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MEOPAR and Irving Shipbuilding Award $1.8 million to Ocean Research



The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. are pleased to announce the recipients of $1.8 million to support nine new ocean research projects that align with MEOPAR’s aim to strengthen Canada’s ability to anticipate and respond to marine risk. Irving Shipbuilding Inc. partnered with MEOPAR to contribute $1 million toward the call.

“Irving Shipbuilding’s $1 million contribution in support of progressive, coast-to-coast-to-coast marine research highlights the importance of effective industry and academic partnerships,” said MEOPAR Scientific Director Dr. Douglas Wallace.  “As a result of their investment, MEOPAR contributed $800,000 to support these 9 research projects, which also leveraged a further $2 million from 27 contributing partners. We are proud to partner with Irving Shipbuilding on this important research.”

MEOPAR’s Research Management Committee (RMC) issued a call for proposals in August 2015 to solicit project proposals. Applicants were encouraged to submit proposals that develop and/or apply new technologies or approaches to advance environmental observation, safe operations and/or emergency response on Canada’s coasts and oceans. The successful projects were selected by the RMC.

“The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy Value Proposition investments grow and sustain Canada’s shipbuilding industry,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “These investments will help us to understand changes to our marine environment, but also how these changes affect our marine industries. They demonstrate how we can work together to protect our environment while growing our economy."

Irving Shipbuilding’s funding is pursuant to its Value Proposition obligation under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, whereby Irving Shipbuilding is committed to spending 0.5% of contract revenues with the aim of creating a sustainable marine industry across Canada.  

“Ensuring Canada has a sustainable and vibrant marine industry is a priority for Irving Shipbuilding under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy,” said Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding. “We are proud to work with MEOPAR to support leading edge research across the country that can help achieve this goal.”

The nine primary investigators leading the projects are based at six Canadian universities (see full listing, below). Altogether, the projects will involve 48 partner organizations (27 of whom are also contributing financially to the project) and will create 57 student and recent graduate research positions at 12 universities across Canada. Research, collaborative work and/or community engagement related to the projects will occur in nine Canadian provinces and two territories, including regions of the Canadian Arctic.

The selected projects are:

• Prioritizing Threat Management Strategies to Ensure Long-term Resilience of the Fraser River Estuary
Julia Baum, University of Victoria
• Assisting Fisheries Management by Integration of Data from Non-Specialized Assets, Ferries, Citizens & Satellites
Maycira Costa, University of Victoria
• Arctic Marine Activities Integration & Synthesis Project (AMAIS): Enhancing Ocean Governance Through the Northern Marine Transportation Corridors
Jackie Dawson, University of Ottawa
• Observing and Responding to Pressures on Arctic Marine Ecosystem Services
Brent Else, University of Calgary
• Testing New, Innovative & Affordable Technologies for Monitoring & Visualizing the Impacts of Sea Level Rise, Erosion & Storm Surges on Coast Environments
Adam Fenech, University of Prince Edward Island 
• Ocean Observation using Microbial Genomics: A new Baseline tool for Environmental Effects Monitoring of Marine Pollution
Casey Hubert, University of Calgary
• Continuous Assessment of Plankton Abundance and Community Structure in Canadian Coastal Waters with a Novel, Flow-Through, High-Throughput Holographic Microscope Operated on Volunteer Observing Ships
Julie Laroche, Dalhousie University
• Monitoring Marine Plastics in Canada’s North
Max Liboiron, Memorial University of Newfoundland
• Safer Shipping through Summer Sea Ice:  New Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Based Tools for Monitoring and Predicting Sea Ice Conditions
Randy Scharien, University of Victoria 


Created through the federal government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program in 2012, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network is building Canada’s capacity to anticipate and respond to marine risk by funding interdisciplinary academic research, developing highly qualified personnel with expertise in marine risk and response, and by connecting academic research and technology to national and international partners in government, industry, and the public sector. 

MEOPAR funds interdisciplinary research, trains students and researchers, mobilizes new knowledge and tools, and facilitates partnerships between the academic, government, industry, NGO and other sectors to reduce Canada’s vulnerability to marine hazards and emergencies.  

About Irving Shipbuilding Inc:

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is part of the J.D. Irving, Limited Group of companies which includes operations in Agriculture, Construction & Equipment, Consumer Products, Energy, Food, Forestry & Forestry Products, Retail & Distribution and Shipbuilding & Industrial Fabrication. ISI’s primary site is Halifax Shipyard, with four other locations in the Maritime Provinces. ISI was selected in 2011 as Canada’s Combatant Shipbuilder under the merit-based National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and is in the early stages of a 30-year military shipbuilding program.  

A shipping vessel navigates Canada’s Arctic waters. Today, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network and Irving Shipbuilding Inc announced $1.8 million in funding to support nine ocean research initiatives, including three projects to ensure safer, more culturally sensitive shipping and improved emergency response abilities in Canada’s Arctic. 


 Data Collection
Researchers use tablet technology to gather marine data from a passenger ferry on the Salish Sea. Today, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network and Irving Shipbuilding Inc announced $1.8 million in funding to support nine ocean research initiatives, including three projects exploring marine issues off the coast of British Columbia.


 Marine Plastics
A researcher gathers marine plastic pollution from a rocky shoreline in Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Today, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network and Irving Shipbuilding Inc announced $1.8 million in funding to support nine ocean research initiatives, including four projects examining various environmental and industry challenges facing the oceans on Canada’s East Coast.   



Contact for more information:

Janet Stalker
Communications Manager 
Cell: (902) 717-8472

Mary Keith 
Vice President, Communications
J.D. Irving Limited 
Work: (506) 632-5122 
Cell: (506) 650-8209  

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