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Departmental Performance Report

National Research Council Canada

The original version was signed by
The Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry

Table of Contents


Acronyms and Abbreviations

AIP Atlantic Investment Partnership
ALMA Atacama Large Millimeter Array
CBRN Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear
cGMP Current Good Manufacturing Practices
CFHT Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
CRTI CBRN Research and Technology Initiative
CTI Competitive Technology Intelligence
DND Department of National Defence
DRDC Defence Research and Development Canada
FCHP Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Program
FTE Full-Time Equivalent
GHI Genomics and Health Initiative
HRM Human Resources Management
IP Intellectual Property
IPF Industry Partnership Facility
ITA Industrial Technology Advisor
JCMT James Clerk Maxwell Telescope
LRP Long Range Plan for Astronomy and Astrophysics
LTRC Language Technologies Research Center
MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging
MSE Medium-Sized Enterprise
NIC NRC Information Centre (NRC-CISTI)
NINT National Institute for Nanotechnology
NMI National Metrology Institute
NRC National Research Council Canada
NRC-AMTC Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre
NRC-ATC Aluminium Technology Centre
NRC-BRI Biotechnology Research Institute
NRC-CHC Canadian Hydraulics Centre
NRC-CISTI Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information
NRC-CPFC Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre
NRC-CSIR Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research
NRC-CSTT Centre for Surface Transportation Technology
NRC-GTL Gas Turbine Laboratory
NRC-HIA Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
NRC-IAR Institute for Aerospace Research
NRC-IBD Institute for Biodiagnostics
NRC-IBS Institute for Biological Sciences
NRC-ICPET Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology
NRC-IFCI Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation
NRC-IIT Institute for Information Technology
NRC-IMB Institute for Marine Biosciences
NRC-IMI Industrial Materials Institute
NRC-IMS Institute for Microstructural Sciences
NRC-INMS Institute for National Measurement Standards
NRC-INH Institute for Nutrisciences and Health
NRC-IOT Institute for Ocean Technology
NRC-IRAP Industrial Research Assistance Program
NRC-IRC Institute for Research in Construction
NRC-PBI Plant Biotechnology Institute
NRC-SIMS Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences
NSERC Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
OAG Office of the Auditor General of Canada
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OTEC Ocean Technology Enterprise Centre
PEMFC Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells
PRI Policy Research Initiative
R&D Research and Development
S&T Science and Technology
SMEs Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises
SOFC Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
STM Scientific, Technical and Medical
TBS Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
TIS Technology and Industry Support

Section I – Agency Overview

Minister's Message

Tony Clement, Minister of Industry The Industry Portfolio experienced a busy and successful 2007-2008. As Minister of Industry, I am pleased with the progress made on our mission to foster a competitive, knowledge-based economy that benefits all Canadians.

A competitive economy is one that provides jobs and opportunity to Canadians, and top-quality products and services to consumers. Our economic performance underpins the quality of life we enjoy in this country, and the National Research Council Canada is making important contributions to this mission.

The Industry Portfolio is composed of Industry Canada and 10 other agencies, Crown corporations and quasi-judicial bodies. These organizations collectively advance Canada's industrial, scientific and economic development, and help ensure that we remain competitive in the global marketplace.

As a country, we must remain focused on how we can continue to provide an innovative and entrepreneurial economic environment, help our businesses capitalize on opportunities, and provide choice and quality to consumers. The global marketplace continues to evolve, changing with it the dynamics that influence Canada's performance. I am proud to say that the Industry Portfolio is playing its part:

  • We are working to make our market for wireless services more competitive, this year launching the policy framework for the Advanced Wireless Services spectrum auction. The framework aims to provide more choice and better service for consumers and businesses — something that we believe will also lead to lower prices.

  • We issued guidelines clarifying the application of the Investment Canada Act as it relates to foreign state-owned enterprises investing in our country to ensure that Canadians continue to enjoy all the benefits that foreign investment delivers.

  • We instituted an independent Competition Policy Review Panel to review and report on key elements of Canada's competition and investment policies and to ensure that they are working to the full benefit of Canadians.

  • We created an Automotive Innovation Fund to provide support to automotive firms undertaking large-scale, strategic research and development (R&D) projects to build innovative, greener and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Similarly, investments made through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative continue to encourage strategic R&D that will result in innovation and excellence in new products and services.

One of my key priorities as Industry Minister continues to be our country's science and technology (S&T) strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, announced by Prime Minister Harper in May 2007.

  • Budget 2008 included measures and initiatives in support of our S&T Strategy that total $654 million over the next three years.

  • We put in place the new Science, Technology and Innovation Council to provide the government with objective policy advice on Canada's S&T issues.

  • The government allocated $105 million in 2007–2008 to support the operations of seven new Centres of Excellence, pilot projects that have the potential to make Canada a global leader in fields of research that offer a strategic opportunity for Canadian industry.

  • This past March, Canada's two-armed robot, Dextre, was successfully installed on the International Space Station.

This has been a year of progress and success, and it is my pleasure to present the National Research Council Canada's Departmental Performance Report for 2007–2008. I am committed to building on these successes in 2008 and beyond, and I will continue to work with officials in the Industry Portfolio to make Canada more efficient, productive and competitive.

Tony Clement
Minister of Industry

Management Representation Statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-08 Departmental Performance Report for the National Research Council Canada.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-08 Estimates:  Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • It is based on the department’s Strategic Outcomes and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved numbers from the Estimates and the Public Accounts of Canada.

Dr. Pierre Coulombe

Summary Information

Raison d’être
The National Research Council (NRC) is the Government of Canada’s leading resource for science and technology (S&T) and innovation with a business focus on:

  • improving the social and economic well-being of Canadians;
  • fostering industrial and community innovation and growth through technology and industry support; and
  • supplying excellence and leadership in research and development (R&D).

Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage through NRC
NRC is moving forward with an important role in helping to achieve the goals of the Government of Canada’s Science and Technology Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage, announced by the Prime Minister in May 2007.  The new federal S&T Strategy sets out a multi-year framework to create a competitive advantage for Canada through S&T.  It focuses on the principles of promoting world-class excellence, focusing on priorities, fostering partnerships and enhancing accountability. It sets out a plan to foster three distinct S&T advantages for Canada:

  • Entrepreneurial Advantage – translating knowledge into commercial applications for greater wealth generation and quality of life;
  • Knowledge Advantage – being at the leading edge of important developments that generate health, environmental, societal and economic benefits;
  • People Advantage – attracting highly skilled people and educated people for a flexible workforce that can compete globally.

NRC’s own Strategy to 2011, Science at Work for Canada, is consistent with these principles and objectives and establishes NRC as an important vehicle to help deliver on the new federal S&T Strategy.  NRC is enhancing Canada’s Entrepreneurial Advantage by meeting the needs of industry for targeted research and by transferring its discoveries to the private sector.  To support Canada’s Knowledge Advantage, NRC is strategically contributing to the four research priority areas identified in the federal S&T Strategy: environmental science and technologies; natural resources and energy; health and related life sciences and technologies; and information and communication technologies (ICT). NRC will anticipate and respond to important national priorities by engaging innovation system participants in multi-stakeholder collaborations and developing key competencies that will prepare NRC to support Canada’s current and future S&T priorities.  Lastly, but critically important, NRC is supporting the People Advantage, by attracting and retaining highly-skilled workers needed to thrive in a global economy. Through establishing entities such as the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) and the NRC Institute for Nutrisciences and Health (NRC-INH), for example, NRC is helping to build strong multidisciplinary teams of international calibre researchers to deliver leading-edge work for Canada.

NRC’s Approved Program Activity Architecture

NRC’s basis for reporting to Parliament is its Program Activity Architecture (PAA).  The PAA seeks to describe how the NRC manages the resources under its control to achieve intended results.  Two Program Activities contribute to NRC’s strategic outcome.  Each Program Activity is in turn associated with several program sub-activities as depicted in the Figure 1-1 below.

Figure 1-1: NRC's Program Activity Architecture

Figure 1-1: Vision - To be valued as the world's best national organization for research and innovation

As part of the program realignment and priority setting exercise that took place in September 2007, the NRC-Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute’s resources were re-allocated to the NRC-Industrial Materials Institute and the NRC-Institute for Research in Construction.

Table 1-1:  NRC Financial Resources ($ millions)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending




Table 1-2:  NRC Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)







Note: Due to rounding figures may not add to total shown

Table 1-3: Departmental Priorities


Performance Status

  • R&D in Key Sectors and Areas Critical to Canada’s Future


Successfully met

  • Community Technology Clustering Initiatives

Previously committed

Successfully met

  • Integrated Industry Support that Engages Key Players


Successfully met

  • Program Management for a Sustainable Organization


Successfully met

Table 1-4: Program Activities by Strategic Outcome
Strategic Outcome:
An innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through research and development, technology commercialization and industry support


Contributes to the following priorities

Planned Spending
($ million)

Actual Spending
($ million)


Expected results

Performance Status*

Research and Development

  • Contribution to the federal S&T strategy and initiatives
  • Leadership in new and emerging research domains
  • Excellence in R&D and innovation
  • Stewardship of large-scale S&T infrastructure
  • Contribution to federal S&T strategies and initiatives
  • Research that benefits Canadians
  • Harmonization of international standards
  • New international S&T alliances

Successfully met



Priority 1 and Priority 2

Technology and Industry Support

  • Contribution to the federal S&T strategy and initiatives
  • Advancement of new technology-based companies
  • Access to new technologies for Canadian companies through patents and licensing
  • Enhanced innovation capacity of firms
  • Improved dissemination of knowledge
  • Supporting Canadian industry

Successfully met



Priority 2 and Priority 3

Technology Clusters

  • Contribution to the federal S&T strategy and initiatives
  • Competitive research and development base for cluster development
  • Innovative firms and deep talent pools in regions across Canada
  • Community ownership of cluster initiatives – local leadership and strategies
  • Improved quality of life through increased productivity and new technology-based solutions in health, for industry, the environment, etc.

Successfully met



Priority 2

Internal Services**

  • Establishment of clear corporate strategic direction 
  • Enhanced corporate governance
  • Enhanced decision support
  • Effective research management practices
  • Long-term stability of financial, human and capital resources
  • Effective communications with NRC stakeholders

Successfully met



Priority 4

* Expected Results identified in the NRC 2007-08 RPP apply to a three-year period; therefore, performance is based on the overall progress towards the expected results.
** NRC’s Corporate Branches provide policy, program advice and executive support for the coordination and direction of NRC’s operations and the NRC Council contributing directly to Priority 4 and in a corporate support capacity, to Priorities 1, 2 and 3.

NRC Benefits to Canadians

NRC delivers on its strategic outcome by creating wealth, knowledge and social capital for Canadians.  Figure 1-2 highlights the plans and priorities identified in the 2007-08 to 2009-10 periods (as identified in the NRC 2007-08 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP)).

Figure 1-2: Benefits to Canadians

NRC's Overall Performance for 2007-08

Operating Environment

NRC has unique attributes that shape its operating environment, including:

  • A national S&T infrastructure positioned to improve Canada’s innovation capacity in existing and emerging fields of research, build networks for researchers and businesses, train highly qualified personnel, create new technology-based companies and jobs and transfer knowledge and technology to Canadian companies.
  • A core strength of over 4,000 talented and dedicated people, 17 research institutes, 15 industrial partnership facilities, the Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) and two technology centres.
  • The ability to help companies move from discoveries in the laboratory to the development, prototyping and commercialization of these ideas and technologies for the global marketplace.
  • The capacity to adopt an integrated approach that brings research, technologies and industrial links together in delivering its mandate to provide access to international S&T infrastructures. 
  • The skills to manage research projects towards specific outcomes as well as long-term goals.
  • The capability to bring together multi-disciplinary research teams to tackle issues of national importance.
  • The ability to put together national programs for delivery in regions across the country.

National S&T Infrastructure
NRC delivers a national S&T program with laboratories, centres and facilities in communities across Canada (

Ownership, Management and Maintenance of Capital Assets
Responsible for its own highly technical and complex operations, NRC manages 185 buildings totalling approximately 560,140 square metres of space.

NRC is funded through government appropriations.  In the course of providing technical services to companies and other organizations, it recovers its costs for the purpose of reinvesting in the operation and maintenance of equipment and facilities.

Internal Factors
The ability to perform at the leading-edge of R&D and to support Canadian industry in becoming more technology intensive and innovation-driven requires the best available equipment, facilities and highly qualified scientists, engineers, technicians and other professionals.  NRC faced challenges in sustaining these key resources and continued to focus on strategies to address these challenges. 

In 2007-08, NRC conducted a program realignment and priority setting exercise.  This exercise was designed to enable NRC to better focus on its strategies and be more responsive and agile with respect to its priorities.  NRC reallocated resources from low priority programs to higher priority areas and eliminated or realigned several programs.  As a result, in September 2007, 87 employees were workforce adjusted.  Following this exercise, NRC placed 48% of surplus employees into assignments or continuing positions.  The placement rate by bargaining agent was 57% for Research Council Employees’ Association and 23% for Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

In 2007-08, NRC began implementation of a new organization structure for its communications function.  The new structure aligns with and positions NRC’s communications function, structure, competencies and resources to support NRC’s Strategy as well as relevant Government of Canada S&T priorities.

External Factors
Economic Context – Canadian economic performance continued at a solid pace in 2007 with a real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 2.7%, a slight deceleration from the 2.8% in 2006, matching the average growth for the past five years.1 Real personal expenditure on consumer goods and services was the strongest contributor, advancing 4.7% in 2007, its best performance since 1985.  Labour income (up 6.1%) and corporate profits (up 5.8%) contributed to that strength.2

Employment creation was at a three-decade high, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6% for 2007, its lowest level since 1974.  Employment grew 2.3% with 382,100 net new jobs created.  Over three times as many full time jobs were created as part time jobs (293,400 versus 88,600), but growth in part time jobs was faster at 3% than that of full time jobs at 2.2%, in contrast to the two previous years where full time job growth exceeded part time job growth.3

Relative to key currencies, the annual average value of the Canadian dollar appreciated against the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen in 2007, by 5.5 % and 6.9% respectively in 2007, continuing the trend that began in 2003.  The trend changed however against the euro and the pound with the Canadian dollar depreciating by 3.1% and 2.8%, respectively, on an annual average basis.4

In Canada, private equity firms raised $5.8 billion in 2007, compared to $10.3 billion in 2006.  Venture capital, accounted for 20% of the private equity market in 2007 compared to 16% in 2006.  Venture capital activity focused even more heavily on expansion and other late-stage transactions in 2007, which captured 62% of total dollars invested.  The higher levels of venture capital market activity experienced in 2007 can be attributed largely to the quality and quantity of opportunities on offer in Canada’s emerging technology sectors.5

Dynamic local sector clusters and entrepreneurial communities have attracted more attention from risk investors, both at home and abroad.  In 2007, Canada saw rising activity across all major sectors of interest – communications and IT, biopharmaceuticals and other life sciences and, increasingly, environmental technology.  Key urban locales, such as Vancouver, Toronto, Waterloo, Ottawa and Montreal, are being recognized globally as fast-maturing innovative hubs, spawning a number of promising startups.6

1 - Canada's State of Trade: Trade and Investment Update 2008,

2 - Ibid

3 - Ibid

4 - Ibid

5 - Private Equity Canada 2007, Thomson Reuters Canada and McKinsey & Company.

6 - Ibid

Performance on 2007-08 Priorities

The following section summarizes NRC’S overall performance in relation to its 2007-08 priorities, listed in Table 1-3. 

1. R&D in Key Sectors and Areas Critical to Canada’s Future – Successfully met.

Research and innovation are critical to Canada’s future economic growth and an improved quality of life for Canadians. As Canada’s foremost R&D agency, NRC concentrates its efforts on two vital elements of R&D excellence: quality and relevance. In 2007-08, NRC played a key role in helping Canada reach its full potential by performing research in fields that are of current and future importance from a social and economic perspective, in line with the federal S&T Strategy.

NRC’s R&D provided Canadian companies with increased access to new technologies through patents and licences creating an Entrepreneurial Advantage for Canada. In 2007-08, NRC R&D led directly to the creation of intellectual property (IP), with 196 patents applied for during the year and 69 patents obtained from applications made in previous years. NRC also signed 98 new technology licensing agreements with industry, contributing to the flow of innovation into business applications. These activities contributed to the program activity’s expected result of advancement of new technology-based companies. NRC researchers published technical reports, presented papers in conference proceedings and produced technical reports for clients during the year, disseminating knowledge for innovation and long-term value creation for Canadian industry and the public at large.

NRC’s leadership standing in new and emerging research domains remained high. To contribute to Canada’s S&T Knowledge Advantage, NRC conducted research in areas of economic and social importance. From an economic perspective, investment and research in aerospace technology such as composite material aircraft components and turbine engine icing certification has kept Canada among the world leaders in this sector. Nanotechnology R&D at NRC resulted in advances to extend the service life of concrete and established novel approaches to nano-engineering of concrete structures. Improved materials, catalysts and advanced modeling and testing methods continued to solidify Canada’s position at the leading-edge of fuel cell technology.

NRC also completed R&D activities that contributed to the well-being of Canadians.  Genome research is ongoing in areas such as food production (productivity of canola crops) and treating of human and animal disease (cancer identification, diagnostic tools for heart attack patients, controlling human cholesterol levels).  NRC researchers also conducted research in the areas of bioactives and nutraceuticals.  Extracts and bioactives from such plants as cranberries, blueberries, hemp, hops and poppies were screened and evaluated for anti-oxidant, neuro-regeneration and anti-cancer effects.  Novel techniques using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology were developed and tested with positive results.  These will eventually lead to less invasive diagnosis of breast cancer.  R&D work was also completed to develop analytical methods for rapid and highly sensitive detection of chemical warfare agents, toxic agrochemicals and other toxins, to enhance the security of Canadians.

Collaborating with industry and academia to further scientific frontiers was also a cornerstone activity for NRC during the reporting period.  Major contributions in astronomy, sub-atomic particle physics and neutron beam experiments were made, such as:

  • Nanowave Technologies of Etobicoke, Ontario licensed a component of the Band 3 receivers, developed by NRC for the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) , manufacturing the 300 amplifiers needed for ALMA and marketing the technology globally to universities, research labs and semiconductor companies to be used in telecommunication systems, solid state physics research, materials research and low temperature physics research.
  • The Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC) applied new neutron beam methods to soft materials and nanostructures and employed a new specialized spectrometer to study new hydrogen storage materials for clean energy.
  • The TRIUMF experimental facility TITAN made a mass measurement of Lithium-11 and Helium-8, the world's first precision measurement of these extremely short-lived isotopes.

NRC also continued to work with international standards bodies, ensuring compatibility of Canada's National Metrology Standards with those around the globe, assisting in the development of new measurement science (e.g., nanotechnology) and determining standards and methods of measurement that impact directly on the ability of Canadian firms to trade internationally.

2. Community Technology Clustering Initiatives – Successfully met.

In support of Canada’s S&T Knowledge Advantage, NRC continued to explore and develop innovative models for S&T partnership and collaboration between federal departments and agencies and other sectors. During the reporting period, NRC was involved in the ongoing development of eleven technology clusters across the country. Technology clusters are community partnerships focused on building competitive advantage through research and innovation. NRC helped clusters develop technology road maps and fostered alliances that are being used to transfer technology to the cluster participants. These clusters focus on areas such as life sciences, information technology and e-business, ocean technology, aluminium transformation, photonics, biomedical technologies, plants for health and wellness, nanotechnology, fuel cell and hydrogen technology, nutrisciences and health, and sustainable infrastructure. Priority 2 contributes to the achievement of NRC’s Strategic Outcome by fostering innovation and economic growth through community partnerships.

A 2007 Impact Evaluation found that the extent to which NRC-IRAP, a federal business R&D assistance program, stimulates wealth creation within Canada is illustrated by the overall net socio-economic benefits that it generates. By aggregating the impacts resulting from individual client-firm's sales growth, cost reductions and the value of the advisory services provided to Canadian SMEs, between 2002 and 2007, the total wealth creation benefits of the Program were in the range of $2.3 to $6.5 billion.

To contribute to increasing the impact of federal business R&D assistance programs, NRC-IRAP engaged and linked regional groups, through development of technical, financial and business networks that are the foundation of technology clusters. Over $1.5 million was contributed to 45 innovation support organizations within six of the technology clusters in which NRC is involved and nearly $1.3 million in non-repayable contributions were made to 30 individual firms within the clusters, toward technological research projects. Examples of cluster successes during the year include a $40 million initial public offering (IPO) of IMRIS Inc., a spin-off of NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) within the Manitoba Biomedical cluster and filing of a patent on a biomarker for prostate cancer jointly between NRC-IIT and the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, from the New Brunswick information technology cluster.

NRC also continued to develop, build and operate Industry Partnership Facilities (IPFs) across Canada, providing unique facilities that are workplaces for collaborative research and incubation of new firms, including NRC spin-offs.  IPFs also serve as resource locations for small- and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and new enterprises. NRC currently has 15 IPF locations across the country, supporting 140 incubating firms in 2007-08, an increase of 10% from the previous reporting period.

3. Integrated Industry Support that Engages Key Players – Successfully met.

In 2007-08, the NRC Technology and Industry Support (TIS) portfolio worked closely with the NRC R&D portfolio to support the Government of Canada’s commercialization priority under the Entrepreneurial Advantage. Activities to increase the commercialization of research include technology licensing, provision of pre-commercialization assistance, mentoring and provision of business intelligence, access to national and international networks, knowledge dissemination and expertise, as well as helping companies create new products and/or technologies.

Industrial Technology Advisors (ITAs) from NRC utilized in-house developed capabilities to capture competitive technical intelligence to support Canadian industry.  This facilitated better decision making on technology investments and research directions for NRC clients.  An assessment completed during the year indicated that over the previous five years, NRC-IRAP client firms’ sales grew an average of 28% and overall firm employment grew 30%, with company assets growing by 15%.

NRC provides access to S&T information and intelligence to industry, with sophisticated tools and services to accelerate discovery, innovation and commercialization within Canada’s research and innovation community.  During the reporting period, NRC completed 485,000 document orders for clients in the academic, health, government and industry sectors.  A new suite of services, under the Discover banner, were launched to provide Canadians with faster and easier access to over 15 million S&T articles in the collection.  The NRC Virtual Library provided NRC institute researchers with desktop access to licensed electronic journals and databases, with 258,000 site visits accumulated during the year.  NRC continued to publish scientific journals, which have over 13,900 subscribers in 101 countries.  In 2007-08, 6,192 authors were published in 16 respected, peer-reviewed journals.  NRC published five books during the year, with another nine in production.

4. Program Management for a Sustainable Organization – Successfully met.

Performing leading-edge R&D and supporting Canadian industry to become more technology intensive and innovative requires state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure, as well as highly skilled scientists, engineers, technicians and other professionals.  During the reporting period, NRC established its corporate business plan for the next three fiscal years.  The plan outlines an approach to enhance the financial flexibility of NRC, while ensuring financial and non-financial resources are aligned in support of the organization’s priority programs.  NRC initiated a new organizational resource allocation process during the fourth quarter of 2007-08, requiring all institutes, programs and branches to develop and submit business plans annually.  Funding of initiatives was based on the alignment of individual business plans with the corporate plan and the requirement to help NRC deliver on its priorities and the Federal S&T strategy.

Significant investments in S&T infrastructure were also made during the year.  Approximately $5.7 million was invested to address the most pressing infrastructure needs, focusing on health and safety, as well as asset life-cycle management.  NRC also continued to invest in internal audit capacity, to assist in maintaining accountability across its program delivery.  Five internal audits were conducted during the period and six more initiated.  The independent Audit, Evaluation and Risk Management Committee, a sub-committee of NRC Council, which is comprised of members external to NRC, reviewed these reports.  From an external audit perspective, NRC is actively addressing the recommendations provided by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).

Section II - Analysis of Program Activities               

This section provides an overview of NRC’s Program Activities and how they contributed to the organization’s strategic outcome and priorities in 2007-08.  NRC Program Activities include 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.

Strategic Outcome
An innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through research and development, technology commercialization and industry support.

Program Activity: Research and Development

This program activity 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.

Financial Resources ($ million)


Total Authorities






Human Resources – Full Time Equivalent (FTEs)








Performance Highlights

Performance Indicators
(as identified in the 2007-08 RPP)


Technology transfer (patents, licences)

  • 69 new patents received
  • 196 new patent applications
  • 98 licences issued

Spin offs/ ins

  • 68 companies created since 1995

Publications in refereed journals / proceedings and technical reports

  • 1,330 published articles in refereed journals
  • 1,541 technical reports produced

External grants

  • 207 grants provided to NRC researchers and their partners

Leadership and contribution to federal horizontal initiatives

  • Genomics R&D Horizontal Initiative - Licensing agreement with a Canadian biotech company for the worldwide therapeutic and diagnostic rights to Clusterin-specific antibodies for the treatment of cancer.

