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Canada’s prime minister announces launch of Arctic research program

Canada’s prime minister marked the first day of his annual northern tour with an announcement of the National Research Council Arctic Program.

The research focus will be on technology that will "improve the lives of northerners" and aid economic development in Canada’s northern regions.

“The Government of Canada is committed to harnessing science, technology and research to further develop Canada’s North and improve the lives of Northerners,” Harper said in a news release issued on Thursday. "The new National Research Council Arctic Program will help improve housing, transport and resource development.”

Arctic Program research will focus on:

• Increasing the safety of resource development in ice-covered waters by reducing the uncertainty in ice loads, and increasing the reliability of ice management, as well as enabling the effective detection and remediation of oil under ice;

• Developing and implementing technologies that will reduce the number of incidents and vessel structural damage;

• Increasing the number of days of operational use of ice roads;

• Increasing the survivability rates in lifeboats;

• Increasing the performance of immersion suits in a cold and harsh ocean environment;

• Reducing catastrophic failures in urban infrastructure, and increasing energy efficiency and durability of northern housing, thereby decreasing the cost of maintenance and repairs.

Harper is on a six-day tour of Canada’s North, scheduled to end on Tuesday.

Thursday’s announcement was made at the Yukon Cold Climate Innovation Centre, within the Yukon Research Centre of Excellence at Yukon College in northwestern Canada.

Upcoming stops on the prime minister’s tour include Canada’s Northwest Territories and Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch News as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.