CNA Instructor Awarded National Grant For Partnership With Vale
May 15th, 2012
College of the North Atlantic (CNA) has been selected by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) as the only Atlantic Canadian college to receive a new Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges (IRCC) grant. The NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Applied Mineralogy, to be held by Dr. Gary Thompson, will support an ongoing research partnership with mining giant Vale for an additional five years.
A geochemist at CNA’s Burin campus and an associate of the college’s Office of Applied Research (OAR), Dr. Thompson was successful in receiving $750,000 to continue his work. Vale will also be contributing $750,000 through cash and in-kind investments over the term of the project. These funds will be used for conducting core sample research, the use of labs and specialized equipment as well as other analytical costs and materials.
Dr. Thompson’s work focuses on new process development and technology innovations in applied mineralogy, and linking geology and characterization of ore deposits with recovery processes.
With an extensive background and experience in geochemical research, Dr. Thompson currently leads a research project in Innovative Surficial and Mining Techniques funded by the provincial government’s Research and Development Corporation.
“This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate our success as a research college,” says CNA’s Vice-President of Academic & Learner Services, Cyril Organ. “It speaks volumes of our strength in applied research and innovation. The continued efforts of Dr. Thompson in this field have been a valued asset to the college, industry stakeholders and partners such as Vale, and to our OAR team. Also, the team itself must also be commended for generating a winning proposal.”
The IRCC is a grant program that falls within NSERC’s College and Community Innovation (CCI) program. A total of 60 innovative partnerships between colleges and businesses will be provided with more than $36 million over a period of up to five years through the CCI. The announcement includes 14 new IRCC grants to support the development of longer-term business-focused applied research programs at colleges across Canada.
“Community and provincial college systems are directly linked to a number of industry sectors throughout the country,” says Organ. “The support shown to this network of post-secondary institutions by NSERC reinforces the importance of the work we do at the local, provincial and national level. We all contribute in significant ways to the socioeconomic fabric of this country, and will continue to do so moving forward.”
“Vale has a 15-year history of supporting local research in Newfoundland and Labrador, mainly through Memorial University, and recognizes the benefit of building a similar relationship with College of the North Atlantic. We are pleased to match the NSERC funding ($750,000 over five years) as a combination of in-kind and cash support, to enable Dr. Thompson to carry out research independently and with his students. Dr. Thompson’s position will enable long-term planning and growth of geological expertise in Newfoundland and Labrador that will benefit both the province and the local mining/exploration industry,” says Scott Mooney, Vale’s General Manager of Exploration.
There are six types of grants available through the CCI program. The IRCC grants support applied research leaders and the development of business-focused applied research projects at colleges. The grants will help colleges develop new projects, or significantly enhance existing applied research efforts in areas that meet local or regional socio-economic needs. IRCC grants range from $100,000 to $200,000 annually.
“These investments provide colleges with access to the people, resources and tools they need to be at the forefront of innovation,” said Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. “The ultimate goal is to create sustainable partnerships that will help sharpen our innovative edge and have a positive impact on the bottom line of our country and industry.”
Another of the college’s research and innovation supporters, Springboard Atlantic, is pleased to see CNA receive funding to continue such a worthwhile initiative with Vale. Springboard provides resources to 18 Atlantic Canadian universities and colleges to help them transfer knowledge and technology to the region’s private sector. Springboard members increase research commercialization collaborations, support the creation of new and improved products, streamline processes and help develop a skilled and competitive workforce.
“Springboard is proud of CNA’s accomplishment with this new program,” says Chris Mathis, President and CEO. “This is a great example of what we can be doing with industry to enhance their capabilities and competitive advantage through collaboration.”
The college’s industry partner, Vale, is one of the world’s largest mining companies operating in over 30 countries. The company is developing the significant nickel deposit in Voisey’s Bay, Labrador. The Voisey’s Bay development consists of an integrated mine and concentrator at the Voisey’s Bay site in Labrador which will process ore from the Voisey’s Bay deposit, and a processing facility which is currently under construction in Long Harbour, Newfoundland.