Multi-researcher networks and centres of excellence

  • Participated in 118 research networks
  • 217 positions held on editorial boards of scientific journals
  • 473 adjunct professorships appointments in Canadian universities

Number and value of international collaborative agreements

  • 118 new international collaborative agreements worth $109 million
  • 407 new Canadian collaborative agreements with partners worth $159 million

Increase in research collaborations, licensing, joint patent applications, etc.

  • 42% increase in licensing revenue


Research and innovation are critical to Canada’s future economic growth and an improved quality of life for Canadians.  As Canada’s foremost R&D agency, NRC concentrates its efforts on two vital elements of R&D excellence:  quality and relevance.  In 2007-08, NRC played a key role in helping Canada reach its full potential by performing research in fields that are of current and future importance to the Canadian economy and that addressed important public and Government priorities.  To achieve this, NRC worked in collaboration with industry, university and government partners in Canada and abroad.  Creating value from knowledge, providing a national S&T infrastructure, maintaining and fostering international alliances and supporting the commercialization of federal R&D are integral parts of NRC’s business.

Figure 2-1: NRC IP Portfolio (2003 - 2008)
Figure 2-1: NRC IP Portfolio (2003-2008)
Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2008

A new patent is a key step in the continuum from discovery to innovation.  The strategic management of IP contributes to the innovative capacity of firms.  In 2007-08, NRC applied for 196 new patents and secured 69 patents from applications made in previous years.  Forty-nine 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 changed 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 98 new licence agreements in 2007-08 and IP licensing revenue was $9.47 million (see Figure 2-1).

Just over $4.1 million of IP revenue in 2007-08 was attributed directly to the Meningitis-C vaccine developed by the NRC Institute for Biological Sciences (NRC-IBS).  The Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC) received approximately $2.0 million for the use of information published as part of the National Building and Fire codes in individual provincial codes.

Some other examples of NRC technology licensed to industry in 2007-08 include:

  • NRC Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) signed a licensing agreement with Standard Aero Limited for non-destructive evaluation methods and associated component life assessment techniques, used in gas turbine engines.  This licence increased the capabilities of a medium to large Canadian firm in supplying services to the international engine repair market.
  • The SIGDERS Dynamic (testing) Roofing Facility Unit was licensed by NRC-IRC to Les Laboratoires Shermont in April 2007.
  • NRC Industrial Materials Institute (NRC-IMI) licensed low-coherence light interferometry scanner technology to Biocad Inc., for facilitating the installation of dental implants.  Biocad has grown in both revenue and employment and has recently signed several marketing agreements with U.S and European partners.
  • Tecnar Automation Ltd., one of the first IMI spin-offs, was granted a licence for technology to conduct real-time analysis for improving the quality of galvanized steel plates used in the automotive industry. 
  • NRC-IAR transferred Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) technology capabilities to Delastek, a Canadian SME.  This transfer permitted Delastek to become the first RTM aerospace grade parts manufacturer in Canada, moving from the production of recreational vehicle parts to aerospace components.

Patents, licence agreements and collaborative research agreements are effective indicators of the commercialization outcomes of NRC’s R&D and their contribution to an Entrepreneurial Advantage for Canada.

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 2007-08, the total new companies created since 1995 remained at 68, accounting for approximately 552 full-time jobs and an estimated $470 million in cumulative investment, an 8% increase from last year.  In 2007, investment from all sources into NRC new companies was $87 million.7

Figure 2-2: NRC Publications (2003-2008)
Figure 2-2: NRC Publications (2003-2008)
Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2008

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 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 2007-08, researchers published 1,330 articles in refereed journals.  NRC researchers also presented 821 papers at S&T conferences and produced 1,541 technical reports for clients (see Figure 2-2).

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 2007-08, NRC researchers participated in 118 research networks, held 217 positions in editorial boards of scientific journals and were appointed to 473 adjunct professorships in Canadian universities. In 2007-08, NRC researchers and their university partners received 207 grants from Canadian granting agencies (such as NSERC and Genome Canada). The total of these grants, over the lifetime of the projects equalled $29.3 million.

7 Adventus Research Inc., Economic Impact of National Research Council Canada Spin-Off Companies 2008 Survey, March 26, 2008.
Figure 2-3: Canadian Collaborations (2003-2008)
Figure 2-3: Canadian Collaborations (2003-2008)
Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2008
Figure 2-4: International Collaborations (2003-2008)
Figure 2-4: International Collaborations (2003-2008)
Source: NRC Performance Information Database, 2008

In addition to working with university partners, NRC signed 407 new collaborative research agreements with Canadian partners worth a total of $159 million in 2007-08. The total value over the lifetime of these agreements grew to $493 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 $3.10 for every dollar NRC invests.

Participation in international projects and consortia exposes Canadian students, researchers and companies to the best-in-the-world capabilities. In 2007-08, NRC signed 118 new collaborative research agreements with international partners worth $109 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 $174 million. NRC’s international partners invest $3.41 for every dollar NRC invests.

Delivering on Expected Results

Through its 19 research institutes and technology centres, NRC conducts long-term research in virtually every S&T-driven sector of the Canadian economy.  In 2007-08, NRC focused on those sectors identified as having economic and social importance to Canada, and within those sectors,  concentrated on four research priority areas identified in the federal S&T Strategy, namely environmental science and technologies; natural resources and energy; health and related life sciences and technologies; and information and communication technologies (ICT).  In keeping with one of the Strategy’s core principles – partnerships – NRC pursued horizontal initiatives and S&T collaborations among federal departments and agencies and between the federal S&T community and universities, industry, and the non-profit sector. The expected results of this program activity, as outlined in the NRC 2007-08 Report on Plans and Priorities were:

Expected Results: 

  1. Contribution to the federal S&T strategy and initiatives
  2. Leadership in new and emerging research domains
  3. Excellence in R&D and innovation
  4. Stewardship of large-scale S&T infrastructure
  5. Research that benefits Canadians
  6. Harmonization of international standards
  7. New international S&T alliances

Achievements against the expected results are highlighted below. The results are organized in terms of contributions to the four priority areas and the core partnership principle of the federal S&T Strategy.

Environmental science and technologies

The following highlights progress on research within sectors that have economic or social benefits for Canada, with environmental technology elements.

Facilitated Canada’s technology advantage in next generation aerospace industry – Expected Results 1, 3.  Aerospace remains one of Canada's most important advanced technology sectors.  The NRC-IAR Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre (AMTC) was designed to support the complete aerospace manufacturing supply chain, from SMEs to Aerospace Primes, in the development and implementation of modern manufacturing methods with the potential of cost savings.  In 2007-08, the AMCT facilitated the advancement of one SME Tier 3 supplier to the position of a major Tier 2 system integrator.  This particular SME utilized the Centre’s Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) machine to assist in the fabrication of fuselage sized composite material aircraft parts.  The AFP provides a technology advantage for Canadian industry, as new environmentally friendly composite structures and other large components are quickly becoming prevalent in new aircraft designs.  In addition, AMCT developed technology for coordinating robotic riveting and parts assembly within the aerospace industry and technology for high-speed grinding and materials removal. This advanced manufacturing technology was successfully transferred to the Canadian automotive industry.

During the reporting period, NRC-IAR’s Structure and Materials Performance Laboratory continued to advance research in the areas of micro-hardness and elastic modulus, for important developments in nanocrystalline covalent materials.  These new materials are for use in aerospace applications, initially in new coatings for gas turbine engines.  The manufacture of gas turbine engines is a major component of the Canadian aerospace sector.  Using modeling and simulation, NRC identified and selected new materials, which do not yet exist.  This innovative approach considerably reduces the time to develop new materials and thereby brings them to market both at a faster and lesser cost than traditional approaches.  The NRC-IAR-Gas Turbine Laboratory (GTL) established a preeminent large engine icing certification facility at Mirabel Airport, considered to be among the top three in the world.  This facility provides a technology advantage for engine manufacturers, through enhanced cost-effective access to a world-class facility, at a time when alternative international facilities are increasingly schedule-constrained and expensive. 

Position Canadian industry as a key player in advanced manufacturing – Expected Results 1, 3, 5. Advanced technologies are a key element to advancing manufacturing capabilities, expertise and ultimately retaining manufacturing employment within Canada. NRC R&D continued its ongoing contributions in this area. NRC-IMI continued to focus on engineering materials and the manufacturing sector.  It supported the aluminum technology cluster in Saguenay, Quebec, the Industry Partnership Facility in Boucherville, Quebec and the Canadian automotive industry in London, Ontario.  In London, NRC conducted an Opportunity Assessment Study in the fall of 2007, as the first phase of development of its automotive sector strategy.  The findings point to potential environmental and energy benefits for the proposed direction of the NRC Automotive key sector on lightweight structural materials and alternative automotive propulsion systems. The study was presented to, and endorsed by, the Automotive Key Sector Steering Committee and NRC’s Senior Executive Committee.  During 2007-08, NRC also provided access to sophisticated laboratories to manufactures for conducting pilot projects to demonstrate and validate new manufacturing technologies.

With a focus on energy oriented processes and solution-driven materials to benefit the environment, the Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology (NRC-ICPET) led the Advanced Electrical Storage Project that focused on four elements of technology development for the plug-in hybrid electrical vehicle (pHEV). These are energy storage, electrical drive components, power train optimization and regulations for emissions and fuel efficiency.  The program is working with half a dozen Canadian companies who have produced prototypes. New technologies are being made available to industry as they evolve.  The Program has registered nine patents and has issued licences to over 30 organizations, enabling the development of high-performance lithium ion cells for pHEVs and associated applications. 

Continued to support Canada’s commitment to reduce green house gas emissions and improve the environment – Expected Results 1, 2, 5.  Aligning with the federal S&T strategy, a number of NRC research institutes and programs applied their knowledge and competencies to climate change, energy, the environment and sustainable development.  NRC-IRC commenced a four year Indoor Air Research Initiative as part of the federal government’s Clear Air Agenda.  To date, staff has completed the first phase of construction of the ventilation facility, prepared draft protocols for field experiments on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and health measures and secured new equipment for: a) the effective and comprehensive detection of contaminants, b) the automation of field measurements and c) the evaluation of IAQ products.  In addition, a camera-based sensor for control of electric lighting and window blinds was developed to assist in energy conservation in the presence of natural light or when rooms are unoccupied. In addition, a long-term monitoring system for thermal comfort at individual workstations was developed, with its initial implementation at an office location in Toronto, to capture data for a three-month period.  A new portable monitoring system was developed for measuring a host of indoor environmental conditions, with its first application scheduled to be a post-occupancy evaluation of “green” buildings.  The long-term objective of this tool is the refinement of “green” building rating schemes.

Environmental technologies for the protection of water resources – Expected Results 1, 5, 7.  Fresh water is a critical resource throughout the world, with the protection and remediation of ground and surface water an important element to improving the lives of people, including many Canadians.  The NRC-BRI EMaMoc technology for the bioremediation of TCE (a human carcinogen) and other toxic substances from groundwater was transferred to a Canadian company through a licence agreement for commercialization in Canada and in Europe.  This technology can help address major groundwater problems where TCE affects drinking water resources in groundwater aquifers, a major source of drinking water to Canadians.  NRC-BRI in collaboration with the Université du Québec à Montréal in Quebec also developed a new bio-monitoring tool for the detection of cyanobacteria in surface water and lakes.  Toxins produced by cyanobacteria represent a high risk to humans.  Cyanobacteria algal blooms have affected several lakes in Quebec limiting the use of water resources to local residents.

Natural Resources and Energy

The following highlights progress on research within sectors that have economic or social benefits for Canada, with natural resources and energy elements.

Support Canada’s leadership in Fuel Cells – Expected Results 1, 2, 3, 5.  Fuel cell technology can provide a significant contribution to lessening the environmental impact we have on the planet. This is an international priority, and Canada has been a leader in the formative development of this technology.  The Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (NRC-IFCI) helped Canadian industry remain at the leading-edge of fuel cell technology.  During the reporting period, research led to reducing costs for the manufacture of fuel cells by minimizing the amount of platinum required; improving efficiency through enhanced catalyst layer design and; increasing design integrity and reducing overall design time by utilizing advanced computer modeling tools during the design phase.

NRC-IFCI’s Technology Centre and its Incubation/Acceleration and Networking Facility provided opportunity for SMEs’ technology acceleration, integrated technology demonstrations and industry-university-government partnerships, contributing to Canada’s entrepreneurial advantage.  During the reporting period, NRC scientists broke a number of barriers to develop the next generation of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) that work at high temperatures and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) that work at low temperatures.  NRC-IFCI developed Cermet supported SOFCs are becoming the benchmark product for further research in both Canada and Europe. 

NRC-IFCI also developed a novel architecture to deal with “dirty” fuels for SOFCs, using a tin anode, which has demonstrated higher performance than conventional technology found in the literature.  Increasing the types of fuels usable by fuel cells contributes to wider adoption of the technology, ultimately reducing greenhouse gases.

In addition, the Centre developed an in-depth fuel cell safety methodology for fuel cell laboratories that is being considered for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification. Furthermore, standards for Hydrogen sensors were developed in collaboration with partners Ballard and Natural Resources Canada and these were approved internationally and adopted as ISO Standards, benefiting the entire Canadian advanced manufacturing industry.

The NRC-IFCI in Vancouver is home to the NRC Fuel Cell Program. This Program mobilized fuel cell expertise and research strength from a network of NRC research institutes across Canada.  A total of $6.2 million over five years from 2003-04 through 2007-08 was allocated by the Climate Change Technology and Innovation Program to NRC’s Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Program – a key horizontal initiative.  NRC supplemented this investment with an additional $15 million of reallocations from existing A-base.  The program has enabled collaboration across NRC and the development of key competencies in this important area.  The program ended in March 2008. This year the program produced seven patents/patent applications, 64 published papers and 51 conference presentations.  Overall, results for the 5-year program include 31 patent applications, 268 published papers over 50 conference presentations.  These outcomes will provide a solid base for the collaborative program being planned this year by NRC, NSERC and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to focus on near-term technologies, bringing together capabilities within government and in universities to work with industry on fuel cell and hydrogen technology solutions.

In line with Canada’s S&T Strategy, NRC continued to participate in collaborative research initiatives to improve the recovery of energy from traditional sources and develop alternative forms of energy.  Within Natural Resources Canada’s Advanced Fuels Technology and Emission Reduction program, NRC-ICPET led the development of a newly patented optically based technology known as Laser-induced Incandescence (LII).  This technology helps enforce some of the world’s toughest vehicle emission standards and it is licensed to a broad range of users, from regulatory agencies to vehicle designers.  Environment Canada has used LII to measure particulate emissions from advanced vehicle technologies to provide key insights into the tradeoffs between improved fuel efficiency and increased particulate emissions, which is a significant contributor to climate change.

Build sustainability through oceans science – Expected Results 1, 2, 5.  Canada’s oceans are a strategic resource of prime importance to humanity, the environment and industry.  The Institute for Ocean Technology (NRC-IOT) integrates advanced technologies to achieve innovative solutions to meet the challenges relating to safe and efficient transportation, energy exploration and production, alternative energy, arctic navigation, seabed mapping and information gathering on the state of the oceans.  The most advanced technologies for ocean observation and monitoring are autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).  During the reporting period, NRC-IOT conducted AUV deployments at the edge of the continental shelf in Newfoundland and under glacial ice off the coast of Greenland.  The Institute identified new applications for AUV technology and continued to work with partners to further develop and integrate this technology for advancing ocean science.

Health and related life sciences and technologies

The following highlights progress on research within sectors that have economic or social benefits for Canada, with health and life sciences elements.

NRC Genomics and Health Initiative – Expected Results 1, 3, 5. The NRC Genomics and Health Initiative continued to invest in large-scale horizontal research programs focused on bringing the benefits of rapid advances in the genome sciences and health research to a variety of Canadian industrial sectors.  In 2007-08, the final year of its third phase of research activity, NRC invested over $22 million in research programs oriented toward 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.  During the reporting period, the fourth phase of research activity was established, with the focus on research areas that will have socio-economic impact on Canadians including rehearsal systems for brain tumour surgery, productivity of canola crops, point of care diagnostic devices, cancer identification and diagnostic tools for heart attack patients.

Natural health products and nutraceuticals – Expected Results 1, 2, 5.  NRC-PBI continued working to enhance the innovative capacity and competitiveness of the Canadian plant-based natural health products industry for the health and wellness of Canadians by leading efforts to create a world recognized plant-based natural health products industry in functional foods, natural health products and nutraceuticals.  In 2007-08, NRC established the Bioaccess Commercialization Centre, helping 47 client organizations in Western Canada by providing research expertise, business development support programs, expert business knowledge, resources and advice.  Specific programs included BioPitch, a structured hands-on program that teaches entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a compelling pitch that captures the attention of partners and investors; BioMap, an online resource that takes entrepreneurs from the idea stage to the launch of a new product; and BioFutures, a guide for future technology innovation in the industry.  In addition, NRC-PBI performed field trials on plants for two commercially valuable products (nervonic acid for brain health and phytosterols for cardiac health), screened plant extracts from over 100 Western Canadian plants for anti-oxidant, neuro-regeneration and anti-cancer effects, evaluated blueberries, cranberries and grapes to identify bioactives associated with health benefits in fruit and characterized bioactives in hemp, hops and poppies.

Scientists at NRC-INH are also involved in identifying how bioactive compounds found in nature can be used to improve human and animal health.  During the reporting period, NRC researchers filed for patent protection for plant extract combinations for cholesterol management, lipid regulation and weight loss.  A plant extract for control of pox virus infections was discovered and in cooperation with University of Prince Edward Island researchers, a novel assay to identify compounds to potentially protect against, or limit the damage of strokes was developed.   

Vaccines and pharmaceuticals – Expected Results 1, 3, 5. The Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI) continued collaborating with Canadian pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical players and pursuing research opportunities to support domestic production of vaccines. In particular, NRC:

  • Initiated negotiations with Alethia Biotherapeutics for an exclusive licence for Clusterin mAbs. NRC scientists had identified antibodies that target Clusterin, a discovery that could lead to blocking metastasis of some types of cancer. 
  • Worked with Chlorion Pharma Inc. to screen for compounds to guide the development of drug leads for pain management.  The screening was successful, leading to the design of a number of drug candidates, which are currently being tested.  Based in large on the promise of the company’s unique target and interesting compounds obtained with the help of NRC, Chlorion successfully raised $6 million in venture capital funding, which allowed them to recruit a team of medicinal chemists and pharmacologists to develop lead compounds and conduct pre-clinical studies. 
  • Provided assistance to Canadian SMEs to facilitate development and commercialization of their technologies.  For example, NRC produced material for Artemis Technologies (rabies vaccine development) and for Oncolytics Biotech (Reolysin - experimental treatment for brain tumours).
  • Exceeded its commitment to Sanofi Pasteur by producing, purifying and delivering an increased volume (more than six times) of bacterial protein for the development of its new vaccine.  Sanofi indicated that the quality and level of service provided by NRC under the contract has greatly assisted its start-up of manufacturing, improving the opportunity for additional contracts during development and scale-up.

NRC-IBS also supported this strategy, through:

  • Transformative Vaccine Formulation and Delivery:  working with Piramel Life Sciences Limited, one of India’s largest health care companies, NRC moved the promising archaeosome (a microbe) technology into preclinical evaluations for a first vaccine candidate in 2009.  To overcome complexities during production, NRC scientists developed a semi-synthetic method for production of archeosome-based vaccines and this technology resulted in a collaborative agreement between NRC and a small Canadian biotechnology company.
  • New Cancer Therapies: NRC expertise in molecular imaging and animal models of brain tumours was applied to evaluate novel drug entities to deliver chemotherapeutic treatment to brain tumours, in collaboration with a small Canadian biotechnology company.  After successfully demonstrating brain tumour targeting in pre-clinical models, the formulation entered phase I/II clinical trials for the most malignant of brain tumours in late 2007.

Less invasive breast cancer diagnosis – Expected Results 3, 5, 7.  NRC-IBD continued development of non-invasive examination techniques using MRI technology.  The Institute continued to collaborate at the local, national and international levels with leading researchers, academics and industry participants.  During the reporting period, significant progress was made in testing specialized MRI spectroscopy techniques, developing analysis protocols for dynamic-contrasted MR images and developing a tool to quantify breast lump borders.  Development of a new clinical protocol commenced, in collaboration with a breast radiologist and a full in vivo breast cancer patient study was initiated.  This study will continue throughout next year.

Neurochip for drug screening and testing – Expected Results 2, 5.  NRC scientists pioneered the development of a neurochip - a complex interface of living neurons or brain tissue with patterned materials and multi-electrode arrays that can potentially be used in drug screening and diagnostic testing.  NRC entered advanced discussions with a wide range of potential users of this technology, including academic research laboratories and industrial partners, to prove its efficacy for the study of neurological diseases and the screening of novel pharmaceutical candidates.

Reveal the secrets of brain adaptation and regeneration – Expected Results 3, 5.  NRC scientists discovered molecules that could help reduce the burden of Alzheimer’s disease or enhance brain recovery (angiogenesis-modulating peptides) after stroke-induced damage.  NRC-IBS continued to develop novel peptides and molecules for early detection or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, including executing an agreement with a mid-sized Canadian biotechnology company to evaluate new treatments for preventing neuronal loss and alleviating cognitive decline.  NRC-IBS and NRC-IMI worked to develop novel advanced materials for tissue engineering for neurovascular repair.  The research led to joint intellectual property disclosures, expected to drive the development of new biomaterials engineered to mimic natural tissues and accelerate wound healing, tissue regeneration and repair.

Information and communications technologies

The following highlights progress on information and communications technology with potential applications within sectors that have economic or social benefits for Canada.

Reduce industry risks and costs of working on next generation information and communications technology – Expected Results 1, 2, 3. Globally, information and communications technology development continues at a break-neck pace.   The Institute for Microstructural Sciences (NRC-IMS) continued the development of functional materials and quantum devices to fuel the information revolution of the next decade.  NRC-IMS is making significant advances in the development of nanomaterials and quantum devices that will help deliver solutions to diverse application areas such as biosensors, chemical sensing and quantum computing.  NRC-IMS leads NRC’s ICT Sector Strategy, pulling together competencies from across NRC to launch a demonstration project for an intelligent sensor system. 

On the software side, the Institute for Information Technology (NRC-IIT) continued its development of technologies that facilitate the extraction of knowledge from data, enable people oriented systems and advance e-business protocols.  In 2007, discoveries from the Social Networking Applied to Privacy project, led to thirteen peer-reviewed papers, nine invited research presentations and two keynote presentations, as well as a collaborative agreement with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the University of Ottawa to apply private data discovery to computer files for enhanced security. 

NRC-IIT’s Language Technologies Group, which is part of the Language Technologies Research Centre, continued to focus on developing new technologies related to translation, multilingual content management, language training and speech processing.  The ongoing PORTAGE project remained a key activity.  The PORTAGE technology underwent a number of improvements during the reporting period, refining its translation capabilities and increasing its speed.  The PORTAGE technology was the basis of eight publications and generated eight commercial licences during the year.

Fostering S&T horizontal and multi-disciplinary partnerships with other federal government departments, universities and Canadian industry

Contributions to inter-departmental efforts to support the federal S&T Strategy – Expected Results 1, 2. NRC is actively involved in the interdepartmental effort to implement the new federal S&T Strategy.  NRC participates on the ADM Committee on S&T, which is the whole-of-government coordinating committee for the federal S&T community and has been charged with overseeing implementation of the new S&T Strategy and monitoring progress.  NRC also has membership on the Director General Sub-Committee on S&T Strategy Implementation (DGSI) and most of the 11 working groups mandated to address specific strategy commitments.  NRC is making good progress in implementing a plan developed with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to deliver upon a specific commitment of the federal S&T Strategy—the alignment of these three organizations’ programs and activities.  One of the R&D related initiatives was the launch of a joint nanotechnology call for proposals in energy, environment and ICT; and commencement of a round of provincial consultations to better align programs (four provinces visited so far).

The NINT — a NRC, University of Alberta, and Government of Alberta partnership—combines the strengths of a federal laboratory and a university to position Canada at the forefront of nano-scale discoveries that are expected to generate significant benefits in such areas as health and the environment – Expected Results 1, 3, 5.  NINT continued to build strong links with industry.  This year marked the opening of NINT’s Innovation Centre with the signing of the first 6 industrial tenants and occupancy of over 20% of the available space.  This was the culmination of extensive space improvements and development of policies for occupation and operation that includes the option for tenants to use NINT equipment, processes and procedures to assist in their daily operations.  In concert with the opening came the launch of six collaborative projects with Xerox Canada. This is the first time that Xerox has engaged an outside partner in their core research objectives, an indication of NRC’s standing as a leader in this area.  The projects will explore materials design, materials characterization and modeling and simulation.

Integrated nanotechnology research to promote and advance innovation – Expected Results 1, 2, 3. Nanotechnology is an emerging research domain that cuts across a number of sectors.
NRC-Nano, a cross-NRC initiative, was announced in June 2007 to increase the integration of nanotechnology expertise across NRC, as well as facilitate collaboration with external partners such as other government departments, universities, industry and international research centres.

