Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announces $2.5M project to accelerate adoption of AI in the ocean sector

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2024

Today, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster has announced its newest project: Building Bridges. The project aims to accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in the ocean sector through collaboration among four national academic and non-profit partners across Canada. 

Led by Dalhousie University in partnership with the Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS) and its regional associations: St. Lawrence Global Observatory, the Hakai Institute (a division of the Tula Foundation), and Ocean Networks Canada (a University of Victoria initiative). The project focuses on equipping organizations in the ocean sector with the tools and knowledge needed to implement AI solutions effectively. Leveraging the expertise of the CIOOS regional associations, Building Bridges lowers the adoption barrier by addressing multiple components of the AI pipeline including:

  • Developing new AI tools and products to assist with data management
  • Creating new products for data quality and AI-suitable data streams.
  • Extending AI curricula in the ocean sector to enhance understanding and knowledge; and
  • Engaging with academic and non-profit organizations to identify AI opportunities and facilitate access to AI-ready open data.

The project will implement a strategy for AI readiness and advance the management and application of data to AI, with target areas identified through academic review and community engagement. CIOOS, a leader in open ocean data, will pioneer open-source AI applications for data management and support ocean organizations. Further, this project will advance Canada’s sustainable blue economy and build a community of practice around ocean AI in Canada.

Through its AI Community Project Stream, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster will invest $2.5 million dollars in the Building Bridges Project through the cluster’s funding allotment from the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The project positions Canada as a global leader in AI and ocean science innovation. By fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the development of a robust data infrastructure, Canada can lead advancements in sustainable ocean management, environmental monitoring, and resource efficiency.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster accelerates the development and commercialization of made-in-Canada ocean solutions in energy transition, food security, future of transport, and climate change while also growing more companies, creating more jobs, and attracting ocean talent. As Canada’s national ocean cluster, the OSC is a convenor of members, partners, and networks and a catalyst for transformative growth that helps build the robust ecosystem needed to help realize Ambition 2035 – a 5X growth potential in ocean in Canada by 2035. To date, the OSC has approved more than 100 projects which will deliver more than 220 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes, and services to sell to the world. For more information visit

Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS)
CIOOS was established in 2019 to address inaccessible ocean data and the lack of a mechanism for coordination and collaboration in Canada’s ocean observing community. CIOOS works to integrate fragmented and isolated ocean data by creating an open-access national platform that facilitates data discovery for end-users. CIOOS is a collaboration between institutional, governmental, and non-governmental partners located in the Pacific, the St. Lawrence, and the Atlantic. These Regional Associations work closely with local organizations to meet end-user needs and develop place-based solutions for a diverse country.

“Today Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is excited to announce our newest project called Building Bridges. Bringing together collaborators from across the country, this project will provide the tools and capacity building needed to accelerate the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Canada’s ocean sector and advance our leadership in AI globally.”
– Kendra MacDonald, CEO Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“Through our AI Strategy, our government is excited to support Canada’s Ocean Cluster as it accelerates the adoption of AI solutions in our oceans,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This strategic investment propels our ocean sector forward, fostering economic growth and reinforcing Canada’s reputation as a global leader in the blue economy.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“The Building Bridges project leverages Dalhousie’s key strengths in ocean research and digital transformation. In collaboration with our valued partners across the country we will be able to ensure Canada’s AI advantage empowers our nation’s researchers and fast-growing blue economy.”
– Dr. Alice Aiken,Vice-President, Research and Innovation, Dalhousie University

“There aren’t enough data specialists in the world to process the vast amounts of ocean data being captured: Ocean Networks Canada alone has 1.7 petabytes of data which grows daily from our observatories on the three coasts of Canada and Antarctica. AI technologies have the potential to marshall information and expedite research into vital earth and ocean processes, and inform our decisions on tackling climate and environmental changes as well as growing a sustainable blue economy.”
– Kate Moran, President and CEO, Ocean Networks Canada

Artificial intelligence is evolving at an exponential rate, creating unprecedented opportunities to leverage big ocean data and generate actionable insights for a healthy and productive ocean. Yet awareness of the possibilities offered by this exciting technology is lagging. Building Bridges is an essential investment to provide necessary tools and to bridge this knowledge gap for a sustainable ocean future.
– Shayla Fitzsimmons, Executive Director, CIOOS Atlantic

“It is in a spirit of commitment and collaboration that SLGO is taking part in the Building Bridges project to integrate artificial intelligence into the ocean sector. This strategic association with our partners reinforces our collective efforts towards optimized integration of marine data that will contribute to the promotion of a sustainable blue economy in Canada. By leveraging AI, we are accelerating innovation and informed decision-making, essential for the future of our oceans.”
– Maxence St-Onge, Executive Director, St. Lawrence Global Observatory

Media Contacts
Nancy Andrews
Chief Engagement and Communications Officer
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

Shen Molloy
Building Bridges Project Manager
Dalhousie University