Partnerships

Saint Mary’s part of new $6.5 million offshore de-risking project

Adam MacDonald, NS Department of Energy & Mines, examines a core sample taken during an offshore coring cruise. (Source: Genome Atlantic)

Adam MacDonald, NS Department of Energy & Mines, examines a core sample taken during an offshore coring cruise. (Source: Genome Atlantic)

Saint Mary’s University is part of a major new initiative that adds genomics technologies to traditional geoscience with the aim to reduce the risk for oil exploration in Nova Scotia’s offshore. 

The $6.5 million project, Validation and Integration of Genomics Solutions for Offshore Oil Exploration in Nova Scotia and Beyond, was announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, as one of 20 projects across Canada awarded through Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP). 

The initiative builds on the work of a previous GAPP project in which genomics data and results were compared with petroleum geochemistry data to paint the clearest picture yet of petroleum deposits in areas of Nova Scotia’s offshore. This new project, involving the same team, will take that work to the next level by delivering high-resolution tools and maps developed with the help of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), advanced ‘omics technologies and machine learning.

 “The idea of using genomic (DNA-based) tools to help de-risk offshore oil and gas exploration efforts has transitioned from a ‘what if’ idea not that long ago into a compelling opportunity that has earned the support of this project’s many partners,” said Steve Armstrong, President and CEO of Genome Atlantic. “We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with such a dedicated and talented group committed to establishing Nova Scotia as a leader within this globally competitive sector.”

Project co-lead Dr. Todd Ventura

Project co-lead Dr. Todd Ventura

The project is co-led by Dr. Todd Ventura (Saint Mary’s University), Dr. Casey Hubert (University of Calgary), and Adam MacDonald (Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines) and is managed by Genome Atlantic in partnership with Genome Alberta.

“This GAPP is expanding on the microbiological toolkit with the addition of lipidomics,” said Dr. Todd Ventura, Saint Mary’s University.  “This may allow us the ability to detect more ancient seepage events that can lead to the discovery of new active petroleum systems in the offshore.”

Project partners include the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines; the Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada; Research Nova Scotia; Nova Scotia Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA); Mitacs Canada; Applied Petroleum Technology (APT); the University of Calgary; and Saint Mary’s University.

“De-risking our offshore for exploration is critical for Nova Scotia to remain competitive in a global market,” said Adam MacDonald, NS Department of Energy and Mines. “Adding new tools and building innovative and integrated projects such as this collaboration with the University of Calgary and Saint Mary’s University gains recognition and attention to our quality and capacity to compete. Not only do we de-risk exploration but this project provides environmental baseline information on the benthic life and communities that may be dependent on natural occurrences of hydrocarbon on the seafloor.”

The Province of Nova Scotia’s commitment to the project is part of its $12 million investment in offshore R&D over the next four years.

“For generations, the offshore has paid off for Nova Scotians and it still holds tremendous potential to grow our economy and create jobs across the province, especially in rural areas,” said Nova Scotia Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette. “By continuing to invest in leading-edge research we will find cleaner and safer ways to look for resources and attract international investment to our shores.”

Saint Mary’s research in social sciences and humanities receives more than $600,000 in federal funding

Dr. Myles McCallum with students from the Villa of Titus Archaeological Research Project.

Dr. Myles McCallum with students from the Villa of Titus Archaeological Research Project.

A group of Saint Mary’s University researchers in social sciences and humanities received more than $600,000 in federal funding today, July 17. The news came as part of a more than $285 million investment announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, for over 6,900 researchers and graduate students across Canada.

“It’s exciting to see the success of our researchers, across all faculties, receiving acknowledgement and funding support for their social science and humanities-focused research efforts,” said Dr. Adam Sarty, associate vice-president, Research and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. “These new grants highlight the wide range of research activity across our campus. We are proud to support these successful researchers and their students as they embody the role of knowledge creation that lies at the heart of Saint Mary’s.”

The following is a list of Saint Mary’s Insight Grant recipients:

  • Dr. Nicole Conrad for Spelling matters too! The role of spelling practice in the development of reading skills;

  • Dr. Myles McCallum for The Villa di Tito Project: Re-examining Roman Villas; and

  • Dr. Matthew Boland for Consequences and motivations behind estimates in capital budgeting. Evidence from government procurement

In addition to the Insight Grants, the Government of Canada also announced the following Saint Mary’s recipients of Insight Development Grants:

  • Dr. Hamdi Driss for Does Policy Uncertainty Affect Credit Ratings Quality?

  • Dr. Matthew Boland for Environmental Violators Beware! Using Machine Learning to Predict EPA Infractions; and

  • Dr. S. Karly Kehoe for A Catholic Atlantic? Minority Agency in the British World, 1763-1860.

