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Section II – Analysis of Program Activities

This section provides an overview of NRC's Program Activities (based on NRC's Program Activity Architecture established in 2004) and how they contributed in 2006-2007 to the organization's priorities and strategic outcome - an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through research and development, technology commercialization and industry support.

Overview of Program Activities

NRC Program Activities are structured along two business lines (Research and Development, and Technology and Industry Support). These provide a balance between conducting R&D and delivering technical and innovation support services to industry and the public.

Table 2-1: Program Activity Profiles

NRC's Strategic Outcome:
An innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through research and development, technology commercialization and industry support

Research and Development

Technology and Industry Support

Includes research programs, technology development initiatives and management of national science and engineering facilities. These efforts all focus on key technological and industrial areas of Canada's economy where NRC has specific roles and recognized competencies, and where it can have a significant impact.

Includes dissemination of scientific, technical and medical information; provision of innovation assistance and engineering and technology-based facilities; contributions to the commercialization process; intellectual property management; new company creation and strategic partnerships for Canadian SMEs, NRC institutes, the public and other government research organizations.


  1. Achieve sustained knowledge-based economic and social growth in Canada through R&D and innovation in key areas.
  2. Provide efficient, client-focused services that enhance NRC's effectiveness as an integrated S&T organization.


  1. Improve the innovative capability of Canadian firms.
  2. Stimulate wealth creation for Canada through technological and financial assistance, information and access to other relevant resources.
  3. Provide efficient, client-focused services that enhance NRC's effectiveness as an integrated S&T organization.

2006-2007 Financial Resources ($ millions)

2006-2007 Financial Resources ($ millions)


Total Authorities



Total Authorities








2006-2007 Human Resources (FTEs)

2006-2007 Human Resources (FTEs)













NRC Programs

In 2006-2007, in addition to its specific Research and Development and Technology Industry Support activities, NRC focused its efforts on programs that also support important Canadian priorities. Many of these are multi-disciplinary, cross-organizational initiatives that encompass a number of NRC entities (e.g., research institutes, laboratories, centres, facilities, programs and services). These collaborative programs address the Government's priorities on optimizing its S&T investments and expanding its value and reach. Examples of NRC's programming efforts in these areas can be found in the following "program spotlights" sections:

NRC's Overall Performance for 2006-2007

Priority 1: Research and Development for Canada: Economy, the Environment, Health and Safety

Performance Indicators (as identified in the 2006-2007 RPP)
  • Technology transfer (patents, licences)
  • Spin offs/spin ins/new ventures
  • Publications in refereed journals/proceedings and technical reports
  • Citations comparison
  • External grants
  • Leadership and contribution to federal horizontal initiatives
  • Multi-researcher networks and centres of excellence
  • Number and value of international collaborative agreements

The performance indicators that do not change year-over-year are not reported on annually.

In 2006-2007, the Research and Development portfolio contributed to areas that are recognized as priorities for Canada through its core strengths: national research institutes and innovation activities dedicated to technology fields important to Canada; value creation through knowledge and technology transfer; the pursuit of leading-edge and integrated research in emerging cross-disciplinary fields; and the creation of economic and social benefits for Canadians. Continued support of Canadian industry and the research community through codes and standards, access to national facilities and stewardship of Canada's "big science" facilities remained a foundation to global marketplace access and international R&D alliances. The portfolio continued to develop new technologies leading to commercialization opportunities for Canadian industry.

A new patent is a key step in the continuum from discovery to innovation. The strategic management of intellectual property (IP) makes a contribution to the innovative capacity of firms. In 2006-2007, NRC applied for 215 new patents and secured 78 patents from applications made in previous years. Forty-five percent of these were issued in the U.S. – an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recognized measure of competitiveness. Based on a 2003 benchmarking study of best practices in IP management, NRC is changing its approach by screening disclosures early; conducting market research and patent analysis assessments; and regularly reviewing its IP portfolio to generate, identify and develop more "high potential commercial value" IP.

By negotiating a licence agreement to use NRC technology, the industrial partner endorses the merit of NRC research and these agreements show a direct flow of innovation into business application. NRC entered into 102 new licence agreements in 2006-2007 and IP licensing revenue was $5.0 million (see Figure 2-1).

Figure 2-1: NRC IP Portfolio (2002-2007)
Figure 2-1: NRC IP Portfolio (2002-2007)
Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2006

Just over $2.3 million of IP revenue in 2006-2007 was attributed directly to the Meningitis-C vaccine developed by the NRC Institute for Biological Sciences (NRC-IBS) and $1.1 million of revenue from hardware and software development can be attributed to the NRC Institute for Information Technology (NRC-IIT).

Some examples of NRC technology licensed to industry in 2006-2007 include:

  • In December 2006, Canadian-based Nstein Technologies Inc. announced the signing of a 10-year technology licence agreement, and a three-year collaborative research agreement related to the use of NRC's "Factor" text mining technology. Developed at NRC-IIT, "Factor" is a leading-edge search tool that will give Nstein a competitive advantage in the text analytics market. This technology and research partnership, valued at over $7.5 million, is one of the largest commercialization deals signed by NRC-IIT.
  • The NRC Institute for National Measurement Standards (NRC-INMS), a world leader in the field of radiation therapy dosimetry, continues to benefit from the licensing of its Monte Carlo Code for Electron Beam Calculations to MDS Nordion. The Canadian company sold its oncology software portfolio to an international firm, Nucletron B.V. in 2003 with a five-year licence extension to December 2012.
  • The NRC Institute for Microstructural Sciences (NRC-IMS) has been active in the development of OLEDs (organic light-emitting devices) in collaboration with Canadian and international partners. One such partnership with National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan led to the synthesis of a new organic compound by NTHU that was fabricated into commercially promising devices by NRC-IMS resulting in a patent application in Canada, the U.S. and Taiwan.

When NRC develops a technology with particularly strong market potential and there is no Canadian receptor capacity identified, entirely new companies may be created to commercialize the technology. These new companies create innovative products and services for the global marketplace and new jobs for Canadians. In 2006-2007, NRC launched one new company bringing the total of new companies created since 1995 to 68 accounting for approximately 604 full-time jobs and an estimated $437 million in cumulative investment, a 6% decrease from last year8. In 2006, investment from all sources into NRC new companies was $63 million.

Company created in 2006-2007:

  • Kent Imaging Inc. – based on NRC patented technology, Kent Imaging has developed a camera system that will enable emergency doctors and surgeons to survey injured or reconstructed tissue to determine its state of health. Taking "viability" pictures of tissue using the camera system can supply information to doctors on the amount of blood and oxygen reaching it and thus indicating its potential for survival. These are crucial pieces of information that will help with critical decision-making during initial injury assessment, surgery, or post-operative recovery.

Scientific papers in leading peer-reviewed publications and conference proceedings are internationally acknowledged measures of research quality and relevance. They are also a key tool for the dissemination of knowledge and the eventual creation of value for Canada in the long-term. NRC has consistently produced over a thousand peer-reviewed publications each year over the last five years. In 2006-2007, researchers published 1,403 articles in refereed journals. NRC researchers also presented 870 papers at S&T conferences and produced 1,239 technical reports for clients (see Figure 2-2).

Figure 2-2: NRC Publications (2002-2007)
Figure 2-2: NRC Publications (2002-2007)
Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2006

NRC's research excellence is also evident in the involvement of its researchers in multi-researcher networks and centres of excellence as well as the number of externally funded, peer-reviewed research grant proposals. In 2006-2007, NRC researchers participated in 110 research networks, held 217 positions on editorial boards of scientific journals and were appointed to 499 adjunct professorships in Canadian universities. One hundred and seventy four grants provided NRC researchers and their partners with $36 million, over the lifetime of the projects. Examples of external awards received by NRC researchers in the last year can be found in Section IV – Awards and Achievements.

National leadership in R&D and innovation is demonstrated by the participation of NRC researchers on 593 national committees and by the 206 conferences and workshops organized by the institutes.

In 2006-2007, NRC signed 361 new formal collaborative research agreements with Canadian partners worth a total of $149 million. The total value over the lifetime of these agreements grew to $434 million (see Figure 2-3). The number and value of collaborative agreements signed during a year are indicators that foretell increased research activity. NRC's Canadian partners invest 1.48 dollars for every dollar NRC invests.

Figure 2-3: Canadian Collaborations (2002-2007)
Figure 2-3: Canadian Collaborations (2002-2007)
Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2006

Participation in international projects and consortia exposes Canadian students, researchers and companies to the best-in-the-world capabilities. In 2006-2007, NRC signed 99 new formal collaborative research agreements with international partners worth $41 million. The total number of active international collaborative agreements is similar to last year's number (see Figure 2-4), with a total value over the lifetime of the agreements of close to $145 million. NRC's international partners invest 5.3 dollars for every dollar NRC invests.

Figure 2-4: International Collaborations (2002-2007)
Figure 2-4: International Collaborations (2002-2007)
Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2006

8 Adventus Research Inc., Economic Impact of National Research Council Canada Spin-Off Companies 2007 Survey, February 25, 2007.

Strategy: Creating value through R&D in sectors with the greatest economic impact for Canada

Facilitate technology advantage for next generation aerospace industry – Fiscal year 2006-2007 was the second year the NRC-Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre (NRC-AMTC) occupied its new building in Montreal. Over the past year, it has embarked on a $9 million technology demonstration project with funding support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. This project is focused on the manufacture of aircraft major structural components from composite materials. The strategic objective of the project is to facilitate the development in Canada of a tier 2 major subcomponent integrator within the aerospace supply chain.

In 2006-2007, the NRC Gas Turbine Laboratory (NRC-GTL), working with Industry Canada's Aerospace and Defence Branch established a national network for the development of a technology roadmap and technology demonstrator capability in aerospace diagnostics, prognostics and health management. The network, consisting of the major Canadian Original Equipment Manufacturers (Bell Helicopter, Pratt & Whitney and Bombardier), with government, university and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the aerospace community, identified priority technology needs in 14 projects and developed the funding solutions to proceed with two new projects this past year. The network links all of the innovation system components in this domain, for the first time. Approximately 80 participants worked together to advance the process for teaming. A national steering committee directs the activities through regular meetings and a website. The establishment of the network and successful implementation of team – led innovation across the community is of benefit to the Canadian aerospace community and will form a working model for the development of a Technology Roadmap in Combustion – focused Computational Fluid Dynamics.

The NRC Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) and GE Aviation, in partnership with Aroports de Montral, built a new facility to conduct icing certification tests on large engines. Construction of the facility, located at the end of Montreal's Mirabel International Airport runway, was completed in February 2007. This new NRC facility, along with existing facilities in Ottawa, could result in Canada becoming the icing certification centre of excellence for the world.

Position Canadian industry as a key player in advanced manufacturing – In 2006-2007, the NRC Industrial Materials Institute (NRC-IMI) continued to focus on the processing and forming industries. Much progress was made in biomaterials, metal foaming technologies, aluminium forming, environmental membranes, natural fibre composites and biodegradable polymers. Sectors served included automotive, medical devices, aerospace, and general manufacturing in metals and plastics. NRC-IMI, for example, achieved the development of an integrated mathematical model for the hydroforming of structural aluminium automobile components. They also developed innovative aluminium rear suspension components for automobiles to be manufactured in 2010-12. The design was optimized for the use of robotic welding equipment in their assembly.

