Government of Canada

Government of Canada

December 12, 2011 09:30 ET

Dartmouth Company Taps into University Expertise to Develop a Full-Scale Simulator for Seaplane Safety

DARTMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 12, 2011) - In the last year, Canadian companies have been using the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's (NSERC) new Engage Grants in increasing numbers to connect with university researchers and solve short-term research and development (R&D) challenges. Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC, marked the 1,000th Engage Grant today with Dalhousie University and Survival Systems Training Ltd-a Nova Scotia training company. The six-month grant will fund Dalhousie University mechanical engineering professor Darrel Doman to help Survival Systems Training increase the odds for occupants to safely exit a seaplane if it crashes.

"This project is a great example of putting our res earch and development resources to work solving a very practical problem," said the Honoura ble Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). "This type of partnership creates jobs and economic growth while new products and services enhance the quality of life for all Canadians."

Survival Systems Training Ltd. will work with Dr. Doman to gather key information that is needed for the company to develop the first full-scale simulator which can mimic the impact of a seaplane crashing on water. The first step in the project will use a crash-test dummy to create a detailed picture of the impact of a crash on an individual occupant.

"As a company that's been committed to R&D since ou r beginnings in 1982, we're really pleased to kick-off a new collaboration with Dalhousie University with this project with Dr. Doman," said John Swain, CEO of Survival System s Training Ltd.

"Two years after the launch of this exciting new st rategy, we are very pleased Dalhousie University is involved in this milestone-the 1,000t h Engage Grant," said Tom Traves, President of Dalhousie University.

"Engage Grants help increase corporate R&D by foste ring new relationships between researchers and the private sector and allowing the participants to explore the potential for a longer-term partnership," noted Dr. Fortier. "The Engage Grants were created to be responsive to the needs and timelines of the business community. The strong response we have had from business shows that the formula works."

Over 90 percent of companies that have been involved in an Engage project report they gained new knowledge and/or technology that helped them improve their existing products or develop new ones, and 75 percent could see new business opportunities develop as a result of the collaboration.

The Engage Grants initiative was launched in 2010, and is designed to provide a fast, easy and low-risk response to a company's R&D problems. It provides funding of up to $25,000 to an academic researcher for a six-month research project with a company that the researcher has not previously worked with. The project must address a company-specific problem. Since the program's launch, over 845 individual companies have worked with researchers under NSERC partnership programs.

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

Backgrounder - 1,000th Engage Grant

  • Engage Grants (EGs) are intended to give Canadian companies a fast, easy and low-risk mechanism to tap into the unique knowledge and expertise available at Canadian universities.

  • EGs bring together companies and researchers, that have never before worked together, to collaborate on a short-term research and development project aimed at addressing a problem the company is experiencing.

  • Since EGs were launched in 2010, as part of NSERC's Strategy for Partnerships and Innovation, over 1,000 collaborations involving over 845 different companies and nearly 800 researchers have been established.

  • EGs provide the academic researcher with up to $25,000 over six months to cover direct project costs. Participating companies work closely with the researcher and provide in- kind support to the project in the form of background intellectual property, staff time, equipment, proprietary data and prototyping.

  • Any intellectual property that is developed belongs to the company.

  • NSERC processes EG applications within four to six weeks.

  • The 1,000th EG will support a project that partners Dalhousie University mechanical engineer Darrel Doman with Survival Systems Training Ltd.-a Nova Scotian company that conducts safety and survival training.

  • The company aims to develop the first full-scale training simulator that can mimic the impact of a seaplane crashing on water. The project will gather key information needed for the company to develop the simulator, using a crash-test dummy to create a detailed picture of the impact of a crash on an individual occupant. The information will help Survival Systems Training assess the feasibility of its training scenario and guide the next steps in engineering the simulator.

  • For more information, visit the Engage Grants page.

Contact Information

  • Stephanie Thomas
    Special Assistant (Communications)
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)

    Martin Leroux
    Media and Public Affairs Officer
    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
    Council of Canada

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada