$2.2M for NL R&D projects

The Research & Development Corp. of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) is kicking in more than $2.2 million to help 15 business-led R&D projects in the province.

April 25, 2011

ST. JOHN’S, NL: The Research & Development Corp. of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) is kicking in more than $2.2 million to help 15 business-led R&D projects.

The funding supports provincial R&D projects worth more than $6.5 million in key sectors including oil and gas, marine safety, fisheries, marine transportation and communications.

The provincial Crown corporation is providing the funding through two programs: R&D Proof of Concept (up to $250,000 per project) and R&D Vouchers (up to $15,000 for specialized personnel, facilities and other R&D performers).

One of the companies is Mad Rock Marine Solutions In, which has developed and brought to commercialization a fail-closed lifeboat hook system. RDC is investing $45,981 to develop a complementary offload release hook system for fast rescue crafts.

RDC said its funding is also facilitating a collaborative partnership between Provincial Aerospace Ltd. (PAL), an aerospace and defence company, and C-CORE, a separately incorporated R&D entity of Memorial University of Newfoundland that provides innovative engineering and technology solutions to national and international clients.

The vouchers program gave PAL access to specialized expertise and testing facilities at C-CORE to improve satellite transmitting and receiving equipment for communication in cold environments. With the modifications to the satellite equipment, it can now operate in temperatures as low as -50°C.

“The success of this test will open up markets for northern surveillance that require reliable transmission capabilities without impact from cold conditions,” said Keith Stoodley, PAL’s senior vice-president, government relations and business development.

Vouchers are also going to Cathexis Innovations Inc. ($15,000 to certify its wireless handheld RFID reader for compliance with safety and regulatory standards in the US and Canada) and ICUS ($13,125 to develop a biopesticide for controlling Fusarium Head Blight, a major fungal disease in wheat).

Other Proof of Concept investments include the following:

• ATS Transport Systems Inc., $161,190. A partnership with the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University and the Atlantic Veterinary College Lobster Science Centre in Prince Edward Island to develop a specially designed tractor-trailer vehicle enabling large shipments of live seafood, specifically Atlantic lobster, for lucrative markets in distant North American locations. Total project cost is $464,812.

• Altera Newfoundland Technology Corp. (formerly Avalon Microelectronics Inc.), R&D Proof of Concept, $115,192. A test of the business model of Altera’s existing 40 gigabytes Optical Transport Network (OTN) IP solutions. Total project cost is $200,565.

• Root Four Imagination Inc., $225,375. Production of a new vehicle sensing product that allows third-party vendors and development companies to create custom applications. Total project cost is $300,500.

• PanGeo Subsea Inc., $250,000. Acoustic imaging technology, currently integrated with remotely automated vehicles, to be used on an autonomous underwater vehicle in areas such as the Arctic and other harsh environments. Total project cost is $587,597.

• NewLab Clinical Research Inc., $250,000. A rational drug design project for the treatment of infectious and auto-immune diseases, particularly psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases. Total project cost is $345,000.

• Beaufort Solutions, $248,465. Software development of its photo technologies into a single product, The Photo Commerce Server. Total project cost is $354,498.

• Ocean Choice International L.P., $163,146. Purchase of water-jet cutting machinery, to advance OCI’s seafood production capacity, with design and development of a robotics system. Total project cost is $2,856,405.

• Q5 Systems Ltd., $97,574.38. Expand aviation software product offerings by incorporating a suite of safety and security management modules. Total project cost is $208,323.

• Oceanex Inc., $160,687. Design, fabrication and testing of a new 53-foot flat rack container for transporting construction materials, industrial project cargo and other specialized or over-dimensional freight. Total project cost is $357,609.

• eSonar Inc., $234,969. Development of a versatile sonar technology that can be used in a variety of marine industry applications in. Total project cost is $405,812.

• Instrumar Ltd., $245,863. Proof of concept of the company’s Fiber System for testing in various fibre facilities around the world. Total project cost is $378,476.