NRC's nanotechnology research is targeted at three main application areas that directly impact Canadian competitiveness: new materials and coatings; quantum devices for next generation computing and communications; and novel nanostructure devices for photonic, sensing and biological applications.  This research spans twelve NRC research institutes and combines a spectrum of competencies ranging from fundamental understanding of the properties of nanostructures, through manufacturing of nanomaterials and nanodevices, to collaborative efforts aimed at applications in aerospace, construction, communication and health related industries.  For example, in the construction sector, NRC continued its development of novel materials to increase the service-life of concrete and establish new approaches to nano-engineering concrete structures.  It developed new material formulations containing nano-based cement products to control the release of chemical admixtures within concrete.  A patent was published and discussions for scaling production to allow testing with concrete are underway with a major private sector enterprise. 

Two funding competitions were launched during the reporting period.  The first supported three multidisciplinary research projects in the priority areas of therapeutics and diagnostics, nanoscale metrology and nanomaterials for solar energy applications.  The second competition is a joint NRC-NSERC-BDC initiative to fund five projects ($5 million per year) in priority areas as part of the federal S&T strategy policy commitment to have existing organizations work effectively together to support the commercialization of research in Canada. The winning projects will develop semiconductor nano-composite materials, photon sources for quantum information processing, polyester nanocomposites and instrumentation for the physical characterization of nano-aerosols, for targeted impacts in the areas of energy, construction and ICT.  A joint NRC, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Business Development Bank Canada (BDC) project on Polyester Nanocomposites for Greener Transportation, Construction and Packaging was initiated to develop advanced approaches to cost-effective integration of nano-sized reinforcements and to transfer improved manufacturing technology to Canadian industry.  In 2007-08, this joint initiative also launched a series of consultations across Canada to better align the programs of organizations with a stake in increasing commercialization outcomes.

Worked with partners in industry and academia to enable leading-edge research – Expected Results 2, 4, 7. The Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC), part of NRC-SIMS, enables neutron beam experiments to  be undertaken on behalf of universities, industry and government researchers across Canada and internationally.  In 2007-08, CNBC applied new neutron beam methods to soft materials and nanostructures and employed a new specialized spectrometer to study new hydrogen storage materials for clean energy.  Collaboration between CNBC and NINT/University of Alberta produced direct results in identifying nano-structured magnesium-aluminium hydrides as promising candidates for hydrogen storage in automotive applications, effectively exploiting NRC’s new capability for neutron analysis of nano-structured thin film structures.

In 2007-08, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) moved two of its affiliated research groups to NRC-BRI to take advantage of both its clinical research and the research and development conducted at NRC-BRI.  This collaboration has funnelled external funding to support the valuation and transfer process; identify and prioritize the best potential innovations from both NRC-BRI and MUHC; offer project management for selected technologies; incubate and accelerate the development of technologies; and facilitate the transfer of technologies to the private sector or create spin-off companies to exploit such IP.  Specifically, the two organizations continued to work on joint projects related to structural biology and virtual screening, as well as setting up a joint medicinal chemistry laboratory on NRC premises.

NRC-IBS was established as the lead in a multi-stakeholder initiative in molecular imaging for cardiovascular and brain pathologies, involving NRC-IBD, the NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences (NRC-SIMS), NRC-BRI, the NRC Institute for National Measurement Standards (NRC-INMS), NRC-IMI, the University of Calgary, the University of Victoria, McGill University and a small Canadian biotechnology company.  An initiative to develop bioactives from natural products for human health applications was established by the NRC Institute for Marine Biosciences (NRC-IMB), the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute (NRC-PBI), NRC-INH and NRC-IBS.

Canola product development is an $11 billion Canadian industry.  NRC-PBI and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada produced the world’s largest Brassica Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) collection, which contributed to a repository of 437,000 Brassica ESTs that facilitated the design and construction of a high-density Brassica 94,000 feature CombiMatrix microarray.  This high-density array will assist in targeting research on developmental processes that control seed growth and size and the metabolic processes that control oil synthesis.

NRC-PBI identified a novel component of canola seed oil, which could contribute to control of human cholesterol levels.  NRC-PBI and NRC-INH continued to work together to test the pharmaceutical effect of canola seed oil with enhanced levels of this component, on the treatment of blood total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triacylglycerides. 

Leveraging federal science-based department’s and agencies’ collaborations to support National Security – Expected Results 3, 5.  With Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI) funding, NRC-INMS collaborated with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Defence Research and Development Canada and Ionalytics Corporation to develop analytical methodologies for the rapid and highly sensitive detection of chemical warfare agents, toxic agrochemicals and toxins.  In addition, a methodology for detection of trace levels of biotoxins within a variety of food matrices was developed.  These methodologies have improved Canada’s ability to respond to chemical related threats by decreasing the analysis time from hours to minutes and improving the detection power by an order of magnitude. 

The NRC Centre for Surface Transportation Technology worked closely with the Department of National Defence (DND) to provide engineering design and prototyping services for the integration of a full communications suite and electronics counter-measures protection.  The three-vehicle system is critical for proving and route clearing potentially dangerous vehicle throughways and thus keeping Canada’s soldiers safe.  Detailed knowledge of DND’s Light Armoured Vehicle designs enabled NRC to design and deliver a number of Electronic Warfare equipped vehicles with new, complex electronic sensor and on-board processing capabilities that detect hostile enemy electronic signals.

NRC-IRC collaborated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) on several projects concerning the design and assessment of the speech security of meeting rooms, primarily to determine whether eavesdroppers could hear or understand speech from an adjacent meeting room.  The work incorporated both physical measurements of building properties and subjective assessments of speech intelligibility into an accurate rating system.  To date, measurement procedures have been developed, building design procedures prepared for preconstruction consideration and a speech security guide written for the practitioner audience.  Work is continuing on a new American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard for measurement, updating the PWGSC Speech Security Best Practices Guide and the development of a quick measurement procedure for use during building construction or renovation.

Support Canada’s long-term competitiveness through the adoption and mutual recognition of international standards – Expected Results 1, 2, 6, 7.  Competing in the global marketplace continues to be increasingly important for Canada. NRC-INMS is Canada’s National Metrology Institute (NMI), determining standards and methods of measurement that impact directly on the ability of Canadian firms to trade internationally.  In 2007-08, the Institute continued to work internationally, representing Canada in metrology organizations such as Comite international des poids et mesures (CIPM) and the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM).  Institute staff participated in 35 CIPM Key Comparisons, which intended to demonstrate the equivalence of separate national measurement standards, ultimately reducing non-tariff trade barriers.  Staff also participated on ten CIPM international Consultative Committees (CCs), that guide the development of global measurement standards and oversee international comparisons amongst member organizations.

NRC-INMS analyzed, from a Canadian perspective, an international study on measurement needs in a variety of sectors that documented over 700 innovation impeding measurement issues, as identified by industry.  The Institute initiated preparation of a proposal to renew Canada’s measurement innovation infrastructure, based on interviews with stakeholders across industry and NRC.  Under the NRC-Nano initiative, funding was received to launch a project on metrology at the nanoscale, which was identified within the international study as a sector requiring new fundamental measurement science.

Leverage "Big Science" partnerships – Expected Results 3, 4, 7.  Astronomy is “Big Science” and the leverage of international partnerships opens large and challenging projects to Canadian industry.  In 2007-08, the NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (NRC-HIA) actively sought industrial participation in its projects and facilitated their engagement in other projects and related business ventures that make use of NRC technical and scientific expertise.  Notably, Nanowave Technologies of Etobicoke, Ontario licensed a component of the Band 3 receivers, developed by NRC for the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) , manufacturing the 300 amplifiers needed for ALMA and marketing the technology globally to universities, research labs and semiconductor companies to be used in telecommunication systems, solid state physics research, materials research and low temperature physics research.  The French Atomic Energy Commission has already purchased two amplifiers for its advanced nanomaterials research, as has the California-based Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy.

Facilitate the implementation of Canada’s Long Range Plan for Astronomy and Astrophysics (LRP) – Expected Results 4, 7.  NRC-HIA executed NRC’s mandate to “operate and administer any astronomical observatories established or maintained by the Government of Canada.”  This included activities at telescopes in Victoria and Penticton, as well international facilities including the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) and the Gemini Telescopes in Hawaii and Chile.  NRC-HIA is a key contributor to Canada’s Long Range Plan for Astronomy and Astrophysics (LRP), participating in key international astronomy projects.  In 2007-08, NRC-HIA continued to participate in construction of ALMA and prepared the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) Construction Proposal.  A prototype 10m composite antenna was manufactured in-house by an NRC-HIA team for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), attracting considerable international attention as a potential solution to providing the international SKA with low cost, high-performance collecting area.  Notable research achievements included the analysis of polarized radio emission from 1200 square degrees of the Milky Way.  This is an important step towards understanding the role of magnetic fields in the Milky Way and their influence on the processes of star birth and death.  As part of the Institute’s outreach program, the visitor centre in Victoria attracted about 10,000 Canadian schoolchildren and a comparable number of adults.

Program Activity: Technology and Industry Support

This program activity 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.

Financial Resources ($ millions)


Total Authorities






Human Resources (FTEs)








Performance Highlights
Performance Indicators
(as identified in the 2007-08 RPP)


New firm formation (incubating firms and co-locating firms)

  • 14.8% increase in incubating firms
  • 140 incubating firms

Investment attracted to the cluster

  • Over $155 million leveraged by NRC from the private and public sectors

Technology transfer

  • 98 licences issued

Knowledge dissemination

  • Technical, research and business assistance to 7,645 Canadian SMEs
  • Over 2,900 CTI services provided including user assistance, quick references, information searches, information reports, CTI briefs, scientific, technical and medical alerts, training and presentations

Highly-qualified personnel to Canada

  • Increased the number of graduate placements
  • 675 graduates including 331 new graduates provided with the opportunity to work with 454 SMEs across Canada

Client success

  • Firms exhibited an 11% increase in sales and a 14% increase in employment for each 1% increase in both contribution agreement funding and the supply of advisory services
  • 77% of SME clients indicated that NRC-IRAP “allowed (the) firm’s expansion”; with 60% stating that the impact was “moderate” to “large”
  • 75% of SMEs indicated that the Program “increased (the) company’s net worth”; with 53% identifying that the impact was “moderate” to “large”
  • Client-firms average growth in sales 28%, employment 30% and assets 15%

Economic, social and environmental impact

  • Between 2002 and 2007, the total wealth creation benefits of the Program were in the range of $2.3 and $6.5 billion.

Canada’s private sector is dominated by SMEs, of which 98% have fewer than 100 employees.  Within this context, Canadian SMEs often lack the capacity to invest in innovation to take full advantage of the outsourcing and off shoring realities of globalization and realize the opportunity that would make them key players internationally.  Clusters are broadly based community partnerships that focus on achieving competitiveness for Canadian industry and, as such, are an appropriate mechanism to encourage SMEs to invest together and share risks in pre-competitive R&D.

Nations around the world have recognized the central role of science and technology in addressing the challenges to competitiveness and productivity caused by the advent of globalization.  Many countries have recognized the importance and potential of technology clusters.  Business, academia and governments form partnerships.  Typically, the partners jointly develop a technology roadmap to identify critical research and technology domains important to the community.  This is the basis for coordinated and integrated action. 

A cluster’s lifecycle can be broken down into two phases.  Phase 1 - the first five years - focuses on augmenting the research and innovation capacity in communities.  The second phase focuses on attracting additional private sector partners, a more comprehensive integration of community players, the operation of infrastructure and technology transfer and commercialization. 

NRC’s Technology Clusters have encouraged research partnerships between federal, provincial, and municipal governments, industry, and the higher-education sector. Technology Clusters are accelerating the commercialization of new technologies produced by small and medium-sized firms and are building regional S&T capacity in key sectors and industries across Canada, including ocean technologies (St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador), aluminium technologies (Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean, Quebec) and fuel cells and hydrogen technologies (Vancouver, British Columbia).

The Government of Canada has injected staggered investments of $554 million in NRC’s 11 cluster initiatives since 1999-2000.  All of NRC’s technology cluster initiatives have received two phases of funding from the Government of Canada. Table 2-1 provides details on the financial resource allocations for the second phase funding cycles to date.

Table 2-1: Allocation of Resources for NRC Technology Cluster Development



2005-06 to 2009-10

Halifax, NS

Life sciences (NRC-IMB and NRC-IBD)

$19.5 million

Fredericton and Moncton, NB

Information technology and e-Business

$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

2007-08 to 2009-10

Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Aluminium transformation

$25.4 million1, 2

Ottawa, ON


$21.1 million

Winnipeg, MB

Biomedical technologies

$4.0 million

Saskatoon, SK

Plants for health and wellness

$3.2 million

Edmonton, AB


$34.5 million3

Vancouver, BC

Fuel cell and hydrogen technologies

$11.5 million

2008-09 to 2009-10

Charlottetown, PE

Nutrisciences and health

$8.0 million

Regina, SK

Sustainable infrastructure

$4.0 million

1 - An additional $5.0 million received in 2001-02.
2 - Economic Development for the Quebec regions contributed $27.0 million to this initiative in 2001-02.
3 - The Province of Alberta also contributed $60.0 million over the period 2003-04 to 2007-08

Delivering on Expected Results

For NRC, conducting world-class research is only part of the journey towards Canadian success within the domestic and global marketplace.  NRC is also the bridge that connects industry and key innovation players to this leading research and IP, supporting the development and commercialization of new technology for Canadian firms.  NRC programs support a range of industry players, from start-ups and incubating firms to established companies that already compete globally.  Wide dissemination of scientific and technical innovations (creating a Knowledge Advantage) to Canada’s industrial, research, and academic communities (creating a People Advantage), ultimately leads to enhanced Canadian economic activity through commercialization of new technologies (creating an Entrepreneurial Advantage).  The remainder of this section illustrates how NRC achieved the expected results of this program activity, which were:

Expected Results:        

  1. Contribution to the federal S&T Strategy and initiatives
  2. Advancement of new technology companies
  3. Access to new technologies for Canadian companies through patents and licensing
  4. Enhanced innovation capacity of firms
  5. Improved dissemination of knowledge
  6. Support to Canadian industry

Achievements against the expected results are highlighted below. The results are organized in terms of contributions to the three advantages of the federal S&T Strategy.

Knowledge Advantage

Engage and link community groups through horizontal support (NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI) – Expected Results 1, 2, 4, 6. In 2007-08, NRC-IRAP continued to engage and link regional groups to develop further the technical, financial and business networks vital to cluster development.  This year, NRC-IRAP contributed $1.55 million of NRC cluster funding to 45 different innovation support organizations within six NRC technology clusters, which ensured that SMEs had access to needed pre-commercialization support.  This included NRC-IRAP support to industry-driven organizations that promoted regional technology clusters, such as Newfoundland’s OceansAdvance, PEI’s BioAllliance, Saskatchewan’s Biomedical Commercialization Canada and Manitoba’s BioAccess Commercialization Centre.

A study conducted in British Columbia indicated that when compared to non NRC-IRAP clients, the Program’s client firm revenues and employment growth were higher by more than 20% - 30%.  Furthermore, payroll grew faster for NRC-IRAP clients than non-clients by about 25%.  Shareholder equity growth of clients outperformed that of non-clients by a factor of almost seven.

NRC-IRAP also directly contributed to the growth of 30 individual firms within the NRC clusters by providing a total of $1.28 million non-repayable contributions, on a cost-shared basis for their respective technological research projects.  NRC-IRAP fully expended its NRC cluster funding, leveraging an additional $15 million of R&D expenditure within seven technology clusters in which NRC participates. 

During 2007-08, NRC-CISTI’s Information Intelligence Services program offered a range of products and services to NRC-IRAP industrial technology advisors and their SME clients through a network of specialists in 17 communities from coast to coast.  NRC-CISTI staff, who are co-located in 9 regional technology clusters, provided scientific, technical, medical and business-related information, search and analysis services to NRC researchers, companies located in industrial partnership facilities and external clients within the region.

In addition, NRC-CISTI provided regional clients with more than just access to scientific, technical and medical information, as it provided answers supporting business decisions.  NRC-CISTI provided NRC-IRAP industrial technology advisors with competitive technical intelligence (CTI) that contributed to successful regional client SME commercialization outcomes.  CTI has demonstrably led to reduced risk of NRC-IRAP investments and commercial success for SMEs. The information and analyzes helped to establish the technical feasibility and market potential of a product, strengthened business cases and identified potential partners.  Impact statements collected from participants in 2007‑08 include:

  • “Without the CTI Brief, [NRC-]IRAP would not have invested in the technology.”
  • “The SME followed up on [NRC-]CISTI alternative product suggestions by looking at other applications of the technology.”
  • “[NRC-]CISTI information helped to get the company to move in a new direction.”

Enhance collaborative partnerships – Expected Results 2, 5, 6.  In 2007-08, NRC increased its efforts to develop collaborations and partnerships with industry and engage stakeholders to contribute to the development of clusters across Canada.  NRC-IRAP is a key integrator and attractor and brings synergy to the clusters.  NRC-IRAP’s approach to building and supporting technology clusters differs from and builds on, its usual method of reacting to a specific firm need.  The cluster approach is community, not firm-based; proactive, not reactive; benefits are intended to accrue to all players within the cluster supply chain, not just one firm; and support is targeted to the specific needs of the cluster’s stage of development, not on one organization’s readiness.  As one example, in 2007-08, NRC-IRAP supported New Brunswick SMEs in the fields of knowledge management and semantic web techniques, helping them collaborate on proposals for national tenders to attract business opportunities flowing from the rest of Canada.  Additionally, over the last three years, numerous small contracts in the areas of website creation, international website standards analysis and graphic design have led to various collaborations between members of this network.  The network enabled members to become better acquainted with one another and to develop an interest in collaborating through their own initiatives.  This year members of the Centre international de développement de l'inforoute en francais (CIDIF) network identified a major opportunity, prepared a joint proposal and were awarded a contract from Canadian Heritage for a project titled “Knock on Wood” worth approximately $400,000.

Focus on cluster growth to create critical mass and build community innovation capacity – Expected Results 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.  The successful growth of dynamic technology clusters will not be the result of a single organization – clustering is a collaborative and iterative process that requires active commitment from all stakeholders.  NRC contributed to the growth of Canadian technology clusters by:

  • Bringing the leadership needed to gather stakeholders together to define a collective vision
  • Building trust within a cluster by fostering networking and collaborative R&D between firms
  • Motivating other levels of government to share in the vision
  • Maximizing the use of scarce resources by leveraging funds (e.g., investing in much-needed scientific infrastructure, sharing experts between universities and NRC labs)
  • Establishing a focal point for the cluster by acting as a neutral ground for the private sector to meet and attract in outside investment
  • Identifying bottlenecks to SME growth and creating targeted solutions for technology transfer and commercialization
  • Connecting firms and researchers across the country and around the world through its national mandate and international reputation

The following are examples of cluster initiatives that NRC moved forward in 2007-08:

  • Nanotechnology (Alberta) – NRC is helping Canada stake its place in nanotechnology through its role in NINT, a multi-disciplinary institution funded by the federal government, the University of Alberta and the Government of Alberta.  NINT’s goal is to deliver nanotechnology applications in areas that can create and grow a sustained cluster of high technology industries that deliver social and economic benefits to Alberta and to Canada.  The focus of NINT’s research is the integration of nano-scale devices and materials into complex nanosystems that are connected to the outside world.  During the reporting period, patents were filed for nanostructured high surface area electrodes and for porous thin-filmed optical devices, both technologies that have applications in energy devices and flat-panel displays.  Licensing discussions for technology transfer to the private sector are ongoing.  

    NINT continued to work with nanoMEMS Edmonton and Tec Edmonton to bring together local proponents and accelerate the growth of nanotechnology by attracting firms and investment to the region.  The NINT Innovation Centre opened in 2007-08, after the completion of extensive space improvements and development of private sector occupation policies.  Six industrial tenants were signed, occupying over 20% of the available space.
  • Biosciences (Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan) – NRC-INH continued working with the PEI biosciences cluster to support its development.  NRC-INH played a key role, through its IPF to attract six new ventures to the cluster, with two others currently competing for the final IPF spaces.  In 2007-08, NRC-INH had nine active collaborative research agreements with cluster members totalling $4.9 millioin in value and 13 fee-for-service agreements generating more than $350,000 in revenue with industry partners.  NRC-INH assisted these private sector firms to improve their intellectual property portfolios, with one firm filing for patent protection jointly with NRC.  During 2007-08, NRC-PBI made significant investments in research and development infrastructure to support the growth of the Plant Biotechnology Cluster in Saskatoon.  Specifically, it acquired instrumentation to improve sensitivity, increase the range and reduce the analysis time for hormone profiling.  It also purchased a state of the art DNA Sequencer (one of only three in Canada) to enable cluster participants to resolve hundreds of DNA sequences in one run. Research, development and commercialization activities in these clusters focused on the federal S&T Strategy research priority – health and related life sciences and technologies.

Build on successes from NRC’s Atlantic Initiatives, Phase I – Expected Results 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.  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 continued to be a key provider of innovation infrastructure and programs, to bridge R&D to innovative New Brunswick products.  NRC-IIT jointly filed a patent with the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute on the biomarker for prostate cancer.  The technology enables the cost effective and highly accurate sorting and analysis of gene-expression data and won the Canadian Information Productivity Awards Gold Award for Innovation in November 2007.  Complementary development for identifying colon cancer biomarkers was completed and a patent is currently pending for this technology. Research, development and commercialization activities in this cluster focused on the federal S&T Strategy research priority – information and communications technologies.
  • Ocean Technologies (Newfoundland and Labrador)NRC-IOT continued to lead the ocean technology cluster-building process by working with industry, government and academia.  Industry participation in the Cluster grew steadily throughout the year.  Companies in the Cluster now number more than 50, with an increase of 15% over the previous year.  Those companies have spent about $17 million on R&D activities during the reporting period and generated some $259 million in total sales revenue.  Building on Atlantic Investment Partnership (AIP) funding, NRC-IOT opened the Ocean Technology Enterprise Centre (OTEC), which operated at full capacity during the reporting period.  OceansAdvance, the public-private joint venture created to drive cluster development, completed a strategic planning exercise, resulting in the development of a 10-year ocean technology growth strategy.  OceansAdvance, NRC and the Provincial Government also released the inaugural Ocean Technology Cluster Tech-Knowledge Map during the year. Research, development and commercialization activities in this cluster focused on the federal S&T Strategy research priority – natural resources and energy.
  • Life Sciences (Nova Scotia) – The Life Sciences cluster in Nova Scotia is a well-established and diverse community of private sector companies, academic institutions, government departments and industry organizations.  NRC-IMB established its role within the cluster as a direct research and development support mechanism for industry.  The NRC-IMB IPF provided fee-for-service testing, technical instrumentation training, access to laboratory equipment and networking opportunities for cluster members during the reporting period.  Currently IMB has 29 active agreements with partners, valued at more than $12 million.  The NRC-IBD Biomedical Research Laboratory, located at IWK Hospital in Halifax, held its grand opening in the fall of 2007 and is ready for collaborative efforts with partners such as Dalhousie University. Research, development and commercialization activities in this cluster focused on the federal S&T Strategy research priority – health and related life sciences and technologies.

Build on the success of the Information Intelligence Services program – Expected Results 1, 5, 6. NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI continued to develop capacity to provide CTI and information analysis services in order to provide best-in-class strategic advice to cluster participants and optimize NRC investments.  NRC-CISTI’s Information Intelligence Services offered a range of products and services to R&D clients across the country, as highly-trained technical business analysts prepared reports to facilitate client decisions on technology investments and research directions.  NRC-IRAP developed in-house capabilities to capture CTI.  ITAs capitalized on CTI to support their capability to provide advisory services to clients and to help them make the best possible investments with client firms.  Client satisfaction is high, with a recent survey of Atlantic Region NRC-IRAP industrial technology advisors rating the CTI service at 4.6 out of 5.

Offer Scientific and Technical information and intelligence – a Knowledge Advantage to Canadian industry – Expected Results 1, 5, 6. NRC-CISTI is Canada’s national science library and one of the largest comprehensive source of scientific, technical and medical information in North America.  Through its publishing arm, NRC Research Press, NRC-CISTI is also Canada’s foremost scientific publisher.  NRC-CISTI's information specialists, technical business analysts and technical information analysts provide value-added information services and competitive technical intelligence reports to NRC-IRAP SMEs, NRC researchers and other clients through the NRC Information Centers co-located with NRC institutes across Canada.

NRC-IBD, along with NRC partners NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI worked directly with SMEs, bringing research strengths and business expertise to bear on market-driven challenges and opportunities and enhancing their competitiveness.  Together, the three Institutes produced the award-winning Medical Technology Watch newsletter, which enhances awareness in the medical devices sector. 

