The federal and provincial government announced a joint investment of $4.4 million dollars to Memorial University.
The funding announced will enhance research and development in Labrador, especially in the resources sector. The funding will also be used to recruit highly skilled personnel to the Labrador Institute.
Some of the monies will be used to purchase state-of-the-art field and research equipment.
“It is an important day for Memorial University and especially Labrador, it is important that we diversify our land mass, boost our economy,” said MP Peter Penashue, who made the announcement on behalf of Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada opportunities agency and La Francophone said.
Penashue said that Labrador has enormous potential, especially in its natural resources, such as mining, natural gas, forestry and energy.
He says with the resources that are offered in Labrador, it is expected that more than $1 billion will be spent on projects this year.
Penashue says Memorial is a vital ally and a partner to our economy.
“Not only for its educational role, but a leader in research and economic growth,” he added.
He says research is essential in Labrador and because of that the government feels that research needs to be strengthened in Labrador.
He said the prime objective of the funding is to enhance research and development of key projects, especially in the area of research and development.
Penashue says with this funding it will boost the economy, create jobs and prosperity for all Canadians.
“What we are actually doing is investing in Labrador and we are growing the department (research and development),” he said. “The Labrador Institute has been an arm of Memorial University for many years and it has not really grown to its potential and has not had the support or attention it should have.”
Penashue says in the last couple of years the federal government has been supporting and contributing to the institute and today is a huge investment of over $2 million. He says that money will go to boosting the staff and personnel and the infrastructure.
“I think that is a tremendous support and tremendous use,” Penashue said. “The institute itself has never had the support it needed and was never able to do the work here in Labrador it was suppose to do and the research that was needed.”
Given this new investment and new growth, he thinks it will give the institute the personnel and the infrastructure and that will bring the people needed to do the research needed, in light of what is happening with economic development, as well pique the interests of students on a local level.
“One thing that is badly needed here in Labrador is training, education and without the proper skills technology transfers to Labrador’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal we will never get ahead in terms of our own source of development, educational and community development,” Penashue said.
He said that why it is so important to invest in these kinds of things. It signals to the Aboriginal community and the non-Aboriginal community that the university is interested in having technology transfers and educational transfers to both communities.
“I think there is a tremendous opportunity for Aboriginal people with this intuitive. One of the fastest technology transfers taking place is right in with the Nunatsiavut Government; they have hundreds of students that are in university. And for them to have those kinds of opportunities to open up in Labrador is great, because they can return home to their families and start building their careers,” added Penashue.
He says with this type of investment it signals the right message that if they (Aboriginals) choose to stay here, they can.
Labrador West MHA and provincial minister Nick McGrath says with the added funding in the amount of $564,000 from the province, it will give the university an opportunity to increase the initiatives to enhance research and development and highly qualified personnel.
McGrath says that the funding for research and development is in no way going to be used to retrain people who are in the fishing industry.
“Our government is all about taking an initiative approach to increase the opportunities for all residences and not to replace industries. We do understand that there are issues in the fishing industry and we are dealing with those as they come along,” he said.
McGrath says this initiative is all about increasing opportunities for the people of Labrador and not to replace any industry.
He said there are several economic development projects ongoing in the province and they are essential to the social and economic fabric of the province.
“Here in Labrador we are witnessing a tremendous amount of development, fueled by abundance of natural resources, from mining to the tapped and untapped potential of Muskrat Falls, this region is a major contributor to the prosperity of our province,” McGrath said.
He says that Premier Kathy Dunderdale came up with a clear, precise and balanced plan to develop social and economic opportunities and encourage great minds to be more innovative.
“Innovation does not have to be confined to just the science lab. Innovation is happening in all regions of the province, across a broad range of industry, diversifying our economy,” McGrath said.
He says with the funding to Memorial University, it will have a great impact on the people and resources of Labrador
Memorial University president and vice-chancellor Gary Kachanoski thanked both the province and the federal government for their continued commitment to the development of natural resources and innovations.