The Government of Canada recently announced that it was committing $4.1 million to six international organizations to fund research projects that will help improve protocols and decision-making to minimize the environmental impacts of oil spills.
The recipients include: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; Johns Hopkins University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; SINTEF Ocean; Texas A&M University; and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Examples of the projects that will be founded included the following:
- The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts is receiving $638,000 to conduct a three-year study to quantify the effect of oil photochemical oxidation on the performance of chemical herders in Canadian waters; and
- Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland is receiving $760,000 to conduct a four-year study on the effects of crude oil properties, dispersants, and weathering on the breakup of plumes and slicks.
These projects are part of the $45.5 million Multi-Partner Research Initiative, announced last year to leverage collaboration among oil spill experts in Canada and abroad to ensure we have the capability to provide the best scientific advice and tools to respond to oil spills in our waters.
A total of 35 Canadian and international projects will focus on a wide range of innovative strategies and technologies to aid in oil spill response. Under this initiative, researchers will investigate computer modeling to predict the movement and fate of spilled oil, the use of chemical dispersants and herders, the efficiency of in-situ (or onsite) burning of oil spilled at sea and the potential of bio-based agents to disperse oil through biodegradation.
The Multi-Partner Research Initiative will support a variety of different but interrelated research projects on alternative response measures for oil spills while facilitating partnerships among the best researchers across Canada and around the world. These collaborative efforts will improve our knowledge of how oil spills behave, how best to contain them and clean them up, and how to minimize their environmental impacts.