In 2007-08, NRC-CISTI continued to provide Canada’s research and innovation community with tools and services for accelerated discovery, innovation and commercialization of research.  It created value for Canadians by improving the flow of scientific information in three ways:

  • collaborating with partners to develop a networked cyber-infrastructure to provide enhanced access to the world’s electronic scientific, technical and medical research information and data, encompassing new and existing open access content repositories and intelligent search and analysis applications; 
  • developing and supporting Canada’s electronic scientific publishing infrastructure by integrating online peer review, editing and publishing tools and Web 2.0 features to enable dissemination and discovery of Canadian research worldwide; and
  • expanding services to support commercialization and SMEs, such as competitive technical intelligence and patent information analysis – “actionable” information.

NRC-CISTI’s National Science Library document delivery service filled 485,000 document orders in 2007-08, half from Canadians.  Core clients were in the academic, health, government and industry sectors, with 29 clients from amongst the top 60 R&D spenders in Canada.  NRC-CISTI continued to innovate, launching a suite of services under the Discover banner to give Canadians faster and easier access to 15 million articles in the collection, which is being strengthened in the areas of health, the nine key R&D sectors identified in the NRC strategy and resources to support commercialization of research.  The NRC Virtual Library provided NRC institute researchers with desktop access to licensed electronic journals and databases.  This past year NRC-CISTI significantly expanded NRC researcher access to scientific, technical and medical research publications by subscribing to Scopus, a searchable database of article abstracts with citations from 15,000 peer-reviewed journals as well as conference proceedings, patents and other content from around the world.  NRC professionals made 258,000 NRC Virtual Library site visits in 2007-08, an increase of 12.5% over the previous year.

In 2007-08, NRC provided funding for the development of the NRC Publications Archives, a NRC-CISTI-hosted open access repository of research papers and articles authored by researchers across NRC, who collectively produce more than 3,500 articles per year.  Free access to NRC publications increased the visibility and impact of federally-funded research in Canada and around the world.  CISTI Lab, an open virtual platform for demonstrating and evaluating prototype knowledge discovery applications such as text mining, visualization tools and research paper citation analysis, was implemented in 2007. 

The NRC Research Press publishes 16 scientific journals with 13,900 subscribers in 101 countries.  In 2007-08, 6,192 authors were published in these respected peer-reviewed journals.  In addition, the Press publishes 15 journals on behalf of client scholarly societies.  The 31 journals combined represent 40% of the scientific, technical and medical journals published in Canada.  Of the 30 editors, 28 are Canadians with a Ph.D. level education; 9 editorial offices are co-located at Canadian universities, enhancing the global reputations of these professors and their faculties and universities.  In addition, the Press published 5 books in 2007-08, with another 9 in production, most available in both print and electronic formats.

The Press leads in Canadian electronic publishing innovation: its 16 journals are published in electronic format, 14 of which now include multimedia publishing capacity and reference linking.  The project to digitize journal back issues – a million pages - was completed in 2007 making decades of Canadian research only a few clicks away.  A project to digitize more than 75 years of The Forestry Chronicles back issues was also completed.  The federal Depository Services Program funds free electronic access to 15 Research Press journals by Canadians.  About 600,000 article downloads in 2007 validates the importance of this scientific resource.  The Press continues to explore open access business models, launching the fee-based Open Article option in January 2008 that offers authors the choice of making their articles available free upon publication. 

The Information Intelligence Services program specialists locate, filter and analyze information, meeting a growing and crucial need for Canadian entrepreneurs in an era of information overload, fast innovation and international competition.  In 2007‑08, there were 19,500 literature searches, patent analyzes, reports and other deliverables supplied to NRC institute and cluster clients and an additional 2,900 deliverables to IRAP ITAs.  In 2007-08, the program expanded to provide services on a cost-recovery basis.  For example, these services are contracted to the Centre québécois de valorisation des biotechnologies until 2010, the first agreement with a non-governmental organization. 

People Advantage

Attracting and Retaining Highly-Skilled Workers – Expected Results 1, 4.  In January 2008 the opening occurred of the Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Imaging Lab (BMRL), located in the IWK Health Centre, Halifax.  This is a direct result of a thriving collaborative partnership between IWK and the National Research Council (NRC). The state-of-the-art research facilities will attract world-class researchers and physicians. Improved health outcomes will result from the sophisticated technology-driven assessment approaches used in the new lab.

Providing Work Experience to Canada’s Youth – Expected Results 1, 4.  The renewal of the NRC-IRAP’s terms and conditions allows the NRC-IRAP to continue to deliver two federal Youth Employment Strategy (YES) initiatives. These initiatives allow graduates to gain valuable work experience and firms access to up-to-date skills and expertise. In 2007-08, there was an increase in the graduate placements with approximately 675 graduates including 331 new graduates provided with the opportunity to work with 454 SMEs across Canada ($4.99 million from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) and $1.15 million from NRC-IRAP).

Community Outreach – Expected Results 1, 4.  In 2007-08, NRC took over the leadership of the Canadian National Marsville Program – a national science promotion initiative that involves some 3,000 grade 6-8 students from across Canada who work in teams to solve problems and develop a simulated Mars habitat. This Program is being expanded to encompass other regions, with a goal of having a site in every province and territory. NRC is also actively engaged in the Science Culture and Entrepreneurship initiative being led by NSERC and Industry Canada.

These activities are in addition to NRC’s other science outreach programming including National Science and Technology Week, National Engineering Week, Sanofi-Aventis Biotalent Competition, the S&T Awareness Network and others, as well as its nation-wide distribution of hundreds of thousands of education materials to schools across Canada such as the Periodic Table of the Elements, Biotechnology fact sheets, and the Canadian Skies posters.  Of note, the visitor’s centre at the NRC-Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics in Victoria, British Columbia, was selected in recent yearsas one of the top 10 places for families to visit by the Victoria vacation guide.

Entrepreneurial Advantage

Expand network of Industrial Partnership Facilities (IPFs) – Expected Results 1, 2, 4.  In support of its cluster development activities, NRC continued to develop, build and operate Industry Partnership Facilities (IPFs) across Canada.  These unique facilities are workplaces for collaborative research and the incubation of new firms and NRC spin-offs.  They also serve as community resources for access to mentoring, innovation financing and competitive technical intelligence for new enterprises.  In 2007-08, NRC had 15 IPF locations across the country with a complement of 140 incubating firms.  With the addition of a new facility opening in Edmonton in 2007-08, the total space available in NRC IPFs is 30,458 square metres.

Table 2-2:  NRC’s Industry Partnership Facilities



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)2


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)


in operation







1 - due to increased space demands, Institute made additional space available to firms
2 - space previously designated as IPF space in Victoria has been allocated to LRP work (NRC-HIA)
3 - additional space allocated to the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre (ORIC) (NRC-HIA)
4 - due to an addition error the total area of IPFs was reported as 30,448 m2 in 2006-07.  The correct area should have been 30,458 m2

Develop a medium for regional delivery of national initiatives – Expected Results 1, 3, 4, 6.  By establishing regional networks of clusters of firms and other community stakeholders, NRC is ensuring that its national R&D and commercialization support programs are accessible and remain regionally relevant.  Overall, NRC’s cluster initiatives give Canada’s national R&D organization the capacity to:

  • better understand the innovation needs of regions
  • engage regional industry leaders to determine how best to deliver nationally-driven services and support
  • physically deliver regionally tailored R&D and commercialization services and support that meet the needs of private industry

Encourage more involvement / commitment of cluster partners – Expected Results 1, 2, 3, 5. In 2007-08, NRC followed-up on the results and lessons learned from the evaluations of its cluster initiatives.

  • Medical Devices Technology (Manitoba) – The Manitoba biomedical cluster experienced a number of impressive accomplishments over the reporting period.  IMRIS, a spin-off of NRC-IBD was successfully listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in November 2007 with a $40 million IPO – the largest medical device IPO in Canadian history.  IMRIS continued its strong growth, with employment of over 100 people and a market capitalization of over $120 million.  Another cluster member, Intelligent Hospital Systems, also received $7.6 million of financing from BDC Venture Capital, Wellington West and Western Life Sciences Fund.  Incubator capacity was established within the cluster, resulting in start-up and early stage firms migrating to a formal incubator environment.  Koven technologies Inc. (an NRC-IBD IPF partner) received the CE mark, becoming approved for European sales of its in-situ vascular bypass device.  Kent Imaging Inc. (an NRC-IBD spin-off), which produces a near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) device for biomedical imaging, was selected for the Minnesota Life Sciences Alley product showcase and garnered investor interest.  Fermion Inc. (an NRC-IBD IPF partner), which produced a detection device, won the Business of Science Competition in October of 2007 and was showcased at the 2008 World’s Best Technology in Texas.
  • Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (Ontario) – This partnership among NRC, the Province of Ontario and Carleton University provides fabrication and prototyping services, as well as expertise and advice to photonics firms across the country – an example of a practical approach that fosters knowledge transfer and commercialization among different levels of government and universities. During the reporting period, the NRC Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC) completed updating its draft technology roadmap, identifying the materials platforms and types of devices required to align with the five sectors critical for Canada (information and communications technology, energy and lighting, biomedical and health, defence security, space and environmental). Five successful workshops on photonic sub-sectoral activities were delivered across the country, including photonics in manufacturing (Toronto), photonics in ICT (Ottawa), photonics in defence and security (Montreal), photonics in energy and environment (Edmonton) and photonics in life sciences and biotechnology (Toronto). Additionally, NRC-CPFC worked with the Canadian Photonics Consortium, engaging Canadian photonics companies to study the status and impact of photonics in Canada and its place within the international photonics community.

Integrated Industry Support that Engages Key Players – Expected Results 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. To support the Government of Canada’s S&T Strategy, and in particular its commercialization priority, the NRC TIS portfolio worked closely with the NRC R&D portfolio to increase commercialization outcomes.  This included 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 collaborated with key partners to develop strategic initiatives to accelerate the successful competitiveness/commercialization of new technologies.  TIS also helped to fuel the growth and innovative capacity of SMEs and continued to streamline its approach to intellectual property management and the transfer of technology.

Build innovation capacity within SMEs – Expected Results 1, 4, 5. Since its inception, close to 60 years ago, NRC-IRAP has provided support to Canadian SMEs, broadening its 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.  SMEs engaging in high-risk, technologically sophisticated R&D face increasingly complex challenges.  NRC-IRAP supported 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.

The 2007 NRC-IRAP Impact Evaluation report8 stated “…NRC-IRAP client firms have experienced growth, both in real and comparative terms.  Over the five year evaluation period (2002-03 to 2006-07) client firm sales grew on average by just over 28%, overall firm employment grew by 30% and company assets grew on average by 15%... By contributing to the development of research and development capacity, the overall growth of SMEs, the commercialization of new products, services and process, as well as the creation of new knowledge and intellectual property, NRC-IRAP has positively stimulated overall innovation in Canadian SMEs and in Canada as a whole.”

Offer comprehensive commercialization support, including technology transfer and intellectual property management – Expected Results 1, 3, 6.  During 2006-07, NRC undertook an in-depth examination of all its industry support programs, policies and practices as part of a project called Business Review.  This project was launched to ensure NRC was well-equipped and well-positioned to carry out client-based activities described in NRC’s Strategy, Science at Work for Canada.  Recommendations from the Business Review project included: working increasingly on an industry-sector basis; increasing NRC’s capacity to develop industrially relevant technologies and their commercialization; and ensuring NRC’s internal operations make it easier for its institutes and programs to serve clients.  The recommendations also included establishment of a corporate business group.

Central Business ServicesExpected Results 1, 5, 6.  In early 2007, the NRC Senior Executive Committee approved the recommendations from the Business Review project, including a one-year pilot expansion of the corporate business group.  The expanded corporate business group provided targeted support to NRC’s key industry sectors, ensuring that their planning activities in 2007-08 received the industry sector and market focus required to address adequately client needs and opportunities.  At the end of the reporting period, the pilot was deemed a success, culminating in the permanent establishment of the Central Business Support (CBS) group.

Improve NRC’s Intellectual Property Management – Expected Results 1, 3, 5, 6. Guided by both a 2003 benchmarking study of best practices in IP management and the results of the Business Review project (described above), NRC continued to strengthen its IP management.  This work was a priority of the pilot-project CBS group, which successfully launched a project called Disclosure Review to examine NRC’s invention disclosures for both IP protection and patentability.  NRC institutes utilized the results from the project to guide their research, protection and marketing strategies.  Additionally, CBS offered technology assessment services and increased access to market research tools to NRC institutes.  Collaborations with NRC-CISTI were initiated to assist NRC clients with market and patent examinations.  Specific activities included increased focus on high value IP; increased use of technology assessments; increased market research tools and, adoption of the world’s best practices and tools.

8 -

Contributions to inter-departmental efforts to support the federal S&T Strategy – Expected Results 1, 4, 6. NRC is actively involved in the interdepartmental effort to implement the new federal S&T Strategy.  NRC participates on the ADM Committee on S&T, which is the whole-of-government coordinating committee for the federal S&T community and has been charged with overseeing implementation of the new S&T Strategy and monitoring progress. NRC also has membership on the Director General Sub-Committee on S&T Strategy Implementation (DGSI) and most of the 11 working groups mandated to address specific strategy commitments; NRC is leading two of these working groups.

In terms of NRC’s leadership of these two working group, NRC is making good progress in implementing a plan developed with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to deliver upon a specific commitment of the federal S&T Strategy—the alignment of these three organizations’ programs and activities.  Key progress to date includes: finalizing an action plan; the establishment of a governance structure with a steering committee, creation of a working group and five regional “hub” committees; co-location of staff from the three organizations; increasing awareness of each others programs; and initiation of pilot projects in shared due diligence. Work will be undertaken in 2008 to consider how the alignment exercise could be broadened to include other federal organizations.

NRC has also been co-leading with Industry Canada an interdepartmental effort to review federal intellectual property policies announced in the S&T Strategy.  Two background studies, a literature review and a map of whole-of-government and organization-specific IP policies and practices, were completed in March 2008. A final report, with recommendations for addressing key issues of concern and opportunities, is expected in fall 2008.

Section III – Supplementary Information

NRC's Link to the Government of Canada Outcome Areas

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

Program Activity

Actual Spending 2007-08 ($ million)

Alignment to Government of Canada Outcome Area




Program Activity: Research and Development




An innovative and knowledge-based economy

Program Activity: Technology and Industry Support




Strong economic growth

NRC's Research and Development Program Activity contributes to an innovative and knowledge-based economy by undertaking, assisting and promoting scientific and industrial research. NRC is the federal government's primary provider of research and research facilities. It pursues cutting-edge R&D that supports the growth of Canadian industry and uncovers solutions to national challenges in health, climate change, the environment, clean energy, and other fields. NRC identifies Canada's S&T opportunities and adapts its scientific research and development activities to meet national needs and priorities.

NRC’s Technology and Industry Support Program Activity contributes to strong economic growth through is industry and commercialization support.  Canadian companies access the program’s leading-edge knowledge and technology through collaborative agreements and partnerships; and commercialize products and services by licensing the use of NRC’s patents.  Leading-edge technology opens new markets to Canadian companies and provides them with a competitive advantage in the world market.  A strong domestic economy benefits Canadians.

In addition, NRC contributes indirectly to the Government of Canada outcome areas: A Clean and Healthy Environment and Healthy Canadians.  Environmental stewardship is not only driven through policy, but through technological capability as well.  NRC provides leading-edge research into alternative energy technologies, such as fuel cells and hydrogen and contributes to advanced and efficient manufacturing within the automotive and aerospace sectors.  R&D activities centering on oceans and bioremediation also contributed toward a sustainable healthy environment for Canadians and the entire world.  NRC contributes to improving the health of Canadians through R&D activities targeted at nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and innovative medical diagnostics and treatment protocols.  Harnessing the characteristics of plants for improving health is a growing field and NRC research is helping Canadian companies along this path.

NRC Resources

Table 3-1

Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending (incl. Full-time Equivalents)

Table 3-2

Voted and Statutory Items

Table 3-3

Sources of Respendable Revenues

Table 3-4

Resource Requirement by Branch or Sector

Table 3-5

A. User Fee Act
B. Policy on Service Standards for External Fees

Table 3-6

Details on Project Spending

Table 3-7

Details on Transfer Payments Programs (TPPs)

Table 3-8

Horizontal Initiatives

Table 3-9

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Table 3-10

A. Internal Audits
B. Evaluations

Table 3-11

Travel Policies

Table 3-12

Financial Statements

Table 3-1: Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending, incl. FTE (millions of dollars)



Program Activity

2005-06 Actual

2006-07 Actual

Main(1) Estimates

Planned Spending

Total Authorities


Research and Development







Technology and Industry Support






















Less: Spending of Revenues Pursuant to section 5(1)(e) of the NRC Act







Plus: Cost of Services received without charge(2)







Net cost of Department














Full Time Equivalents (FTE)









  1. Respendable revenue and employee benefit plans are already in the Main Estimates total.
  2. Services received without charge include accommodation provided by PWGSC, the employer's share of employees' insurance premiums, Audit Services received from the OAG, Payroll services provided by PWGSC, Workers' Compensation coverage provided by Human Resources and Social Development Canada, and services received from the Department of Justice Canada (see Table 3-4)
  • Due to rounding, figures may not add to total shown.

Table 3-2: Voted and Statutory Items (millions of dollars)




Vote or Statutory Item

Truncated Vote or Statutory Wording

Main Estimates

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Total Actuals


National Research Council Program






Operating expenditures






Capital expenditures






Grants and contributions






Spending of revenues pursuant to the National Research Council Act






Contributions to employee benefit plans






Spending of proceeds from Disposal of Crown Assets






Collection Agency Fees













  • Due to rounding, figures may not add to total shown.

Table 3-3: Sources of Respendable Revenue (millions of dollars)





Program Activity

Actual 2005-06

Actual 2006-07

Main Estimates

Planned Revenue

Total Authorities


Research and Development







Fee for Service



































Revenues Available for Use from Prior Years














Technology and Industry Support







Fee for Service



































Revenues Available for Use from Prior Years














Total Respendable Revenues















  • In accordance with section 5.1 (e) of the National Research Council Act, NRC is authorized to spend its operating revenues and therefore does not net-vote.
  • Due to rounding, figures may not add to total shown.

Table 3-4: Resource Requirements by Branch or Sector (millions of dollars)



Research and Development

Technology and Industry Support


Research Institutes




Main Estimates




Planned Spending




Total Authorities








Industrial Research Assistance Program




Main Estimates




Planned Spending




Total Authorities








Scientific and Technical Information




Main Estimates




Planned Spending




Total Authorities








Technology Centres




Main Estimates




Planned Spending




Total Authorities












Main Estimates




Planned Spending




Total Authorities










  • Due to rounding, figures may not add to total shown.

Table 3-5A: User Fees

A. User Fee

Fee Type

Fee Setting Authority

Date Last Modified

Fees charged for the processing of access requests filed under the Access to Information Act (ATIA)

Other products and services (O)

Access to Information Act


B. Date Last Modified:  N/A

C.Other Information:  National Research Council collects user fees for information requests in accordance to the Access to Information Act.  The total user fees collected in 2007-2008 included application fees only.


Table 3-5A: User Fees - Continued


Forecast Revenue

Actual Revenue

Full Cost

Performance Standard1

Performance Results1



This cost includes the salary of the ATIA Coordinator and two ATIA Officers and a small percentage of other salaries related to legal services and administration.

Response provided within 30 days following receipt of request; the response time may be extended pursuant to Section 9 of the ATIA.  Notice of extension to be sent within 30 days after receipt of request.
The Access to Information Act provides fuller details:

NRC received 57access to information requests and 17 consultations from other government departments.
NRC routinely waives fees in accordance with TBS guidelines.






Table 3-5A: User Fees - Continued

Planning Years

Fiscal Year

Forecast Revenue

Estimated Full Cost














1 - Note:  According to prevailing legal opinion, where the corresponding fee introduction or most recent modification occurred prior to March 31, 2004:

  • the performance standard, if provided, may not have received parliamentary review; and
  • the performance standards, if provided, may not respect all establishment requirements under the UFA (e.g., international comparison; independent complaint address).
  • the performance result, if provided, is not legally bound to section 5.1 of the UFA regarding fee reductions for unachieved performance.

Table 3-5B: Policy on Service Standards for External Fees

In November 2004, Treasury Board ministers approved the Policy on Service Standards for External Fees.  The Policy requires departments to report on the establishment of service standards for all external fees charged on a non-contractual basis.  In NRC’s context, this policy applies to the following programs:

  • NRC-CISTI Document Delivery
  • NRC-IRC Publication Sales
  • The Certified Reference Materials Program jointed operated by NRC-INMS and NRC-IMB

A. External Fee

Service Standard

2007-08 Performance Result

Stakeholder Consultation

Fees charged for NRC-CISTI Document Delivery

Direct – ordered electronically and delivered by Ariel or fax

Process ordered within 24 hours*

Delivered 82% of direct orders within 24 hours

NRC-CISTI conducted a LIbQUAL+™ Survey of NRC employees in 2007.  LibQUAL+™ is an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) survey instrument used to evaluate client satisfaction with services.

Responses from 521 researchers indicated high demand for more information literacy training and value-added and filtered information.  The full report is available from NRC-CISTI.

Outsell Inc. was commissioned by CISTI in 2007 to identify the knowledge discovery needs and information workflows of scientific, technical and medical researchers.  This information will be used in the design of new or updated CISTI products and services to meet researchers’ needs.

Direct - ordered and/or delivered non-electronically

Direct - ordered electronically and delivered by Secure Desktop Delivery

Global – copies and loans

Receive article they are seeking

88% of orders filled.


Receive a response to orders within 2 hours

99.7% of clients received response within 2 hours.

Client Contacts

Client Satisfaction: less than 3% of orders processed result in client Help Desk contacts

2.8% result in client Help Desk contacts.

NRC-IRC Publication Sales

Order Processing

Orders processed within 2 weeks of receiving all required information.



Client Comments/Complaints

Respond within 2 business days



Request for Information

Acknowledged with 2 business days


In many cases, the response required coordination of input from other programs.

Certified Reference Materials Program (NRC-IMB)


Process and ship within 3 business days of receiving all the required information


Response rate:98%
75% very satisfied
19% satisfied
2% somewhat satisfied
2% dissatisfied

Delivery Time

Deliver within the 5 business days

87% - 13% delayed mainly due to Custom regulations

Certified Reference Materials Program (NRC-INMS)

Turnaround time between reception of order and shipping of order

3 business days

717 orders 
92.2% met the standard.  Those delayed due to personnel shortages for short periods during 3 months.  During the remaining 9 months of the year, the combined percentage of orders, which met the standard, was 99.4%.

6.6% of customers responded:
62% very satisfied
34% satisfied
4% somewhat satisfied
0% very dissatisfied
Assuming that 100% of non-respondents were satisfied, the overall percentage of customers who were satisfied or very satisfied is 715 out of 717, or 99.7%.

The Chemical Metrology Group Leader, the Manager of Business Development and the Quality System Coordinator reviewed all comments and complaints with possible action items.


Table 3-6: Details on Project Spending (millions of dollars)



Program Activity

Current Estimated Total Cost

Actual 2005-06

Actual 2006-07

Total Main Estimates

Total Planned Spending

Total Authorities










Research and Development








Advanced Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre, Project Close-out Phase, (S-EPA)








Aluminium Technology Centre, Project Close-out Phase, (S-EPA)








Construction of the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre, Project Close-out Phase, (S-EPA)








Construction of an Industrial Partnership Facility (IPF) adjacent to NRC-IBD, Project Close-out Phase, (S-EPA)








Move of the National Research Council's Innovation Centre, Project Close-out Phase, (S-EPA)








Construction of Industry Partnership Facility (IPF) at NRC-IMB, Project Close-out Phase, (DA)








Lease Project Approval for the National Institute for Nanotechnology, Project Implementation Phase (I-LPA)








Lease Project Approval for the Institute for Nutrisciences and Health, Project Implementation Phase (I-LPA)










  • Due to rounding, figures may not add to total shown.

Table 3-7:  Details on Transfer Payments Programs (TPPs)

NRC manages the following transfer payment programs:

  • Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
  • Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF)
  • Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, Gemini Telescopes

1) Name of Transfer Payment Program:  Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)

2) Start Date:  1962-1963

3) End Date:  ongoing

4) Description:
NRC-IRAP is NRC’s innovation and technology assistance program in support of Canadian SMEs.  NRC-IRAP and its predecessors have been helping Canadian firms innovate in order to improve their competitive technological performance for 60 years.  NRC-IRAP provides comprehensive innovation assistance, including technical and competitive information, advisory services, financial assistance for technology projects and strengthening innovation support and entrepreneurial skills building to technology-based SMEs in almost every industrial sector of importance to Canada's current and future economic development.

