Halifax ocean tech hub buoys firms tackling everything from climate change to defence

HALIFAX – It begun as a Coast Guard facility, two getting older brick structures on the Dartmouth facet of Halifax Harbour.

Today, they’ve been current with modern-day metal-grey siding, a nod to the close by sea and the site’s new reason as the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship, or COVE.

Together a wharf that the moment moored federal patrol ships, study vessels with ocean checking tools now rent berths.

The within is also unrecognizable from its Coastline Guard origins: device stores whir with the audio of large-tech machines, engineers tweak the most recent prototypes, entrepreneurs function in a startup yard, and business and assembly spaces are crammed with some of the biggest minds in the field of ocean know-how.

“People from the Coast Guard come in this article and say, ‘I worked right here 15 several years in the past, and I never imagined this is what it could be,’” said COVE main govt Melanie Nadeau during a extensive-ranging job interview.

“It shows how we’ve repurposed this site to produce a cluster of innovators around marine systems.”

Just after an in depth renovation, the previous federal facility reopened in 2018 as a hub for Canada’s maritime technological innovation sector. In 5 limited several years — a lot of it in the depths of a world wide pandemic — COVE has landed on the intercontinental stage as a single of the most reducing-edge maritime innovation ecosystems in the entire world.

It is now home to 65 regional and worldwide enterprises — with a waiting list for its workshops and workplace space.

The organizations are concerned in investigate ranging from sea level rise and ocean ground mapping to offshore energy and ocean transport sustainability.

“There’s a big misconception this is just a Nova Scotia factor,” Nadeau mentioned. “The analysis becoming finished at COVE on local climate alter and defence and protection have an effect on our entire state.”

She added: “These are not regional problems — these are countrywide troubles. It’s a Canadian imperative.”

A single of the resident firms, Kraken Robotics, has made unmanned underwater motor vehicles with subsea sonar and laser sensors.

Exact Structure, which also operates out of COVE, engineers and manufactures custom casings that allow scientific products to stand up to some of the ocean’s deepest depths.

Merinov does used study in fisheries, aquaculture and food processing sector.

“We’re producing and screening resources to improve the sustainability of the fisheries and shellfish and seaweed farming sectors,” claimed Flora Salvo, a undertaking supervisor with Merinov. “At COVE, we have entry to almost everything we want for research and growth. It’s the centre of the blue economic climate in Canada.”

The innovation going on at COVE has assisted bring in the notice of leaders in the maritime technology and defence sectors.

“Now we’re worldwide. Our manufacturer is acknowledged all above the environment,” Nadeau reported. “In a span of 6 months, we experienced 22 VIP visits from places like the Center East, the U.K., France and Europe.”

Nova Scotia Leading Tim Houston has also been satisfied with broad desire in COVE when abroad.

“We have a lot of gems in Nova Scotia and COVE is undoubtedly an fascinating a person,” he stated. “More and a lot more, the earth is recognizing Nova Scotia’s prospective.”

It is that standing and ground breaking abilities that has spurred NATO’s desire in Halifax as it rolls out a new application.

The Nova Scotia cash is in the functioning to be the North American home for the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic, or DIANA. Halifax would enhance the European workplace in London, England.

The DIANA program would arrive with dozens of new NATO careers, funding for investigation and the opportunity for neighborhood firms to commercialize so-named dual-use technologies for equally civilian and military services reasons.

“The DIANA system faucets into the know-how of our resident firms and offers them entry to 30-plus nations around the world seeking for a solution to remedy a trouble that they have,” Nadeau said.

“It can be something from quantum computing and surveillance to thoroughly clean systems, artificial intelligence and biotech.”

The method dovetails with COVE’s concentration on commercialization — one particular of the tech hub’s key plans.

“We’re seriously fantastic at producing (intellectual house), and then the IP either receives offered to the U.S. or other sites,” she stated. “We’re not well versed on commercialization. It’s a significant gap in the market and which is where by the price is.”

COVE is also focused on sustainability, climate improve and the decarbonization of maritime-centered industries.

“We’re reworking legacy industries,” Nadeau claimed. “We’re genuinely pushing ahead on what the planet will seem like in 20 several years.”

Though COVE is effective with scientists and governing administration and has an incubation facility, its key target is marketplace.

A person of the major issues for the marine technological know-how business is discovering personnel, Nadeau explained.

“There’s a massive labour gap,” she said. “It’s not a two-yr labour problem, it is a ten years extensive labour problem.”

The shortage of employees spans numerous disciplines — not just ocean science, Nadeau mentioned.

“People imagine of the ocean and they believe about ocean science, but we need people in commerce, engineering, pc science, advertising and marketing … it’s very multi-disciplinary,” she stated.

There are also attempts to diversify the sector as well as increase retention, Nadeau explained.

Meanwhile, 1 of COVE’s main parts of expertise is robotics and the use of maritime observation applications to collect ocean knowledge.

“We want to strengthen present information but then also automate the selection of details and build genuine time details,” she said. “Under 10 for each cent of the ocean has essentially been explored.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Might 7, 2023.

Be part of THE Conversation

Discussions are thoughts of our viewers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star
does not endorse these views.

Related posts