SHIPPAGAN, NB – Each day on New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula, scientists at the VALORĒS Research Institute support coastal communities by applying sustainable development principles to fight climate change and help industries be more innovative in their use of bioresources.
“Our research facilities are both a space for research and development and a platform for collaboration,” says Marion Tétégan Simon, Ph.D., the institute’s director of research. “They bring together researchers, industry players and government agencies to address the challenges facing New Brunswick’s coastal communities, where the fishing, aquaculture, peat and agriculture industries are a major economic force.”
The VALORĒS Research Institute’s employs about 50 people, who collaborate with industry and government stakeholders on a broad range of projects that serve the scientific needs of coastal industries and communities. It benefits greatly from its proximity to vital natural or waste resources in the fisheries, agriculture, aquaculture and peat sectors. The nearby maritime industrial park, a university campus, a community college, a provincial aquarium and marine center, offer uncommon analytical and research capabilities.
By taking on a strategic role as experts and analysts with their partners, VALORĒS can contribute as a leader in sustainable development and put forward new approaches to help industries take a fresh look at bioresources.
“Adding value to resources means getting the most out of them, wasting less, recycling better and being creative about how we use our bio-resources, especially production residues,” says Tétégan Simon.
For several years now, VALORĒS has been exploring and analyzing the basic elements in different types of residual resources (commonly known as waste) to see if there is a possibility of extracting and giving them a second use to bring greater sustainability to the industries they serve.
These recovered or recycled residues can be transformed into new value chains, and new sources of wealth for the region, and reduces overall waste.
Sustainable practices mean thinking in terms of a circular economy where everything is recovered. Even a very small amount recovered is a portion less in the environment.
Sustainable development must also factor in our changing climate. For over 10 years, VALORĒS has been working with its collaborators to establish adaptation plans and is now moving towards implementing these plans for community and industrial environments.
According to Tétégan Simon, “You can’t fight climate change. You have to adapt to it, because you can’t fight Mother Nature. The observation of various climatic hazards such as forest fires, rising sea levels, rising temperatures on land and in the water, variations in precipitation, etc., have both a singular and plural impact on all our resources.”
As the need to build resilience in the face of climate change intensifies, scientific research is playing an increasingly vital role.
For example, at VALORĒS’s main pavilion, scientists are studying ways to use nature-based solutions to restore disturbed agricultural, horticultural or forestry environments to mitigate income losses and improve carbon sequestration rates. In coastal environments, processes to reduce the risks associated with coastal erosion are developed and evaluated.
The institute also contributes to a sustainable lobster fishery in the region. Each year, the institute produces hundreds of thousands of young lobsters at its lobster larvae hatchery.
“The VALORĒS Institute’s Aquaculture Pavilion is a powerhouse of scientific innovation that contributes to the sustainability and economic prosperity of New Brunswick’s coastal communities and addresses the pressing challenges posed by climate change,” said Damon Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer of ResearchNB. “We asked them to join us in Ottawa in October for the New Brunswick Research and Innovation Showcase because they keep moving things forward to strengthen New Brunswick, and their experience and learning could benefit other provinces.”
The New Brunswick Research and Innovation Showcase will take place in Ottawa on October 4. Organized by ResearchNB and Fredericton MLA Jenica Atwin, the evening will highlight some of the province’s cutting-edge research to some of Canada’s political leaders and other decision-makers.
Created through the merger of the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and BioNB, ResearchNB is the catalyst for research and innovation in the province. With offices in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton, it provides critical leadership and support to New Brunswick’s research sector, including advocacy, seed funding, connections to potential partners and turning science into economic opportunity. Projects developed in partnership with ResearchNB help New Brunswickers prosper through improved patient care, an even stronger bioeconomy and increased economic growth.