5) Strategic Outcomes:
Ability to influence the growth of companies through the development/adaptation of innovative technologies and by extension ensures economic prosperity for Canada.  NRC-IRAP will measure this by reviewing the:

  • Increase in the growth of its client companies by analyzing their increase in gross revenues or profits and their ability to create employment opportunities
  • Increase in the number of its clients that successfully commercialize their products, services and processes
  • Increase in the number of clients that reach and compete in new markets

Immediate and Intermediate Outcomes
Financial and Advisory Outcomes

  • Increased SME technical R&D capability and capacity
  • Increased SME management, marketing and finance capability and capacity
  • Growth of firms as a result of technology development project support

Networking Outcomes

  • Enhanced SME connections to technology and business networks to source support
  • Increased innovation-related services available to SMEs
  • Greater number and stronger innovation players with increased consortia within the community
  • Increased understanding of international opportunities
  • Increased adoption/commercialization/collaboration with respect to international endeavours

Ultimate Outcomes

  • Stimulate wealth creation within the Canadian economy

6) Results Achieved:


i) Increased SME technical R&D capability and capacity

  • Contributed to increasing the capacity of SMEs to undertake highly innovative technology-based R&D projects:
    • Funded the hiring of highly qualified and skilled engineers and scientists as well as internships for university and college graduates: approximately 675 graduates (331 of which were new) through the HRDSC’s Youth Employment Strategy ($4.99M) and funding top up with IRAP contributions ($1.15M).
    • Contributed to firms by providing technical, research, business assistance to Canadian SMEs (7,645 funded and non-funded firms).
    • Co-located NRC-IRAP staff within NRC institutes, universities and research facilities to facilitate linkages (Total of 212 NRC-IRAP ITAs).
    • Contributed funding through IRAP-TPC for pre-commercialization assistance to SMEs ($2.9M for 28 projects in the work phase).
  • Brought together the key players in the Canadian Innovation System:
    • NRC-IRAP worked closely with NRC’s 17 research institutes, 2 technology centres and NRC-CISTI, more than 160 of Canada’s leading public and private research and technology based organizations; Federal Partners in Technology Transfer (FPTT) involving 17 federal government departments and agencies and has established formal and informal linkages with S&T organizations in various countries.
    • NRC-IRAP worked with various NRC Institutes across the country.  For example, NRC-IRAP Quebec Region provided a linkage between a Life Sciences client and NRC-IBS. The Institute provided technical advice to the NRC-IRAP funded client project.  NRC-IBS assisted the firm in visualizing the various components of the brain.
    •  NRC-IRAP worked with other government departments such as NSERC, BDC, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Communications Research Center (CRC), National Defence (DND), etc. For example, the Program has identified an NRCan scientist to act as a technical resource for an Ontario company developing alternative energy technology.  This scientist provided technical advice to assist in the development of the project and will work with the NRC-IRAP client throughout the project.  NRC-IRAP approved and funded this project.
    • NRC-IRAP continued to work closely with academia.  For example, the NRC-IRAP Atlantic/Nunavut Region had a contribution agreement with the University of New Brunswick (UNB) to support the innovation needs of Canadian SMEs through the provision of short-term technical assistance from faculty and staff at UNB.  Twenty-two projects were submitted of which 18 were pursued.  This service resulted in a positive impact in both business development and support to the regional business community.  Additionally, these contacts brought benefits to the university researchers by creating partnership for larger research projects as well as helping to give the university a positive image in the business community.
    • NRC-IRAP continued to collaborate with various innovation-oriented organizations.  For example, the NRC-IRAP West Region had a contribution agreement with the Red Deer College’s (RDC) Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN).  CARIN was established to: 1) develop and try new processes and technologies; 2) educate and train industry personnel and students in new techniques, business and management skills; 3) engage and involve more Red Deer College faculty, staff and students in industry-relevant problem solving and applied research projects; and 4) increase the utilization of advanced manufacturing technologies in industry in the transition to a knowledge-based economy.  This initiative created new partnerships between industry, academia and the three levels of government.  Longer term measured outcomes from this regional innovation initiative will be an increase in the number of technology based manufacturing firms as well as in the number of well trained people employed in this sector.  Other government departments, Red Deer College and the private sector contributed funds to this project.
  • Fostered and maintained working relationships with NRC Research Institutes:
    • NRC-IRAP continued to develop and maintain strong relationships with NRC Research Institutes. Over the course of the year, NRC-IRAP created five sector teams aligned with NRC’s key sectors and national programs, which resulted in increased interaction, linkages, sharing of plans and industry-related information.  At the individual client level, NRC-IRAP often supports tenant firms within NRC’s IPFs.
    • NRC-IRAP works closely with NRC’s research institutes in supporting the development of technology clusters.

ii) Increased SME management, marketing and finance capability and capacity

  • Assisted with Competitive Technical Intelligence:
    • In FY 2007-08, NRC-IRAP expended $1.33M for over 2,900 various CTI services provided by NRC-CISTI to NRC-IRAP staff that optimized Program advisory services to clients to make the best investment possible.  Types of services included user assistance, quick references, information searches, information reports, CTI briefs, scientific, technical and medical alerts, training and presentations.  For example in the NRC-IRAP Atlantic/Nunavut Region, an ITA was concerned with competition and other issues that could impact the client’s project and on the long-term viability of the firm.  The CTI assessment provided by NRC-CISTI provided an overview of the patent technology, the competitive products and the industry trends.  The assessment confirmed and enhanced the client’s knowledge of the competition.  Although it did not change the project objectives, the ITA had increased confidence that the client‘s direction was sound.
  • Encouraged and facilitated the sharing of manufacturing best practices and processes:
    • Under a contribution agreement with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), 3 individuals and 1 contractor were hired to coordinate two programs for SMEs:
      1. Through business-to-business visits, Innovation Insights (ii) showcases manufacturing excellence in Canada and helps Canadian manufacturers and exporters achieve world class success. The exchange of knowledge between hosts and SME visitors inspires improvement for all participants.  Innovation Insights events offer senior manufacturing practitioners and plant floor experts the opportunity to discuss challenges, share ideas and see processes in action.

      In FY 2007-08, there were a total of 93 Innovation Insights events of which:

      • 85 were cross-Canada themes (i.e. customer service, environmental and energy, international trade and export, human resources, new product development, etc.)
      • 8 were U.S. missions’ themes (i.e. process design and technological automation, health and safety, human resources, etc.)
      • 93 host companies with 1,846 participants
      • The purpose of these events was to help small and medium-sized manufacturers gain a competitive advantage by employing advanced manufacturing technologies and innovative methods and systems through awareness gained via technology visits.
      • 2. Giving Canadian executives a chance to see how others meet manufacturing challenges is the goal behind the Technology Visits Program.  Several themes are discussed during the visits including lean manufacturing, human resources, international strategies, etc.  The plant technology is discussed and described in terms of how it fits into production schedules, inventory control, order shipments and other manufacturing concerns.  These tours are excellent opportunities for accelerated learning in a very competitive environment.
  • Enabled the hiring of university and college graduates with specific skills and expertise that can be used to advance innovative projects:
    • Youth Employment Initiatives: In FY 2007-08, there was an increase in the graduate placements with approximately 675 graduates including 331 new graduates provided with the opportunity to work with 454 SMEs across Canada ($4.99M from HRSDC and $1.15M from IRAP).

iii) Growth of firms as a result of technology development project support

  • As stated in the 2007 NRC-IRAP Evaluation in the previous pages of this document, NRC-IRAP client firms have exhibited growth, both in real and comparative terms.  The 2007 NRC-IRAP Evaluation states: …it was found that for each 1% increase in both contribution agreement funding and the supply of advisory services, firms exhibited an 11% increase in sales and a 14% increase in employment…approximately 77% of SME clients indicated that NRC-IRAP “allowed (the) firm’s expansion”, with 60% stating that the impact was “moderate” to “large”.  Additionally, 75% of SMEs indicated that the Program “increased (the) company’s net worth”; with 53% identifying that, the impact was “moderate” to “large.”
  • A study conducted in BC indicated that when compared to non NRC-IRAP clients, the Program’s client firm revenues and employment growth were higher by more than 20% - 30%.  Furthermore, payroll grew faster for NRC-IRAP clients than non-clients by about 25%.  Shareholder equity growth of clients outperformed that of non-clients by a factor of almost seven. 


i) Enhanced SME connections to technology and business networks to source support

  • The broad industrial sector experience and expertise within the NRC-IRAP ITA cross-Canada network represents key areas of Canadian technology and the Program’s network strength for assisting SMEs. The SME-ITA relationship is another fundamental element for the success of the Program. Finally, the extensive relationships that NRC-IRAP has cultivated over time with stakeholders and players in the regional, national and international  innovation systems also ensures the Program is a key national enabler of industrial innovation.
  • In FY 2007-08, all NRC-IRAP regions continued to provide contribution funds to organizations, which complemented NRC-IRAP’s core advisory services and served to provide a needed array of innovation and business services specific to SMEs on a regional basis.  NRC-IRAP contributed to 196 projects with 165 different innovation-support organizations for a total of $11.98M.  Enhanced services included the organization of visits, international missions and conferences for SMEs; provision of business coaching, mentoring, linkages and networking opportunities; support for technology cluster development; access to competitive technical intelligence, etc. 
  • One example of enhanced services was in the NRC-IRAP Quebec Region, which had a contribution agreement with the “Institut de développement de produits (IDP)”.  The objectives of this agreement were to stimulate innovation and to assist manufacturing firms in Quebec to become more competitive by doing eco-diagnostics of their products.  In FY 2007-08, this organization conducted 20 product eco-diagnostics, with a satisfaction rate of clients of 96%.

ii) Increased innovation-related services available to SMEs

  • 227 ITA delivery staff provided customized ongoing technical advisory services and, in cases where warranted, financial assistance. In total 7,645 firms across Canada received NRC-IRAP assistance in one form or another during FY 2007-08.

    Funded innovation through contributions to 1,971clients (including 554 firms new to NRC-IRAP) and 2,421 projects (firms, youth, organizations and IRAP-TPC) of which 1,565 projects were new in FY 2007-08:
  • $74.10M NRC-IRAP contributions made to SMEs ($67.55M for 1,687 IRAP projects) and Youth Employment Initiatives ($4.99 (HRSDC funds) and $1.15M (IRAP funds) for 655 youth projects, of which $0.42M came from Atlantic Initiatives funds.
  • $2.91M conditionally repayable contributions were expended for 28 projects still in their pay out phase through IRAP-TPC pre-commercialization assistance program that was designed to help SMEs with pre-commercialization of new and improved technological products, processes or services. The Technology Partnerships Canada Program expired on December 31, 2006. NRC-IRAP ceased awarding new IRAP-TPC investments as of April 1, 2006.  In FY 2007-08, 178 contribution agreements were closed; 28 projects were still in their work phase; 24 were in their launch phase; and 228 were in their repayment phase.
  • $11.96M was expended to support 196 projects with 165 organizations to provide technical and research assistance to Canadian Industry, of which $0M came from the Atlantic Initiatives Fund.

iii) Greater number and stronger innovation players with increased consortia within the community

  • Contributed $11.96M to organizations, maintained formal linkages with more than 165 of Canada’s leading public and private research and technology-based organizations.  Every NRC-IRAP region continued to have active relations with key innovation support organizations.
  • For example, NRC-IRAP Ontario had a contribution agreement with the Innovation Synergy Centre in Markham (ISCM) that enabled 26 mentors/advisors to provide services that assisted researchers within medium-sized firms to access business related advice.  ISCM also established an Investment Network with links to existing Angel Networks.  In FY 2007-08, ISCM served 328 new clients with an average company size of eight employees, had approximately 3,000 client interactions and organized 20 business related workshops such as the Money Chase: Sources of Early Stage Financing, with over 1,000 attendees.  A total of $1.7M in financing to four firms resulted through linkages within the ISCM Investment Network.
  • NRC-IRAP also has or is part of formal agreements with various Canadian institutions.  For example, the Program was actively involved in the NRC/NSERC/BDC Joint Strategy.  NRC-IRAP had two national agreements: one with ISTPC, which will further benefit Canadian SMEs in their R&D activities and their efforts to source international linkages and one with NRC-CISTI to obtain CTI services for NRC-IRAP staff. 
  • In 2007-08, NRC-IRAP established five Sector Teams in the following areas: aerospace, bioproducts, construction, information and communication technologies and manufacturing and materials.  Activities in all 5 sector teams included: 175 supported clients (with 17 linkages), 81 project assessments, 25 reports/collections were purchased, 8 technical reports were developed, participation in 10 studies/surveys, 3 organized workshops with 153 participants, assistance to 11 external workshops, 8 consultations with industry, 82 organizations were reached, 26 contributions to NRC events, 12 participation in contribution agreements with organizations, 5 contributions to events with external collaborators, 29 attendances to conferences/training events and 12 attendances at networking events.

iv) Increased adoption/commercialization/collaboration with respect to international endeavours

  • In 2007-08, NRC-IRAP organized 15 international outgoing missions, 7 collaboration and key relationship management visits and 5 networking and SME partnering visits to 21countries in North America, Europe and Asia. 
  • NRC-IRAP had six ongoing international agreements with Shanghai, China, India, Guangdong, Beijing, Spain and Ireland.  For example, the agreement with the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipal Government provides a framework for cooperation in areas of R&D, S&T and commercialization and assisted in identifying 3 NRC-IRAP clients that have potential and interest in S&T cooperation with firms and organizations in Shanghai.  No new international agreements were signed in FY 2007-08.

v) Increased understanding of international opportunities

Assisted SMEs in connecting with international programs, sources of technology and technical intelligence:

  • The Program continued to work with DFAIT and other government departments to increase the technical R&D capabilities/capacities of NRC-IRAP clients.
  • In March 2008, DFAIT and the Science Centre in Ukraine organized the first Canada - Ukraine Business Summit to help Canadian companies identify new trade, technology and investment opportunities.  This summit which was attended by SMEs and representatives from NRC-IRAP was structured to provide the Canadian companies with an opportunity to hear and meet other senior business representatives from Canada and the Ukraine with the ultimate goal of having Canadian SMEs access Ukrainian technologies.
  • NRC-IRAP continued to participate in the Canada Open House pilot project. The main purpose of the pilot project was to enhance NRC-IRAP’s capacity to assist its SME clients by providing effective technology matchmaking avenues otherwise not available.  Since October 2004, the matchmaking team has interviewed 80 foreign technology firms; proposed matches to 110 NRC-IRAP Canadian SME clients; established 13 serious relationships and fostered 5 confirmed partnerships for those SMEs. The initiative has introduced a “Canadian option” for S&T collaborations for Canada and partner countries. This brings the success rate of linking interested parties to 22.5%.

 millions of dollars


7) Actual Spending 2005-06

8) Actual Spending 2006-07

9) Planned Spending 2007-08

10) Total Authorities 2007-08

11) Actual Spending 2007-08

12) Variance(s) between 9 and 11


13) Program Activity (PA)

Support for Innovation and the National Science and Technology Infrastructure

14) Total Grants







14) Contributions







14) Total Other Types of TPs







15) Total PA







16) Comment(s) on Variance(s):  N/A

17) Significant Evaluation Findings:
NRC-IRAP has helped to increase the innovation and financial performance of Canadian SMEs:

  • Approximately 12,364 NRC-IRAP funded projects culminated in 39,186 new/ significantly improved products/ services or processes over 1996-2001—approximately 3.2 innovations per NRC-IRAP funded project;
  • Approximately $11.3 billion actual sales revenues are linked to NRC-IRAP-assisted innovations--$4.2 billion attributable to NRC-IRAP over 1996-2001 and equivalent to 11 times NRC-IRAP’s total contributions to client projects during this period;
  • Approximately $37.6 billion forecasted future sales revenues are linked to NRC-IRAP-assisted innovations—$14 billion attributable to NRC-IRAP during the remainder of clients’ innovation life cycles; and
  • Approximately 32,600 actual additional jobs are linked to NRC-IRAP-assisted innovations—12,025 jobs attributable to NRC-IRAP over 1996-2001 and equivalent to $32,000 of NRC-IRAP contributions per job created during this period.[1]

NRC-IRAP has also provided value and wealth creation for Canada:

  • Approximately 37% of its client innovations are considered ‘World Firsts’, 66% ‘Firsts in Canada’ and 96% ‘Firsts in the Firm;
  • Its contributions to client projects are associated with total investments for all phases of the clients’ innovation projects equivalent to approximately 12.5 times NRC-IRAP’s contributions [2]--firms’ own equity make up almost 50% of these investments;
  • Estimates from the evaluation’s socio-economic analysis study, indicate that NRC-IRAP provides the public with value for money - its contributions provide a return to the federal government in the form of present and future corporate income taxes valued at approximately 11 times the value of NRC-IRAP’s contributions [3]; and
  • NRC-IRAP is recognized by clients as the top government technology support program and the top external source of information (outside of firms’ supply chain and publicly available information).

[1] Data on number of innovations have been extrapolated to IRAP project population of 14,564; data on sales revenues and jobs are based on survey of 684 IRAP clients extrapolated to IRAP client population of 9,158; average client innovation cycle estimated at 10 years; attribution to IRAP is based on 37% incrementally of IRAP funding; total IRAP contributions to client projects for 1996-2001 was $386 million.
[2] Data on additional investments have been extrapolated to IRAP project population of 14,564 and include investments for all phases of clients’ projects that may not have been assisted by IRAP.
[3] Data on return to government is based on economic modeling of 26 individual IRAP client cases, including modeling of client actual annual revenues, expected future revenues over remainder of innovation life cycle, fixed and variable costs, profits, machinery/equipment depreciation, 33% corporate income tax rate, 6% social discount rate and 38.4% corporate income tax attribution to IRAP.

URL to 2007-08 evaluation report:

18) Significant Audit Findings:
An internal audit of NRC-IRAP was undertaken by NRC’s Internal Audit during the period of 2005-2006 to 2006-2007. The broad objective of the audit was to assess the extent to which NRC-IRAP is managed according to sound management principles.  The Audit Opinion and Statement of Assurance of NRC’s Chief Audit Executive concluded that NRC-IRAP’s management control and accountability frameworks are generally adequate and that NRC-IRAP management has implemented the majority of the recommendations in its May 2004 Program Improvement Plan.  The internal audit made four recommendations to NRC-IRAP management:  timely development of annual business plans; an appropriate monitoring control framework for on-site visits to contribution recipients; a simplified system to assist NRC-IRAP staff in exacting and demonstrating due diligence with respect to appropriate project amendments; and a nationally-coordinated approach to the collection, analysis and reporting of performance information.

In response to NRC Internal Audit recommendations, NRC-IRAP prepared a management action plan.  This plan includes actions that have already been completed and others that are under way or will be completed within the next three fiscal years.  This includes: implementation of NRC-IRAP’s 2008-2009 – 2010-2011 business plan; the current Financial Monitoring Requirements (FMR) process for Contributions to Firms and Contributions to Organizations; developing and implementing standard operating procedures to improve records management of project amendment information; working with NRC-IRAP regions and NRC’s Planning and Performance Management to enhance the performance measurement aspect of the Program’s performance management strategy and reporting; undertaking a review of NRC-IRAP’s system user requirements; and updating or replacing NRC-IRAP’s existing client management information system (SONAR).

URL to last audit report:


1) Name of Transfer Payment Program:  Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF)

2) Start Date:  1976

3) End Date:  31 March 2010

4) Description: TRIUMF, Canada's national facility for research in subatomic physics, is located on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.  It has been operated since 1968 by a consortium of four Western universities – the University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia – under a joint venture agreement.

A fifth university, Carleton, joined the consortium on April 1, 2000 and the University of Toronto became the sixth member in April 2005.  Seven additional universities (Regina, Manitoba, Guelph, McMaster, Queen's, St. Mary’s and Montreal) are associate members.  The University of Montreal has applied to join the consortium as a full member as of April 1, 2007.

TRIUMF houses a particle accelerator that is used to produce energetic beams of mesons and other subatomic particles required for fundamental research in nuclear and particle physics by Canadian and foreign researchers.  This research lays the foundation for new technologies in the physical and life sciences and the facility is a major contributor to advanced materials research in Canada and abroad.

TRIUMF functions as a national laboratory and as Canada's gateway to international subatomic physics.  It is Canada's contribution to the worldwide network of high-energy physics facilities located in major countries in the industrialized world.

5) Strategic Outcomes:

  • Maintain the TRIUMF laboratory as a national facility for sub‑atomic physics and provide support for an ongoing experimental program at TRIUMF, including the auxiliary programs in materials science, life sciences and medical therapy;
  • Construct and operate an expanded Isotope Separation and Acceleration facility (ISAC‑II) to provide for an innovative research program in nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, materials science and life sciences;
  • Act as Canada's main connection with the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) and supply components which will form Canada's contribution to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the A Toroidal LHC Apparatus (ATLAS) detector, at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, in order that Canadian scientists can become involved in research programs at the forefront of particle physics;
  • Provide infrastructure support to the Canadian sub‑atomic physics research community; and
  • Maximize the economic benefits of the federal Government's investment in TRIUMF to Canadian companies through pro‑active technology transfer activities, contracts and procurement policies.

6) Results Achieved:

  • ATLAS Tier-1 Centre, funded through Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), is fully operational and meeting all CERN’s requirements for a Tier-1 Centre
  • CFI funded the M20 beamline refurbishment and upgrade for Materials Sciences group.  TRIUMF is upgrading the M9 beamline in anticipation of the M20 upgrade beginning in 2008-09.
  • TRIUMF received one of eleven nationally awarded Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.  The TRIUMF CECR was the only award to a physical sciences laboratory.
  • The TRIUMF experimental facility TITAN made a mass measurement of Lithium-11 and Helium-8, the world’s first precision measurement of these extremely short-lived isotopes. 
  • The TIGRESS experimental facility, using Coulomb excitation techniques, made the world’s first measurement of Sodium-29
  • The TWIST experiment completed data taking
  • PIENU experiment is being installed
  • The FEBIAD ion source was used to make the unique astrophysics measurement (the proton-alpha reaction on Fluorine-18
  • The beams of silicon and Beryllium-11 were developed
  • CSB is installed and commissioned
  • The Super Nanogam Facility is installed and commissioned

 millions of dollars


7) Actual Spending 2005-06

8) Actual Spending 2006-07

9) Planned Spending 2007-08

10) Total Authorities 2007-08

11) Actual Spending 2007-08

12) Variance(s) between 9 and 11

13) Program Activity (PA)

Research and Technology Innovation

14) Total Grants







14) Contributions







14) Total Other Types of TPs







15) Total PA







16) Comment(s) on Variance(s): The increase was due to the release of the $6.2 million that had been frozen the previous year.

17) Significant Evaluation Findings:
The Review Committee endorses without reservation the proposed five-year scientific research program with its well-defined priorities.  The Committee considers the proposed research program to be of the highest quality.

The Committee commends the process by which the Five-Year Plan was developed, in particular, the continued and major involvement of the Canadian science community.

TRIUMF has undergone a major reorientation over the last decade from a hadron facility primarily for medium-energy nuclear physics to a laboratory with a two-fold research mission: i) an internal program based on the 500 MeV cyclotron, primarily the ISAC facility, to provide intense beams of short-lived nuclei for nuclear astrophysics and physics of nuclei far from stability; plus important programs in molecular, materials and life sciences; ii) an external program directed towards the major opportunities in particle physics expected from future facilities, in particular the LHC at CERN. In addition, TRIUMF has developed a vigorous and successful technology transfer, educational and public awareness program.

In the Committee’s opinion, the laboratory has successfully mastered the many critical issues underlying its difficult transition and is now well positioned to assume its dual role in the internal and the external programs.

Technical developments, in particular the successful construction of ISAC, as well as programmatic structures are now well aligned to allow major contributions to the respective areas of research.  The proposed Five-Year Plan effectively translates the general goals of the science into a detailed and well-planned program.

The Committee believes that, based on these developments, TRIUMF provides new and important opportunities in its traditional role of supporting Canadian university research and increasingly attracts scientists from the international community.

The leadership, technical and management structure in place at the laboratory are well suited to successfully carrying out the five-year program.

The Committee considers the requested funding support appropriate and necessary.  Any reduction would unavoidably result in the loss of important science for TRIUMF and the Canadian scientific community at large.

URL to 2003-04 peer review report:

18) Significant Audit Findings: No audit conducted

URL to last audit:  N/A


1) Name of Transfer Payment Program:  Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, Gemini Telescopes

2) Start Date:  1978 (CFHT)

3) End Date:  December 2012 (National Science Foundation of the U.S. in support of the Gemini Telescopes)

4) Description:  NRC, in partnership with other international bodies, provides financial contributions that support the management and operations of these telescopes and their related facilities and participates in the oversight and direction of the facilities and research.

Astrophysics research and development requires large, costly and very precise telescopes and related instruments situated in areas that will provide ideal viewing conditions.  It is beyond the capacity of individual firms or even countries to support the costs of developing and maintaining the facilities required for astrophysics research, thus it is necessary for public sector organizations, through international partnerships, to support this R&D.

5) Strategic Outcomes:

  • Increase Canada's access to and beneficial sharing of world-class facilities and expertise in astrophysics;
  • Increase scientific collaboration among Canada and partner countries;
  • increase training opportunities for Canadian scientists and researchers;
  • Increase opportunities for Canadian researchers and firms to develop instrumentation; and
  • Increase knowledge and understanding of the universe by the observation and study of the heavenly bodies.

