The Atlantic Canada-based Ocean Supercluster has launched a nationwide call for proposals for a new program aimed to stimulate the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Continuing to encourage investments in innovative solutions has never been more important.”
Through the Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program, the supercluster will invest up to $35 million in short-term ocean projects that will help the sector stay resilient during the crisis. The program is aimed to trigger additional industry investment in innovation and capability-building in Canada’s ocean sector.
The application process is now open and begins with expressions of interest which will close on May 22.
“While we remain focused on staying healthy and safe, it’s incumbent upon us to also create opportunities to continue to deliver commercial outcomes and contribute to Canada’s economic recovery,” said CEO of the Ocean Supercluster Kendra MacDonald. “As we look to new opportunities in [the] ocean to help grow the economy post-COVID-19, continuing to encourage investments in innovative solutions has never been more important.”
The Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program is focused on three project themes: remote operations, environment technologies, and digital or automated technologies. The supercluster will consider four types of projects: a product or service advancement and commercialization, capacity and infrastructure, process enhancement, and innovation ecosystem.
The supercluster is looking for projects that have a “compelling strategy” to capitalize on opportunities and overcome current market challenges and operational conditions, and deliver a definitive outcome in an accelerated time frame.
In March, the federal government refocused several of its innovation programs to help in the fight against COVID-19. As part of this refocusing, the government asked the superclusters to tap into their networks to help companies commercialize products more quickly.
The Ocean Supercluster received $153 million from the federal government in late 2018, and since then, has begun rolling out and funding projects. Other superclusters include the Digital Technology Supercluster, the Protein Industries Supercluster, the Manufacturing Supercluster, and the Scale AI Supercluster.
The Atlantic Canada Supercluster is expected to create over 3,000 jobs and contribute more than $14 billion to Canada’s economy over a 10-year period.
In February, the supercluster launched a project aimed to revive rural and small communities in the Atlantic Canada region. The supercluster said programs like these are separate from the Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program.
The supercluster has also implemented several measures during the pandemic, including new options to support its members and provide financial relief, such as contributions of up to $50,000 for eligible project development costs, project advances, and reducing costs for industry members.
Image source Unsplash. Photo by Joseph Barrientos.