At the NRC-AMTC some projects were able to deliver significant results quickly for General Motors and Bombardier. A collaborative project with General Motors Canada (GMC) on High Speed Grinding of Steel and Nodular Cast Iron has achieved higher material removal rates than has ever been obtained before. This has significant impact on the productivity and reduction of the manufacturing costs of crankshafts and camshafts at GMC. In collaboration with Bombardier Aerospace (BA), NRC-AMTC has developed the first in the world high accuracy positioning system for fuselage panel riveting using collaborative robots. Novel methods of calibration and the use of metrology-in-the loop for the positioning control improved the accuracy of positioning the part on a panel. The impact of the implementation of this system will be a 50 to 75 % reduction of production costs of fuselage components according to a Bombardier forecast and, as a secondary benefit, the reduction of occupational diseases due to obviating the need to have a human operator close to a noise-filled workspace environment. According to the client, this breakthrough will result in ensuring that the production of fuselage panels for most BA aircraft will remain in Montreal rather than being shipped outside Canada.

In collaboration with industrial, university and government partners, the NRC Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute (NRC-IMTI) held six meetings with current and potential members in three of their Special Interest Groups: Precision Freeform Fabrication Technologies (PFFTech), Precision Micro Fabrication Technologies (PMFTech) and Reconfigurable and Flexible Manufacturing Technologies (RFMTech).

The NRC Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology (NRC-ICPET) continued to focus on two major research thrusts: energy-oriented processes and solution-driven materials within a sustainable framework. The Institute worked with Environment Canada, Industry Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Five Winds International on the refinement of SAFT V2, a tool that can help researchers in companies determine the overall sustainability of proposed research approaches and industrial processes. As part of the evaluation, the tool was applied to several bioproducts projects currently underway at NRC. NRC-ICPET continued to build on its fuel cell research capabilities, creating new materials that outperform current commercial membranes in cost and performance. In the oil sands area, NRC-ICPET developed and renewed industrial collaborations with the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD) and Syncrude. These industrial collaborations complement a significant investment from other government departments in NRC-ICPET's research program which brings a fundamental chemical science approach to oil sands processing and significantly reduces the energy and process requirements associated with synthetic crude oil production.

The NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation's (NRC-IFCI) R&D program in 2006-2007 aimed at advancing fundamental fuel cell science and technology applications and accelerating the adaptation and commercialization of these technologies. To contribute to these objectives, the Institute assembled a multi-disciplinary team of research scientists, engineers, and technical staff, with recognized expertise in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. NRC-IFCI had several critical achievements in 2006-2007 in advanced materials and manufacturing which will reduce the cost of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) materials and enable the Canadian Fuel Cell and Hydrogen industry to mass produce fuel cell materials:

  • Using the internally developed Reactive Spray Deposition Technology, NRC-IFCI developed high-performance membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) with low loading nano-platinum catalyst layers. Through the development of an advanced catalyst coating membrane (CCM) technique and the use of an internally developed vacuum table, NRC-IFCI achieved a significant performance improvement, better than many commercial baseline MEAs. These achievements position NRC-IFCI as a leader in the development of high performance MEAs.
  • Cost-effective processes for SOFC fabrication were developed, which are scaleable for high-volume manufacturing. The production of nanopowders for SOFC using axial injection plasma spray, the fabrication of thin film SOFC materials, and the deposition of thin SOFC electrolytes with high gas tightness enable the production of SOFCs at lower cost and temperatures, vastly improving overall performance and commercial viability.
  • Technical concepts for a 2-layer structure air cathode, with a hydrophobic diffusion layer (GDL) and a catalyst impregnated mesh layer, as opposed to the commercially available 4-layer air cathode were developed. The new cathode with high performance and high stability has resulted in several patents, which have become the core technology for one of NRC-IFCI's local cluster partners. This technology has enabled the industrial client to develop their first fuel cell product in a cost effective manner.

Reduce industry risks and costs of working on next generation information and communications technology – In 2006-2007, NRC-IMS and NRC-IIT continued to be involved in developing next-generation capabilities in information and communications technology. NRC-IIT's areas of research priority are Knowledge from Data, People-Oriented Systems and eBusiness and include research in data mining, cybersecurity and machine translation.

The Language Technologies Research Centre (LTRC) located on the main campus of the Universit du Qubec en Outaouais (UQO) unites researchers from the partnering organizations (Translation Bureau of Canada, UQO, Industry Canada and NRC-IIT) as well as the language industry association AILIA, UQO's technology transfer office (BLUM) and NRC-IRAP. The group has now achieved a full complement of researchers together with graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Three technologies in the group's portfolio which present commercialization potential include: TransCheck (a translation error-detection software), Barah (terminometry support software) and Portage (statistical machine translation). In December 2006, NRC-IIT signed its first industrial cooperation agreement for the use of some components of Portage technology to enhance existing translation support products.

In 2006-2007, NRC-IIT's research contract for the use of PORTAGE in the multimillion dollar GALE (Global Autonomous Language Exploitation) research program was renewed for a second year. GALE, sponsored by the U.S. Government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has the goal of making foreign language (Arabic and Chinese) speech and text accessible to English monolingual people, particularly in military settings. NRC-IIT is the only Canadian R&D participant in GALE, the largest project in the world in natural language processing. Participation will build future returns; in working with the best in the world, NRC-IIT is involved in developing technologies that will eventually be espoused by Canadian industry and allow Canada to be competitive in this emerging area. The PORTAGE technology was also instrumental in fostering a new research project called SMART, which targets the development of new techniques in machine translation in collaboration with a consortium of European laboratories.

NRC-IMS is anticipating the importance to the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector of working at the nano and quantum scales. NRC-IMS's work with self-assembled quantum dots lays the foundation for future sources of single and entangled photons with application to secure information transfer using fibre-based communication channels. In another effort, NRC-IMS led a three-nation team to optically detect a fraction of the electron's charge, a research breakthrough published in the prestigious journal Nature Physics.

An NRC-IMS team demonstrated the first functional electronic circuit composed of three single electron spins localized in a field-effect transistor, and as a result was invited to become a partner in QuantumWorks, a new Innovation Platform based at the University of Waterloo, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), that links Canadian researchers with industrial and government agency partners to lead Canada into the nano and quantum technological revolution.

In 2006, researchers from three NRC institutes demonstrated the first silicon photonic wire evanescent field (PWEF) sensor element. Given that optical PWEF sensor elements can occupy an onchip space less than a few tens of micrometers across, this technology lends itself to integration in multiplexed sensor arrays – an essential requirement for a practical molecular sensing technology. It is also compatible with standard silicon fabrication processes and therefore has the potential to provide a manufacturable solution, filling a need for label-free sensor arrays in genomics and proteomics based diagnostics and research, as well as for drug screening in the pharmaceutical industry.

Strategy: Invest in leading-edge research including increased horizontal and multi-disciplinary R&D

Supporting Canada's leadership in fuel cells – The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Program mobilizes fuel cell expertise and research strength from a network of NRC research institutes across Canada, including the Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (NRC-IFCI) in Vancouver, which is the flagship for this program. A total of $6.2 million over five years (from 2003-2004 to 2007-2008) was allocated to NRC for its Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Program - a key horizontal initiative. In 2006-2007, seven projects in PEMFC and SOFC were funded with $1.1 million at five NRC institutes. With matching institute contributions, total value of the program was $4.5 million. In 2006-2007, 35 scientific papers were published in refereed journals and two patent applications filed. NRC's research accomplishments from this cross-NRC program have been recognized in the academic community, and NRC is an important partner in research network proposals submitted to Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for SOFCs, Hydrogen and PEMFC research. Fundamental research and strong competencies developed in the program have now resulted in establishing an international reputation for NRC-IFCI in hydrogen and fuel cell research resulting in five signed collaborative projects with Canada's top fuel cell companies as well as Nissan of Japan. Continuing work with Ballard Power Systems, Hyteon Inc., Tekion Inc. and Northwest Mettech is bringing this technology closer to the marketplace. These "spin-off" projects directly resulted from the research done within the program. Program funding will be up for renewal in 2008-2009.

Through research results and competencies developed as the key institute within this program, NRC-IFCI has played a pivotal role in supporting the growth of the Canadian hydrogen and fuel cell industry. During the five years since the establishment of the institute the British Columbia hydrogen and fuel cell cluster has grown from just a few companies to a dynamic emerging cluster. Today, British Columbia is widely considered to be the centre of one of the world's most advanced clusters of companies and organizations focused on fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. NRC-IFCI has worked on 19 collaborative industry projects, was invited to participate in the "EU Framework Program 6" group involving 18 European organizations, and was chosen as one of three organizations worldwide for Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) international fuel cell program. 

Increase synergies in bioproducts – As part of its new strategy, NRC will be implementing a series of national programs to address Canadian priorities in health and wellness, environment, and sustainable energy. These programs will be "outcome-focused", involving multi-disciplines from across NRC and other research and commercial organizations (including other government departments and industry players). In April 2007, it was announced that the Vice-President Life Sciences will be responsible for the implementation of the first national program in bioproducts. During 2006-2007, work accomplished in establishing this new program included aligning stakeholders (including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada who is co-leading the implementation of this program), identifying expertise and capacity at NRC which will be relevant to program objectives and scoping out a potential focus. Developing bioproducts will increase the value of Canadian virgin resources and find higher value applications for low-value streams such as agricultural and forestry wastes, municipal solid waste, residual organics and other under-utilized organic resources, as well as have an impact on two Canadian priorities: environment and sustainable engery.

Support health for Canadians: Vaccines, immunology and neurodegenerative diseases – Building on the success of its Meningitis C vaccine for people of all ages, NRC-IBS continued to address important public health concerns through the application of neuro- and glycosciences to reduce the impact of age-related and infectious diseases by, among other things, developing an effective vaccine against Alzheimer's disease and conducting research on brain repair solutions through a new neuroglycobiology program. In 2006-2007, new immunology and neuroglycobiology laboratory facilities were put in place and staffing was added to grow these new activities. NRC-IBS continued to collaborate with Dow AgroSciences to reduce the load of food-borne pathogens in animals thereby contributing to the safety of the world's meat supply.

Support National Security – NRC is the lead on one Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Research Technology Initiative project and participates in three others. In partnership with the NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences (NRC-SIMS), Laval University, Health Canada and Defence Research and Development Canada Suffield, NRC-IMI designs and fabricates plastic-based substrates and devices for micro-magnetic manipulation for detection purposes. The NRC-SIMS portion of the project involves the design of nano-material architectures for the detection and capture of pathogens. The technology has a wide range of applications contributing to the speed and efficiency of diagnostics for both therapeutic and security purposes.

Safety is a major concern and governments devote a lot of effort to this area. NRC-IMI makes use of horizontal programs to develop materials technologies for safety applications, in particular the chemical or biochemical detection of pathogens, in collaboration with the Canadian Government (National Defence, Genome Canada, GHI-3, and other NRC institutes), research centres and universities, and other major players in this area.

