RDC invests $1.3 million in 11 Newfoundland and Labrador Companies
GANDER, NL, Sept. 14, 2012 /CNW/ – Research focused on improving
petroleum exploration, enhancing marine safety and preventing and
detecting money laundering and fraud are among the 11 business-led
projects receiving more than $1.3 million in funding from the Research
& Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC). The
funding was announced during a news conference in Gander, NL.
“With an increasingly diversified economy continuing to outpace growth
in other regions around North America, Newfoundland and Labrador
continues to earn a reputation as a place where business growth and
innovation is encouraged,” said the Honourable Keith Hutchings,
Minister Responsible for RDC. “The Provincial Government is committed
to providing these companies and others with the business opportunities
and programs they need to bring their products to markets anywhere in
RDC works with businesses, providing funding to assist with research and
development (R&D) activities focused on improving Newfoundland and
Labrador’s R&D performance.
Today’s investment is fostering business R&D in Newfoundland and
Labrador focused on key sectors including oil and gas, fisheries,
information technology and ocean technologies. The funding supports
innovative projects being led by the following 11 companies: Lotek
Wireless Inc., NorCan Pozzolan AS, Afinin Labs Inc., Firecraft Products
Inc., Oceans Limited, Technip Canada Limited, Triumph Atlantic, Verafin
Inc., Virtual Marine Technology Inc., Whitecap Scientific Corporation
and WYSE Design & Development Inc.
“Investing in R&D projects led by Newfoundland and Labrador’s business
sector is a key priority for the Research & Development Corporation,”
said Glenn Janes, Chief Executive Officer of RDC. “Through our support
businesses are developing new technologies and skills that strengthen
R&D and create jobs.”
Today’s funding comes from two RDC programs tailored to enhance
business-led R&D in Newfoundland and Labrador.
R&D Proof of Concept helps companies strengthen their technical
capacity, while reducing the financial risk of undertaking R&D
activities through to proof of concept. The program’s investments of up
to $250,000 per project also enable companies to respond quickly to
market opportunities by developing and testing new or improved
products, services and processes.
R&D Vouchers help companies augment their R&D capabilities with greater
access to the expertise and facilities needed to support their R&D
needs. The program’s investments of up to $15,000 per project support
costs associated with access to specialized research personnel,
research facilities and other R&D performers.
Both programs provide R&D funding to support companies as they increase
their R&D expenditures and develop leading-edge technologies. More
information about these programs is available at www.rdc.org.
Details on the 11 projects are available in the backgrounder of this
About the Research & Development Corporation
The Research & Development Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation
responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador’s R&D performance.
RDC works with R&D stakeholders including business, academia and
government agencies and departments. In Budget 2012: People and
Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future, RDC was
allocated $19 million to make strategic research and development
related investments in people, research opportunities and
infrastructure. For more information about RDC, go to www.rdc.org.
Investments in Business-Led Research and Development
While RDC is investing a total of $1,332,082 in the following 11
Newfoundland and Labrador-based projects, the total project costs are
$2,326,903. This overall R&D investment is supported by RDC and other
partner organizations. Each R&D project is also funded by its
Lotek Wireless Inc.
Lotek Wireless Inc. (Lotek) manufactures fish and wildlife monitoring
systems. The company, based in St. John’s, has international
operations spanning Canada, Europe and New Zealand. This project will
evaluate the hydrodynamic performance of an externally tethered Lotek
Pop-off Satellite Archival Tag (PSAT) and smaller Lotek archival tags,
used in marine animal research. The PSAT is an electronic device
externally attached to a marine animal which collects data (depth,
temperature, location) on the animal’s environment. The PSAT is
designed to release from the animal at a pre-programmed date and floats
to the ocean’s surface, then in turn transmits data back to the
researcher via satellite technology. This project will perform flow
testing at the National Research Council’s Institute for Ocean
Technology Cavitation Tunnel in St. John’s, to assess the hydrodynamic
performance of a pop-off satellite archival tag. RDC’s investment is
$7,114 of a total project cost of $9,485.
NorCan Pozzolan AS
This project will investigate cement formulas that optimize a silica
breccia product to be used as an alternative to supplementary cementing
material. The newly-developed silica breccia formula could have the
potential to have a large impact on the cement and concrete industry as
it is expected to extend the structure service life and reduce the cost
of repair and maintenance of concrete structures used in offshore
applications. Based in St. John’s, this project will build on research
previously conducted in Norway on silica breccia as well as strengthen
the collaborative relationship of NorCan and Memorial University of
Newfoundland. RDC is investing $15,000 of a total project cost of
R&D Proof of Concept
Firecraft Products Inc.
Firecraft Products Inc. (Firecraft) is based in St. John’s. The
company’s activity has primarily been development of a prototype of
Spitfire and its accompanying incendiary sphere Spitball. This project
will fund aerial adaptation and flight operational testing of Spitfire.
Spitfire is a specialized incendiary launching device designed to
ignite controlled forest fires from a helicopter. RDC’s investment is
$60,000 of a total project cost of $80,000.
Oceans Ltd. was incorporated to carry out applied research and services
in oceanography. Since that time, the company has grown and diversified
substantially into specific work categories with the ocean as the
common link. The company has established in prior studies that seaweeds
from Newfoundland and Labrador contain a number of potential health
promoting properties of special interest for the production of
cosmeceuticals and neutraceuticals. In the present project, the company
will obtain more comprehensive scientific information on health
promoting properties, including those relevant for immunity, aging, and
skin condition such as acne and eczema. The project has potential to
facilitate the development of a new biotechnology-based industry in the
province, in the area of cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals. The project
will also benefit from specialized international expertise. RDC’s
investment is $167,012 of a total project cost of $296,026.
