Building success on strong partnerships
Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre
We have the unique position of being Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Ocean Observing Systems, with a mission to strengthen Canada’s international leadership role in ocean observing science and technology. Leveraging the assets of Ocean Networks Canada, our mandate is to focus on commercialization, technology transfer and outreach that will benefit Canada’s industry and citizens.
In our third year of operation, with a full time team of eight staff, we’ve been building momentum and success based on solid foundations that support our four main target sectors:
- Ocean Sensor Technologies
- Ocean Observing System Technologies
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Education and Public Engagement
Funded by the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program, the Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre is dedicated to leveraging the world’s largest and most advanced ocean observing systems, VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada. Through strategic partnerships with industry and academia, the Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre has helped grow international recognition of the ONC Observatory and supported Canadian industry by providing communications consultation, technology demonstrations, and ocean observing expertise. This past year, we presented or exhibited at over 20 major international conferences and workshops. Our unique education mandate has been working to attract students to careers in ocean science and technology, while informing the public on critical ocean issues through the lens of the Ocean Networks Canada Observatory.
Over the past year, the Innovation Centre led the development of an extensive Arctic Feasibility Study for Ocean Observatories, and is consequently helping to establish cabled observing systems and monitoring programs in both the Arctic and Atlantic Canada. Another major accomplishment has been laying the groundwork for an exciting partnership in renewable ocean energy taking place in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy with the FORCE program.
Since early 2011, the Centre of Excellence has played a major role in establishing Canada’s first national ocean technology industry association—the Ocean Technology Alliance Canada (OTAC)—linking regional industry associations to create a national network of 192 ocean technology companies and organizations.
The Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre continues to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) as a member of the Ocean Technology Advisory Board and has been instrumental in organizing a joint Canada-Brazil ocean technology workshop that may well lay the foundation for future collaborations in ocean observing systems. Additional partnership projects are under development in the EU and Asia.
Identifying technologies ready for commercialization and helping companies expand into new markets are also cornerstones of the Innovation Centre’s growing success in promoting Canadian industry. For companies seeking to launch novel new technologies in areas of critical market need—such as ocean acidification and ambient acoustic noise—the sensors team provide a unique facility for technology demonstrations that includes the opportunity to test instruments on a world-class sea floor observatory. This past year, the Innovation Centre created the world’s first digital low frequency hydrophone calibration system to demonstrate the leadership position of Canadian technologies.
Identifying a large potential market across North America, the Innovation Centre has also been working to develop a commercial version of a community observatory for scholastic markets, based on the DMAS prototype installed in Brentwood College with CANARIE support in early 2012. Another key project launched within the ICT portfolio involves IBM Canada and other partners working on a near-field tsunami test bed system combining sensor and IT technologies to provide advance warning to coastal populations at risk.
Launched in late 2011, our new website continues to evolve, as the education team explores and expands partnerships in public education with institutions across Canada. Shaw Communications generously produced and distributed a public service announcement to increase awareness of Ocean Networks Canada across the western provinces, and a novel television and web series highlighting Canada’s ocean research and technology is under development.
Integrating and encouraging undergrad and graduate students is vital to the Innovation Centre's projects. Students working with IBM Canada won the People’s Choice Award at CASCON conference in Toronto for their work in developing novel ICT technologies for processing Observatory video. The Education team now sponsors an active Ocean Students Society at the University of Victoria and is working to establish a national ocean student network.
Equally important to the Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre is the development of programs to attract and recruit students to ocean science and technology careers, such as the first annual Ocean Science Symposium that created the opportunity for U Vic grad students to mentor local high school students.
As we focus on 2012-2013, the Innovation Centre is looking forward to working closely with our growing community of industry, government and educational partners to develop Canada’s leadership role in ocean science and technology.
To view or download: Ocean Networks Canada’s Annual Report 2011-2012 (pdf 3MB)