NRC-IMI takes part in many projects in collaboration with Canada's National Defence, including:

  • Development of smart detectors for diagnosing and predicting the condition of aerospace structures over time. Networks of ultrasonic piezoelectric detectors were incorporated into aerospace structures manufactured with various materials. The use of these detectors has shown that faults in the structure can be detected at a great distance, on flat as well as curved surfaces.
  • Anti-corrosive coatings for increasing the useful life of aircraft structures.
  • Development of an aluminium anode coating, obtained either by thermal deposition or low-temperature deposition, offering protection against corrosion under stress and against corrosion fatigue for aluminium alloys, while preserving their initial mechanical properties.
  • Development of a microfluidic manipulation system in collaboration with several research groups at Laval University that can concentrate and filter DNA targets for the detection of bacteriological agents (anthrax).
  • Demonstration of the capture and detection by magnetic confinement of DNA targets at a concentration of less than 1000 copies/ml.
  • Development of a manufacturing process for nanometric polymer fibres with certain properties such as electrical conductivity, thermochromism, etc.

In 2006-2007, the NRC Centre for Surface Transportation Technology (NRC-CSTT) played a key role in assisting the Canadian Armed Forces with the Leopard 2 Tank System Integration. The Armed Forces decided to make greater use of tracked vehicles, such as the Leopard 2 Tank to improve troop protection, vehicle mobility and defence capability while removing the risks associated with the use of local roadways. The new Leopard tanks however lacked many of the Canadian communications, situational awareness and command and control systems. Under very tight timelines to accommodate the desire to ship completed and operational tanks to Afghanistan, NRC-CSTT played an integral part of the team to utilize its unique approach to design and integration using a virtual design environment. In addition, NRC-CSTT assisted in the evaluation and option analysis of using varied tank crew cooling systems to combat the expected hot temperatures of operating a 66-ton metal tank in desert locations. The contribution of NRC-CSTT staff to this work served to significantly reduce the number of soldier lives lost to hazards of moving on the roadways in and around Kandahar, Afghanistan. It represents a contribution by NRC to saving Canadian lives and raising Canada's ability to function effectively in this threatening theatre.

Participate in international collaborations in a non-traditional role – In the fall of 2006 NRC, in collaboration with the Centre de recherche et de restauration des muses de France (C2RMF), announced the completion of the most important scientific study ever done of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. The two-year collaboration involved the use of a number of cutting-edge technologies to examine the painting's physical properties. Among these was a three-dimensional (3D) colour laser scanner designed and built by NRC which was taken to Paris to scan the painting. The scanner is capable of scanning 3D images at a depth resolution of 10 micro-meters, or about 1/10 the diameter of a human hair. The 3D model was used to document and precisely measure the shape of the wooden panel on which the Mona Lisa is painted, to examine features of the composition and the craquelure of the paint and to study the painting's state of conservation. The technology has an extensive range of museum and heritage applications and has been widely recognised.

Integrate nanotechnology research and innovation – To build its competencies and leverage its resources and knowledge, NRC is developing a horizontal nanotechnology initiative (NRCNano) that will increase the integration of expertise across the NRC as well as facilitate collaborations with external partners, including other government departments, universities and industry. The program will work in concert with a nascent nanotechnology network growing around the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) in which specialized nano centres across Canada are linking together to share information and enable collaborative ventures.

One illustrative example of the way in which NRC institutes already work collaboratively in nanotechnology is the research being performed by three NRC institutes in the area of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT). NRC-SIMS has world-leading capabilities in making and functionalizing high purity SWNT; NRC-IMI brings its knowledge and operational experience in blending and setting process parameters for unique blends of polymers and additives; and NRC-IAR contributes its materials testing capabilities and in-depth understanding of the future needs of the Canadian aerospace industry.

Program Spotlights - NRC Genomics and Health Initiatives (NRC-GHI): Address key social and economic challenges through integrated Genomics and Health Research

Description:  NRC conducts over half of all biotechnology research performed by the federal government and is a major contributor to important advances in genomics, proteomics and health-related research through the NRC Genomics and Health Initiative (NRC-GHI). NRC-GHI was established in 1999 to strengthen NRC's capabilities in genome and health sciences, integrate research capabilities across NRC, and contribute to national genomics and health research efforts in collaboration with other federal agencies, industries and universities. NRC-GHI currently comprises six large-scale and diverse biotechnology research programs, supported by three technology platforms (DNA Microarray, DNA Sequencing and Proteomics). NRC-GHI is NRC's flagship horizontal life sciences initiative and currently involves ten NRC institutes and more than 400 personnel.

Plans:  In 2006-2007, NRC-GHI will be entering the second year of its third phase of research activity. The initiative will continue to focus its efforts on six research programs oriented towards diagnosing, treating and preventing human and animal disease, developing technologies for pathogen detection and advancing new technologies for cardiac care and the production of commercially valuable agricultural crops. NRC completed an evaluation of NRC-GHI in 2005-2006. The results of this study will feed into a broader evaluation of the interdepartmental Genomics R&D Initiative in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. NRC is leading this evaluation on behalf of the six participating departments.

Recognized Program Management and Governance Process: NRC is committed to effective research program management practices and has integrated lessons learned from the first two phases of NRC-GHI to refine the competitive program selection process for the third phase. An external Expert Panel with industry representation has reviewed all program proposals for quality and relevance. NRC uses selection criteria that favour integration of research capabilities across institutes, collaboration with external partners in other government departments, academia and industry, as well as commercial potential. NRC has also instituted formal program management for all NRC-GHI programs, tracking progress against explicit milestones and deliverables; progress is evaluated quarterly as well as annually. A new comprehensive governance model for NRC-GHI was assembled for the third phase to ensure that various accountabilities and responsibilities are clarified and understood. Approved by NRC Senior Executive Committee, the NRC-GHI governance structure is being promoted as a model for horizontal programs within NRC.

2006-2007 Financial Resources


Total Authorities*


$11.00 million

$11.57 million

$10.94 million

*$6 million of annual funding is subject to renewal. Current approval covers the period of April 2006 to March 2008.
**Participating NRC institutes are required to provide matching funds, bringing the total value of the GHI in 2006-2007 to $24.6 million.

Planned Results (from 2006-2007 RPP):
NRC-GHI has five primary goals:

  • Create a knowledge base in genomics that will contribute to Canada's competitiveness in the 21st Century.
  • Create and use new genomics or health-related technologies to support Canadian industrial sectors such as aquaculture, agriculture, environment and health.
  • Support and participate in the development of sectoral, national and international genomics and health-related innovation networks.
  • Foster increased cooperation and integration in genomics and health-related research and innovation programs across NRC and with public and private sector partners.
  • Foster excellence in horizontal research program management and accountability.

2006-2007 Performance:
The NRC-GHI Expert Panel conducted a formal mid-term review of NRC-GHI research programs in 2006-2007 and recommendations were made to the Vice-President Life Sciences regarding changes to research objectives and direction as programs plans were established for the final year of GHI-3 (2007-2008).

On behalf of the six participating departments, NRC led an evaluation of the interdepartmental Genomics R&D Initiative in 2006-2007 and revised the Results-based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF) for the Initiative. The process to renew NRC-GHI into a fourth phase (GHI-4) was launched in 2006-2007. NRC research teams were encouraged to demonstrate their ability to integrate research and technology disciplines in order to drive commercially relevant advances in cutting-edge areas of genome and health-sciences, while ensuring alignment with the new NRC strategy. Decisions on which Letters of Intent would be moving forward for full proposal development were made and new investments are being considered in areas that focus on cerebrovasular and infectious diseases.

Scientific Output:
The six NRC-GHI programs produced the following research outcomes over the past year:

  • 125 papers in refereed journals
  • 68 papers in peer reviewed conference proceedings
  • 106 invited external presentations at conferences and symposiums

Examples of impacts from selected NRC-GHI programs include:

  • Aquatic Animal Disease Management:  The genome of Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida has been annotated and submitted to GenBank. The program's first live attenuated vaccine candidates were tested in Atlantic salmon. Three promising vaccine candidates were identified and proved to show significant protection during trials. Discussions are already underway with several potential industrial partners, interested in bringing these vaccines to market.
  • Functional Genomics of Brassica Seed Development and Metabolism: The cell biological bases for thinner and lighter seed coat in yellow-seeded canola have been determined, providing a structural handle/target for further manipulation. Researchers have now shown that the development of seed coat is temporally and intimately related to embryo development in canola. The functionality of a promoter to a specific layer of the seed coat is now established, offering a tool for manipulating this part of the seed coat. This manipulation technique could lead to the development of more durable and productive Canola crops – a matter of growing importance in the global search for cost-effective and efficient renewable fuels.
  • Personalized medicine for Cancer: Work with glioblastoma cell models and clinical samples has resulted not only in the identification of biomarkers for the vasculature of brain tumors, but also in the identification of a family of markers with anti-angiogenic activities: the Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein (IGFBP) family. This program has filed a provisional patent that encompasses the utilization of these molecules and related peptides as anti-angiogenic molecules with potential applications in the treatment of cancer.

Economic Benefits
Patents and licences in 2006-2007:

  • 10 patent applications
  • 10 patents granted / active
  • 3 licenses granted
  • $17,000 revenue generated from licensing
  • 3 material transfer agreements signed

In addition, NRC-GHI programs have profited from several collaborations and service contracts with external partners:

  • The Personalized Medicine for Cancer program is involved in two-year collaborative research agreement with Helix BioPharma. This collaboration arose out of the isolation and initial preliminary characterization of a lung carcinoma specific antibody, AFAI, in GHI Phases 1 and 2. Under this agreement, work on further characterization of the antigen recognized by AFAI is underway at NRC-IBS.
  • Under the Managing Chronic Cardiovascular Disease program, the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) has commenced a three-year collaborative research and development project with Siemens Canada Ltd. - Medical Systems Division, to discover new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques and technologies. NRC-IBD is one of only two sites in the world that have been selected by Siemens to perform collaborative research and development in this new multi-transmitter MRI field at 3 Tesla. Under the terms of the agreement, both parties will commit both personnel and technology resources, and Siemens will pay NRC-IBD a cash contribution of $320,000 to help fund certain components of the project.

Citizenship Engagement
NRC-GHI employees participate in a wide-range of Citizen Engagement activities. The following are a few examples:

  • The National Research Council Plant Biotechnology Institute (NRC-PBI) was invited to participate in Western Regional Consultations on the creation of a National Canadian Grains Strategy (November 2006).
  • The National Research Council Institute for Marine Biosciences (NRC-IMB) hosted its annual Discovery Day. Students from local schools visited NRC-IMB and participated in hands-on activities that demonstrated our technologies, research and expertise. NRC-GHI research from the Aquatic Animal Disease Management program was also featured during this event.
  • Throughout 2006-2007 NRC-GHI continued to participate in and provide info packages for a variety of external conferences, shows, career fairs, etc. (i.e., University of British Columbia Faculty of Land and Food Systems Career Fair, BIO 2006).

Participating NRC Research Institutes (2006-2007): NRC-BRI, NRC-IIT, NRC-IBD, NRC-IMB, NRC-IBS, NRC-PBI, NRC-SIMS, NRC-IMI, NINT, NRC-IMS.