Triumph Atlantic is a multi-disciplined engineering firm established in
Newfoundland and Labrador with a mandate to provide engineering and
geophysical services specifically for the east coast oil and gas
operations. The company’s Triumph Atlantic Underground Harmonic Device
(THUD) is a prototype device designed to create a seismic wave event
for the purpose of petroleum exploration. THUD will provide a more cost
effective method of acquiring seismic data than current seismic
creation sources while having the added ability to generate seismic
signal in currently inaccessible and challenging terrains. The device
is designed to leave a minimal ecological impact. RDC’s investment of
$49,420 of a total project cost of $72,282.
Virtual Marine Technology
Virtual Marine Technology Inc. is a St. John’s-based company which
develops simulators for survival craft, fast response craft and high
speed electronic navigation training. The primary objective of this
project is to build a novel simulation platform that will stimulate
marine bridge navigation equipment. There is a significant need for a
low cost and efficient simulation system that can be used to train
operators on the use of complex navigation equipment systems on the
delivery of a new commercial system. An embedded training simulator
will require a realistic simulation environment that can simultaneously
stimulate electronic equipment including marine radar, Electronic
Charted Display and Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems and
marine sensors. The result will be low cost and efficient means for
personnel to gain valuable experience in a safe, controlled training
environment using the actual bridge equipment. RDC’s investment is
$231,917 of a total project cost of $422,232.
Whitecap Scientific Corporation
Based in St. John’s, Whitecap Scientific is bringing advanced vision
system technologies to the Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) sector.
This project will assist the company to develop a technology which
provides visual depth cues to pilots of ROVs. The method and
implementation will improve operator productivity at complex robotic
manipulative tasks. The technology is based on hands-free control of a
computer vision system paired to an active display system. RDC’s
investment is $171,509 of a total project cost of $362,005.
WYSE Design and Development Inc.
St. John’s-based WYSE Design and Development Inc. is dedicated to
designing and developing innovative new products including a hand-held
portable winch that will combine the benefits of a high speed (mounted)
manual winch and similar capacity of a low speed portable winch. For
WYSE, this represents a new style or generation of winch products that
will fill a need in the marketplace. RDC’s investment is $30,425 of a
total project cost of $40,567.
Afinin Labs Inc.
Afinin (Automated Financial Intelligence) Labs is a financial algorithm
startup company housed at the Genesis Centre, Memorial University of
Newfoundland’s business incubator. Afinin currently offers a service
that gives individual traders a tool to better level the playing field
so that they can compete against the army of algorithms they trade
against in the markets. The company is developing a new product, a
Technical Investment System, with the goal of developing features
necessary for a more versatile product. Three main features Afinin aims
to develop are: 1) the ability to short sell equities; 2) the ability
to backtest; and 3) the ability for the algorithm to instruct trades
over a time span longer than one day. With these features, the
individual trader will have a full suite of features in an algorithmic
based trade recommendation system, helping them compete in a heavily
computer based trading environment. RDC’s investment is $106,625 of a
total project cost of $186,250.
St. John’s-based Verafin Inc. is a leading provider of software to
financial institutions to assist in the prevention and detection of
money laundering and fraud. Verafin will use this Proof of Concept
project to enhance its application for its 650+ North America customers
to incorporate additional data sources of real-time or near real-time
financial transactions. This project will leverage market research that
suggests that organizations using software products capable of
responding to fraud in near real-time will enjoy a considerable
competitive advantage. Approximately 20,000 financial institutions in
North America are required by law to detect suspicious financial
behaviour. Verafin has a substantial market opportunity to meet this
demand with its proven solution and can further enhance this position
by embracing a platform model to commercialize the enhancements
resulting from this project. RDC is investing $249,959 of a total
project cost of $382,813.
Technip Canada Ltd.
One of the services that Technip Canada, based in St. John’s, offers to
the offshore oil and gas industry is the deployment of subsea
equipment. The deployment of such equipment typically involves lifting
heavy, large, multi-shape objects over the side of service vessels with
a crane system and lowering these objects into the sea through varying
sea conditions. Precise calculations are completed in order to
determine the equipment required. When the required objects pass
through the “splash zone” of the water, problems may occur depending
upon the sea conditions at that time. Varying conditions can lead to
changing load requirements on the lifting equipment. This variant often
causes the service company to opt for larger equipment to increase the
safety factor of the lift, which leads to higher costs. The transport
of this heavier equipment also requires a larger vessel for transport,
increasing the cost. This Proof of Concept will attempt to develop an
accurate determination of the hydrodynamic loads and thereby its
lifting requirements. If this is accomplished, a more accurate
prediction of the lifting equipment required could be determined, thus
reducing the costs but not the affecting the safety of the lift. RDC is
investing $243,101 of a total project cost of $455,243.
SOURCE Research & Development Corporation
Image with caption: “The Research & Development Corporation today announced more than $1.3 million for 11 business-led projects throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, including the creation of a device – by Gander-based Triumph Atlantic – designed to emit seismic waves for the purpose of petroleum exploration (CNW Group/Research & Development Corporation)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120914_C6594_PHOTO_EN_17876.jpg