(Aaron Sousa/AQ)

A new lab at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton received funding from the federal government Wednesday, aiming to help small and medium-sized businesses in the aerospace industry.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced an investment of $823,125 toward the Spatial Computing Education, Training and Research Laboratory (SPECTRAL).

In a tweet, she noted thee aerospace sector employs thousands of Atlantic Canadians.

“We are committed to driving economic growth in Atlantic Canada,” said Petitpas Taylor in a news release.

“The University of New Brunswick’s Spatial Computing Education, Training and Research Laboratory will help maximize opportunities in the spatial computing industry and meet growing demand in the global aerospace sector, benefitting our economy for years to come.”

Officials say the SPECTRAL lab will support small and medium-sized enterprises and other aerospace industry clients through access to world-class research and development.

The project aims to create a pipeline of highly qualified personnel with training in industry-relevant spatial computing, helping companies maximize opportunities in the global aerospace supply chain.

“Spatial computing is an exciting area full of rich, emerging potential for the aerospace ecosystem and beyond,” said Paul Mazerolle, president and vice-chancellor of UNB, in the news release.

“We are grateful for ACOA’s support of our vision of collaboratively advancing research and innovation in this domain and training tomorrow’s experts through student learning opportunities.”

ACOA held the announcement at Kognitiv Spark, a Fredericton-based company focused on spatial computing technology. The company is investing $150,000 in the project and a $410,000 in-kind contribution.

Duncan McSporran, Kognitiv Spark’s chief operating officer and vice-president of defence and public sector, said in the release the lab would result in positive impacts across Canada and the wider aerospace industry.

“This is the next step in a collaboration that highlights some of the amazing opportunities for technical and academic leadership in Spatial Computing that exist here in New Brunswick,” he said.