Strategy: Build sustainability in the Environment, Oceans Management, Coastal Science and Engineering

Continue to support Canada's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the environment9 – NRC works with other government departments in the delivery of interdepartmental programs on clean energy and climate change. Its main contributions are in two areas: hydrogen and fuel cell R&D and in the new national program on bioproducts. In partnership with an industry collaborator NRC-IFCI developed technology for generating hydrogen on demand. The device generates 99.99% pure hydrogen and can easily be started and stopped by "throwing a switch". Its purity makes it ideal as a fuel for proton exchange membrane fuel cells and for providing gases to laboratories and industrial processes. Safety is a key concern regarding hydrogen use especially when it must be stored in large quantities or transported using public transportation infrastructure. As this newly developed device generates hydrogen on demand and does not need storage capacity it addresses these safety issues very effectively. Owing to its devices key features and scalability, NRC anticipates the technology will be used in a number of applications ranging from portable electronics, back-up power systems and possibly automobiles. This technology is currently being commercialized and will bring us one step closer to reaping the environmental benefits of hydrogen as a fuel.

NRC-IBS scientists designed an enzymatic process to effectively degrade pectin from hemp fibres, for which a patent application has been filed. Through a licensing agreement, a Vancouver company, Naturally Advanced Technologies, plans to commercialize the process and produce soft, white hemp clothing that can compete with cotton. Unlike cotton, hemp can be grown without pesticides and herbicides and rain provides enough irrigation. It absorbs carbon dioxide five times more efficiently than the same acreage of forest, so it can also help fight the greenhouse effect. NRC-IBS developments in hemp fibre processing will contribute to a sustainable value-added Canadian agricultural industry permitting Canadian farmers to compete in the lucrative world market for fabrics. Cotton cannot be grown in Canada, which has limited the potential for a Canadian presence in this market.

The NRC Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI) was co-responsible for a major environment technology demonstration project in 2006, consisting of testing groundwater (bio) remediation technologies, including nanotechnologies. Total budget for the project was $1.56 million. The technology is being transferred to a Canadian company.

In Montreal, a former industrial and municipal waste dumping site, Technoparc, represented a hazard to aquatic life in the St-Lawrence River because of the toxic leachate and oils seeping in the river, was converted into a high tech park. NRC-BRI, through a technology platform set-up in collaboration the province of Quebec, City of Montreal, Environment Canada, Economic Development Canada, and environmental industries has been involved in the testing of technologies, evaluation of industrial technology performance and assessment, management of the whole project, making links with stakeholders (private and public) and in communications with the public. NRC- BRI is further developing this project which should lead to a large scale technology demonstration project, estimated at $4.5 million for 2007-2008. When completed, this site could be redeveloped by the "Socit du Havre de Montral".

The NRC Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC) developed an Integrated Indoor Air Quality Model software program that provides an integrated view to indoor environment pollution issues including pollutants (vapours and particles), sources (indoor and outdoor), and fate/transport mechanisms that affect levels of indoor pollutants. This software supports the construction (and related) industries in reducing emissions from materials, reducing ventilation loads, and improving material selection.

The NRC Canadian Centre for Housing Technology (NRC-CCHT) performed a number of projects largely aimed at assessing innovative construction products and systems and reducing energy consumption and associated green house gas (GHG) production. During 2006-2007, the Centre was the focus of a number of joint research and strategic projects. The following are highlights:

  • In-situ Performance of Two-stage Gas Furnace. Following the mid versus high efficiency furnace project, the evaluation of a two-stage gas furnace continued for several weeks in different conditions.
  • RAD Zone Control System for Houses. An innovative controller for individual room control on a forced air system was assessed over two seasons.
  • Thermostat Setback and Set-forward. A detailed study and report were completed, documenting the effects of thermostat set-back in winter and set-forward in summer.
  • StART – Hydrogen Electrolyzer. A prototype of a hydrogen generator based on the electrolysis of water was deployed at NRC-CCHT in a proof-of-concept experiment, which saw the generation of hydrogen on site in the Test House. This hydrogen was then blended with the domestic natural gas stream and subsequently burned to recover the energy as heat.
  • Window Glazing Technologies – Comparison of High and Low solar Heat Gain Low-e Technologies. A window experiment involving whole-house performance comparisons of low-e coatings with differing solar heat gain ran successfully for four weeks of winter testing and four weeks of summer testing. The analysis and modeling is now complete.

Build sustainability through oceans science – The reliable performance of technology in the marine environment is of commercial value to all ocean industries. The evaluation of that performance is an important tool in assuring the safety of people, the security of assets and the protection of the ocean environment. These concerns have led to increasing demand for cost-effective systems to harvest ocean renewable energy. In 2006-2007, researchers at the NRC Institute for Ocean Technology (NRC-IOT) began testing novel technologies at model scale, utilizing the Institute's Offshore Engineering Basin. The results will be used to launch field trials of full-scale systems, giving Canadian developers an international advantage in this emerging sector.

Canada's energy industry also benefited from performance evaluation of flexible risers for offshore oil and gas operations. These risers are often subject to vortex induced vibrations. NRC-IOT carried out physical tests to measure riser response behaviour in currents. That information was used to develop a numerical model for dynamic flexible riser vibrations. This capability to model and assess deep-water technologies is benefiting the east coast offshore industry and is being delivered in turn to the international market by Canadian SMEs.

The Ocean Sciences Technology Partnership (OSTP) in 2006-2007 succeeded, through extensive consultation sessions across Canada, in capturing the links between ocean science researchers and technology innovators from government, industry, academia, coastal communities and regional organizations. These relationships strengthened national linkages between regional networks, information sharing and awareness building, leveraging of funds, building technology commercialization demonstrations, partnerships and joint ventures. As had been envisaged, OSTP represented a national voice for the ocean technology community in 2006-2007. In addition to preparation of their "Smart Oceans Strategy", OSTP developed an Internet-based directory that provides information on Canada's suppliers of ocean related research and technology solutions.

NRC-IRAP staff played a role in the evolution of OSTP, serving as an advisor to the Board and helping guide the development of the deliverables through participation in Board meetings and interactions with the OSTP project manager and individual board members. Additional information is available from the website:

9As a Schedule II (Financial Administration Act) departmental corporation, NRC is not subject to the 1995 amendments to the Auditor General Act requiring the preparation of a Sustainable Development Strategy. However, NRC has an Environmental Management Policy to ensure that its operations contribute to sustainable development. NRC fosters the integration of sustainable development strategies and practices across Canada and in the innovation processes of Canadian SMEs.

Strategy: Support Canadian industry and research community through codes, standards and investments in R&D infrastructures

Harmonize international measurement standards – NRC-INMS is Canada's national metrology institute (NMI), determining physical standards and methods of measurement that impact directly on the ability of Canadian firms to trade internationally by reducing non-tariff trade barriers. NRC-INMS's work helps assure global market access to Canadian industry. NRC-INMS has now completed the implementation of a quality management system (QMS) for all its calibration and measurement services, meeting the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025, the international quality standard for calibration and testing laboratories. A QMS is a mandatory requirement for full participation in the activities related to the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) facilitated by the Comit international des poids et mesures (CIPM).

An ongoing challenge for NRC-INMS has been addressing measurement barriers to innovation arising from rapidly developing technologies such as nanotechnology and biotechnology, while maintaining essential calibration and measurement capability in more traditional areas. NRC-INMS has significantly expanded its response to the need for measurement standards for nanotechnology, a priority established in its Strategic Plan 2002-2007. NRC-INMS is playing a leadership role at the national and international level in activities promoting the harmonized development of regulatory and measurement standards that will underpin nanotechnology innovation. The Institute's new measurement and calibration capabilities will support nanoscience activities in other NRC institutes, as well as commercialization opportunities resulting from this work. In biotechnology, NRC-INMS collaborated with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to produce a set of reference materials (RMs) for genetically modified (GM) canola that will be used to verify the accuracy of chemical analyses used to determine GM content. These RMs, the first of their kind world-wide, have attracted attention from other NMIs and, more importantly, from the major ag-biotech companies which will be able to use these reference materials to address marketing and labelling issues.

Objective-based model construction codes - clarity, flexibility and uniformity – NRC-IRC's new objective based codes, launched in 2005, facilitate the evaluation of alternative products and design solutions, making the Canadian construction codes more accommodating to innovation, renovations to existing buildings and international trade. To inform code users of the most significant of these changes in the 2005 Codes, NRC-IRC in coordination with the provinces and territories, delivered approximately 40 seminars over fiscal years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 reaching 6,200 participants. A further 1000 stakeholders were engaged by additional presentations covering specific codes-related topics. In August 2006 the codes were made available on CD-ROM.

Leverage "Big Science" partnerships – TRIUMF (Tri-University Meson Facility) is one of the country's key investments in major science infrastructure. It provides world-class facilities for research in sub-atomic physics, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, life sciences and condensed matter physics and encourages the transfer of technology developed at the laboratory to the marketplace. NRC provides funding for the facility on behalf of the Government of Canada via a contribution agreement and oversees the federal investment. TRIUMF has completed the second year of its 2005-2010 Plan, with five-year funding totalling $222 million. Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) funding was obtained by the Canadian university community for the ATLAS Data Hub, which will be located at TRIUMF. CFI funding was also obtained by the Canadian university community for the TRIUMF M20 beamline.

Strategy: Continue to implement Canada's Long Range Plan for Astronomy and Astrophysics

The NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (NRC-HIA) plays a unique role in the implementation of Canada's Long Range Plan for Astronomy (LRP), a national strategy for astronomy research – Astronomy has evolved from a predominantly national enterprise into an international activity with regional or limited partnerships.

The top-priority LRP project, ALMA, is now well into facility construction and considerable effort has been focused on defining the Canadian role in the operational phase, which is scheduled to begin ramping up in fiscal year 2008 – 2009. NRC-HIA delivered on its commitment to produce receiver cartridges as part of the Canadian contribution to the project. Following rigorous acceptance testing, the first two Band 3 receiver cartridges were delivered by NRC-HIA to the ALMA integration centre in Virginia in 2006-2007. As a result of NRC's work, a contract has been awarded for the production of further cartridges to NanowaveTechnologies Inc. of Ontario.

The TMT project is in the design development phase. NRC-HIA makes an in-kind contribution based on the scientific and engineering expertise resident at the Institute. NRC‑HIA staff continued to hold key roles in the TMT project effort, including leading instrumentation development activities and defining the high-level requirements for construction. The TMT Structure Manager continues to work with Dynamic Structures Ltd., the industrial partner on the project.

NRC-HIA's SKA work has shifted with the release of the SKA reference design. The European Union has designated the SKA as a global project of interest to Europe, opening the door to non-European participation in the FP7 funding program. NRC-HIA is currently participating in a funding application endorsed by 27 international organizations.

In 2006-2007, NRC signed an agreement with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia to seek funds to become a partner in the Mileura International Radio Array (MIRA), a demonstration project linked to the SKA. MIRA is a science-capable pathfinder telescope to be built in Western Australia over the next decade. NRC‑HIA is working with CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility on specifications, implementation and respective roles in the project.

The LRP also recognized the importance of computational resources and access to vast amounts of data. The NRC-HIA Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) allows researchers access to the data collected by telescopes. In 2006-2007, improvements resulted in raw Gemini datasets being made available to users within 15 minutes of acquisition. In 2006, more than 106 external refereed publications acknowledged use of the CADC, an indication that the use of archive data is becoming an integral part of astronomical research, both through the augmentation of original observations and through novel data-mining applications that are entirely dependent on the availability of such records. NRC-HIA is widely recognized for expertise in this domain.

