The OSRIN Story: Five Years of Creating and Sharing Oil Sands Environmental Management Knowledge

Oil Sands Research and Information Network
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The Oil Sands Research and Information Network (OSRIN) was originally proposed to the Oil Sands Environmental Management Division of Alberta Environment by the School of Energy and the Environment (SEE), University of Alberta in December 2007. The need for OSRIN was described as follows: Currently, oil sands research occurs through a vast array of unconnected research groups, universities and funding bodies, both public and private sector. The challenge is thus to develop a structure that will provide coordination where necessary and increase efficiency of the research, while maintaining the entrepreneurial nature and benefits of current academic structures. The proposed network will provide a structure for the allocation of Government of Alberta research funds, to facilitate the leveraging of additional research funds (private sector and other), for integration and leveraging of research activities and for information management and dissemination. This structure will facilitate the management of knowledge transfer in order to ensure that science is progressing from one study to the next and facilitate the implementation of new knowledge in technology and environmental systems. Alberta Environment and the University signed an agreement in March of 2008 to fund and implement the proposed network. The original term of the agreement was to the end of March 2013, however prudent allocation of funds meant that resources were available to continue beyond this date. As a result, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development extended the term of the grants until December 31, 2014. This report summarizes the progress made by OSRIN from 2009 to 2014 in meeting its three mandates: 1. Creating oil sands environmental management knowledge by funding research – the emphasis was to be on mineable oil sands, not in-situ developments 2. Sharing oil sands environmental management information using a variety of different tools, and 3. Networking to help link researchers with funders and other researchers, and to enhance awareness of oil sands environmental management issues The following achievements reflect OSRIN’s efforts at meeting its mandates: • 80 research projects and workshops funded • 71 technical reports issued (one additional research report on heavy metals in mammals will be released early in 2015) • 39,771 downloads of OSRIN technical reports, staff reports and videos • 17 conferences sponsored