ST. JOHN'S, NL, Nov. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Building on Newfoundland and Labrador's growing reputation as a centre of excellence for ocean industries research and innovation, the Research & Development Corporation (RDC) has announced the 2012 recipients of its Ocean Industries Student Research Awards, a competitive program aimed at fostering the next generation of research and development (R&D) leaders. Twenty-one post-secondary students at Memorial University of Newfoundland - six doctoral, 12 masters and three undergraduate students - as well as their research supervisors are receiving a total of $866,333 towards their research projects. RDC's investment is supporting student researchers who are focusing in strategic areas such as offshore petroleum engineering, geoscience, ocean engineering, ocean technology including marine transport, fisheries, aquaculture, and other areas such as marine science that support R&D, innovation and the commercialization of ocean technologies or natural resource development. The awards range in value from $7,500 per year for undergraduate research to $20,000 to $30,000 per year at the graduate level. " Newfoundland and Labrador is recognized around the world for its facilities and technical expertise when it comes to oceans-related research," said the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister Responsible for RDC. "Through this unique awards competition, RDC is providing critical financial support to young innovators conducting important industry-relevant research that will advance their skills and knowledge." This year, students from Memorial University's Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the Marine Institute and School of Human Kinetics and Recreation are receiving awards. "The students and supervisors we are recognizing today will help to ensure that Memorial University remains at the forefront of ocean-related research and training - expertise which is in demand around the world," said the Honourable Joan Shea, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills. "From the future of offshore oil and gas resources, to the development of aquaculture, these awards are also an investment in Newfoundland and Labrador, as we develop the skilled and innovative workforce required to ensure the sector's continued success." The winners were announced last night during a reception on Memorial's St. John's campus. "Our physical environment has presented both technical challenges and development opportunities, where R&D and innovation have enabled our companies and institutions to develop technical expertise that can be deployed globally," said Glenn Janes, CEO, RDC. "RDC is proud to invest in the work of these students who are drawing upon our province's rich natural resources to advance research that will positively impact future economic growth." Dr. Gary Kachanoski, President and Vice-chancellor of Memorial University, said the awards program is fostering the next generation of researchers needed to sustain Newfoundland and Labrador's ocean industries. " Memorial University is indelibly shaped by our proximity to the North Atlantic, and it has created tremendous opportunities for our faculty and students," said Dr. Kachanoski. "Our assets are enormous and our areas of expertise vast. These awards will help our students as they continue to conduct leading-edge research related to ocean industries with creativity, passion and tenacity. And in doing so, they are cementing our goal of becoming Canada's oceans university." The Ocean Industries Student Research Awards is open to post-secondary students in Newfoundland and Labrador, across Canada and internationally, enrolled in science, engineering and technology programs that have an interest in pursuing research in the province's growing ocean industries sector. The awards are open to students interested in pursuing their studies and conducting leading-edge research at Memorial University of Newfoundland, its Marine Institute, or College of North Atlantic. Selection for the awards is through a competitive process, based on strong academic achievement, the technical merits of their proposed research plan and the relevance of the research to Newfoundland and Labrador's ocean industries. RDC makes the final selection of award recipients with advice of its research awards committee, which is made up of stakeholders from business, government and academia. The students receiving this year's funding, as well as descriptions of their projects, are included in the backgrounder of this release.