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CCGS Amundsen - $20.7 million to support the scientific mandate of Canada’s research icebreaker Amundsen at Université Laval

Québec, July 21, 2020 – Université Laval will receive $20.7 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support and broaden the scientific activities of the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen over 2020–2023. The additional support will facilitate access to the Amundsen for the Canadian scientific community and international users, consolidate technical expertise for the deployment of cutting-edge instrumentation, and further support the renewal of scientific equipment that has reached its end of useful life. It also comprises operational funds to access, on an opportunity basis and non-interference basis with other Coast Guard programs, additional seagoing time.

“For more than 15 years, the CCGS Amundsen has marked the minds of all those who have boarded the vessel. As an essential tool for researchers across the country and internationally, the research icebreaker plays a vital role in raising awareness of the challenges of climate change. Many scientific publications, discoveries, and innovations in Arctic research have been made possible by her expeditions. We would like to thank CFI for allowing high-level research to continue with its support for the vessel,” said Sophie D’Amours, rector of Université Laval.

“The rapid warming of the Arctic Ocean presents several strategic challenges for Canada and other Arctic and non-Arctic nations. This has created rapidly growing demand from the Canadian and international scientific communities for access to the CCGS Amundsen, Canada's only research icebreaker. The decision by CFI to assume 60% of the operating costs of the icebreaker for research, as recommended by the Naylor report, will facilitate access to the ship, ensure that we better respond to demand, and possibly the ability to purchase additional seagoing time for research. This is a critical decision for Canada’s Arctic research effort,” said Louis Fortier, biology professor at Université Laval and scientific leader of the CCGS Amundsen.

Physical access to state-of-the-art national research facilities such as the CCGS Amundsen is essential to gain the observational data needed to support evidence-based decision-making. “This is fantastic news for Arctic science in Canada, especially for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are trained in a multidisciplinary and multinational research environment aboard the CCGS Amundsen. These scientists represent the next generation of experts needed to address issues and opportunities in a changing Arctic,” said Stephanie Waterman, assistant professor of oceanography at the University of British Columbia, who uses the icebreaker to deploy autonomous underwater vehicles to study the Arctic Ocean’s role in the climate system.

From remotely operated vehicles that explore fragile seafloor ecosystems to complex acoustic sounders that study Arctic plankton, fish, and bathymetry, the CCGS Amundsen carries 85 sophisticated scientific systems that require specific technical expertise and enhanced attention owing to the harsh conditions they are exposed to. “The enhanced funding will enable us to continue with replacement of several systems that have reached the end of their operational life and consolidate the in-house technical expertise required for their operation and maintenance,” said Alexandre Forest, executive director of Amundsen Science. “This is essential to keep Canada at the forefront of ocean research in the northern polar region.”

About Amundsen Science and the CCGS Amundsen
Hosted at Université Laval, Amundsen Science is the organization responsible for management of research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen’s scientific mandate. The Amundsen was mobilized for science in 2002 thanks to major grants from CFI and other partners, and has been pivotal in revitalizing Canada’s research effort in the study of the changing Arctic Ocean and the health of Canadian Inuit. Since 2003, the research icebreaker has accommodated over 115 Canadian and international teams in the deployment of no less than 45 major science programs, totalling nearly half a billion dollars in research investments. For more information on Amundsen Science and the CCGS Amundsen, please visit

Simon La Terreur-Picard
Media Relations
Université Laval
T 418 656-2131, #404159
C 418 803-8814
Information :
Alexandre Forest
Executive Director
Amundsen Science
T 418 656-2340
C 581 305-2344