Digital expertise at NRC-HIA is currently being used to build a $20 million supercomputer that will be the heart of the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico. When complete in 2010, this will be the largest correlator in the world. The backbone components of the system are several large circuit boards which have challenged state-of-the-art printed-circuit board design and fabrication methods. The boards were designed and produced at NRC‑HIA.

Implementation of Phase II of the LRP

An evaluation of NRC-HIA's contributions to the LRP has been released. The evaluation, which involved over 50 interviews with peers and stakeholders in Canada and internationally, confirmed the relevance of NRC-HIA's contribution to the implementation of the LRP to university and industrial stakeholders and underlined the lack of duplication between NRC and university efforts.

The Institute continues to focus its attention on all elements of the Long Range Plan (LRP) for Canadian Astronomy. LRP Phase I funding was received for the period 2002-2003 to 2006-2007, Phase II planning is currently under development.

Priority 2: Technology and Industry Support: Serving as a Catalyst for Industrial Innovation and Growth

Performance Indicators (as identified in the 2006-2007 RPP)

  • Technology transfer
  • Knowledge dissemination
  • Highly-qualified personnel to Canada
  • Client success
  • Economic, social and environmental impact

The performance indicators that do not change year-over-year are not reported on annually.

In support of the Government of Canada's commercialization priority, the NRC Technology and Industry Support portfolio (TIS) works closely with the NRC Research and Development portfolio to increase the commercialization of research through: technology licensing; provision of pre-commercialization assistance, mentoring and business intelligence to Canadian firms; access to vital national and international networks; knowledge dissemination and expertise; and helping companies create new products and/or new technologies. In addition, it collaborates with key partners to develop strategic initiatives to accelerate the successful competitiveness/commercialization of new technologies. TIS also helps to fuel the growth and innovative capacity of SMEs, and continues to streamline its approach to intellectual property management and the transfer of technology.

Strategy: Increase the innovation capacity of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Growing SMEs to medium-sized enterprises (MSEs)

Program Spotlights - Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP: Grow SMEs through innovation capacity support and expertise)

Description: NRC-IRAP is the agency's innovation and technology assistance program in support of Canadian SMEs. Since its inception close to 60 years ago, the program has broadened its strategic purpose from a limited focus on technology transfer to its current strategic objective of increasing the innovative capabilities of Canadian SMEs. Today NRC-IRAP provides comprehensive innovation assistance to technology-based SMEs in almost every industrial sector of importance to Canada's current and future economic development.

Plans: SMEs engaging in high-risk, technologically sophisticated R&D face increasingly complex challenges. NRC-IRAP will support these technology-based SMEs in growing and becoming more competitive by focusing on: increasing the rate of growth of SMEs; expanding the number of SMEs that successfully commercialize their products, services and processes; assisting with potential international collaborations on technology development projects; and providing international opportunities to clients looking to gain knowledge to advance their R&D projects.

Build on the success of the Competitive Technical Intelligence (CTI) pilot program: NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI will continue to develop CTI services in order to provide best-in-class strategic advice to Atlantic cluster participants and optimize NRC investments. For example, NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI will be adding a Technical Business Analyst presence in St. John's, NL and are integrating CTI advice into NRC-IRAP's portfolio of services to Atlantic and Nunavut firms. NRC-CISTI and NRC-IRAP are also working together to provide CTI to SMEs in other parts of Canada. NRC-IRAP has developed an in-house capability to capture CTI, and as a next step, will integrate this information into the strategic planning and business strategies of client firms.

2006-2007 Financial Resources


Total Authorities


$143.3 million

$172.2 million

$157.6 million

Planned Results (from 2006-2007 RPP):

  • To increase the innovation capacity of Canadian SMEs
  • To increase the growth of Canadian SMEs

2006-2007 Performance:
Increased capacity of SMEs to undertake highly innovative technology-based R&D projects:

  • NRC-IRAP funded the hiring of highly qualified and skilled engineers and scientists as well as internships for university and college graduates (431 through Human Resources and Social Development Canada's Youth Employment Strategy).
  • NRC-IRAP contributed to organizations by providing technical and research assistance to Canadian SMEs (8,432 firms).
  • Housed NRC-IRAP staff within universities and research facilities to facilitate linkages (135 Industrial Technology Advisors).
  • Contributed funding through IRAP-TPC for pre-commercialization assistance to SMEs ($11.6 million).

Competitive Technical Intelligence (CTI):

  • The NRC-IRAP/NRC-CISTI Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the provision of basic information services to NRC-IRAP Industrial Technology Advisors (ITAs) across Canada was renewed for 2006-2007 with some slight modifications. Along with the consistent national delivery of basic NRC-CISTI information services, NRC-CISTI and NRC-IRAP have been collaborating at the regional level in the delivery of CTI services in Atlantic/Nunavut, Manitoba and Quebec. This included the launch of a CTI pilot service to a limited number of ITAs in Quebec, the expansion of the CTI services in Atlantic/Nunavut to include Newfoundland and Labrador/Nunavut, and the hiring of a NRC-CISTI Technical Business Analyst (TBA) to work out of the NRC Centre for the Commercialization of Biomedical Technology. Responding to the growing SME demand for competitive technical intelligence, NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI escalated this initiative and now coordinates the management of all NRC-CISTI services to NRC-IRAP under one national MOA for years 2007 to 2010.

Participating NRC Research Institutes: NRC-IRAP partners with all NRC institutes to support technology projects that meet SME needs and are aligned with the technology focus of NRC institutes.


Strategy: Contribute to Canada's commercialization priority by strengthening industry ability to generate and apply new ideas and foster commercial applications of S&T

NRC is exploring how to complement and build upon its internationally recognized industrial support and R&D programs to contribute to the overall strengthening of Canada's commercialization efforts – NRC nurtures technology cluster growth across the nation and is doing so with commercialization as a guiding light. In carrying out this strategy, NRC builds on the strengths of both the public and private sectors – nationally, regionally and at the community level. Recognizing that support to technology clusters was a growing part of NRC-IRAP's business, the NRC-IRAP senior management team adopted a strategy in August 2006, which serves as a guide to participation in NRC, as well as other technology clusters in Canada. NRC-IRAP managers will monitor the support provided by the Program over the next several years to determine the most appropriate degree of Program involvement in supporting cluster-associated SMEs versus others.

Strategy: Enhance industry knowledge through development and dissemination of scientific, technical and medical information and intelligence

Program Spotlights - Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI): Exploiting information for innovation

Description: The Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) is Canada's national science library, and the largest comprehensive source of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information in North America. Through its publishing arm, NRC Research Press, NRC-CISTI is also Canada's foremost scientific publisher. Responding to demands from clusters and NRC institute commercialization initiatives for intelligence and information services, in 2001 NRC-CISTI leveraged its competencies in global S&T information by establishing an Information Services directorate. Today, NRC Information Centres serve private and public sector researchers associated with NRC institutes and clusters across Canada.

Plans: NRC-CISTI's Strategic Plan 2005-2010 sets out its vision: to be a leader in driving the exploitation of scientific information to create value for Canadians. Its mission is to advance research and innovation through high-value information and publishing services in science, technology and medicine.

NRC-CISTI will create value for Canadians by improving the flow of scientific information in four ways:

  • An integrated "infostructure": storage of and access to electronic scientific information, using intelligent search and analysis tools. Partnership will be key to developing this system.
  • Scientific publishing infrastructure, using online peer review, editing and publishing tools that will shorten the time between discovery and publication without sacrificing quality.
  • Services to support commercialization and SMEs, such as Competitive Technical Intelligence and patent information analysis – "actionable" information.
  • Companies in NRC industrial partnership facilities are key clients and will be offered enhanced services to support their research and development activities.

2006-2007 Financial Resources


Total Authorities


$47.8 million

$57.4 million

$52.6 million

Planned Results (from 2006-2007 RPP):

  • An integrated national information infrastructure to provide seamless, permanent access to scientific, technical and medical information resources, readily accessible to all Canadians.
  • Robust, innovative scientific publishing systems to enable researchers and entrepreneurs to advance and exploit knowledge.
  • Leadership of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information communities across Canada to become a national force for innovation.
  • Information services that contribute to successful commercialization activities across Canada.

2006-2007 Performance:
Finances – In 2006-2007, NRC-CISTI's total income was $21.8 million (a 7.4% decline from last year) and expenditures were $50.5 million, resulting in 43.2% of expenditures being covered by income.

Canada's Collection of STM Information – A world-class resource, NRC-CISTI has a large collection of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information. In 2006-2007 it maintained its print collection at levels similar to those of the previous year with 49,121 scientific journal titles, of which 9,073 were active subscriptions. The collection also includes 757,500 monograph titles and a large collection of technical reports. Conference proceedings are a specialty, with 205,400 titles.

NRC researchers have access to 6,123 licensed electronic journals, a 20% increase from 2005-2006, and access to 20,335 other web-based resources, a 14% increase. NRC-CISTI's e-repository collection grew to 6.2 million full text STM articles from 3,600 journals. Collection acquisitions and e-licences are responding to emerging NRC needs for multi-disciplinary and sector STM and business information, to align with the priorities outlined in the NRC Strategy launched in 2006-2007. For example, NRC-CISTI successfully negotiated a licence to a valuable e-resource called Business Insights that is available to NRC researchers through the NRC Virtual Library.

Document Access and Delivery – Supplying Canadians with the world's STM research publications.
While the bulk of Canadian orders for articles in 2006-2007 were from clients in the academic (37%) and industry (28%) sectors, there was a 27% increase in documents ordered by clients in the Canadian medical sector.

In line with the transition from print to digital content, NRC-CISTI is continuously enhancing its digital infrastructure and document delivery systems. Among other service improvements, in March 2007 NRC-CISTI launched a pay-per-article service which provides immediate on-line access to locally-loaded digital content in NRC-CISTI's e-repository-almost 1 million articles and growing.

NRC-CISTI continues to expand the content access and delivery services it offers Canadians and its international clients though partnerships with leaders in the international information services industry. In August 2006, NRC-CISTI entered into a new alliance with FIZ Autodoc, a German document delivery broker that partners with renowned national and international scientific libraries, aggregators and publishers. This alliance allows NRC-CISTI to improve worldwide access to its collection, and allows FIZ Autodoc to add many new journal titles to its service.

Information on NRC-CISTI's service standards can be found in Table 3-7B. In its June 2006 Product Satisfaction Scorecard, Outsell Inc. reported that NRC-CISTI tops the list of five information providers, scoring highest in three of five categories: Overall Satisfaction, Would Recommend, and Fair Pricing.

In 2007, NRC-CISTI launched the NRC Publications Archive (NPArC) pilot project which will allow the NRC to better promote its research activities, measure its performance and make its publications openly accessible to the scientific community.

Building Canada's scientific infostructure (Csi) – Enabling access to digital STM information.
In 2006-2007, NRC-CISTI extended its partnership support activities, expanding its Partnership Development Office to liaise with current and potential partners on initiatives that include the Federal Science eLibrary and the National Network of Libraries for Health. Negotiation for licensing of electronic content is a key component of networked access.

