Innovation Centre to raise collective capacity and support attraction of investment and talent in the province

Dec 17, 2020 | News

Announcement on Thursday, December 17 by techNL – first steps towards the creation of an Innovation Centre! Watch the recording of the announcement here. The news release is below.

News Release
For Immediate Release

Innovation Centre to raise collective capacity and support attraction of investment and talent in the province

December 17, 2020 – St. John’s, NL – techNL (formerly NATI)

Today, techNL (formerly NATI) is announcing first steps towards the creation of an Innovation Centre for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, bringing together the talent and opportunities found across our economy, including technology, oil and gas, ocean, clean energy, and other sectors.

The Innovation Centre initiative is led by techNL, the province’s technology and innovation industry association, in partnership with: Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA); Canada’s Ocean Supercluster; Newfoundland and Labrador Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA); Petroleum Resources Newfoundland and Labrador (PRNL); Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (Noia); and others. Funding has been earmarked from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the provincial Department of Industry, Energy and Technology to support two Request for Proposals (RFPs), to be issued by techNL in the coming weeks. The first RFP will help finalize the key activities, programs, and a governance model for the Innovation Centre operations. The second RFP will seek proposals for the physical space where the Innovation Centre will be located.

Establishing an Innovation Centre will bring together industry, academia, and supporting organizations, to raise our collective capacity to drive innovation, commercialization, and competition. Through knowledge transfer and sharing of ideas, new opportunities emerge, and natural collisions occur. In an era where being agile and pivoting quickly is critical, the Innovation Centre will not only identify new commercial opportunities, but will provide efficiencies, learning opportunities, and will act as a focal point to attract investment and international delegations.

The Innovation Centre will showcase Newfoundland and Labrador as an epicentre of innovation and technology, and provide space for local, national, and international innovation events to occur. This presence will help build our province’s reputation and demonstrate that innovation is happening here and supporting the attraction of investment and talent. 

At this initial stage of the process, the Government of Canada, through ACOA, is investing $91,000 and the provincial government, through the Department of Industry, Energy and Technology, is contributing $26,000 to this initiative.


“The digital economy means that an investment in the tech sector is an investment in all sectors. The establishment of an Innovation Centre will help sustain and build upon the extraordinary momentum we have seen in the sector and will translate into a significant impact on the overall NL economy.”

– Paul Preston, CEO, techNL

“Today’s announcement is evidence of what can be achieved when partners can come together around a common objective and vision. This Innovation Centre will be a home for that collaborative spirit, and will drive economic growth for Newfoundland and Labrador for many years to come. NEIA is excited about what the future holds for this province.”

– Kieran Hanley, Executive Director, Newfoundland & Labrador Environmental Industry Association

“Newfoundland and Labrador tech companies are competing on the world stage and creating high paying jobs here at home. The Innovation Centre initiative will help techNL and its partners drive industry-leading innovation and business growth in our province.”

– Ken McDonald, Member of Parliament for Avalon, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“This unprecedented collaboration highlights the importance of building and strengthening our province’s emerging tech sector. By aligning talent and opportunities found in a variety of industries, we are enhancing our collective capacity to drive current R&D, and help kick-start tomorrow’s tech leaders. This vision of establishing an Innovation Centre in Newfoundland and Labrador only validates that world-class innovation is happening right here at home.”

– The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“The importance of supporting and developing talent in the tech sector is vital to the growth of the industry in our province. There’s an innovative energy building in Newfoundland and Labrador, and together with industry, academia, and supporting organizations, this vision of an Innovation Centre will further strengthen our innovative R&D capabilities, and be a catalyst in our province’s economic growth in the future.”

– The Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology

“Innovation hubs across Canada help drive collaborative, outcomes-focused activity to increase commercialization and accelerate global leadership. We have seen a number of new hubs established around the world in the last 12 months.  This is an important step in Newfoundland and Labrador’s journey to realize significant opportunities in the digital ocean and in the digital economy more broadly and we are excited to see this process move forward.”

– Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“Innovation is a driver of our industries, including the offshore oil and gas industry, and bringing together the leading sectors of Newfoundland and Labrador via an Innovation Centre will have an extremely positive impact upon our people, our province, and our economy.”

– Charlene Johnson, CEO Noia

“A centre like this, bringing together different companies and people and ideas, can spark all kinds of new innovation.  We’re excited to see where it can go.”

– Dave Finn, CEO, Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador (PRNL)

“Aquaculture is the fastest-growing and most environmentally friendly form of animal protein production in the world. As farmers of the sea we are continually investing in innovative technologies through every aspect of the value chain – from egg to plate. Being physically located with other industry associations in a collaborative environment will further enable the development of cross sectoral solutions and facilitate product development”

– Mark Lane, Executive Director, Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association.

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Media Contacts

Marlayne Hardy



Paul McGrath

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency


Lisa Lawlor

Industry, Energy and Technology

709-729-5777, 631-8155

Nancy Andrews

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster