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Companies Receive More Than $5.7 Million in Support for Innovative Projects

Posted Friday, June 16, 2017

Government funding supports technology development and commercialization in Newfoundland and Labrador

June 16, 2017 - Mount Pearl, NL - Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Two companies in Newfoundland and Labrador are bringing technology to the sea and sky to create new jobs and economic opportunities. Fugro Geosurveys is adapting and demonstrating sensor technology for use with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) while Solace Power Inc. is focussed on wireless charging technology for small electric unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Government is Canada is contributing more than $5.5 million through ACOA for these projects. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Research & Development Corporation (RDC), is contributing $244,648 towards the project with Solace Power Inc.

The federal funding was announced today by Seamus O'Regan, Member of Parliament for St. John's South-Mount Pearl, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).  Provincial funding was announced by the Honourable Cathy Bennett, provincial Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, provincial Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation.

The investments from ACOA are provided through the Atlantic Innovation Fund, which encourages partnerships among private sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop and commercialize new or improved products and services.

Canada's Innovation and Skills Plan aims to make this country a global centre for innovation-one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. Investments in these projects demonstrate the Government of Canada's new approach to economic development through innovation.

Over the next five years, all six regional development agencies across Canada, including ACOA, will invest a total of $1.5 billion to strengthen innovation capacity and economic growth in each region. Part of these investments will go towards supporting projects such as those announced today, that are adopting new technologies to boost innovation capacity and competitiveness.

BACKGROUNDER - Project Descriptions

Fugro Geosurveys (a division of Fugro Canada Corporation) St. John's
ACOA assistance: $2.98 million (AIF Conditionally Repayable)
Total Project Costs: $5.1 million

Fugro Geosurveys will implement new sensor technology in Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) to advance their commercial potential in areas such as subsea mapping, ocean environment and habitat monitoring, inspection and surveillance in harsh environments. The technology will address needs within the commercial, scientific and government communities.  It will benefit marine areas such as oil and gas, sustainable energy, environmental and scientific research.  

Solace Power Inc. (St. John's)
ACOA assistance: $2.55 million (AIF Conditionally Repayable)
RDC assistance: $244,648
Total Project Costs: $4.2 million

This project involves research and development to advance the company's wireless charging capabilities of small electric unmanned aerial vehicles. The technology will be used for demonstration in a pilot project such as pipeline inspection with a commercial partner.  As a clean-tech initiative, it will reduce emissions by replacing other fuel-based monitoring technologies. 

Quotes:

"Through our Innovation and Skills Plan, the Government of Canada is working with local companies to help bring Canadian innovations to market. Initiatives like the ones announced today support advances in technology that will enable these businesses to compete internationally, strengthen and grow the middle class and create jobs."

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

"The Government of Canada recognizes this is a nation of innovators and we are committed to supporting new and developing technologies that bring ideas from conception to commercialization. These projects will have a positive impact on residents and contribute to a dynamic, thriving and competitive technology industry in Newfoundland and Labrador." 

-Seamus O'Regan, Member of Parliament for St. John's South-Mount Pearl 

"Innovation plays a critical role in advancing a stronger, more diversified economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Provincial Government is pleased to support Solace Power as they endeavor to develop a new, disruptive technology in wireless power transfer for the global aerospace and defence market."

-The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and Minister Responsible for the Research & Development Corporation

"We are excited to accelerate the research and development of our wireless power technology, which has the potential to transform multiple industries with real-world applications. Thanks to the support from the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador, we will be building a state-of-the art power electronics lab in St. John's, which will put us at the forefront of wireless power development. This advanced testing facility will be one of very few of its kind in Canada and will enable us to accelerate and advance the testing of our innovative wireless technology."

-Kris McNeil, President and CEO, Solace Power Inc.

"We are very excited to have this opportunity to expand and build on our expertise in marine mapping, data acquisition and interpretation. Together with our partners at MUN, Faculty of Engineering and Marine Institute, we have a unique opportunity for the development of new technology and skill in the marine mapping sectors."

- Mike Cole, President, Fugro Canada Corp

Quick Facts:

• ACOA's innovation programming, which includes the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Business Development Program (BDP), is designed to help bring to market new products, technologies and services that will improve the competitiveness and productivity of the Atlantic economy. 

• In 2016, the Government of Canada, through ACOA's AIF, invested more than $35 million in 16 innovation and R&D projects in the Atlantic region. 

• RDC is a provincial Crown Corporation established to strengthen the focus, quantity, quality, and relevance of R&D for the long-term economic benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2016-17, RDC invested over $15.9 million in 128 academic and business R&D projects. 

ACOA's Innovation Programming

ACOA's innovation programming, which includes the Atlantic Innovation Fund and the Business Development Program, responds to the evolving needs of Atlantic businesses and researchers. It is designed to help bring to market new products, technologies and services that will improve the competitiveness and productivity of the Atlantic economy. The programs also provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises across the region to acquire or adapt innovative technologies that can improve their productivity and competitiveness, while also enabling them to build the skills they need to innovate and compete in today's global economy.  

Contacts:

Paul McGrath
Director, Communications
ACOA NL
709-772-2984
paul.mcgrath@canada.ca

Eric Humber 
Media Relations Manager 
Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
709-729-4819, 725-9655
erichumber@gov.nl.ca

Libby Carew
Solace Power Inc. 
709-725-7627
libby.carew@solace.ca 

Mike Cole
President
Fugro Canada Corp
(709) 726-4252 extension 224
mike.cole@fugro.com 

Ashley Russell 
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Research & Development Corporation
709-758-0308, 730-4079