Competitive Technical Intelligence and Information Services – Growing to meet demand.
In 2006-2007 the NRC Information Centre staff in the Atlantic cluster performed searches for and assisted more than 2600 clients, a 16% increase in the number of clients over the previous year.

In response to the emphasis on R&D commercialization support outlined in the new NRC Strategy, in 2006-2007 NRC-CISTI expanded its competitive technical intelligence (CTI) services to researchers, institute business development officers, and NRC senior management, as well as to Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through NRC-IRAP. Decision-makers value CTI services that assess the commercial potential of new technologies, validate market demand, identify competitors and potential partners, propose product adjustments and recommend product price. The information gives their organizations a competitive advantage in the international marketplace and supports successful applications for R&D capital investments that will generate substantial economic benefits for Canada. NRC-CISTI delivered 250 CTI reports to clients in 2006-2007, compared to 75 in 2004-2005.

NRC Research Press – Making Canadian research available to Canadians and around the world.
The NRC Research Press publishes half of its 16 scientific journals using a cutting-edge publishing system that puts Research Press at the forefront of current scientific publishing technology, on par with other leaders in the field. The NRC Research Press Books and Monograph Program publishes scientific treatises and conference proceedings.

The NRC Research Press has implemented a new policy on providing free or "open" access to selected articles and journals. All users have free access to selected "newsmaker" articles. As well, the author, funding agency or other sponsor now has the option of paying a fee to cover the costs of peer-review and publication, thus ensuring that access to that particular article in a journal will be free.

Participating NRC Research Institutes: NRC-CISTI partners with the outreach activities of all NRC institutes to promote and deliver an integrated package of scientific, technical and medical information services to support Canadian firms.


Strategy: Facilitate the integration of intellectual property management strategies in Institute plans

Improve NRC's Intellectual Property Management – NRC's Business Review project, completed in 2006-2007, highlighted the need for integration of best intellectual property (IP) management practices across the organization. To address this challenge, the technology and industry support portfolio (TIS) is piloting a new group, starting May 2007, mandated with providing business support to institutes and programs to enable the best possible decision-making related to IP management. Some of the key areas of initial focus include invention disclosure review whereby institutes receive support from NRC patent agents regarding patentability and marketability assessment for new technologies before deciding to proceed with further investment in protection and/or licensing. TIS is also working with institutes to facilitate the integration of IP management strategies in institute business plans to ensure this important function remains a key part of the institutes contributing towards the NRC Strategy.

Priority 3: Enhancing Development of Sustainable Technology Clusters for Wealth Creation and Social Capital

Performance Indicators (as identified in the 2006-2007 RPP)

  • Size of network and degree of interaction among cluster partners
  • Increase in research collaborations, licensing, joint patent applications, etc.
  • New firm formation (firms gravitate to the cluster, incubating firms and co-locating firms, etc.)
  • Investment attracted to the cluster

The performance indicators that do not change year-over-year are not reported on annually.

NRC is committed to fostering the growth of community-based technology clusters across Canada. NRC's technology cluster strategy builds on existing local strengths by: implementing R&D programs that support local industry needs; providing state-of-the-art facilities, trained personnel, business incubation opportunities and other specialized services (NRC-IRAP, NRC-CISTI); and supporting the alignment of key stakeholders around community strengths. NRC received new funding ($110 million over the next five years) to further implement its national Technology Cluster Strategy in Atlantic Canada and has begun the process for renewing the funding for its Round II Clusters in Eastern, Central and Western Canada. The ultimate benefit for Canadians will be the emergence of globally competitive technology clusters leading to higher productivity, new jobs and expanded trade.

Strategy: Focus on cluster growth through targeted R&D programs and partnerships with other S&T organizations

Build on successes from NRC's Atlantic Initiatives, Phase I – NRC continued to nurture the growth of its Atlantic cluster initiatives by maintaining leading-edge research capabilities (infrastructure and human capital), developing research collaborations with cluster firms, fostering increased networking and knowledge-sharing and supporting the involvement of firms and other partners in the cluster.

  • Information Technology (New Brunswick) – NRC-IIT has been working closely with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to identify R&D opportunities where resources can be aligned to support the most innovative SMEs with high IP commercialization potential. In the recent round of Atlantic Innovation Fund disbursements, one project supported by ACOA and NRC-IIT was selected: Genomically Guided Biomarker Discovery for Cancer. The Atlantic Cancer Research Institute (ACRI) is receiving $2.9 million over three years from the Fund for this collaborative project with NRC-IIT. NRC-IIT's role is to further validate its prostate cancer biomarker with the intent of securing a partner for commercialization. NRC-IIT will use a similar algorithm to identify and validate biomarker panels for breast, ovarian, lymphoma and lung cancers. The ultimate goal is to provide a multiple-cancer diagnostic panel.

    The University of Moncton teamed up with NRC-IIT and a leading e-learning software company, Desire2Learn, to launch a research initiative to develop a software suite that will significantly decrease production times and costs in the development of electronic content in e-learning. The total estimated project cost is $5.5 million.
  • Ocean Technologies (Newfoundland and Labrador) – The Newfoundland and Labrador cluster is healthy and vibrant, as indicated in a recent independent study conducted for Industry Canada and OceansAdvance.

    NRC-IOT's world-class facilities, as well as high-quality research and performance evaluation expertise, attract research projects and business opportunities to the cluster. NRC-IOT's Ocean Technology Enterprise center continues to host companies developing commercial products in ocean technologies. Private cluster companies, using NRC-IOT facilities, bring more than $6M annually to the cluster. This has helped to establish St. John's and NRC-IOT as world leaders in the field of marine performance evaluation. NRC-IOT stimulates research and technology development activity in the cluster by fostering research collaborations engaging local companies, thus helping build their expertise in technology capacity.

    OceansAdvance was launched through a partnership between NRC-IOT, NRC-IRAP and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). The corporation was started in the belief that more proactively promoting the "Cluster" concept in ocean technology - a technical/industrial specialty that Newfoundland and Labrador was already pursuing - would strengthen the economic performance of the region. NRC-IOT continues to host and provide infrastructure support to their considerable cluster development activities. OceansAdvance has an active private sector board of directors and is horizontally funded by NRC-IRAP, ACOA, the Province of NL and Industry Canada.
  • Life Sciences (Nova Scotia) – Local industry and community leaders are taking ownership of a road-mapping process for the cluster with which the NRC Institute for Marine Biosciences (NRC-IMB) is involved. The roadmapping exercise is being conducted to ensure alignment of resources to the cluster's vision and objectives. An Atlantic Commercialization Centre was established at the NRC-IMB Industry Partnership Facility in 2006-2007 with a dedicated team led by a Senior Life Sciences Development Officer. The Centre will provide commercialization services to the entire life sciences community, including private industry and promising ventures flowing out of research activity in the region.

    The NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics in the Atlantic (NRC-IBD Atlantic), a satellite of NRC-IBD headquartered in Winnipeg, continued to conduct world-class collaborative research that will lead to advances in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases and disorders. It also continued to transfer medical technology innovations that will benefit Atlantic Canada's economic sectors. In conjunction with the NRC-Institute for Marine Biosciences, the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital and Dalhousie University, NRC-IBD further expanded the life sciences infrastructure in Halifax with the creation of a Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Imaging Lab. This laboratory, which will be operational in 2007-2008, will allow researchers to link pre-clinical models to patient-centred diagnosis and treatment for a broad range of diseases. Research will focus on Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies including drug development and delivery and cellular/molecular imaging.

Encourage more involvement / commitment of cluster partners – In 2006-2007, NRC followed up on lessons learned from the evaluation of its Atlantic Canada cluster initiatives and built upon existing successes, such as:

  • Medical Devices Technologies (Manitoba) – The NRC Centre for the Commercialization of Biomedical Technology (NRC-CCBT) is catalyzing cluster development in Winnipeg. The NRC-IBD spin-off company, Biomedical Commercialization Canada, offers a wide array of services to support commercialization of start-up companies; four new companies in varying stages of mentorship entered into the commercialization mentoring program in 2006-2007, while four more companies are expected to join the program in the near future. An additional fifteen organizations are co-locating tenants. In addition to small science-based businesses, these tenants include trade organizations, such as the Health Care Products of Manitoba and other science-based organizations, such as the International Centre for Infectious Diseases, NRC-IRAP and NSERC. Other co-locating tenants, such as a business law firm and a management consulting firm, are situated in NRC-CCBT to provide services to the incubating companies.
  • Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (Ontario) – The Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (NRC-CPFC) continued to be a key pillar supporting Canada's position in the international photonics landscape in 2006-2007. In providing a world-class industrial grade fabrication facility, NRC-CPFC provides services both regionally and nationally, bridging the gap between leading edge photonics research and commercialization. Canada's largest photonics cluster is Ottawa, with close to 85 companies, universities and federal laboratories delivering photonics solutions, and a further 1800 high-tech firms employing 76,000 people engaged in information technology, communications, life sciences and security. As a result of downsizing of JDS Uniphase and Nortel laboratories in Ottawa, many small high tech firms were created by entrepreneurial employees who look to NRC-CPFC for fabrication capabilities that would be impossible for them to develop in-house. In addition, NRC-CPFC has become a training ground for the next generation workforce required to keep Canada at the leading edge in photonics R&D. Through an agreement with Carleton University, 30 students had access to the NRC-CPFC facility in 2006-2007; additional highly qualified personnel (HQP) accessed the facility through the auspices of CMC Microsystems. A two-day course for college students was attended by 24 participants from Algonquin College. In 2006-2007, NRC-CPFC signed contracts worth over $1 million with industrial clients.

From emerging to developing – Moving cluster initiatives forward – The majority of NRC's recently-launched cluster activities are still in the very early stages of development, focused on establishing facilities, attracting skilled human resources, and developing networks of public and private sector partners and R&D support. In 2006-2007, NRC continued to foster their growth by developing a solid base of networks/partners, strengthened infrastructure, highly-qualified researchers and strategic R&D support. NRC also continued its involvement in mature clusters such as the plant biotechnology (Saskatoon) and biopharmaceuticals (Montreal) clusters. The following are examples of early-stage cluster initiatives that NRC continued to move forward in 2006-2007:

  • Nanotechnology (Alberta) – In June 2006, NINT celebrated the opening of one of the world's most technologically advanced research facilities. NINT is constructed as a partnership among NRC, the Government of Alberta and the University of Alberta to establish a unique research and development environment that combines the creative and competitive research culture of the university sector with the strategic and outcome-focused culture of a federal laboratory. This unique partnership interacts with the private sector in novel ways, leading to research collaborations with industrial partners. To date, collaborative arrangements have been signed with a number of companies such as Xerox, HP and several firms in the region, valued at well over $4 million including provincial investments.

