Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Past Winner
2019 NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation

Synergy Award for Innovation

Synergy Award for Innovation

Category: Two or More Companies

University of Calgary and University of Alberta
Microseismic Industry Consortium

The University of Calgary’s David Eaton and the University of Alberta’s Mirko van der Baan helm the Microseismic Industry Consortium (MIC), a fusion of academic talent and industry expertise that is shaking up geoscientific research. Established in 2010, the MIC program has garnered acclaim for its all-encompassing approach to studying microseismicity, weak tremors in the earth that can be useful for tracking locations of desired fractures, but that sometimes can lead to problematic larger events. Researchers collect and analyze new and historical microseismic data, creating algorithms to characterize and simulate these faint earthquakes and understand how stresses in the earth’s crust occur and evolve. Working with partners from the energy industry enables researchers to perform experiments that would otherwise be impossible, like monitoring hydraulically fractured wells to study how site conditions change over time. Researchers benefit from access to industry knowledge and datasets that provide valuable information about microseismic activity. Partner companies gain the insights of research results and applications that give them an edge over competitors. The result? More efficient oil and gas extraction, safer procedures that better protect the environment, and evidenced-based knowledge for improving policies within the energy sector.

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