Connect with us

Technology

Federal funding changes send Halifax ocean program into uncharted waters

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

An ocean research network based in Halifax is facing an uncertain future following a federal government overhaul of scientific research funding.

For years, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network, also known as MEOPAR, has received funding under the federal Network of Centres of Excellence program.

Now that 30-year-old program is being phased out in favour of the New Frontiers in Research Fund announced this week by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan.

Budgets under the old program will “transition” over the next few years into the new streamlined fund, which will be double the size, said Duncan.

‘Fundamental shift’

“There certainly is a lot of uncertainty,” said Stefan Leslie, executive director of MEOPAR, which received $28 million over five years under the old program.

The network co-ordinates dozens of research projects on everything from ocean plastics in the Arctic to finding endangered right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to earthquakes and safer shipping on the West Coast.

Stefan Leslie is the executive director of MEOPAR. (CBC )

It supports 500 students and research at 29 universities and community colleges across Canada.

Funding under the old program remains in place until 2022, but it’s not clear what will happen after that.

In a news release, the federal government said the new fund “represents a fundamental shift in how Canada invests in research and supports collaboration among non-traditional partners.”

Worrisome changes

That’s left researchers who rely on the old funding program uneasy.

“Obviously I get direct operating funds from MEOPAR so my concern is that my funds are going to be cut,” said Richard Davis, technical director of Dalhousie University’s ocean glider program.

Richard Davis is technical director of Dalhousie University’s ocean glider program. (CBC)

Davis and other researchers say MEOPAR has been critical in building Canada’s capacity to investigate and respond to ocean challenges, pointing to the speedy response to the deaths of 12 endangered right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017.

“We would not have been able to respond immediately with monitoring those areas using the gliders MEOPAR co-runs and we use for our research,” said Kim Davies, a whale researcher at Dalhousie oceanography.

“It took 20 years of research and monitoring in the Bay of Fundy before they had enough data and information to move those shipping lanes. We were on it and able to respond much more flexibly this time and MEOPAR has been a big part of that.”

Not giving up

For now the network says it’s business as usual.

“We certainly have no intention of giving up the work we’ve started. We will be looking for ways to have that work continue,” said Leslie. 

“And there is enough that is not yet known about how that program will evolve or how that funding will work to understand what kind of room there may be for organizations.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Technology

The ‘Maple Majestic’ wants to be Canada’s homegrown Tesla

Editor

Published

on

By

Look out Tesla, Canada has a homegrown electric sedan on the way. Well, that’s if AK International Motor Corporation can drum up enough investment to make its EV a reality. Dubbed the “Maple Majestic,” the vehicle is a battery-electric designed to “excel in extreme climate performance without adversely affecting the climate, as befits a vehicle from Canada,” according to its website.

What’s in a name? — The company says the maple leaf is a “symbol of Canada’s warmth and friendliness towards all cultures,” while “majestic” refers to the country’s “status as a Constitutional Monarchy.”

That patriotism carries over into Maple Majestic’s parent company’s lofty goals. AK Motor founder Arkadiusz Kaminski says he wants the company, which he founded in 2012, to become “Canada’s first multi-brand automotive OEM,” and that the “Maple Majestic is intended to be Canada’s flagship brand of automobiles on the world stage.”

Partnerships are key — “We acknowledge that the best chance for the Maple Majestic brand to succeed, lies in continuing to build the relationship with Canada’s parts suppliers and technological innovators, whether they be academic institutions, corporations, or individual inventors,” the company explains. “We are currently seeking partners in automotive engineering, parts manufacturing, automotive assembly, electric propulsion technology, battery technology, autonomous technology, and hybrid power generation technology.”

In other words, don’t expect to be able to buy a Maple Majestic any time soon… and don’t expect to pour over 0-60 mph times, power output, range, or other key stats, because those don’t currently exist. For now, all we have are pictures and a short video clip. But at least those are arresting.

Continue Reading

Technology

PE-backed Quorum Software to merge with Canadian energy tech firm

Editor

Published

on

By

Houston-based energy technology company Quorum Software will merge with a Canadian tech firm to bolster its presence in oil and gas services.