    A cluster has begun to take shape through nanoMEMS Edmonton, a community-based development organization bringing together NRC, the City of Edmonton, the University of Alberta, Western Economic Development, Micralyne Inc, Bigbandwidth and other local industrial proponents to accelerate the growth of nanotechnology in the region. NINT is central to the Alberta Nanotechnology Strategy, announced in May 2007. The strategy allocates $130 million in funding over five years for R&D leading to economic benefits in sustainable energy; medical and health technologies; and agriculture, food and forestry.
  • Nutraceutical and Functional Food (Saskatchewan) – In the Saskatoon area, there are approximately 30 "nutraceutical" and "functional food" companies jostling for market share, generating annual revenues of nearly $60 million – the number of firms throughout western Canada is constantly increasing. NRC identified key issues faced by this sector including lack of access to business/marketing intelligence, management training, expertise in technology management, knowledge of regulatory issues and early stage capital. In response to these gaps, it officially launched the BioAccess Commercialization Centre in November 2006 to help support western Canada SMEs in the healthy foods and natural health products industries survive the critical startup phase. Located at the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute (NRC-PBI) in Saskatoon, the new Centre represents a single point of contact for Western Canadian healthy foods and natural health products firms seeking research assistance, business expertise, or competitive technical intelligence.
  • Aluminium Technology (Quebec) – The NRC Aluminium Technology Centre (NRC-ATC) provides Canadian industry with the expertise and technical support needed to develop high valued-added aluminium products and services. The goal of the NRC-ATC is to develop, in concert with its partners, leading-edge technologies attractive to the aluminium parts manufacturing industry. In 2006-2007, NRC-ATC started working with auto parts manufacturers and a major automobile manufacturer to assess the performance of formed aluminium automobile parts and structures. The ability of structures to absorb energy in catastrophic collisions is essential to provide security to the occupants of the vehicle. By increasing the amount of aluminium in automobiles their weight can be reduced which in turn reduces the amount of power needed, leading to a reduction in energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Urban Infrastructure (Saskatchewan) – The initial focus of the NRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research (NRC-CSIR) is on the development and management of sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure. In 2006-2007, work continued on understanding the developing soil-pipe interaction modelling for simulating pipe behaviour under typical environmental scenarios; developing a hardware and software prototype for permanent flow monitoring in sanitary/storm sewer networks; developing an innovative algorithm for renewal planning of water, sewer and road networks; and providing in-kind-support to the City of Regina to assess the contribution of weeping-tile water to wet-weather flows in the city's domestic sewers. These projects include in-kind support from and close collaboration with the City of Regina as a partner and "living laboratory".
  • Biosciences (Prince Edward Island) – The NRC Institute for Nutrisciences and Health (based in Charlottetown) and partners from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and the University of PEI, are helping that community extend and develop existing expertise and capacity in the area of bioresources.

    The NRC Institute for Nutrisciences and Health (NRC-INH) brings to the cluster its expertise in identifying how bioactive compounds found in nature can be used to improve human and animal health, particularly in three key areas: neurological disorders (such as Alzheimer's disease); obesity-related disorders (such as diabetes); and infection and immunity (such as viral infections). In addition to bringing world-class scientists, equipment and infrastructure to the table, the Institute presents a bold new model in research partnerships which enables university, government and private sector scientists to work side by side towards a common theme of discovery, innovation and commercialization. They collaborate with colleagues in the region and around the globe, ensuring that the latest technologies and methodologies are used to address critical health issues affecting Canadians and the population worldwide.

    The PEI cluster can already boast some impressive job and revenue figures. In 2006-2007, 650 people were employed in the sector – 400 with 20 private sector companies, and 250 with 10 public sector organizations. In 2005, the PEI bioresources cluster generated $61 million in private sector revenues. The PEI BioAlliance has set targets for 2010: 1,000 private sector employees, $200 million in private sector revenues, and an R&D expenditure increase from $40 to $60 million. NRC will play a key role in helping this new industry reach these targets.

Expand network of Industrial Partnership Facilities (IPFs) – In support of its cluster development activities, NRC continued to develop, build and operate Industry Partnership Facilities across Canada. These unique facilities are workplaces for collaborative research and the incubation of new firms and NRC new ventues. They also serve as community resources for access to mentoring, innovation financing and competitive technical intelligence for new enterprises. In 2006-2007, NRC had 15 IPF locations across the country with a complement of 122 incubating firms and 9 graduated tenants over the year. In 2006-2007, two new facilities opened, bringing the total space available to industry in IPFs to just under 30,000 square metres. Below is an overview of current and planned IPFs.

Table 2-2: NRC's Industry Partnership Facilities – Current and Planned



Total Area (m2)


Completion Date

% occupied


Institute for Ocean Technology (St John's, Newfoundland)


in operation




Institute for Marine Biosciences (Halifax, Nova Scotia)


in operation




Institute for Information Technology (Fredericton, New Brunswick)


in operation




Biotechnology Research Institute (Montreal, Quebec)


in operation




Industrial Materials Institute (Boucherville, Quebec)


in operation




NRC Industry Partnership Facility, M-50 (Ottawa, Ontario), (shared facility with several Institutes)


in operation




NRC Industry Partnership Facility, M-23A (Ottawa, Ontario), (shared facility with several Institutes)


in operation




100 Sussex Industry Partnership Facility (Ottawa, Ontario), (shared facility with several Institutes)


in operation




Institute for Biodiagnostics (Winnipeg, Manitoba)


in operation




Plant Biotechnology Institute (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)


in operation




Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (Vancouver, British Columbia)


in operation




Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (Penticton, British Columbia)5


in operation




Institute for Nutrisciences and Health (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)


in operation




Institute for Aerospace Research (Montreal, Quebec)


in operation




NINT Innovation Centre (Edmonton, Alberta)









1 total area reduced by 60 m2 when temporary offices were removed (NRC-IOT).
2 number was incorrectly reported as 691 m2 in 2005-2006 (NRC-IMB).
3 area incorrectly reported in 2005-2006 as 1000 m2 (NRC-IIT).
4 477 m2 of this space has been operational since 1995-1996 (NRC-IBD).
5 space previously designated as IPF space in Victoria has been allocated to LRP work (NRC-HIA).
6 additional space allocated to the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre (ORIC) (NRC-HIA).
7 no occupancy is due to facility opening in February 2007.

Engage and link community groups through horizontal support (NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI)  – A priority for NRC-IRAP over the past several years has been to engage and link regional groups as part of developing the technical, financial and business networks vital to cluster development. In 2006-2007, NRC-IRAP continued its leadership role in collaborating and developing partnerships between regional players in order to strengthen the regional innovation infrastructure required to foster cluster development. In various clusters, NRC-CISTI has established NRC Information Centres (NIC), co-located at NRC institutes. NICs offer scientific, technical, medical and business-related information and analysis services to NRC researchers, companies located onsite and external clients in the region. In 2006-2007, NRC-CISTI partnered with institute outreach activities to promote and deliver an integrated package of services to regional clientele.

Strategy: Pursue long-term investment and management strategy centered on sustained effort and patient investment

Enhance collaborative partnerships – The full development of NRC cluster initiatives is expected to be a long-term commitment, with a cluster taking at least 15 to 20 years to reach full maturation. NRC increased its efforts to develop collaborations and partnerships with industry and engage stakeholders to contribute to the development of clusters across Canada. Table 2-3 provides a list of the cluster initiatives and financial resources involved.

Table 2-3: Allocation of Resources for NRC Technology Cluster Development




2005-2006 to 2009-2010

Halifax, NS

Life sciences (NRC-IMB and NRC-IBD)

$19.5 million

Fredericton, Moncton and
Saint-John, NB

Information technology

$48.0 million

St. John's, NL

Ocean technology

$16.0 million

Atlantic Canada

Coordination, administration, special studies, innovation assistance, S&T knowledge,/ information dissemination

$26.5 million

2002-2003 to 2006-2007

Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Aluminium technologies

$27.0 million1,2

Ottawa, ON


$30.0 million

Winnipeg, MB

Medical device technologies

$10.0 million

Saskatoon, SK

Plant nutraceuticals

$10.0 million

Edmonton, AB


$60.0 million3

Vancouver, BC

Fuel cells

$20.0 million

2003-2004 to 2007-2008

Charlottetown, PE

Nutrisciences and health

$ 20.0 million

Regina, SK

Sustainable urban infrastructure

$ 10.0 million

1 An additional $5.0 million was received in 2001-2002.
2 CED contributed an equal amount.
3 The Province of Alberta also contributed $60.0 million.

Strategy: Sustain continuous improvement through unique and innovative performance measurement strategies

NRC has developed a cluster measurement approach that builds on the research of Innovation Systems Research Network (ISRN). Tailored to NRC, this approach incorporates a model of cluster development that reflects NRC's role and contribution as well as those of other key stakeholders (firms, governments, customers and competitors). Key components include a framework that lays out an overarching set of indicators of cluster development, and a series of tools to determine where each cluster is situated in terms of development. These include a comprehensive survey of cluster firms, interviews with firms and key stakeholders and social network analysis. In 2006-2007, NRC completed key projects to develop baseline measures that track the progress of cluster development in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Vancouver, the Saguenay and Ottawa. These activities provided information to support efforts to renew cluster initiatives funding.

NRC is continuing its commitment to assess the progress of its cluster initiatives to ensure they are on track to meet objectives. During 2006-2007, NRC evaluated the cluster initiatives that received funding for the period between 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 (Round II Clusters). NRC gathered data from multiple lines of evidence, including reviews of performance data, documentation and literature, interviews with stakeholders and NRC representatives and situation analysis drawn from the baselines. The evaluations examine the relevance of the initiatives, their success to date, their effectiveness and opportunities for improvement. Reports can be found at:

Priority 4: Program Management for a Sustainable Organization

Performance Indicators (as identified in the 2006-2007 RPP)

  • HR turnover rates
  • Sustained investments in priority areas
  • Evaluation of research management practices
  • Extent that corporate management framework is used to support/ identify priorities and make management decisions
  • Extent that NRC Governing Council fulfills its mandated role
  • Survey with key stakeholders on perception of NRC

The performance indicators that do not change year-over-year are not reported on annually.

In 2006-2007, NRC identified the broad program areas in which it will focus its resources:

  • Nine key industry sectors
  • Regional / community innovation, primarily revolving around NRC's technology cluster initiatives
  • National priorities in health & wellness, sustainable energy and the environment
  • National science & innovation initiatives, including programs where NRC has a national mandate and programs involving major S&T infrastructure

Based on consultation with stakeholders, NRC believes that concentrating its efforts and resources in these areas will yield maximum impact and value for Canada.

Also in 2006-2007, NRC's Senior Executive Committee gave approval for a corporate-wide project (scheduled to start in 2007-2008) to assess the level of reinvestment that is required to sustain the organization's major capital and physical infrastructure. This includes facilities, equipment and information technology (hardware and software). The project teams will report to SEC on recommended investment priorities and the total amount of funding required over the next three-to-five years.

Strategy: NRC Renewal - Reposition for the Future and Address Management Accountability Framework Commitments

Key projects supporting the NRC Renewal Initiative include:

New corporate strategic direction – As discussed in Section I – Agency Overview, four strategy implementation projects were initiated in 2006-2007 to help deliver on the strategy: Research Programs; Business Review; Planning, Performance & Resource Management (PPRM); and Sustainable Organization. Key recommendations from these projects were summarized in a draft version of the NRC Business Plan: 2007-2008-2009-2010. The business plan is expected to be finalized early in 2007-2008 and will serve as a guiding document for all institutes/branches/programs in the implementation of NRC's strategy.