Immediate Outcomes:

  • Access to forefront facilities and technology is provided to Canadian astronomers.
  • Facilities are made available to qualified students so they can advance their training.
  • New technologies are developed as part of developing new concepts for new telescopes and instruments.
  • Timely publication of results is facilitated.
  • Telescope data is effectively used.

Intermediate Outcomes:

  • As a member of G8 and OECD, Canada plays a prominent role in international, scientific endeavours.
  • Scientific benefit of telescopes to the Canadian and worldwide community is maximized.
  • Canadian industry has increased opportunities to participate in advanced scientific projects and increased opportunities to benefit.
  • New technology is transferred to industry

Ultimate Outcomes:

  • Knowledge about the universe and the objects within is acquired.
  • Canada's position among the world's leaders in astronomy is enhanced and sustained.

6) Results Achieved:
The validity of NRC-HIA’s vision and strategic directions was confirmed by an evaluation of the Institute’s execution of the LRP.  To quote: “All stakeholders interviewed believed that NRC-HIA’s implementation of the LRP is relevant and essential to both the federal government’s agenda and NRC’s mandate.”  NRC-HIA is committed to working with academic and industrial partners to realise the vision set forth in the LRP.  Besides maintaining critical infrastructure within Canada, NRC‑HIA’s contributions to three major international facilities provide Canadian researchers with access to forefront research opportunities in the optical and sub-mm spectral windows.  Approximately 40% of the NRC-HIA budget is passed through to these offshore facilities as defined contributions to their operating costs.  NRC-HIA scientists, engineers and technicians also develop innovative scientific instruments for partner observatories.  Access to the best observatories equipped with the best instruments is a major factor in maintaining Canada’s rank among the top three nations in the world in astronomy.  Astronomy is “Big Science” and the leverage of international partnerships opens large and challenging projects to Canadian industry.

Gemini Instrumentation
NRC-HIA’s Astronomy Technology Research Group in Victoria (ATRG-V) in collaboration with engineers and scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA), UCLA, UCSC, American Museum of Natural History and U. Montréal completed the preliminary design of the Gemini Planet Imager, an instrument that will allow direct imaging of planets outside our solar system.  Finite element analysis and integrated modeling by NRC-HIA enabled state-of- the-art refinements in the image quality and vibration.  NRC-HIA’s unique combination of expertise in astronomical instrumentation, adaptive optics, precision optomechanics and integrated modeling were instrumental in a successful Preliminary Design Review of the Gemini Planet Imager.  The Gemini Multi-Object Spectrographs (GMOS), built by NRC-HIA and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK) for Gemini, are workhorse instruments and have produced the highest impact science from Gemini.  The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), a major project underway at NRC-HIA, will be the world’s most powerful instrument for directly detecting the images of planets around nearby stars when completed in 2010.

Other Research Achievements
In collaboration with the University of Toronto and Environment Canada, NRC-HIA engineers and scientists developed Inuksuit - robotic site monitoring systems for characterizing potential observatory sites in the Canadian High Arctic.  Such sites on mountains along the western edge of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, may have characteristics that would be advantageous to astronomical telescopes at optical and infrared wavelengths.  This work is continuing.

Analysis of polarized radio emission from 1200 square degrees of the Milky Way has led to a better understanding of the role of magnetic fields in the Milky Way and their influence on the processes of star birth and death.

Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC)
As in many disciplines, computational resources and access to vast amounts of data are of growing importance in astrophysics.  The International Virtual Observatory Alliance has been formed to provide a seamless global interface to the vast data archives maintained by all the leading nations operating forefront observatories on the ground and in space.  The Canadian Astronomy Data Centre, formed 20 years ago as one of three world-wide archive centres for data from the Hubble Space Telescope, is fulfilling one aspect of the LRP through its prominent role in this revolutionary astrophysical infrastructure.  In 2007, 642 registered users downloaded 34TB of our total of 62TB delivered; the remainder was downloaded anonymously.  CADC this year introduced a new QuickSearch capability to improve user access to data products from all major collections at CADC.  The total number of registered CADC users grew from 3996 in 2006 to 4498 (13% increase) by the end of 2007.

Collaboration with Industry
NRC-HIA is adapting the Gemini adaptive optics system (Altair, also built at NRC-HIA) for use with laser guide stars. This will permit images to be taken with Gemini that are about three times sharper than those made with the Hubble Space Telescope. Our established expertise in adaptive optics technology, developed initially for the CFHT and now for Gemini, is the foundation for our more advanced work on the Thirty Metre Telescope adaptive optics system.  ATRG-V engineers and scientists, in collaboration with engineers and scientists from the (Thirty Meter Telescope) TMT partner institutions and Dynamic Structures Ltd, undertook a comprehensive systems engineering, integrated modeling and analysis effort on the TMT. Research continued on optical modeling and dramatic improvements in modeling speed and depth were realized that enabled a better understanding of the future observatory performance.  Empire Dynamic Structures Ltd. is positioned for contracts upwards of $100M to design the telescope structure and enclosure systems.

The Centre of the Universe (CU) is NRC-HIA’s primary vehicle for engaging the public in astronomy and places a particular emphasis on youth.  This past year the CU adopted a new operational plan that reduced problematic fluctuations in school visits and led to a 30% increase in school bookings in the past year.  In addition, the CU hosted 70 members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia for an evening of observing and discussion on current trends in astronomy.


millions of dollars


7) Actual Spending 2005-06

8) Actual Spending 2006-07

9) Planned Spending 2007-08

10) Total Authorities 2007-08

11) Actual Spending 2007-08

12) Variance(s) between 9 and 11

13) Program Activity (PA)

Research and Technology Innovation

14) Total Grants







14) Total Contributions







14) Total Other Types of TPs







15) Total PA







16) Comment(s) on Variance(s):The significant appreciation in the Canadian currency along with international delays in the telescope projects have lead the NRC to seek re-profiling for this contribution.

17) Significant Evaluation Findings: In fiscal years 2005-06 and 2006-07, the elements of the LRP supported by NRC-HIA in the first five years of implementation were evaluated.  The following recommendations are based on the findings and conclusions from the evaluation report.

Recommendation 1: NRC-HIA should develop a succession plan to ensure that research capacity at the Institute is not weakened with upcoming potential retirements of staff.

Recommendation 2: There should be increased emphasis and efforts at NRC-HIA to identify systematically Canadian companies to be included in the work undertaken by the Institute for large international telescope project funded through the LRP.

Recommendation 3: NRC-HIA should take into consideration the perceived concerns regarding the weakening of astronomical research at the Institute and, if determined to be valid, should take action to remedy the situation.

Recommendation 4: NRC should secure funds for the remainder of the work assigned to NRC-HIA as outlined in the LRP and Mid-term Review documents to ensure that positive impacts continue.

Recommendation 5: The next round of funding received to implement the LRP should be tracked separately in NRC-HIA’s financial system.

Recommendation 6: The difficulties of financially managing LRP long-term “Big Science” projects commitments within a five-year planning cycle should be reviewed in light of a recommended framework by the Office of the National Science Advisor (ONSA).

Recommendation 7: If a second round of LRP funding is awarded, NRC should consider conducting a return on investment analysis and benefit-cost analysis, in coordination with other LRP-funded federal government organizations.  If undertaken, these studies should be completed in advance of the next evaluation.

URL to 2006-07 evaluation report:

18) Significant Audit Findings: No audit conducted

URL to last audit:  N/A

Table 3-8: Horizontal Initiatives

1. Name of Horizontal Initiative: Genomics R&D Initiative

2. Name of Lead Department: National Research Council Canada

3. Lead Department Program Activity: Research and Development

4. Start Date of Horizontal Initiative: April 1999

5. End Date of Horizontal Initiative: March 2011

6. Total Federal Funding Allocation (start to end date): $234.1 M

7. Description of the Horizontal Initiative (including funding agreement): The Genomics R&D Initiative was established to build and maintain capacity inside government departments to do genomics research.  As an enabling technology, genomics provides powerful tools, precise information to support operational mandates and upon which policy and regulatory decisions can be based.  Federal science-based departments and agencies (see part 10 below for listing) interact with partners, stakeholders and clients and link these enabling tools and technologies to value-added applications that enable Canada to respond to national priorities, deliver on government mandates and support the development of wealth for Canadians.

These applications range from international requirements for genomics enabled testing to support access of exported products;  interpreting and assessing genomics information submitted with product information for regulatory oversight; the development of assays and products using genomics approaches for enhancing Canadian’s lives, the environment and sustainability of human activities; socio-economic and ethical considerations related to the use and integration of genomics in health care, environmental sustainability activities and consumer and industrial products and applications; as well as facilitating Canadians’ access to accurate and understandable information concerning genome sciences.

8. Shared Outcome(s): Enhanced quality of life for Canadians in terms of health, safety, environment and social and economic development by building and maintaining genomics research capacity in support of key federal public policy objectives; in particular: a) to strengthen innovation and ensure sustainability for the benefit of all Canadians by focusing research in strategic areas of national interest from an economic and social perspective (i.e. health, environment, natural resources and energy, safety and security); b) to promote global competitiveness and expand Canada’s international influence by increasing commercialization outcomes of research activities and by improving regulatory efficiency and effectiveness; c) to grow economic opportunities through R&D by building collaborations that involve business, academia and public sectors, in Canada and internationally.

9. Governance Structure:: To ensure value for money, the Genomics R&D Initiative established a governance framework to strengthen accountability and to ensure investments deliver on making a difference in the lives of Canadians.  An interdepartmental Genomics R&D ADM Coordinating Committee was established to oversee the collective management and coordination of the Initiative.  The Committee ensures that effective priority setting mechanisms are established within departments and that investments are focused and strategic – targeting more basic and applied research in areas of strength and opportunity.

The Committee also ensures that common management principles are implemented and horizontal collaborations between organizations are pursued wherever relevant and possible.  The Committee includes members from each of the organizations receiving funding, as well as a representative from Industry Canada.

An Interdepartmental Working Group (WG), supporting the Committee, has a mandate to provide recommendations and advice to the ADM Coordinating Committee regarding strategic priority setting and overall management of the Genomics R&D Initiative.  The WG also supports evaluation and reporting requirements.  The NRC, as the lead agency for the Initiative, chairs the ADM Coordinating Committee and the Working Group.

10. Federal Partners

11. Federal Partner Program Activity

12. Names of Programs for Federal Partners

13. Total Allocation (from start to end date) in $ millions

14. Planned Spending for 2007-08 in $ millions

15. Actual Spending for 2007-08 in $ millions

16. Expected Results for 2007-08

17. Results Achieved in 2007-08

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Innovation and Renewal

Canadian Crop Genomics Initiative




see below

see below

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)


Aquatic Biotechnology and Genomics R&D




see below

see below

Environment Canada (EC)

Canadians Adopt Sustainable Consumption and Production Approaches

Strategic Applications of Genomics in the Environment




see below

see below

Health Canada (HC)

Health Products

HC/PHAC Genomics Initiative




see below

see below

National Research Council (NRC)

Research and Development

Genomics and Health Initiative




see below

see below

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)

Natural Resource and Landmass Knowledge for Canadians

NRCan-CFS Genomics R&D Initiative




see below

see below

Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)

N/A – one time allocation in 1999-00 to assist in creation of Genome Canada Secretariat













18. Comments on Variances: N/A

19. Results to be Achieved by Non-federal Partners (if applicable): N/A

20. Contact Information:
Gary Fudge, P. Eng.
Director, Life Sciences Horizontal Initiatives
National Research Council


16. Expected Results for 2007-08

17. Results Achieved in 2007-08

1. Commercially relevant advances in areas of genomics R&D related to human health (e.g., genetic testing, diagnostics, microbial genomic applications, treating and preventing human diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease and pathogen detection).

1.1 Researchers discovered a new family of antibodies that can play a role in preventing tumour invasion by blocking the function of secreted Clusterin, a glycoprotein associated with human cancers that play a role in cell survival or death.  By inhibiting gene function in cancer cells, it is possible to enhance the effects and efficiency of cell reaction and sensitivity to chemotherapy and other drug mediated therapeutics.  A Canadian biotech company, Alethia Biotherapeutics, entered into a licensing agreement with NRC in 2007-08 for the worldwide therapeutic and diagnostic rights to Clusterin-specific antibodies.

1.2 NRC is developing portable and efficient “all-in-one” diagnostic devices to detect human pathogens.  The objective is to create low-cost diagnostic tools that can be produced industrially for commercial applications that will rapidly identify human pathogens and provide instant read-outs eliminating conventional lengthy lab procedures.  In a first step towards this goal, in 2007-08 researchers developed a ‘personal microarray spotter’ – a powerful miniature device used to spot and analyze many protein samples simultaneously.  With further development, personal microarray spotters may revolutionize genomic/proteomic research in the laboratory and play a larger role in how researchers and clinicians understand, diagnose and treat a vast array of diseases or pathogens - from pesky allergens to pathogens such as Salmonella and E-Coli.

2. Improvements in crop value in cereals, soybean and canola through quality improvements in areas related to plant adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses (e.g., resistance to disease, tolerance to drought and cold), as well as seed development and metabolism (e.g., related to oil content for biofuels and nutraceutical applications).

2.1 A functional analysis of Brassica (e.g., canola) seed development and metabolic processes was undertaken to improve Brassica seed quality traits.  NRC researchers discovered a gene that can boost productivity and resilience of canola; DNA sequences suggest that the gene, which produces a hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD) protein, is involved in steroid metabolism and has a profound impact plant growth.  Researchers over-expressed the gene to create "transgenic" plants that produce higher levels of the HSD protein than typically found in normal plants.  The experiment resulted in taller, stronger and more durable plants with increased seed production and an average oil yield that exceeded regular control plants by roughly 23%.  This has the potential to help Canadian canola growers produce more oil for food applications, as well as increase oil production to meet the growing demand for biodiesel fuel.

2.2 Wheat is the largest crop in Canada with approximately 9 million hectares.  Leaf rust, caused by Puccinia triticina, results in yield losses of 5-20% annually and is the most common disease of wheat worldwide.  AAFC has an outstanding reputation as a world leader on the genetic control of leaf rust with 30 of the 59 leaf rust resistance genes discovered by AAFC researchers.  To analyze genetically avirulence P. triticina mapping populations, linkage groups containing avirulence genes and molecular markers were developed by AAFC CCGI researchers.  During 2007, simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were incorporated into these linkage maps.  The process of somatic fusion in P. triticina was also investigated for the first time using a combination of bright field and flourescence microscopy.  This pioneering work is helping to explain how the important process of asexual recombination physically takes place.  The P. triticina population in Canada during 2007 and in previous years was assayed for virulence and the recently developed SSR markers to determine the relationships among the virulence phenotypes and track the development and origin of new and emerging races.  These data will help to explain the population structure of this important wheat pathogen and give clues to the evolution of the various North American virulence phenotypes.

2.3 In 2007-08, AAFC researchers identified a key gene, Lhk1 that enables legumes to host nitrogen-fixing bacteria.  Using this discovery AAFC researchers plan to develop a way to transfer nitrogen-fixing ability to non-legume crops.  This breakthrough could lead to the development of ecological and cost effective alternatives to certain industrial fertilizers, which could bring enormous environmental and financial benefits to Canada.  Nitrogen makes up more than 80% of the earth's atmosphere and is essential to the growth of all living organisms.  However, atmospheric nitrogen cannot be directly accessed by most plants or animals until it is incorporated into organic compounds by biological nitrogen fixation or other natural processes.  As a result, today's farming practices require the annual application of approximately 90 million tons of nitrogen based fertilizer to agricultural land.  Although inorganic fertilizers provide crops with essential nutrients, such practices come at an enormous cost, primarily due to the immense amount of energy required for the production of fertilizers and their propensity to run off, which contributes to pollution of the environment.  Biological nitrogen fixation provides more than twice the amount of industrially produced nitrogen to natural and agricultural ecosystems in a manner that is both sustainable and environmentally friendly.  If the ability to host nitrogen-fixing bacteria could be extended to even one lucrative crop, such as corn or rice, the results would constitute a second 'green revolution' with clear benefits to producers and the environment.

2.4 The soilborne fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum causes white mould on a broad range of crops, including soybean and canola.  In order to aid in the identification of genes that are critical for pathogenicity and fungal survival, researchers at AAFC developed an efficient method for Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated gene disruption in S. sclerotiorum.  It is anticipated that the application of this tool to molecular genetic studies of S. sclerotiorum will contribute to an improved understanding of the molecular factors that control pathogenesis and survival structure development and could be targeted for disease management.

2.5 The soil borne pathogen Phytophthora sojae causes root rot and damping off of soybean.  Race-cultivar compatibility between the pathogen and its host is controlled by discrete genes.  Thus, P. sojae avirulence (Avr) genes can restrict the pathogen and determine which cultivars of soybean are resistant or susceptible to disease.  In 2007-08 AAFC researchers identified at least three different P. sojae Avr genes; Avr1a, Avr3a  and Avr3c.  The discovery of Avr genes will lead to a more rational approach to breeding, diagnostics and cultivar deployment and help in the control of P. sojae in the field.  It will also lead to a better mechanistic understanding of disease and how it may be managed.

2.6 Seed is perhaps the most important end product of plant agriculture.  Improvement of seed quality requires thorough understanding of how seeds develop, particularly the seed maturation phase.  Seed storage proteins are hall markers of seed maturation.  AAFC’s efforts have been focused on identification of genetic repressors of storage protein genes.  Researchers at AAFC identified six genes as repressors of seed storage protein genes in vegetative organs.  These works provide new insight into the control of seed maturation genes.  Knowledge gained from this work will contribute to the manipulation of seed quality traits and will be useful for developing seeds as a molecular farming system for producing proteins of high value.

2.7 Fusarium graminearum, a fungal plant pathogen that causes head blight of wheat and barley and ear rot of maize, not only reduces grain yield and quality, but also contaminates the grain with toxic metabolites that are a threat to human and animal health.  Efforts in 2007-08 by AAFC researchers resulted in the development of a large collection of genes expressed by Fusarium graminearum in a range of growth conditions and especially during host invasion.  One of the unexpected and striking findings is the presence within the genome of highly variable and gene-rich regions harbouring genes potentially associated with pathogenicity.

3. Sustainable management of aquatic resources through the use of genomics tools to: manage fishery openings; generate increased understanding of population genetics and structure; further understanding of behavioural, physiological and immunological responses to the environment; and through the management of aquatic animal diseases.

3.1 To better manage fishery openings and understand the changing behaviour of fish stocks due to climate change and pollution, genomics tools including gene expression profiling are used by DFO to determine physiological changes along the migration route to natal streams that is associated with early entry, a behavioural shift in late run Fraser River sockeye salmon.  Results to date indicate that osmoregulatory readiness was not used to cue the timing of river entry but may be important to successful migration within the river.  It has been shown that there is a strong physiological association of gill expression with fate in the river.  As well, biomarkers were identified that are associated with gross somatic energy reserves, maturation processes, navigation strategies and cueing systems, osmoregulatory preparedness and temperature response.  A tremendous breadth of new knowledge on salmon migration physiology was gained.  Predictive biomarkers are being developed for monitoring relevant genes to enable pre-season prediction of migration behaviour and fish survival for fishery managers.

3.2 Research to efficiently and effectively identify genetic differences between two morphologically similar mussel species Mytilus edulis and M. trossulus and determine the relative distribution of these species within Nova Scotia is being undertaken by DFO, with support from industry and the province of Nova Scotia.  Genetic markers have been tested and optimized for higher throughput lower cost species identification in mussels.  Results in 2007-08 indicate that there are very different species compositions at locations that are adjacent to each other and have identified sites suitable for mussel seed collection for use in aquaculture in Nova Scotia, thereby helping to overcome the impacts from the restriction of movement of species from areas with aquatic invasive species.

3.3 Infectious diseases present a significant economic burden to finfish aquaculture industries and there is concern that diseases may also negatively impact wild fish populations.  Genomic approaches are being used by DFO to better understand the diversity of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) and to relate this diversity to host responses to infection, disease development and recovery or resistance to, clinical disease.  Multiple isolations of VHSV from marine waters off the coast of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and British Columbia have been genetically analyzed and this information has been used to develop a database for use in rapid identification and analysis of isolates. Recently, VHSV has been detected in the Great Lakes region; this strain is most closely related to isolates from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, suggesting introduction from an eastern reservoir.  Characterization of VHSV types has yielded information that is necessary for policy development and regulation to help prevent the spread of new virus types in to an area.  Research is continuing to better understand the genetic basis of virulence among strains identified in Canadian waters.

3.4 In 2007-08, novel vaccine types continued to be explored by DFO.  Three different approaches are being targeted and based on the indirect but more powerful stimulation of the immune system via the activation of antigen presenting cells (APC) through heat-shock proteins (HSP)-antigen complexes.  Atlantic cod and the pathogen nodavirus is the model for several reasons.  Cod farming is nearing the commercial stage in eastern Canada and is a promising substitute to an almost inexistent fishery.  Nodavirus is a serious pathogen of concern for cod farming, with several outbreaks reported in juvenile fish in the past 4 years.  The immune system of Atlantic cod seem to possess unique characteristics, although cods can be immunized, a specific immunoglobulin response cannot be detected, so it is believed that cellular and non-specific immune responses are likely to be more important for this species.  HSP-peptide vaccines are considered excellent candidates since discovering that HSP-peptide complexes are potent stimulators of a variety of immune responses, but to our knowledge, assays for fish vaccines have not been performed yet.

4. Positioning the Canadian regulatory system for health to enable innovation while minimizing the risks to Canadians through a focused genomics R&D program aimed at strengthening capacity in priority areas such as genetic information, biotechnology products, human genomics and microbial genomics, on human, animal and environmental health.

4.1 In 2007-08, genomics research within the Health Portfolio (HC and PHAC) continued to focus on the development and application of "omics" tools to reduce exposure to foodborne pathogens.  Current research is providing insight into the cellular changes associated with dietary exposure to different classes of naturally occurring carcinogens that contaminate foods.  The results of this research will further our understanding of events involved in tumour induction and will provide a mechanistic framework for regulatory decision-making.

4.2 Health Portfolio projects continued to build on existing research initiative focusing on the Evaluation of Environmental Toxicogenomics.  Toxicogenomics is the application of genetic methods to the study of toxicology.  The results from a project in 2007-08 have provided insights specific to gene expression changes, driven by exposure to toxic substances.  These gene expression changes are critical pieces of knowledge to acquire and apply to gene expression profiling studies, for eventual application to regulatory decision making.  Another research project was successful in characterizing cardio-pulmonary responses to cigarette smoke in the laboratory, which resulted in the identification of potential candidate biomarkers to predict the health outcome of cigarette smoking.

4.3 In 2007-08 research continued in the generation of pharmacogenomic and biotherapeutics data, specifically facilitating new knowledge of the potential health risks related to the toxicogenomics and proteomics of biotherapeutics.  Health Canada increasingly recognizes the significant role that such data will play in future drug submissions and that this data holds the possibility to influence human drug approvals in Canada.  Results revealed differential patterns of host responses following various regimes of biotherapies, which could help future exploratory studies aimed at identification of specific biomarkers suggestive of adverse reactions associated with biotherapeutics.  This increased understanding helps position HC to meet the regulatory challenges of analyzing such data in order to issue sound, science-based decisions.

4.4 Federal scientists, together with local, national and international collaborators, continued their focus on genomics, including a wide range of public health genomics research.  Research completed in 2007-08 at the Public Health Agency of Canada led to the development of a large-scale RNA interference library targeting most of the human genome for its ability to identify host cellular genes that have a role in supporting virus and transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (prion) pathogenesis.  Prion diseases of humans include classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Further funding from national and international partners and commercial partners was secured to continue towards the development of a commercially available pre-clinical test.  These results are likely to prove effective in the rapid detection, surveillance and risk assessment of prion contamination and other subtypes of organisms with the greatest public health risk.

5. Increased knowledge for forest generation and protection methods and for addressing environmental impact considerations, through a focused genomics R&D effort on species and traits that are of economic importance to Canada.

5.1 A genome scan by NRCan scientists in 2007-08, revealed that gene islands underlying growth and adaptation in spruce allowed the rapid selection of candidate gene to support linkage and association mapping experiments.  Budset related genes were the target of newly synthesized libraries and ongoing expression profiling experiments.  The NRCan Canadian Forest Service (CFS) developed a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism discovery Laboratory Information Management System and Database to track family members, expression data, PCR primers, amplification success and re-sequencing efforts.  A white spruce consensus genetic map was assembled and major quantitative trait loci were identified for the control of bud set and annual height increment.  In collaboration with Arborea II, a large-scale forest genomics project funded by Genome Canada (led from U. Laval); several hundred candidate genes have been identified for wood formation in white spruce.  In collaboration with Treenomix, the other large-scale forest genomics project funded by Genome Canada (led from UBC); the CFS was able to localize the expression and induction profile of defence related genes, leading to improved understanding of insect resistance mechanisms in spruce and poplar.  Recent progress in 2007-08 also demonstrated that a previously identified candidate gene in white pine is an important factor for plant defence response against pathogen invasion as well as for plant development.  The CFS identified Douglas-fir disease resistance genes.