“The social sciences and humanities are integral towards building a healthier, stronger and more prosperous Canada,” said the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport. “Since taking office, our government has worked hard to put science and research back to their rightful place. Today’s grant recipients will help us make informed decisions about our communities, economy, health and future prosperity.”

This investment, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), will fund research in areas including education, immigration, Indigenous health and the environment. These projects will also promote collaboration and partnerships among academic researchers, businesses and community partners to advance knowledge and understanding of these critical issues.

“Researchers in the social sciences and humanities generate ideas and innovations that improve the lives of Canadians,” said Ted Hewitt, president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. “This investment will strengthen research training for students, connect Canadian and international researchers across disciplines and sectors, and equip Canada with the talent, knowledge and insights that are essential to meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

SMUEC helps Canada’s first airport honesty shop open in Halifax

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In an effort to promote Nova Scotia’s locally grown products and the cultural values of honesty and trust in the region, Mabata – Glocal Eatery, supported by the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre’s program The Runway, launched Canada’s first airport honesty shop, located at the arrivals foyer of the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Introduced by the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre in April of 2018, The Runway is an incubator that provides local businesses the opportunity to promote and grow their enterprises through product sales and new product testing activities at the airport. The Runway has since worked with 14 local businesses, providing business support and a rent-free space to set up their shop at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Each month, The Runway airport kiosk features a new local business, with past companies ranging from apparel brands to plant-based nutrition bars.

The new honesty food pop-up shop, launched on July 10th, is a world pioneering concept that entrusts customers to pick the food, snack and drink items they wish to purchase, punch in their order using a touch screen and pay via a self-service checkout that accepts credit/debit cards, cash and mobile payments, with no one serving or watching customers during their purchase experience.

Mabata’s new Honesty pop-up shop will operate during the summer months of 2019 as a 24/7 un-manned shop and offers a 24/7 remote support helpline to assist any customer that requires further help to make their purchase.

Click here to read more.

SMUEC's social enterprise training goes national

The Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre (SMUEC) is bringing its entrepreneurial enterprise across Canada, starting in Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

Last month SMUEC team members Mitch Harrison and Jason Turner traveled to Saskatoon to deliver the first installment of The Pipeline’s train-the-trainer program.

The Pipeline is SMUEC’s social enterprise development service that helps students and community groups conceive and launch sustainable businesses that address community challenges. The program uses the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for exposing global challenges, and uses social innovation as a stimulus for creating community solutions.

A total of 17 participants from Saskatchewan and Manitoba participated, representing organizations including the Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan, the National Aboriginal Council Corporations Association and numerous chapters from Community Futures Canada. 

Participants walked away with a toolkit of processes, methodologies and activities as well as a certification that will enable them to facilitate Pipeline training in their communities. 

The Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre will continue to work with each organization as they begin to facilitate Pipeline training and support the development of social enterprises in their region.  

The next Train-The-Trainer session is scheduled for early September, when the team will travell to Whitehorse to work with members of the Entrepreneurship and Community Innovation department at Yukon College. 

For more information , please contact  mitch.harrison@smu.ca

2nd cohort graduates from SMU-BNUZ joint degree program

On June 29, the second cohort of business students graduated from a unique program offered by Saint Mary’s University and Beijing Normal University-Zhuhai (BNUZ).

Clad in academic caps and gowns, a total of 68 Chinese students received dual degrees that day: a Bachelor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s and a Bachelor of Economics from BNUZ. Among them was 2019 Valedictorian Ms. Yushan Xie, who graduated summa cum laude.

Academics and administrators from both universities attended the ceremony to confer the degrees and celebrate the graduates. Prof. Ailan Fu, Vice-President, BNUZ and Dr. Malcolm Butler, Vice President, Academic and Research served as co-presiders of the convocation.

Dr. Harjeet Bhabra, Dean, Sobey School of Business and BNUZ counterpart Prof. Xin Zhong Dean, International Business Faculty presented the graduands, and President Prof. Qingyun Tu and Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray conferred the degrees.

The presidents of both universities addressed their newest alumni, wishing them well and commenting on the successful academic partnership between the two institutions.

“Your graduation today is a further reflection of the blossoming of our (historic, cross-border) partnership,” said President Summerby-Murray in his remarks, speaking from a podium decorated with small Canadian and Chinese flags.

“You are uniquely positioned for global careers. You have experienced the thinking and the scholarship of both East and West as they relate to business and enterprise. And you value the person-to-person relationships, demonstrated here today, that are and will continue to be the foundation of successful cooperation between our countries, China and Canada”.

Many of the graduates plan to begin postgraduate studies in the fall, with 48 receiving offers from offers from universities in China and abroad. Some well-known schools include Columbia University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sydney.