The OFI Seed Fund supports ocean-related projects that offer high potential for innovation success but need small amounts of funding to help them move forward — and grow.  

Please note: A call for Round 5 Seed Funds is postponed due to the current Covid19 situation. Please check back frequently to learn about the new date. 

OFI partnered with Canada's Ocean Supercluster and Innovacorp in Round 4 of the OFI Seed Fund.

The OFI Seed Fund

The Seed Fund supports innovative projects that have the potential to advance research, commercial or social concepts relating to the ocean. For example: 

  • conducting preliminary ocean research or feasibility studies
  • testing new approaches or developing prototypes that advance marine science 
  • developing a new concept, idea, or opportunity in support of ocean sustainability

Funding amount & duration

  • Funding is available to students, faculty and staff at Dalhousie University and Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Awards will typically range from $10,000 to $15,000 with particularly compelling ideas considered up to a maximum of $30,000
  • Funding is intended for projects to be undertaken and completed within a 12-month time frame
  • Within 60 days of the end of the approved award period, award recipients must provide to OFI a final report that describes what was accomplished, future plans, and a summary of expenses
  • OFI requires Seed Fund recipients to showcase their work publicly through an event, poster session and/or media outreach

Seed Fund recipients: helping ideas grow

Since 2018, the OFI Seed Fund has provided 45 projects with financial support helping to advance innovative ideas in research, commercial and social concepts relating to the ocean in such areas as engineering, biology, aquaculture, environment and earth sciences.

What past recipients say about the Seed Fund:

I appreciated the flexibility of the Seed Fund program, not tied to any particular outcome, just pure, fundamental science
Great opportunity for projects that have large potential but no opportunity to be funded by traditional institution

Most recently approved projects from Round Four (September 2019):

OFI partnered with Canada's Ocean Supercluster to fund the following:

  • Hansen Johnson - Development of a Whale Aerial Sampling Platform (WASP)
  • Mike Smit - Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Ocean Observing: Exploring the Potential for Partnership in Atlantic Canada
  • Israat Haque - A Programmable and Efficient Underwater Internet of Things (uiOt) to Measure Ocean Dynamics

OFI partnered with  Innovacorp to fund the following:

  • Julie LaRoche - Design and application of environmental-gene panels targeting aquatic and marine microbes: Proof of concept with 48 gene targets
  • Anneke ten Doeschate - Ocean Turbulence During High Wind Conditions on the Scotian Shelf

OFI funded the following:


  • Owen Sherwood - Understanding the nitrogen isotope biogeochemistry of sewage wastewater for use as bioindicators in the marine environment
  • David Barclay - Passive acoustic detection and monitoring of hydrothermal vents
  • David Barclay - Autonomous hovercraft for acoustic monitoring of tidal energy devices
  • Mab Speelman - Reducing Bacterial Contamination of Mixotrophic Algal Cultures through Differential Treatment with UVC
  • Jessica Bennett - Evaluating Emerging Ultraviolet Technologies for Novel Disinfection Treatment Systems in Open Net-pen Salmon Aquaculture
  • Mita Dasog - Solar Desalination using Plasmonic Interfaces
  • Elizabeth Glithero - Building a National Ocean Literacy Strategy
  • Sara Seck - Women of the Arctic Ocean:Exploring the Intersection of Gender, Indigeneity and the Law of the Sea in the Canadian Arctic


  • Ali Nasiri - Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing for Improved Safety and Service Life in Harsh Marine Environment
  • Oscar De Silva - Deep Learning for Sea Ice Image Semantic Segmentation
  • Shannon Bayse - Using luminescent twine to improve conservation goals in the Canadian snow crab pot fishery
  • Surendra Kumar - Omics approaches for prevention and control of infectious disease in cleaner fish using blood derived exosomes     
  • Joost Verhoeven - Development of a rapid, low-cost method for the discovery and surveillance of viruses at the land-sea surface
  • Max Liboiron - Movement of microplastics from land to sea in an urban waterway in St. John’s Newfoundland

1st Round Projects

2nd Round Projects

3rd Round Projects