Newfoundland opens new C$8.9M Centre for Research and Innovation in former HR building at Kruger’s Corner Brook pulp, paper mill; center supports R&D, business diversification, innovation, entrepreneurship, economic initiatives in Newfoundland, Labrador

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CORNER BROOK, Newfoundland , January 19, 2023 (press release) –

Corner Brook facility supports research and development, economic initiatives

Funding and project partners gathered today to officially open Corner Brook’s Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI).

The centre supports research and development, business diversification and a stronger culture of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Media and guests gather to hear the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, Government of Canada, speak at the official opening of the Centre for Research and Innovation.

Funding organizations include: the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Government of Canada, Provincial Government Departments (Immigration, Population Growth and Skills; Industry, Energy and Technology), along with the City of Corner Brook and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd. (CBPPL). The $8.9-million investment made it possible for Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, College of the North Atlantic (CNA), and CBPPL to renovate the pulp and paper mill’s former Human Resources Building. 

The grand opening event was attended by the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, Government of Canada; the Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister, Immigration, Population Growth and Skills and MHA, Corner Brook; the Honourable Derrick Bragg, Minister, Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture; Dr. Scott Reid, Parliamentary Secretary, Education, and MHA, St. George’s Humber; Mr. Eddie Joyce, MHA, Humber-Bay of Islands; Mayor Jim Parsons, City of Corner Brook; Michel Girard, VP and General Manager, CBPPL; Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor, Memorial University; and Liz Kidd, President and CEO, CNA.

A total of $8.9 million was invested to support the Centre for Research and Innovation. This includes $5.3 million in funding through the Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) between the Provincial Government and the Government of Canada to support an employer-sponsored training program to be developed and delivered by CNA. A further $2.9 million was invested to enable Memorial University to complete the redevelopment of the CBPPL Human Resources building. This includes $1,645,059 million from ACOA, $1 million from the Emera Entrepreneurship/Innovation Fund, $679,682 from the Provincial Government’s Regional Development Fund, and $50,000 from the City of Corner Brook.

Liz Kidd, President and CEO, CNA, speaking at the grand opening of the Centre for Research and Innovation in Corner Brook.

In addition, ACOA and the Provincial Government contributed more than $700,000 to research and development projects –$400,000 from ACOA and $306,000 from the Provincial Government’s Research and Development Fund. Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada also provided $288,475 towards this project from the Canada’s Clean Technology Program.

The facility, which is maintained by CBPPL, supports local and regional economic growth through innovation, research and training, and serves as a hub for regional innovation. There are three related components to the project: 1) the physical innovation centre itself in downtown Corner Brook, which includes the Navigate Business Incubation and Co-working Space and industrial and digital makerspaces; 2) research on the use of waste by-products of the mill and new product development; and, 3) development of training opportunities by CNA. The CRI will provide a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, training and succession planning of skilled workers, creation of innovative and environmentally conscious industry opportunities and products, as well as local and regional agriculture activities through which Grenfell’s graduate students gain valuable research experience.

Michel Girard, VP and General Manager, CBPPL; Corner Brook Mayor Jim Parsons; Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor, Memorial University;  The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Immigration, Population Growth & Skills; The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains; Dr. Ian Sutherland, Vice-president, Memorial University (Grenfell campus); and, Liz Kidd, CNA President & CEO.

“The opening of the Centre for Research and Innovation brings a bright future for inspiring entrepreneurs in Corner Brook and the entire province. This facility holds limitless opportunities for students, researchers, and industry professionals. The new space, with its equipment and technologies, will spur product development and market exploration for the forestry, mining, and agriculture industries that support the growth and sustainability of Atlantic Canada’s economy.”
The Honourable Gudie Hutchings
Minister of Rural Economic Development and Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The Centre for Research and Innovation shows what is possible when business, academia, community leaders and governments come together with the shared spirit, energy and drive for collective success. Together, we look to a future of accelerating and building further upon our achievements, growing and diversifying for an ever-changing economy, while ensuring our workforce is prepared to meet the demands of an evolving labour market.”
The Honourable Dr. Andrew Furey
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“Great change often begins with a single idea propelled by vision, collaboration and action. Corner Brook’s Centre for Research and Innovation stands today because of the idea that established infrastructure can be re-purposed for future success. As Minister responsible for skills development and population growth, I see this new facility and its people, paired with the grand desire to build upon our achievements to date, as a key component in the forward path for future population growth, and greater economic and cultural diversity for Newfoundland and Labrador.”
The Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Immigration, Population Growth & Skills
MHA for Corner Brook

“For our community to prosper, we need the pillars of our economy to work in perfect harmony. This project is the embodiment of that ideal. The Centre for Research and Innovation will present new possibilities for our local economy by building on our core strengths – strengthening collaboration between our manufacturing and knowledge sectors while establishing a physical presence in our historic downtown. On behalf of the City of Corner Brook, we are pleased to be a part of this important initiative.”
His Worship Jim Parsons
Mayor, City of Corner Brook

“Grenfell Campus holds a special place within Memorial University, and the Centre for Research and Innovation will hold a special place on the west coast. The project is a clear demonstration of Memorial’s role as a socio-economic catalyst in the western region. The centre's foci - innovation, creativity, research and training - will continue to strengthen collaboration between industry, post-secondary institutions, government and community partners for the benefit of this province and beyond.”
Dr. Vianne Timmons
President and Vice-Chancellor, Memorial University

Liz Kidd, CNA President & CEO, with Michel Girard, VP and General Manager, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd. at the official opening of the Centre for Research and Innovation in Corner Brook - a collaboration between the pulp and paper mill, all levels of government, CNA and Memorial University.

“We are a proud partner in this innovative initiative, and to see the facility fully renovated and ready to support the region’s economic development opportunities, both now and well into the future, is extremely encouraging. CNA and Memorial (via Grenfell Campus) welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the federal and provincial governments to solidify a trained and career-ready workforce, as well as continue our support of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd. and their training requirements. We see that industry is growing, and we need more people to fill labour gaps. Private-public partnerships, such as this, help identify needs and provide the space to learn in a state-of-the-art facility, assist with skills development/retraining, and yield vision-driven and meaningful results.”
Liz Kidd
President and CEO, College of the North Atlantic

“We are proud to be part of this exciting project which will help current and future generations of workers succeed in the forest industry of tomorrow. The cutting-edge training and world-class research that will be conducted at the Centre for Research and Innovation will certainly have a positive impact on our community and our province. We’re also excited at the prospect of finding new uses for the mill’s waste by-products and potentially developing new products as part of the centre’s mission, which aligns perfectly with Kruger’s and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental footprint. We wish to thank the Government of Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the City of Corner Brook, Memorial University, and College of the North Atlantic for taking part in this inspiring initiative.”   
Michel Girard
Vice-President and General Manager, Kruger Publication Papers, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited

Regional and community partners are critical to this initiative, which aims to provide the foundation to spark larger, longer-term transformational change in the western Newfoundland region. Key stakeholder groups, such as Western Newfoundland Entrepreneurs, the DIY Society, the City of Corner Brook and Qalipu First Nation, were consulted and will play a role in future programming. Additional research partnerships with businesses in the western region have also been confirmed, including West Valley Farms, Anaconda Mining, Hammond Farm, and New World Dairy.

Ultimately, key outcomes for the Centre of Research and Innovation will include infrastructure and capacity building, research and development, entrepreneurship and innovation, education and skills training and growth in the agricultural and forest sectors. Benefits are expected for all partners involved, including CBPPL, the two public post-secondary institutions, the City of Corner Brook and community sectors locally and throughout the province. This centre acts as a catalyst for continued communication and collaboration among all stakeholders in pursuit of sustainable growth and innovative practices.



Pamela Gill
Manager, Communications, Research, Graduate Studies and Engagement
Grenfell Campus, Memorial University

Paul McGrath
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Michelle Barry
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic

Meghan McCabe
Office of the Premier

Jeremy Reynolds
Immigration, Population Growth and Skills

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