5.2 In 2007-08, the CFS made significant advances in the development of DNA diagnostic and monitoring tools for the early identification and tracking of pathogens.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection service (USDA-APHIS) have adopted operationally the DNA-based diagnostic assays developed for sudden oak death by the CFS for their survey, certification and quarantine applications.  The CFS is currently generating large databases to identify genes that are involved in important disease processes (pathogenicity, infection, toxin production, host defence compound detoxification and host recognition) for use in diagnostic tools.

5.3 The interaction between viruses and the natural host is a culmination of co-evolutionary events that lead to successful viral infection and the survival of the host.  CFS work in this area in 2007-08 has demonstrated the dynamic relationship existing in any given populations of insect viruses and their host.  Microarray studies have shown precise gene expression profiles following infection.  The CFS also found through these studies that certain viruses produce proteins that have a down regulating effect on host genes involved in the immunity of larvae to parasites.  This is a promising avenue to generate effective biological control agents against Lepidoptera and pest beetles such as the mountain pine beetle.  The CFS fully sequenced and annotated the genome of the whitemarked tussock moth nucleopolyhedrovirus.  The sequencing of viral genomes has resulted in a proposal for a new classification of the family Baculoviridae and CFS work was a significant contribution to the state of the art understanding of the evolution of baculoviruses and their adaptation to their insect hosts.  The CFS developed molecular tools for the detection of microsporidia, a group of unicellular insect pathogens, in outbreak populations of forest defoliators.  These tools were used to track the prevalence of microsporidia during an outbreak cycle of the jack pine budworm and eastern spruce budworm to elucidate their role in outbreak dynamics and study their transmission in insect populations.

6. Development of genome-science applications to support regulatory and enforcement activities in key areas such as environmental risk assessment and management; enforcement and compliance; pollution detection, monitoring and prevention; conservation biology and wildlife genetics; technology forecasting and assessment; and the responsible and sustainable development and use of bio-based products and industrial processes.

6.1 Environmental genomics-based approaches were used in 2007-08 by EC to:

  • Investigate molecular-level effects of environmental contaminants on wild species to improve environmental risk assessment/monitoring;
  • Conduct molecular characterization of communities of microbes in contaminated soil so as to enhance bioremediation;
  • Detect pathogenic micro-organisms in water and wastewater to assess the quality of water/wastewater and the effectiveness of treatment systems;
  • Detect pathogenic micro-organisms in soil in support of regulatory and enforcement needs;
  • Improve decision making regarding management and conservation of several species of concern (e.g., polar bears; various bird populations);
  • Develop and validate a lobster eco-toxicogenomic array - correlation of gene expression profiles with traditional toxicological end-points for contaminant exposure, histological effects and behavioural changes;
  • Determine the environmental impacts of transgenic crops and commercial bacterial consortia to aquatic invertebrates;
  • Apply genomics to support the development of Aquatic nanotoxicology issues in fish; validate the gene expression responses in terms of physiological effects at the biochemical and cellular levels;
  • Apply genomics to microbial source tracking: Identification of genetic markers specific for animal fecal pollution in aquatic environments;
  • Validate genomics tools for the prediction of environmental effects: response of fish to contaminated sediments;
  • Investigate environmental effects of genetically modified organisms and biotechnology microbes on functional microbial communities to improve risk assessment/monitoring; and
  • Develop and validate sampling methods and molecular analysis techniques for rapid detection of virulent emerging infectious diseases in Canadian native amphibian species for wildlife disease surveillance and for wildlife conservation biology.

6.2 In 2007-08 investments continued in environmental genomics foresight, knowledge development, instrumentation, infrastructure and outreach (e.g., periodic comparative analysis of international environmental genomics activities via bilateral with US EPA).  EC is also working closely with The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) of the World Health Organization (WHO) in developing strategies and work-plans on several fronts to lead and co-ordinate international efforts to attempt to see how toxicogenomic methods and approaches might be applied within in a regulatory context.  Strengthening of partnerships and joint-projects between Federal Departments continues (i.e. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada).

Table 3-9:  Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits for 2007–08

Response to Parliamentary Committees

NRC did not participate in any Parliamentary Committees in 2007-08 that required a response.

Response to the Auditor General

There were no OAG performance audits completed in 2007-08. Significant progress has been made by NRC in implementing the recommendations of the previous year’s audit. Overall, very positive progress has been made by NRC in implementing the OAG’s recommendations.  All six of the recommendations made subsequently in the OAG’s February 2007 Status Report have been assessed as either being fully (four) or substantially (two) implemented.  Related accomplishments include:

  • Revised role of Council and membership profile;
  • Approved Corporate Business Plan;
  • Draft Human Resources Branch Business Plan pending SEC approval by March 31, 2008;
  • Development of the Management, Resources and Results Management Structure (MRRS) for NRC including key performance indicators and targets; and
  • Development of the Balanced Scorecard aligned to the Corporate Business Plan.

Work still requiring progress includes recommendations pertaining to the collection and reporting of performance data and research project management.  However, significant activity is being undertaken to address them. 

External Audits


Table 3-10A:  Internal Audits for 2007-08

1. Name of Internal Audit

2. Audit Type

3. Status

4. Completion Date

5. Electronic Link to Report

Management of Information Technology (IT) Security

Management Control Framework

Completed and Approved by NRC President upon recommendation of the Departmental Audit Committee

June 2007

NRC-Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)

Management Control Framework – Transfer Payment

Completed and Approved by NRC President upon recommendation of Audit Committee

September 2007

Limited Assurance Annual Compliance Audit 2007-08 Hospitality and Travel


Completed and Approved by NRC President upon recommendation of the Departmental Audit Committee

October 2007

Publication pending

Limited Assurance Annual Compliance Audit 2007-08 Contracts Less Than $25,000 and Acquisition Cards


Completed and Approved by NRC President upon recommendation of the Departmental Audit Committee

October 2007

Publication pending

Limited Assurance Annual Compliance Audit 2007-08 Hospitality and Travel



October 2008


Limited Assurance Annual Compliance Audit 2006-07 Contracts Less Than $25,000 and Acquisition Cards



October 2008


Follow-up Audit to 2002 Construction Contracts Audit

Management Control Framework and Follow-up


October 2008


Values and Ethics Audit Survey

Audit Survey / Review


March 2009


Facilities Management and Related Equipment Audit

Management Control Framework


March 2009


Table 3-10B:  Evaluations for 2007-08

1. Name of Evaluation

2. Program Activity

3. Evaluation Type

4. Status

5. Completion Date

6. Electronic Link to Report

Evaluation of the NRC Round III Cluster Initiatives - Institute for Nutrisciences and Health

Research and Development



October 2007

Evaluation of the NRC Round III Cluster Initiatives - Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research

Research and Development



October 2007

Impact Evaluation of the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)

Technology and Industry Support



December 2007

Horizontal Evaluation of the NRC Genomics R&D Initiative

Research and Development



December 2006

Evaluation of the Interactive Language Technologies (ILT) Group - NRC Institute for Information Technology (NRC-IIT)

Research and Development



January 2008

Evaluation of NRC Grant Program to Enhance Canadian Science and Technology Capacity

Research and Development



December 2007

Evaluation of NRC-INMS

Research and Development



November 2008


Evaluation of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Program

Research and Development



September 2008


7. Electronic Link to Evaluation Plan: N/A

Internal Evaluations – Update on Recommendations from Previous Evaluations

2002-03 Evaluation of the Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology (NRC-ICPET)


Management Response

Progress Made in 2007-08

In its current strategic planning exercise, NRC-ICPET should attempt to develop a clearer vision for the Institute’s research program, one that has a narrower and more manageable focus than the current program. 

Through its strategic planning, the Institute will create a clear vision in conjunction with goals and strategies tied to a performance framework.

This issue has been addressed through the preparation of a business plan that clarifies alignment between NRC-ICPET programs and NRC’s strategic elements and establishes a performance management framework (PMF).  The plan will be adjusted on an annual basis and environmental factors will be taken into account.

NRC-ICPET should seek ways to increase the degree of integration of the research activities within the Institute. 

Integration will be accomplished in part as research activities are developed around selected research themes identified in the strategic plan.

Projects are developed within the strategies of five Programs, which form the framework of the PMF.  Projects will be reduced to 11 in 2008-09 and 9 in 2009-10.

NRC-ICPET should seek ways to increase interactions and build stronger ties with industry. 

Industry awareness of NRC-ICPET will be increased through several mechanisms.

In building its Bioproducts Program, staff participated in workshops and roadmapping activities involving industry.  It is expected that institute active participation in the program will include collaborative efforts with industrial partners.

Institute will lead an effort of developing NRC’s Chemical Sector Strategy and will actively participate in implementation of the Automotive key sector strategy.  Both initiatives will increase institute exposure to industrial partnerships.

New BDO position has been established to enhance our industrial outreach. 

NRC-ICPET should increase its interactions and collaborations with universities.

NRC-ICPET will continue to increase its linkages with universities, as identified in last year’s Planning Outlook.

ICPET continues to build strong interactions with the university community.

The Institute continued to participate in NSERC strategic networks related to fuel cells and signed a related Fuel Cell Research Centre MOU involving Queens University and RMC.  Collaborations are also in place with McGill, University of Ottawa and Laval University.

Institute’s researchers were successful in recent NRC-NSERC-BDC nanotechnology competitions being part of two of the five winning proposals (as a lead in one of them).  These projects are multi-institute, multi-university endeavours expanding our collaborative exposure to academia.

Institute is part of the SOFC (solid oxide fuel cells) NSERC strategic network and part of the applications of two others: hydrogen and PEM fuel cells.

Institute’s number of adjunct professorships has increased from 2 in 2003 to 7 currently.

NRC-ICPET should place emphasis on ensuring that it maintains an appropriately balanced research portfolio between long-term strategic research, near-term collaborative research and applied research

The Institute’s intent in its planning to focus on specific themes, with applications arising from the themes, will provide a mechanism for effectively managing the research portfolio.

The Project review and selection process is ongoing within the context of ICPET’s Business Plan.  An internal Resource Committee composed primarily of the institute’s Competency leaders guides investments in staff and facilities.

NRC-ICPET should seek ways to increase its visibility and raise its profile, both outside of and within NRC. 

As described in the response to Recommendation 1(a), improving the Institute’s focus will facilitate its efforts to increase its profile and recognition.

The Institute provides leadership in OGD programs (PERD, ecoETI), industry consortia (CONRAD, OCETA) and NRC programs (bioproducts, fuel cells, chemicals and automotive key industrial sector).

In considering appropriate mechanisms for transferring and commercializing its technology, the Institute should try to achieve a better balance between traditional licensing and the formation of spin-off or spin-in enterprises.

In the strategic planning done thus far, NRC-ICPET has identified "building commercialization capacity" as a potential strategic theme to be pursued.

No change from 2006-07 report

The Sustainable Technology Office (STO) should concentrate in the future on developing its capabilities in sustainability analysis.  In addition, a review of the STO’s wider functions should be undertaken.

Sustainable technologies and systems are expected to be central to the Institute’s future and the development of tools to assess sustainability aspects of technologies will be factored into NRC-ICPET's strategic planning process.  A wider STO role, such as facilitation, support and promotion of sustainable technologies beyond NRC-ICPET will require a clear NRC mandate and resource framework. 

No change from 2006-07 report


2003-04 Report of the Peer Review Committee on the Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF)

Recommendation - The Peer Review Committee:

Progress Made in 2005-06

Progress Made in 2007-08

Taking note of the important role of joint appointments of scientists by TRIUMF and universities, encourages the management to further involve Canadian universities with its strategy and activities

TRIUMF continues to maintain its strong involvement with Canadian universities.  During the fiscal year 2005-06, TRIUMF entered into a joint appointment with the University of Guelph and admitted St Mary’s University as an Associate Member of the TRIUMF Joint Venture.

During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, the University of Manitoba’s application for membership was accepted.  Additional enquiries concerning membership were received from McGill University, Laval University and York University.  There is serious interest in joining TRIUMF in the university community and TRIUMF is defining the requirements and processes to join the Joint Venture.

Endorses the clear strategic priorities put forward in the Plan, which aim at:

  • taking decisive steps to ensure that ISAC-II will be the world leader in isotope-separated re-accelerated radioactive ion beams with powerful, well optimized instrumentation and catering to a broad international users community, and
  • participating successfully in ATLAS physics at CERN

The proven success of TRIUMF’s ISAC facilities and its experimental program has clearly identified TRIUMF as a world-leader in radioactive ion beam (RIB) physics.  With the recent inaugural operation of the ISAC-II super-conducting linac, TRIUMF is without question a unique facility in the world for this science and will remain a unique facility for the foreseeable future.  TRIUMF currently has more internationally peer-reviewed requests for experimental beam time at the ISAC facility then it can possibly fulfill.  In 2005, TRIUMF received a minimum of 19 requests (TRIUMF can only accommodate 8-10 experiments per year).

TRIUMF has actively pursued funding for the ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre, the next step in providing infrastructure for Canadian scientists wishing to participate in the ATLAS physics at CERN.  As TRIUMF’s current Five-Year Plan did not provide this funding, TRIUMF is looking outside the NRC Contribution for funding to build this unique computer/data transfer facility.  On behalf of TRIUMF, Simon Fraser University has made an application to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for partial funding of the Data Hub under the Exceptional Opportunities Fund.  In March 2006, CFI made a final decision to award $8.178 million for the Data Hub.  TRIUMF has approached the Province of British Columbia for the remaining funds.

TRIUMF is currently the unique facility in the world for radioactive ion beam (RIB) science but continues to be severely handicapped by having only one beamline to the ISAC facilities.  This single beamline must serve the experimental community and the beam development group.  TRIUMF will be hard pressed to maintain its premier position in the future as the new and extremely well funded RIB facilities in Europe and Japan come on line. 

The Task Force pursuing exotic beams from actinide targets has made good progress.

TRIUMF is successfully continuing the development of new beams with a resonant laser ion source and FEBIAD ion source.  Beams developed in the current fiscal year included but were not limited to Silver 112 and Beryllium 11.  Installation of the Charge State Booster is complete and TRIUMF has installed the Super Nanogam Ion Source.

Although initially proposed for funding as part of the 2005-10 NRC Contribution Agreement, TRIUMF was encouraged to seek support for the ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre from CFI.  The Canadian university community, led by Simon Fraser University and TRIUMF, were successful in obtaining CFI funding for the Centre along with matching funds from the Province of British Columbia.  The Tier-1 Centre is now operational; recent performance comparisons of this Canadian centre to the 10 other analogues around the world showed the TRIUMF centre to be one of the best.  CFI funding for this centre continues to 2010 when new funding must be found to maintain and operate the facility so the Canadian physics community can take advantage of Canada’s investment in the LHC at CERN.

Supports the procedure that the management intends to put forward so that it receives regular advice on the scientific and technical developments of the laboratory from ACOT, from the Board of Management and from a new body derived from the Working Group which prepared the Five-Year Plan

In 2005-06, TRIUMF management met two times in with the Advisory Committee on TRIUMF (ACOT), twice with the Agency Committee on TRIUMF (ACT) and five times with the Experiment Evaluation Committees (EECs).  These three committees all have strong international membership.  Meetings with user groups and with the TRIUMF Board of Management three times a year ensure that the TRIUMF Director receives the best advice and scientific input into the developments at the laboratory.  Three committees were established to facilitate planning and coordination of ISAC activities: the ISAC Science Forum, the ISAC Beam Strategy Group and the ISAC Operations Review Panel.

There was a special EEC late in the fiscal year to evaluate TRIUMF’s scientific plans for the 2010 5-Year Plan.

TRIUMF is developing ambitious and visionary plans for the future, beginning in 2010, for both the laboratory and for Canada.  The TRIUMF Board of Management is now meeting four times a year to provide increased input and advice to the Director and senior staff on achieving TRIUMF’s goals.

During the year, the Operating Committee (OPCOM) was disbanded at the direction of the Board in favour of a new Policy and Planning Advisory Committee (PPAC).  PPAC advises the Director on scientific policy and facilitates two-way communications with the research communities at the member universities.

TRIUMF maintains several committees that facilitate planning and coordination of the laboratory activities such as the ISAC Science Forum and Beam Strategies Group.  The Quality Assurance Committee (QA) is working to ensure TRIUMF’s QA policies and procedures meet or exceed the requirements of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.  In addition, the Director created a Senior Management committee that meets weekly to discuss the activities of the laboratory.  This committee consists of the Director, Division Heads and senior staff from each of the operating and administrative divisions.

Notes that user liaison and communications could be improved and recommends that the laboratory address this appropriately

A bi-annual newsletter is distributed worldwide to all potential users since October 2002.  An ISAC Scientific Forum composed of experimenters, spokespersons of approved experiments and some ISAC operation personnel meets every second week to review progress and keep the user community in tune with laboratory developments.  Minutes of this meeting are available on a public website and distributed to 86 experimental spokespersons.  An ISAC Experimental Facilities Forum, which involves the facilities coordinators, some local experimenters and technical support personnel, meets on alternate weeks to discuss plans with the users.  An ISAC Science Seminar program was initiated in June 2003. 

Since 2003-04, TRIUMF has had an ISAC Beam Development Strategy Group that includes representation from the Users Group.

During the fiscal year 2007-08, TRIUMF began the process of systematically addressing its Outreach and Communications needs, both internally and externally.  A Communications and Outreach Coordinator was hired to provide strategic guidance to these efforts and to augment the existing Outreach and Communications program staff.  A strategy for optimizing the impact of TRIUMF’s periodic summary publications has been developed and is being implemented.

Several major projects were undertaken during the year to communicate TRIUMF’s accomplishments more broadly and to attract students to careers in science and technology.  The TRIUMF Outreach and Communications Committee meet twice per month to coordinate efforts across all divisions; it includes liaison members from the TRIUMF Users Group.  The Outreach program, which focuses on schools, students and the public, organized public tours for more than 1,000 visitors this year.  With support from NSERC and the Vancouver Foundation, a combined live-action and computer-animation educational movie teaching high-school physics using the TRIUMF cyclotron was created.  The DVD was publicly released in April 2008, is being distributed to every high school in Canada and will be a main feature at a meeting of physics teachers from all across North America later this year.  Targeted communications efforts have led to an approximate doubling of the media coverage of TRIUMF this year.  Successful interviews with several major news agencies have resulted in establishing the laboratory as a source for timely and relevant technical commentary. 


2004-05 Peer Review of the NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences (NRC-SIMS)


Management Response

Progress Made in 2007-08

The Institute work at reducing fragmentation within NRC-SIMS by developing a process where multi- or inter-disciplinary research projects are identified and stronger teams of researchers with a common focus work on important long-range scientific problems

Agreed.  NRC-SIMS is fully committed to develop a process that will better enable the identification of multi/interdisciplinary projects around which stronger teams of researchers can be built and resources can be focused to achieve important long-range scientific and technological impacts.  This is central to our current planning process that will be completed by June 2005.

SIMS’s 3-year business plan clearly identifies priority areas for multi-disciplinary research.  SIMS is currently involved in a number of these projects including leading a GHI-4 Biochip project, a CRTI project on ballistic protection, NRC-nano project on nanoaerosols and an NRC-NSERC-BDC project on photovoltaics.  SIMS also is participating in a multi-institute NRC-NSC Taiwan project on biosensors and an NRC-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain) project on nanocomposites.

The Institute set up appropriate project structures and organizations so that multi- or inter-disciplinary research projects can take place.

Agreed.  NRC-SIMS recognizes that implementation of interdisciplinary; cross-Institute projects will require the introduction of new organizational structures.  The management team of the Institute was restructured as a first step and various models that allow world-class competencies to be maintained while supporting a culture of large-scale interdisciplinary research projects are being explored.  It is important that these new processes allow projects to be initiated and terminated based on clear, well-understood criteria.

Under the new SIMS business plan, research has been focused on four program areas supporting the NRC strategic plan.  The programs will build multi-disciplinary teams and collaborations to achieve long-term goals.  The past year saw the termination of research activities in high-resolution spectroscopy, dielectric modification and diversity oriented synthesis.

NRC-SIMS work to better coordinate its technology transfer activities with the aim of being able to articulate how its inventions and creations are impacting existing or future commercial technologies

Agreed.  NRC-SIMS recognizes that a shift of Institute culture is needed towards one in which researchers recognize and articulate both the scientific importance and the potential (or actual) impact of their work.  NRC-SIMS will choose problems of national importance and establish the appropriate balance of fundamental science that must be understood and applied science that delivers a more easily measured impact.  NRC-SIMS must build a communicative environment, in which research findings can be discussed, widely understood and possibly transferred to other hands for exploitation in innovative ways.  In addition, the NRC-SIMS business office will develop a strategic business plan in 2004-05 that will incorporate best practices in IP management, strategic use of the Sussex Industry Partnership Facility and more effectively engage NRC-IRAP.

This process continued in 2007-08.  A more critical review of patent disclosures is now implemented with assistance from the CBS.

The Institute consider developing a process for funding allocations that is more strategic with some appropriately determined level of internal funding set aside for competitive projects within NRC-SIMS with an emphasis on external matching funds.

Agreed.  NRC-SIMS is committed to meet the challenge of acquiring more external funding and introducing a competitive element for internal resource allocation, while ensuring that funds are channelled strategically.  Institute level staff will be proactive in identifying and communicating external funding opportunities and deadlines to staff and providing administrative/logistical support so the researchers are not unnecessarily burdened with the logistics of grant writing.  There is a need for management to accommodate the time-scales of maintaining Institute core competencies at the cutting edge, responding to technology opportunities in partnership with emerging industries, or undertaking discovery-oriented programs whose impact horizon may be ill defined at the outset.  To accomplish this, NRC-SIMS management intends to introduce a strong element of project based resource and performance management in FY2005-06.

A 15% reallocation is implemented annually.  Projects on High-resolution spectroscopy and diversity-oriented synthesis were terminated.

The Institute develop procedures for internal scientific control, which combine strong elements of internal and external competition.

Agreed. With the shift towards project-based management, NRC-SIMS will introduce a range of project control, evaluation and reporting elements. Projects will need to be described and justified in competition for resources.   Evaluation of progress will be made to justify continuation of resources and projects will be managed against deliverables within fixed time frames. The project management process is viewed as a framework to enable the other recommendations of the Peer Review committee to be addressed, namely:   (1) identification of multidisciplinary projects and building of cross-Institute/NRC teams (2) communication of project goals, progress and achievements among staff, laying the groundwork for knowledge transfer and further impacts (3) building a culture of teamwork in securing funding from various sources, both from Institute-level internal allocations and with external partners. NRC-SIMS management recognizes that leading interdisciplinary research can only be carried out by teams that are able to maintain depth in their disciplines. An appropriate balance between discipline-based projects and interdisciplinary projects must be maintained. Excellence will be evaluated by periodic external peer review of groups and projects. NRC-SIMS management will work to convince researchers that well managed research projects are not inconsistent with excellent fundamental research.

One of the criteria for project selection is the ability to leverage external and internal resources.  This year saw a major increase in external funding leveraged from the institutes a-base.  See for instance the activities in cross-council initiatives, CRTI and NRC-NSERC-BDC.


2004-05 Evaluation of the NRC's Atlantic Initiatives


Management Response

Progress Made in 2007-08

NRC should seek renewed funding for the Technology Clusters Initiatives in Atlantic Canada.  The Initiatives in Life Sciences, e-Business/Information Technology and Ocean Technologies should continue to evolve to effectively meet the changing needs of the targeted communities.  Based on the ongoing reassessment of the Wireless Systems Initiative, the Institute for Information Technology should continue to adjust both the positioning and value formula (technology focus, resources, etc.) to find the most effective design for NRC's involvement.

Representatives from government, associations, academia and other organizations in the communities are active participants in the nascent clusters and are supportive of the cluster concept.  Currently, cluster activities are perceived to be dominated by associations and government.  The level of involvement by firms in cluster activities varies.  Evidence shows that the low level of engagement of firms is a weakness that will need to be addressed as the cluster communities move forward.

The request seeking funding renewal for the Life Sciences, e-Business/Information Technology and Ocean Technologies Initiatives is being developed.  In moving forward with the Cape Breton initiative, the NRC Institute for Information Technology will reassess the Wireless Systems Initiative and continue to adjust both the positioning and the value formula accordingly.


The renewed NRC Initiatives should specifically seek to broaden the participation of industry in cluster activities.  Industry commitment, visible through active involvement, should drive future development of the clusters (e.g., goals, plans and supportive actions).

Participation of industry in cluster activity is vital to cluster progress and it is a necessary progression to seek increased involvement of industry in the clusters.  Industry participation will be sought through several mechanisms such as workshops, technology demonstrations, conferences on emerging technology opportunities, the creation of interest groups in specific areas and training initiatives on platform technologies.