Quorum announced Feb. 15 it plans to merge with Calgary, Alberta-based Aucerna, a global provider of planning, execution and reserves software for the energy sector. The combined firm will operate under the Quorum Software brand.

Gene Austin, CEO of Quorum Software, will continue in his capacity as chief executive of the combined firm. Austin, former CEO of Austin-based marketing tech firm Bazaarvoice Inc., became CEO of Quorum in December 2018.

Aucerna co-founder and CEO Wayne Sim will be appointed to the Quorum Software board of directors. Both companies are backed by San Francisco- and Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

“Over the last 20 years, Quorum has become the leading innovator of software deployed by North American energy companies,” said Austin. “Today, Quorum is expanding the scope of our technology and expertise to all energy-producing regions of the globe. Customers everywhere will have access to a cloud technology ecosystem that connects decision-ready data from operations to the boardroom.”

In addition to the merger announcement, Quorum Software announced it had entered into an agreement with Finnish IT firm TietoEvry to purchase TietoEvry’s entire oil and gas business. The agreement, which includes hydrocarbon management, personnel and material logistics software and related services, is valued at 155 million euros, or $188 million, according to a statement from TietoEvry.

“Our three organizations complement each other — from the software that our great people design to the energy markets where we operate,” said Sim. “Our new company will be able to deliver value to our stakeholders, while accelerating the growth of our combined business and the energy industry’s software transformation.”

The combined company will serve over 1,800 energy companies in 55 countries, according to the announcement. With its headquarters in Houston, Quorum will continue to have a significant presence in Calgary and in Norway, the headquarters for TietoEvry’s oil and gas software business. Quorum will have other offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

As of Sept. 30, 2020, private equity firm Thoma Bravo had more than $73 billion in assets under management. In late December 2020, Thoma Bravo agreed to acquire Richardson, Texas-based tech firm RealPage in a roughly $10 billion acquisition.

Continue Reading

Technology

Piece of Kitchener technology lands on Mars on Perseverance rover

Editor

Published

on

By

KITCHENER — A piece of Kitchener technology has landed on Mars, thanks to NASA’s Perseverance rover.

The rover settled on the planet’s surface on Thursday afternoon. It’s been travelling through space since it was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. in July.

“The whole idea of being on a device that we’re sending to another plant with the express mission of looking for traces of past life, it’s pretty mind boggling actually,” said Rafal Pawluczyk, chief technical officer for FiberTech Optica.

The Kitchener-based company made fibre optic cables for the rover’s SuperCam that will examine samples with a camera, laser and spectrometers.

“The cables that we built take the light from that multiplexer and deliver it to each spectrograph,” Pawluczyk said.

The cables connect a device on the rover to the SuperCam, which will be used to examine rock and soil samples, to spectrometers. They’ll relay information from one device to another.

The project started four years ago with a connection to Los Alamos National Lab, where the instruments connected to the cables were developed.

“We could actually demonstrate we can design something that will meet their really hard engineering requirements,” Pawluczyk said.

The Jezero Crater is where the Perseverance rover, with FiberTech Optica’s technology onboard, landed Thursday. Scientists believe it was once flooded with water and is the best bet for finding any evidence of life. FiberTech’s cables will help that in that search.

Ioannis Haranas, an astrophysicist and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the rover isn’t looking for “green men.”

“They’re looking for microbial, single-cell life, any type of fossils and stuff like that,” Haranas said. “That’s why they chose a special landing site. This could be very fertile land for that.”

“It’s very ambitious,” said Ralf Gellert, a physics professor at the University of Guelph.

Gellert helped with previous rover missions and said it’s the first time a Mars rover has landed without a piece of Guelph technology on it. While he’s not part of Perseverance’s mission, he said the possibilities are exciting.

“Every new landing site is a new piece of the puzzle that you can put together with the new results that we have from the other landing sites,” he said.

“It’s scientifically very interesting because, even though we don’t have an instrument on that rover, we can compare what the new rover Perseverance finds at this new landing site,” he said.

Now that Perseverance has landed on Mars, FiberTech is looking ahead to its next possible mission into space.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending