceans’ research.

The province is also home to the Institute for Marine Biosciences (NRC).

Tuesday’s announcement was held at the Steele Ocean Sciences Building.

Representatives of Dalhousie, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and the University of Prince Edward Island were on hand, as well as Brison.

The announcement was followed by a demonstration by Dr. Julie LaRoche and students working on a project to sample Nova Scotia’s coastal waters and add to our knowledge of food supplies for larval fish.

The Canada First Research Excellence fund was launched in December 2014.

In 2015, five institutions shared in $350 million in grants from the first round of competition.