MUN launches $22M Marine Institute expansion in Holyrood
Ocean research, technology development focus of new facility
Memorial University showed off a new $22 million expansion to the Marine Institute on Monday, part of an ocean research and technology development facility now known as "The Launch."
Kelly Santos, director of the facility, said its location — in Conception Bay, at the south end of the Labrador Current — provides a "living lab" for research and development.
"It's a safe, sheltered environment, but it provides real-world conditions," she said. "Our clients are able to bring their technology here and to demonstrate it, to test it, to move it into a stage where they're able to move it into their operations."
Santos said The Launch already has partnerships with several technology companies, including work term opportunities for students.
The facility, formerly known as the Holyrood Marine Base, has opened in phases beginning in 2010.
Santos said plans for the new expansion — 36,000 square feet located on the site of the former Holyrood fish plant — have been in the works for more than a decade.
"It really is transformational as far as the work that we'll be able to do here," she said.
According to MUN, the federal and provincial governments contributed a combined $8.5 million to the expansion.
Students and faculty are already using the facility for experiential learning.
Santos said a Marine Institute technical session is currently underway.
"They actually get to put their hands on the technology, they get to learn how to operate — safely — on the water, they get to troubleshoot," she said.
According to the MUN Gazette, the new building has technical workspaces, dry laboratories, classrooms and open collaboration spaces. The Launch also houses the university's offshore safety centre.
Tribute to former MUN president, ocean scientist
The new building is named after Arthur May, president of Memorial University from 1990 to 1999. May died in 2014.
Acting MUN president Neil Bose credited May with helping fold the Marine Institute into the university in 1992.
"He enabled the Marine Institute to flourish as part of Memorial and he strengthened its unique role in the oceans sector," he said.
May's son, Stephen May, said the tribute fits his father who spent years working in fisheries ocean sciences.
May said seeing his father's name on the building felt surreal.
"I got emotional because we all wish he could be here for the special event," he said.
With files from Mark Quinn