Strategies for sustainable resources – Faced with ongoing resource pressures, NRC will need to make more strategic choices regarding the use of future resources. This will involve:

  • Addressing funding issues – In 2006-2007, NRC Senior Executive Committee (SEC) agreed to the following approach for addressing NRC's long-term financial sustainability:

    1. Focus the organization's resources on R&D priorities as outlined above
    2. Identify internal operational efficiencies
      The VP Corporate Services is leading an effort to increase efficiencies in administration services.
    3. Work increasingly with collaborators
      NRC can maximize its impact for Canada by working with others (other government departments, universities, private industry) to help solve complex S&T-based social and economic problems. Collaborations allow NRC to leverage the resources required to undertake research and development
    4. Identify and target future investment requirements
      In support of its strategy, NRC will identify target areas that may require new or enhanced levels of investment. NRC will develop a business case outlining areas requiring new investment, the rationale for investing in these areas and the expected benefits for Canada.

      These sustainability measures are expected to be implemented starting in 2007-2008. Most of these measures are expected to be ongoing efforts that will form part of NRC's annual planning and priority setting process for resource allocation.
  • Recruiting, retaining and training S&T people – The NRC Human Resources Management (HRM) Strategy is currently being revisited in light of NRC's new strategic and business plans. As a part of this process the five pillars of the HRM Strategy are being revised to ensure they are aligned with the NRC Strategy to 2011. Following are some highlights of progress that took place in 2006-2007 in achieving goals established in the previous HR plan:

    • In 2006-2007 the NRC learning agenda was advanced considerably. Orientation sessions for new employees via webcast were launched across NRC. In an effort to advance the leadership skills of the Group Leader cadre, "Leading Scientific Teams" workshops were attended by NRC's Group Leaders and Directors. The NRC-HRB Learning Centre resources were re-launched under the NRC-CISTI catalogue, promoting wider access to resources for personal and professional development. A successful Administrative Support (AD) conference, the third of its kind dedicated to AD career development, was held during the year. Finally, a planning session was held with cross-representation from NRC employees and from external federal S&T Community partners to identify challenges and opportunities to be addressed in the development of a Learning Plan for NRC.
    • Continued development and implementation of NRC's Leadership Enrichment and Development (LEAD) Program including Management Orientation, Executive Challenge, Accelerated Leadership Development and Ongoing Leadership Learning. After a rigorous process, 17 candidates were selected from more than 70 applicants for LEAD. The participants come from NRC institutes across Canada and brought diverse expertise in research, business development, management and community partnership. Beginning in April 2006, for 18 months, these participants worked on real-time NRC issues and participated in workshops to enhance their leadership skills. This first set of participants will officially graduate in fall 2007 and a new call for LEAD 2 participants will be announced.
    • In 2006-2007 significant steps were taken to combine the Management level (MG) Merit Review Process with the MG Performance Planning and Review Process. The resulting process is more closely aligned with the Treasury Board Secretariat Management Accountability Framework and the proposed NRC Integrated Planning, Performance and Resource Management (PPRM) process, as well as with other MG HR systems such as recruitment, staffing, development, rewards, etc. Further, the administrative burden with respect to these processes has been lessened. The processes are supported by the drafting of new Management Accountability Agreements (MAA) for each member of the MG category which were implemented in 2006-2007.
    • Several initiatives were developed and/or launched in 2006-2007 with respect to diversity at NRC. Sessions aimed to promote a respectful workplace, communication and conflict resolution, promotion of religious diversity, gender diversity and mental health in the workplace were delivered during the year to a variety of audiences. NRC's Directors General worked toward the achievement of diversity goals as established through their individual Diversity Management Accountability Accords, a process which was initiated several years ago, and was strengthened in 2006-2007 by the addition of performance measures. Finally, a Diversity Risk Assessment was conducted and as a result several initiatives to minimize diversity-related risk were identified and incorporated into NRC's Diversity Plan for 2005-2008.
    • HR planning to support the NRC business plan was enhanced, including the piloting of the integration of HR plans with institute/program/branch business plans, the initiation of an HR business plan supported by an HR environmental scan and enhanced HR reporting
    NRC recruited 506 employees bringing the total number of NRC staff to 4,2571. Over 1,273 students, Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) and Research Associates (RAs) worked on research teams at NRC institutes. These individuals have the opportunity to work in a challenging research environment with leading experts in their fields thereby gaining valuable experience and training. In 2006-2007, 493 graduate students, 401 summer and co-op students, 263 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Visiting PDFs and 111 RAs worked at NRC (see Figure 2-5).

    Figure 2-5: NRC Training Programs (2002-2007)
    Figure 2-5: NRC Training Programs (2002-2007)
    Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2006

    1 Salaried employees, as of 31 March 2007.

    Turnover - Turnover has been relatively consistent for the past three years, with turnover of continuing staff being considerably lower than that of our contingent workforce.






    Total Turnover




    Total Continuing Turnover




    (Total turnover includes end of term and short term positions, i.e., was anticipated.)

    Employment Equity - At the corporate level, the representation of visible minorities surpassed availability, whereas the representation of women, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities was somewhat lower than anticipated. Based on these findings NRC has adjusted its corporate and Institute/Program/Branch level employment equity goals to address all remaining areas of under-representation and will adjust its supportive measures where required to attain these goals.

    Designated Group















    Aboriginal peoples






    Persons with disabilities






    Visible minorities






    Total workforce


    *Source: 2001 Census and 2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS)

    Learning - Through internal and external training, conferences and learning opportunities, NRC invests in the development of its workforce. In 2006-2007, $5.1 million was invested in learning, representing 1.7% of salary expenditures (consistent with the investment for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006).

    Collective Agreements – NRC's Labour Relations (LR) Group is mandated to negotiate and administer collective agreements on behalf of NRC and to foster the development and maintenance of effective and productive consultations with both Bargaining Agents representing the majority of NRC employees: the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Research Council Employees' Association (RCEA). Ten collective agreements are administered by the LR group, seven of which were negotiated during the 2006-2007 period with three having gone before Arbitration Boards for eventual final determination in April of 2007.

    Official Languages (OL) – NRC continues to be committed to its Official Languages Program objectives. There was a slight decrease in the number of NRC executives who meet the linguistic requirements of their positions (from 84% in 2006 to 77% in 2007). This decrease is due to a marked increase in the number of executives hired into bilingual non-imperative positions. All new hires meet with the OL Advisor to establish a language training plan and to secure their commitment to meet OL Program goals. Eighty-nine percent of employees meet the linguistic requirements of their positions (of the 11% that do not meet, virtually all are currently in a language training program or have established a training plan). NRC's Maintenance of Second Language Skills Campaign continues to generate a great deal of interest from members of other federal organizations. For example, in 2006-2007, NRC received unsolicited requests to present on its best practices to, amongst others: Heritage Canada, the Office of the Assistant Deputy Minister Library and Archives, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

  • Maintaining and upgrading NRC S&T infrastructure – The NRC Long Term Capital Plan (LTCP) 2006-2010 will be updated to reflect decisions resulting from NRC's new strategy and submitted to TBS in the fall 2007. The LTCP provides a comprehensive list of capital assets requirements over the next five years both in new facilities and research equipment. It is anticipated that the LTCP will be restated following the analysis of new NRC Integrated Business Planning Process and data gathered through the completion of building/site assessment studies to be completed over the summer and fall 2007.

    NRC continues to recapitalize its assets through the appropriation of $2.5 million used to address the most pressing needs of the infrastructure with a focus being applied to health and safety and life cycle management. Some recapitalization projects completed in 2006-2007 are as follows:

    • Replace underground storage tank (M54, Ottawa)
    • Remove underground storage tank (U62, Ottawa)
    • Replace air compressor (M06,Ottawa)
    • Infrastructure improvements (M17, Ottawa)
    • New chiller (M23, Ottawa)
    • Switchgear upgrade (M50, Ottawa)
    • Chilled water piping (M50, Ottawa)
    • New chiller and MCC replacement (M55, Ottawa)
    • Exterior wall repair and HVAC upgrade (U66, Ottawa)
    • Switch gear upgrade (U70, Ottawa)
    • Boiler replacement (NRC-IBD, Winnipeg)
    • Emergency generator replacement (NRC-IOT, St. John's)
    • Steam generator and Capacitor bank replacements (NRC-BRI, Montreal)
    • Skylight Replacement (NRC-IMI, Boucherville)
    • Exterior wall repairs (NRC-IMB, Halifax)

    In addition, throughout the year NRC participated on both the Treasury Board Secretariat-led Capital Asset Review and Barriers to Science and Technology integration exercises.

  • Developing three-year NRC Communications Outlook/Strategy – NRC developed and implemented a short-term, one-year internal and external communications strategy in place of a three-year communications outlook. This strategy was designed to support the initial launch and first-stage implementation of NRC's new Strategy – "Science At Work for Canada: A Strategy for the National Research Council 2006-2011". In addition to NRC business needs and initiatives, the strategy took into account Government of Canada business and related government S&T priorities, as well as the results of NRC Renewal and business process studies. Development of the full three-year communications outlook – to be launched in 2007-2008 – was also initiated, based on public opinion research about NRC, its services and its service delivery practices. This outlook will support the full implementation of the NRC business plan and its key commitments in R&D, industry support, community economic growth and its focus on critical issues in health, environment and energy.

    In 2006-2007, NRC also continued its involvement in interdepartmental and government-wide communications efforts related to S&T and innovation initiatives, including: the S&T Integration Board; new Science Outreach programming and initiatives such as the Great Canadian Science Adventure and NRC's leadership of the Canadian National Marsville Competition; the Canada-U.S. Enhanced Representation Initiative; and the Government of Canada S&T web Portal. Further, NRC partnered with a number of other government departments in developing the Services for Business ad campaign to support efforts to awareness of the spectrum of services available to businesses from across the entire Industry Portfolio.
  • Internal Audit – In direct response to the new TBS Policy on Internal Audit that came into effect 1 April 2006, the Internal Audit function at NRC underwent considerable reorganization and increased funding. In addition to staffing the newly created position of Director, Internal Audit who serves as the Council's Chief Audit Executive; two Audit Manager positions were also staffed with experienced and professionally accredited auditors. Both a revised Internal Audit Charter and a multi-year risk-based audit plan were approved by the NRC Audit, Evaluation and Risk Management Committee. Some delays were experienced in fully implementing the audit plan due to ensuring appropriate recruitment of staff. However, it is expected that audit work undertaken in 2006-2007 pertaining to the Management of Information Technology Security, the Industrial Research Assistance Program and compliance audits with respect to travel, hospitality, contracts and acquisition cards will be finalized in 2007-2008.

Strategy: Continue to address recommendations of Auditor General of Canada

Implement Action Plan on recommendations of the Auditor General of Canada – The Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) conducted an audit of NRC in 2003-2004 to assess NRC's systems and practices for setting strategic directions for its research activities, to determine whether NRC managed activities to maximize results, and to assess whether NRC measured and appropriately reported the results and impacts of its efforts. In 2006-2007, the OAG examined progress made by NRC in addressing recommendations from the OAG's 2004 audit of NRC Management of Leading-Edge Research. The OAG noted that NRC has made satisfactory progress overall since 2004 in responding to the previous OAG recommendations. More details can be found in Table 3-11.