Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute this week officially opened the long-awaited marine research lab The Launch in an oceanside location in Holyrood, about 50 kilometers from St. John’s.

The Launch -- formerly known as the Holyrood Marine Institute -- was first opened in 2010 and experienced multiple phases of development throughout the decade. This new space allows students and researchers to test new technologies, train in harsh conditions and explore the next advancements in ocean research.

The St. John’s university said in a statement that The Launch is home to the Centre for Applied Ocean Technology, the SmartAtlantic ocean observatory system, the Holyrood subsea observatory, SmartBay Holyrood buoys and a fleet of training and research vessels.

Kelley Santos, the director of The Launch, said the new facility is part of “a national network of world-class ocean technology innovation centres that collectively are advancing the technology we need to sustainably manage our oceans."

A combined federal-provincial investment of $8.5 million was announced in 2019, signaling the project’s final phase, according to Memorial University. This investment supported the acquisition of the $22 million Arthur W. May Building which houses the lab.

Neil Bose, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, said that The Launch will expand on opportunities that Memorial has been offering in training and applied research.

“The Launch strengthens Memorial’s leadership in at-sea education and research,” he said. “We are proud to do this in the heart of the vibrant community of Holyrood that has embraced our Marine Institute and all the opportunities that Canada’s ocean sector offers.”