The federal government has announced $14 million in funding for a new institution in Charlottetown that will encourage the commercialization of products developed from natural substances.

Federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains made the announcement at the Atlantic Veterinary College last week as part of a wave of funding announcements in Atlantic Canada. Natural Products Canada will research, develop and market natural products and technologies in such fields as neutraceuticals, cosmetics, food, agricultural and veterinary care.

Natural Products Canada will be led from Prince Edward Island and will receive additional funding from private industries and other sources, said a statement from the PEI BioAlliance. It said this total funding would be $24 million over five years.

 “Natural Products Canada will align the existing expertise of universities, scientific research organizations, small and medium sized enterprises, multi-nationals, the investor community, and government partners in accelerating time to market for promising early stage technologies,” said Rory Francis, Executive Director of the PEI BioAlliance. “This is an amazing opportunity for the Canadian bioscience sector and a very exciting platform for the next stage of growth of the PEI Bioscience Cluster.”

ACOA Funding for Volta, B4checkin

Bains’ announcements in the region included funding of as much as $12.6 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund, or AIF, for six projects. They are:

- Jiffy Products (N.B.) Ltd., Shippagan, N.B. $907,000. Jiffy Products makes such horticultural products as peat pots, peat pellets and plastic trays. It will use this money for R&D into the biophysical and chemical properties of peat, which will lead to the development of four new competitive products.
- Mara Renewables Corp., Dartmouth, $3 million. Mara Renewables uses innovative biology and fermentation methods to produce a biofuel and high-value oil from algae using a proprietary microorganism. This project intends to increase productivity and efficiencies of the microorganism in the fermentation process.
- GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc., Dartmouth, $1.9 million. Through this project, GeoSpectrum will develop a new Coherent Seismic Source for conducting marine geophysical surveys used by offshore oil and gas exploration companies. The objective is to provide higher-quality images of subsea structures and reservoirs.
- Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering, or C-CORE, St. John’s $3.0 million. C-CORE is a not-for-profit contract research organization with globally recognized expertise in geotechnical and ice engineering, and in remote sensing. C-CORE will develop an Airborne Ice Thickness Measurement System.
- Canatec Associates International Ltd., St. John’s, $853,000. Canatec provides training, services and products for the management of ice, primarily for the offshore oil and gas and polar shipping industries. Through this project, Canatec will finalize the development of its search and rescue personal locator beacon prototype system to support the offshore and marine transportation industries.
- Aspin Kemp and Associates, Montague, P.E.I., $2.9 million. This project will help Aspin Kemp develop and commercialize a “Power-Bridging System” solution. Consisting of four components, the Power Bridging Systems will have the capacity to integrate, store and discharge energy which regulates swings in power and offers a steady energy output (eliminating peaks and valleys of energy output, allowing for steady power in a cost-efficient manner to companies).

All these AIF funding agreements are categorized as “conditionally repayable”, except for the C-CORE funding, which is non-repayable.