Partnerships

Saint Mary’s expands cross-border education ties with China

Students in business programs at Guangzhou College, South China University of Technology (GCU) will have added opportunities to transfer to Saint Mary’s after two years and complete their degree at the Sobey School of Business.

A senior delegation from GCU was on campus this week to sign an enhanced Transfer Credit Agreement, paving the way for closer ties with one of China’s most renowned independent colleges. Executive Vice-President Zhixin Zeng, Vice-President Ying Lin, Dean of the International Business School and Director of the International Office Liguang Wu and International Office Program Coordinator Huijing Huang held a series of meetings with their counterparts at Saint Mary’s on Monday, April 15.

Mr. Zeng suggested that GCU’s visit to campus reflected the growing ties between the two universities, while Mr. Lin commented that the new Transfer Credit Agreement opened the door to exciting new possibilities for international cooperation between the two institutions.

Celebrating a Longstanding Partnership

In the years since the signing of an initial MOU in 2011, designed to foster academic and educational cooperation between Guangzhou College and Saint Mary’s, around 60 students have come to campus – some to complete their third and fourth years of their degree as part of the 2+2 agreement with the Sobey School of Business, others to take the Master of Finance Program. Many of the 25 students currently enrolled at Saint Mary’s enjoyed a dinner on Sunday hosted by their alma mater in China to celebrate the arrival of the delegation to Halifax.

Meeting with the delegation on Monday, Dr Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s, said that the University was committed to building on the strong foundation of academic partnership between the two universities. This week’s visit, he said, was also an important affirmation of people-to-people connections between Canada and China. As “Canada’s International University”, Saint Mary’s is proud to be recognized as a national leader in building bridges between the two countries, he said.

Guangzhou College of South China University of Technology is a large primarily undergraduate institution with more than 21,000 full-time students who can choose from 35 programs offered through 14 schools. Its 283-acre campus is located just outside Guangzhou city in China’s Pearl River Delta, home to more than 120 million people a major centre of technology and innovation.

Ancient vapours are helping researchers identify gold deposits in Nova Scotia

Kevin Neyedley, left, and Dr. Jacob Hanley of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax are doing research supported by Nova Scotia’s Mineral Resources Development Fund. (Photo: Kelly Clark/Communications Nova Scotia)

Kevin Neyedley, left, and Dr. Jacob Hanley of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax are doing research supported by Nova Scotia’s Mineral Resources Development Fund. (Photo: Kelly Clark/Communications Nova Scotia)

Vapour trails from an ancient volcano may point the way to an economic opportunity in modern-day Nova Scotia.

Researchers at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax are using the composition of ancient volcanic vapours, trapped in tiny fragments in rocks, and other geological features, to learn more about a type of precious metal deposit called epithermal gold. Their work over the past year was supported by the province’s Mineral Resources Development Fund.

Geology professor Dr. Jacob Hanley said the project’s goal is to gather information on how and when the gold deposits formed, and to generate exploration criteria that may predict where the highest concentrations of gold may be found in the province. Giving companies a better idea where to explore has financial and environmental benefits.

“The more information we gain about where the deposits are sitting in this vast array of rocks which we have in the province, the better off the environment will be. The overall footprint is smaller in terms of that activity.”

Hanley and PhD student Kevin Neyedley received a $47,500 grant from the development fund in 2018 for their project, which focuses on deposits in the Eastern Cobequid Highlands. The area is about 50 kilometres north of Truro, Nova Scotia.

Continue reading the full article from the Department of Energy and Mines.

Mineral Resources Development Fund expansion announced at Saint Mary’s University

Dr. Jacob Hanley and Kevin Neyedley chat with Sean Kirby, left, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, and Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette. (Photo: Kelly Clark/CNS)

Dr. Jacob Hanley and Kevin Neyedley chat with Sean Kirby, left, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, and Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette. (Photo: Kelly Clark/CNS)

Businesses, prospectors and researchers now have more support for innovative projects in the mining sector as the result of a provincial government announcement at Saint Mary’s University.

As part of Budget 2019-20, the province is increasing the Mineral Resources Development Fund by $800,000 to a total of $1.5 million. Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette opened the fund to applications in an event at Saint Mary’s on April 9.

“Mining is a globally competitive sector that creates career opportunities for our young people, while generating revenue for programs and services that benefit all Nova Scotians,” said Minister Mombourquette. “These investments make connections and develop new ideas that help our companies stay at the forefront of technology and environmental protection.”

