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Stfx Spin-Off Set For Success

A company created in a science lab at St. Francis Xavier University is set for global expansion.

StFX earth sciences professor Dr. David Risk and his students spin-off company, called Forerunner Research, is leading the pack in innovative gas technologies.

The company’s instruments and expertise all revolve around the detection, analysis and monitoring of naturally occurring gases, including emissions from oil and gas production fields, contaminated sites, or tiny, slow leaks from pipelines and other industrial infrastructure.

These technologies and the expertise of Forerunner Research have allowed the company to acquire an initial round of public and private investment to expand its operations. Now, StFX is also enthusiastically supporting the company’s growth by its own investment in Forerunner.

“StFX’s research backing is a critical step in allowing us to secure further investment,” says Forerunner Research president Gordon McArthur. “We now have customers and projects in five continents, and StFX’s investment, in the form of patents will help propel us further.”

“StFX’s firm support of Forerunner makes sense from many areas – the company has what it takes for growth in the competitive high-tech world of clean technology,” says StFX’s Manager of Industry Liaison, Andrew Kendall. “Also, it proves that applied, industry relevant research and education that are a priority at StFX because the technologies have come from student–professor collaborations at StFX, and best of all, many of our graduate students are working at the company including Gordon as Forerunner’s President, Nick Nickerson as chief scientist and Chance Creelman as R&D scientist.”

Dr. Risk, primary inventor of many of the technologies says, “We’ve been working on these projects for many years, and StFX has been a supportive partner from day one. By working together we’ve been able to maximize research impact by moving these useful technologies outside the lab and into the hands of end users, and along the way we’ve made great opportunities for students. Of course this institution is one where we have a long tradition of looking outside, and mobilizing support to communities who needed our help. To me, this is another example of that spirit. We can compete globally in clean technology and the knowledge economy.”

Forerunner is very grateful for support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC‐IRAP) and Innovacorp, says Mr. McArthur. “We are all very grateful for this tremendous network of economic and research support agencies and their belief in the applied research of our students.”