Saint Mary’s University Professor Dr. Jacob Hanley and PhD student Kevin Neyedley received $47,500 from the fund in 2018. They are working on research and gathering geological information about how strategic minerals formed. This will help identify where deposits may be located and then extracted with minimal environmental impact.

“It is vitally important for Nova Scotians to have access to the most current scientific knowledge, gathered using cutting edge research tools,” said Dr. Hanley.

“Our research can help attract companies by reducing exploration costs for industry and reduce the impact that grass-roots exploration has on the environment through narrowing the size of mineral deposit targets,” said Mr. Neyedley.

Last year, the province supported 28 projects including mineral exploration programs, professional development, innovation, university research and training opportunities for young people.

Saint Mary's research projects with big industry impact

The Office of Innovation and Community Engagement at Saint Mary’s is a small office that delivers a big impact.

A recently-released progress report highlights a few projects that Saint Mary’s faculty members have been working on in collaboration with industry partners, including:

  • Dr. Jason Rhinelander’s partnership with LED Roadway Lighting has allowed him to lend his expertise in artificial intelligence and object recognition to evaluate the accuracy of an adaptive radar-based sensor platform for pedestrian and vehicle recognition at streetlight intersections.

  • RetailDeep uses innovative facial recognition software to enhance the shopping experience in stores, collect data from clients, and pinpoint opportunities to innovate within the retail space.

  • A partnership between Coloursmith Labs and Saint Mary’s researcher Dr. Danielle Tokarz has led to a breakthrough in treatment for colour blindness. Along with her team, Dr. Tokarz helped the startup company refine the focus of their research efforts and identify the appropriate nanoparticles and gels for the lenses. 

“Our office also takes pride in pairing faculty members with industry, helping to facilitate solutions to local companies’ problems using academic expertise, said Kevin Buchan, Director of the Office of Innovation and Community Engagement. “It’s also a great opportunity for students, the next generation of researchers, to work on applied projects in their fields.”

“We’re encouraged by the success we’ve had so far, and we look forward to doing more of these innovative projects,” said Buchan.  

 Click here to read the progress report, featuring researchers from all faculties at Saint Mary’s, and their partners, click here.

 ABOUT OICE:

The Office of Innovation and Community Engagement (OICE) facilitates research relationships between Saint Mary’s University and companies, government departments, and community organizations. OICE is the initial point of contact for faculty members and external partners wishing to collaborate. The office assists with finding suitable expertise, contract development, and advises on funding opportunities.

Maximizing land use and earning more money for farmers part of new federally funded research at SMU

Research into how poor-quality, marginal land can be used to produce biomass as a potential revenue stream for farmers underway at Saint Mary’s University received $1.2 million in funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriScience program and the Nova Scotia Innovation Hub Fund.

“Community is at the heart of all that we do at Saint Mary’s University, including our research,” said Saint Mary’s president Robert Summerby-Murray. “We are committed to working with the community and sharing our expertise to find innovative solutions to real-world challenges. I want to thank the Government of Canada for supporting Atlantic Canadian researchers who are at the forefront of agricultural research, research that will benefit us all.”

Dr. J. Kevin Vessey

Dr. J. Kevin Vessey

Led by Dr. J. Kevin Vessey, the project receiving funding is called “Purpose-Grown Biomass Crops: Efficient Production, Yield Modelling and Real-world Verification.” The five-year project aims to determine what substances and organisms best promote plant growth and decrease production costs in a variety of plants including willow and switchgrass. The project will assess the yield potential of the crops on marginal soil areas on farms and AAFC research sites across Nova Scotia. The result is a database and yield prediction model for the four crops under examination.

“The long-term goal of my research is to enhance the bioeconomy, the part of the economy that uses renewable biological resources from the land and sea, of Nova Scotia. To do this we need to increase the production of biomass for processing into biofuels and other bioproducts in a sustainable way,” said Dr. Vessey.  “This research is crucial to de-risking the use of biomass by providing a sustainable feedstock supply, which can attract more biomass processors to Nova Scotia. It has the potential of greatly diversifying the Province’s biomass feedstock inventory, while also contributing to rural economies and environmental sustainability.”

Sites for the project extend from Yarmouth to Inverness County. Partners on the project include: Acadian Seaplant Ltd, ADECO BioResources Inc., The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, Port Hawkesbury Paper, and Propel Bioenergy.

The funding comes as part of the federal Biomass Cluster announced by Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The Cluster, led by the BioFuelNet Canada Network, includes a federal investment of up to $7 million along with an additional $3.1 million in contributions from industry, for a total investment of $10.1 million.