Life Sciences: NRC-IMB hired five research officers and complementary technical staff in response to a community needs survey and a gap analysis as described last FY.  NRC-IMB has also seconded a research scientist from ONC to work on AI projects.

NRC-IMB continues to work with other cluster stakeholders to foster linkages within the sector:

  1. The Nova Scotia Life Science Advisory Council has been formed to guide the development of the Roadmap.
  2. The Nova Scotia Innovation Council’s, led by the Vice-President of ACOA and the NS Deputy Minister of Economic Development, focus has been to improve business development in Nova Scotia for innovative companies.
  3. The LSRI received funding in the February budget.  This is a cluster driven priority and is a joint initiative between the Brain Repair Centre, NRC, ACOA and the Province.

NRC-IMB’s Director General is a member of all three committees.

NRC sponsored local events for the community – an IP seminar, Nutrigenomics Workshops and co-hosted BioPort Atlantic.  NRC-IMB hosted a two-day Biotechnology and Beyond seminar/workshop.  NRC-IMB provided financial support for the registration fees to local partners.  NRC-IMB has worked with other cluster stakeholders (BioNova, InNOVAcorp) to improve the technology transfer and business development capabilities of cluster members.  The introduction of the Synergy Fund with InNOVAcorp - a feasibility study fund for early-stage R&D projects – is an important partnership between NRC and InNOVAcorp and is rated highly by the community.  Cluster companies have access to CTI via an MOU NRC-IMB has with CISTI.

NRC’s AI investment in companies and BioNova’s networking activities has enabled linkages within and outside the cluster.  This includes partnership in the execution of BioPort Atlantic.

NRC-IMB is a member of the Atlantic-wide Incoming Partnering Mission initiative.  Life sciences companies apply to receive funding to host international companies in the region – the intent to raise awareness of our life sciences portfolio and to initiate collaborations.

NRC-IBD (Atlantic) works closely with the life sciences industry association, BioNova, to increase interactions between science and industry.  NRC-IBD is a leader in the development of commercialization in medical devices and diagnostics within the cluster.  NRC-IBD is helping to facilitate spin off companies (e.g., NeuroVox), industry partnerships (e.g., Elekta) and licence agreements (e.g., Varian).  NRC-IBD (Atlantic) is involved in BioPort Atlantic.

NRC-IRAP fully expended allocated cluster funding with 2 firms (total contribution of $0.15M. where the total project costs were $1.11M).  NRC-IRAP was responsible for organizing the Brain Repair Centre Commercialization Committee.  Membership included NRC participants, federal and provincial government representatives, academia, private sector, industry and professional associations.  The Committee is focussed on transferring new knowledge and technologies emerging from the Center to the marketplace.

E-Business and Information Technologies  

Creating and facilitating linkages, through research connections, at the political level and even through innovative use of the IPF, has been a hallmark of the NB cluster initiative.  NRC-IIT has been at the centre of the “network of networks” that has functioned as champions driving the cluster in place of a formal knowledge industry association in NB.  In 2007-08, the latest iteration of a knowledge industry network is the move towards using a social networking tool, MyNexia, a web-based platform focused on matching financial assistance and value added programs in support of the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Learning Technologies.  NRC-IIT will provide its expertise in Semantic Web and Artificial Intelligence and the Province will use the tool in their strategy, linking not just those organizations working in learning technologies, but also energy, health, bio – in essence, providing a virtual meeting place for the knowledge industry.

In addition, NRC-IIT-e-Business leverages strengths within NRC for the benefit of the NB cluster.

  • Formed a Twinning Agreement between two NRC CIs – IT/e-Business in NB and Life Sciences (NRC-IMB) in Halifax, involving cost sharing and research collaboration on cancer research with external partners and a collaborative bioinformatics lab in NB and NS.
  • Research collaboration with NRC-IOT and Trapster Inc. (NB SME).
  • Collaborations with PBI, BRI, IBS on GHI 4 and IIT-based cancer research.
  • Negotiating with Health Canada and Agriculture Canada for partnering on NB-based bioinformatics lab.
  • Developing further NRC relationships through Key Sector and Cross-Council project participation/negotiations.
  • In August 2007, as part of the 5th edition of its Privacy, Security and Trust Conference, the NRC – IIT organized and hosted, in cooperation with the University of New Brunswick, the first annual Atlantic Privacy and Security Summit in Moncton.  The event attracted several of the world’s prominent PST experts.  It was a valuable opportunity for the region to tap into this knowledge base, and see first hand the latest discoveries and emerging challenges, in the areas of privacy, security and trust.

Create and sustain linkages with cluster partners for planning, financing and learning:

  • Cluster Steering Committee partner linkages include: University of Moncton, University of New Brunswick, DND, Aerospace Association of NB, NB Information Technology Association, LearnNB, ACOA, DFAIT, DND and New Brunswick Community College.
  • Member of the Federal Council of New Brunswick, which provides a means to share information and align resources and initiatives in support of cluster activities.
  • Member of the UNB Research Network, which links NRC-IIT to other federal departments and agencies supporting UNB research priorities.
  • Participate in Angel Network events, to help attract funding for SMEs.
  • With NB Innovation Foundation, co-organized and hosted several sessions (at least 4) linking chapters/communities of the Canadian Venture Capital Association
  • Raised awareness of IPF tenants on IP issues and resources; introduced the new CIPO regional coordinator to IPF tenants.
  • Supporter, participant and/or host of cluster events such as the Cybersocial, KIRA Awards, etc.
  • NRC-IIT’s BD Office is a member of the Industry Liaison Office with the four NB universities, the province of New Brunswick and ACOA. 
  • Participated in the ICT Roundtable discussion organized by ACOA as a brainstorming session with sector organizations to provide input in the analysis of current ICT sector Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  • Enterprise Fredericton and the Province consider the presence of the NRC as a compelling component of the investment attraction initiative when luring prospective knowledge industry companies to the region.

NRC-IRAP fully expended allocated cluster funding to 3 firms (total contribution was $0.16M where the total cost of these 3 projects was $1.41M).  The Program also contributed $0.092M to 2 projects with organizations with NRC Cluster funding.  (Total costs for these 2 projects were $0.094M).  NRC-IRAP had a significant role in organizing 4 conferences/workshops with over 400 participants mainly from the private sector, province of NB and other federal government departments.

Ocean Technology: Industry participation in the Cluster grew steadily throughout the year.  Companies in the Cluster now number more than 50, with an increase of 15% over the previous year.  Those companies have spent about $17 million on R&D activities during the reporting period and generated some $259 million in total sales revenue.  Industry participation was evident in the OceansAdvance Strategic Foresight exercise, held in the first half of 2007.  Over 70% of cluster members took part.  Participants concluded that the Cluster could grow even faster, achieving a billion dollars in annual revenues over the next 5-10 years.  The exercise was considered a great success and marked a “sea change” in how the Cluster thinks about itself and how members relate to one another.

Industry will participate in the programs of NRC’s Ocean Technology Enterprise Centre (OTEC).  The program and facility operated at maximum capacity during the year, with a full complement of a dozen companies in the Co-Location and Young Entrepreneurs Programs.  This is seen a vital measure of the Cluster’s health, with industry participation at the level of NRC’s capacity to deliver the service.

Other events throughout the year have been well attended by industry members, including workshops, guest speaker events, networking opportunities and the AGM.  Industry participation on the Board of Directors is at its maximum, with all non ex officio officers belonging to the private sector.  Industry is also well represented on the OceanAdvance sub-committees.

NRC-IRAP fully expended allocated cluster funding with 1 project with a firm for $0.055M (total project cost was $1.059M) and $0.0204M toward 3 projects with organizations where total cost of these projects was $0.25M.  NRC-IRAP had a significant role in organizing 5 conference/workshops/events with over 130 participants from the private, academic and public sectors.

Nutrisciences and Health: NRC-IRAP fully expended allocated cluster funding ($0.053M) with 2 firms where the total costs were $4M and 3 organizations ($0.20M) where total costs of these projects was $0.27M.  NRC-IRAP played a significant role in organizing 1 workshop with over 100 participants.

The links between IPFs and their host Institutes should be adjusted as needed to ensure that strategic objectives are met.  As the IPFs mature, their contribution to the cluster should be monitored.

It is crucial to have strong linkages and relationships between IPFs and host Institutes to ensure strategic objectives are optimally met.  The IPF will play a key role as the clusters mature and commercialization activities increase.  If the coordination function noted in Recommendation 7 below, is implemented, exchange of best practices on IPFs and cluster development will be part of coordination activities.

Life Sciences: The NRC-IMB Industry Partnership Facility continues to play a role in attracting companies to the cluster (Halifax Biomedical, Nortek Scientific, Ocean Leader).  Approximately 85% of the available space was allocated during 2007-08.

IPF clients work with NRC-IMB scientists on research collaborations, fee for service testing, training on and access to, equipment and networking opportunities.  Staff from IPF clients also make extensive use of the on-site CISTI library and the CTI capabilities.

Two cluster companies to date have been awarded project funding via the Synergy! Fund.

E-Business and Information Technologies:

For the FY 2007-08, the number of inquiries for co-location continued to exceed available space in the NRC-IIT Fredericton IPF, which housed nine companies/organizations.  NRC-IIT Fredericton IPF tenant companies have been very successful in raising risk capital in 2007; most notably Virtual Expert Clinics, Atlantic Hydrogen, Radian6, Green Imaging Technologies and Pinpoint Selling, which have raised a combined $15M in 2007. 

A research collaboration that started in 2006 with Toronto-based Pinpoint Selling has generated a successful relationship in 2007 for NRC-IIT who negotiated the resulting intellectual property into a Technology Licence Agreement as well as an Agreement for Research Services.  Pinpoint Selling has taken NRC-IIT Fredericton IPF office space where its two most recent hires, two former NRC-IIT students, will work with a senior NRC-IIT researcher who will provide consulting and integration services to help the successful implementation of the technology into the company’s marketing service line.

Notable recent awards and honours for IPF tenants include Rogers Innovation @ Work Awards, Success Story at Full Sail Summit 2007, nominated for the 2008 National Ernest C Manning Awards, finalist in the 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, 2008 KIRA Award for Most Promising Start-up.

Ocean Technology: Activities in the NRC IPF are closely linked to the objectives of the Institute.  Incubating companies are selected based on their potential contribution to the Cluster, while OceansAdvance itself is located in the IPF.  Facility companies benefit from the expertise and facilities available to help commercialize their technology ideas.  Close working relationships have evolved with some tenants, who are commercializing spin-off opportunities from Institute research.  This directly addresses the first objective of the IOT Business Plan, formulated in 2007-08: to develop and transfer ocean technology solutions of importance to Canada.  The location of OceansAdvance in the IPF and all associated activities, workshops, etc., addresses another of the Institute’s strategies: to foster a dynamic Ocean Technology Cluster.

The Initiatives should continue to monitor impacts with regard to AI and adjust programming as required.  To facilitate monitoring of impacts, baseline studies should be undertaken.

The Atlantic Initiatives Management Self-Assessment is a diagnostic tool that has been developed to assist institutes, NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI identify areas for improvement to support technology clusters in their communities.  The Self-Assessment addresses Monitoring and Management.  The outcome of the self-assessment process will be an action plan developed by institutes, NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI to address areas for improvement and respond to the evaluation recommendations.

As the institutes engage in phase two of cluster development, institutes will ensure that baseline information about the cluster and the Institute is collected providing a basis for future comparison.  Baseline information about the cluster should be collected by cluster members at the community level. 

Life Sciences:

After a review and assessment based on original business plan commitments, it was determined that the most effective role for NRC-IMB was in terms of providing R&D and technology development support.  Other initiatives in the community provide business support.  This was a direct result of other initiatives in the sector.  NRC-IMB continues to be a lead partner in these initiatives.

NRC-IBD (Atlantic) monitors impacts closely.  It has been a driving force in building biomedical imaging capacity.  There has been in excess of $26 million of new investment levered into the region in 5 years.  The investment comes in the form of two new basic science labs embedded in the region’s major hospitals (over 10 000 sq ft), three state-of-the-art MR systems and more than 30 highly qualified personnel.

E-Business and Information Technologies:

FY 2007-08 was a year of significant progress.  NRC-IIT and the province of New Brunswick have formed a joint management committee to drive the IT Cluster and we lead the Cluster key sector steering committees (Learning, Health, Bioproducts) with membership by key Cluster Stakeholders responsible for strategy implementation.

Recently NRC-IIT partnered with the Province for an asset mapping exercise to which we have committed in 2007-08 and will contribute $160K in 2008-09.

Ocean Technology:

Industry Canada NL OT Cluster Baseline studies completed in 2001 and 2006.  See table following this one of NRC-IOT Cluster engagement in 2007)

An NRC Action Plan for each Initiative should be developed to provide a framework for NRC activities.  These action plans would describe objectives, activities, timelines and performance measures for the scope of NRC's involvement in the development of the clusters.  The action plans should be developed by the institutes, NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI as well as any other parts of NRC that would be involved or implicated.

The Self Assessment addresses Strategy, Planning and Governance (business/action planning).  The NRC Action Plans will be developed when new funding is secured and allocated to the Atlantic Initiatives and presented to SEC.  The NRC Action Plan will specify objectives, activities, time lines and performance measures for the scope of NRC’s involvement in the development of the cluster.

NRC-IMB is meeting all the timelines outlined within its business plan with some modifications:

  1. The creation of Springboard via ACOA funding has refocused the scope and depth of NRC-IMB’s commercialization efforts.
  2. BioNova has assumed the lead facilitation role in the cluster and chairs the Nova Scotia Life Science Advisory Council.  NRC-IMB has supported this move.
  3. Venture Capital attraction remains an issue within the cluster.  However, a local angel investment network has been created to stimulate life sciences investment opportunities.

NRC-IMB continues to monitor via an activity-based budget process.

NRC-IBD presented an action plan been at the time of cluster renewal (2005), which included continued, ambitious, development of the imaging capacity, such as the Biomedical MRI Research Lab at the IWK Health Centre (recently opened) and the establishment of a magnetoencephalography (MEG) laboratory (underway).  It also included continued development of commercialization, including the creation of a business development office (established) and increased integration of NRC commercialization expertise into the region's hospitals (underway).  Communications are handled in-house, but this is an area flagged for increased activities.

E-Business and Information Technologies: Following on previous significant planning efforts, NRC-IIT completed its first-ever three-year Business Plan in 2007-08.

Ocean Technology: NRC-IOT operates the OTEC and programs.  The unique offering of OTEC is access to the range of highly skilled technical specialists who work at NRC-IOT, proximity to world-class experimental facilities and access to the NRC Cluster Partnership Facility (CPF).  OTEC provides competitive intelligence through NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI.  Through its membership in the Campus Incubation Consortium, OTEC offers business mentoring and financial advice to young companies.

In relation to the university, the Institute also provides co-supervision and support to a dozen graduate students who are working on collaborative projects and it employs between 6 and 12 work-term students each semester.  Joint projects with Memorial have resulted in the formation and success of two local companies: MadRock Marine Solutions and Virtual Marine Technology.  Additionally, eight NRC-IOT researchers hold Adjunct Professorships in Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

NRC-IOT is a partner of Memorial University in three collaborative projects with a total value of $1.2M to develop and transfer ocean technologies into the commercial sector.

In other cluster activities, NRC-IOT operates the NRC Cluster Partnership Facility (CPF) that opened in 2003. It has become a hub of activity for NRC-IOT’s industry partners and for the full range of cluster partners.  The CPF is the home of OTEC and all the resident companies, graduate students and visiting scientists, with NRC-IOT researchers distributed among all of them.  The CPF provides attractive meeting, networking and remote conferencing facilities and as a result is the preferred site for seminars, conferences and collaboration meetings.  Located on the campus of the university and close to provincial government buildings, it is literally and figuratively a centre for cluster activity.

As part of its contribution to the cluster, NRC-IOT provides a home for the NRC-CISTI Ocean Technology NIC and associated services, IRAP staff and services and OceansAdvance in the CPF.  The annual cost of this space, which might otherwise be rented out, is estimated at $67K for NRC-CISTI $40.4K for NRC-IRAP and OceansAdvance.  The resources for the operation of the CPF are provided through FESM.

OceansAdvance has identified an opportunity for the cluster in customized ocean observatory systems.  Training of marine operators for harsh environment scenarios has the potential to be a beacon activity for the cluster.  In particular, technologies for simulation of ship operations in ice have been identified as a market opportunity.  The third area, in which the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, like its neighbours Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, has expressed strong interest, is Ocean Renewable Energy.  A better understanding of wave energy and the design of devices for harsh environments, is a required technology development.  The current business plan addresses these three areas.  The first two, Ocean Observation and Arctic Operations in ice have become two of the focus areas for NRC-IOT research.  Ocean energy, where the challenges are in the determination of the performance of the device, is being addressed by projects in the Performance Evaluation program area.

The NRC Connections Conference (September 2007) presented a convergence of opinion in the evaluation of progress in cluster development.  Speakers agreed that the focus of evaluation should be on the healthy dynamics of the cluster.  Participants also advised against setting targets for results that are not under the direct control of the strategy, but they endorsed the concept of tracking the impact of an organization’s activities.

As a key player in the Atlantic cluster communities, NRC should facilitate the development of a strategy for each cluster by the cluster members at the community level.

NRC institutes cannot on their own, develop a cluster plan.  Institutes can, however, facilitate, encourage and advocate for the development of a strategy for each cluster.  The development of a strategy for the cluster is a logical next step as institutes enter phase two of cluster development.

Life Sciences: The NRC-IMB-AI mission has been focused more closely on translating NRC’s research and development into a strategic advantage for the cluster.  The number of cluster company partnerships via collaborative arrangements and/or fee for service arrangements has been increased. Institute platforms and facilities are more accessible to the community.

The NS Life Sciences Advisory Council is focussed on moving the next stage of the roadmapping exercise forward.

Efforts were also focused on raising awareness of the CI by hosting various members of the community – including the Minster of Health for the Province of Nova Scotia and the Greater Halifax Partnership.

NRC-IBD:  The most prominent example is the recently announced Life Sciences Research Institute at Dalhousie University (LSRI).  NRC is a founding partner in this initiative and a major factor in this success.  The $15M in federal funding for centres of excellence was awarded to the neuroscience cluster as a direct result of the clusters success. 

E-Business and Information Technologies: Alignment: NRC-IIT is closely aligned with the NRC Priorities and the Government of Canada priorities.  The provincial government introduced its Self Sufficiency Agenda that includes the IT Cluster as a priority, with a focus on Learning, Health and Bio products R&D and secondary areas of Energy and Transportation.  The Provincial agenda aligns closely with NRC-IITs competencies, role and research focus.  NRC drives the government component of the cluster agenda in partnership with the Province of NB.

Asset-mapping: The NB CI is fostering the development of cluster support services and recognizing the potential of knowledge-based industries by regional/local leaders and supporting regional strengths and assets.  An MOU has been signed with the Province of New Brunswick about an Asset Mapping exercise.  The purpose of the asset mapping projects is to provide information about the strengths, resources and opportunities that exist within the identified sectors in New Brunswick.  The first Annex has been executed to cover two asset-mapping projects in the areas of Advanced Learning Technologies and Health/Life Sciences.  NRC-ASPM has issued an invited RFP and it is anticipated that the asset maps will be completed by early Fall 2008.  NRC committed in 2007-08 to contribute $160K in 2008-09.

One of the overall goals for this project is to provide a sound base of information to support the development of a new strategic plan or enable the realignment of existing efforts and/or policies with regard to the two sectors in New Brunswick.  Additionally, the asset mapping projects will help to forge further connections between individuals, industry, organizations and institutions within the sectors and to provide a catalyst for investment and the formation of new collaborations.

NRC-IIT coordinated the hosting of a strategic meeting at its Fredericton site with the Deputy Minister, National Defence and the Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs and the Privy Council.  The purpose of the meeting was to demonstrate the breadth and depth in capacity and capability in New Brunswick for a Center of Excellence in Advanced Learning Technologies (CEALT), as well as the substantial level of participation, support and progress by the key stakeholders.  Senior government and private sector officials, as well as the Premier of New Brunswick, attended the meeting.  (14 March 2008)

NRC-IIT was a key participant and exhibitor at the Symposium on Advanced Learning Technologies (SALT 2008) where DG provided opening address and staff were keynote and session speakers.  Over the course of the 2-day event NRC-IIT DG had several meetings with Canadian and US military and law enforcement officials.  These were focused on demonstrating NRC-IIT’s infrastructure and expertise, especially in support of the CEALT and included tours of the Fredericton facilities.

In response to the needs of the cluster, NRC has leveraged existing expertise by the creation of a new research group in Learning and Collaborative technologies.

NRC-IIT is working with industry to help them form a provincial IT Association that will be directly involved in the cluster strategy development and implementation through membership on the Cluster Steering committees

Ocean Technology: NRC has been instrumental in facilitating a strategy for the Ocean Technology Cluster.  NRC-IOT, NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI continued to support all cluster activities throughout the year, providing advice, meeting rooms, office space and funding.  The Strategic Foresight exercise undertaken by OceansAdvance was a great success, due in part to NRC participation and support.  The exercise focused on three growth areas, as identified by the cluster.  These include ocean energy, vessel operations and ocean intelligence.  NRC-IOT, in its strategic business plan of 07-08, addresses all three areas and will be devoting research resources to their development over the next several years.  As the cluster moves forward with its strategy for business growth, so will IOT with its plan of research support for the Ocean Technology Cluster.

NRC should establish a coordinating function for the Atlantic Initiatives.  This function would be the focal point for coordinating the Initiatives beyond the level of individual Initiatives.  The role of such a function could include, but not be limited to, co-ordination across the cluster initiatives as required; setting common approaches (for performance measurement and management, financial tracking and other procedures); identifying, documenting and sharing best practices; and developing and sharing common tools.

This would be a logical next step in cluster development.  NRC will look at the possibility of creating a coordinating function as part of the next phase of Technology Clusters Initiatives in Atlantic Canada.

Completed in 2005-06

The NRC Action Plan for each cluster should detail the role and contribution of communications in supporting the cluster initiative.

The Self Assessment addresses Communications and Stakeholder Relations.  The NRC Action Plan for each cluster (Recommendation 5 above) will detail the role and contribution of communications in supporting the cluster initiative.

Life Sciences: The Nova Scotia Life Sciences Industry Association and ongoing industry consultations, facilitates the active engagement of cluster stakeholders.

NRC sponsored local events for the community – an IP seminar, Nutrigenomics Workshops, Biotechnology seminar and cohosted BioPort Atlantic.  Tours of NRC-IMB were also conducted for invited officials from the provincial Department of Health, as well as guests from the GHP and Dalhousie University, to showcase both the research facilities and the Industry Partnership Facility.

NRC-IBD: As above, communications activities at NRC-IBD (Atlantic) are expected to increase.

E-Business and Information Technologies: The NRC-IIT Business Plan does include a communications plan.  Support for the communications objectives of the cluster is most often offered on a case-by-case basis, such as hosting and presenting at the final stage of judging for the Intelligent Communities 2007 competition (Fredericton finished in top 7; Seoul was the winner) and participating in the Think NB showcase, which had the greatest attendance of any cluster event to date.

Ocean Technology: OceansAdvance manages communications; the public-private joint venture with a mission to make St. John’s an international location of choice for ocean technology.

Accountability requirements for the AI funding should be reviewed and strengthened.  Activities and results associated with the incremental AI funding should be tracked and reported separately.  Consideration should be given to the appropriateness of targeting the AI funding to specific research projects that are incremental to the A-base funded research and targeted to the needs of the cluster community.

When the funding levels of the renewed AI are in place and the plans for each initiative developed, an updated RMAF will be implemented and accountability will be tracked, reviewed and strengthened accordingly.  The updated RMAF will be a cooperative effort of the AI Directors General and will be led by Corporate Services or a cluster coordinating function, if implemented.

When the funding levels of the renewed AI are in place, institutes, NRC-IRAP and NRC-CISTI will track their AI funding separately so that cluster activity is accounted for and to demonstrate progress against the objectives outlined in the NRC Action Plan.

Life Sciences: This is ongoing as described for last fiscal year.  All principles and practices have been maintained.

NRC-IBD:  A business case was prepared for 2005 cluster renewal, which included milestones and deliverables specific to the cluster.  Progress to date has surpassed all existing business case plans, with initiatives such as LSRI and the MEG lab represented additional growth.

E-Business and Information Technologies:

Per last year’s entry; plus Research Portfolio Management Guide completed and implemented.  This is available to others as a best practice document on the NRC-IIT website at

Ocean Technology: No change from previous year

NRC-IRAP continued to use Sigma and SONAR to track and report on its use of NRC cluster (AI) funding.

Resource allocation should be based on a regular collective challenge process.

In some cases, tracking of AI funding has been inadequate and must be improved.

NRC will continue to hold regular internal challenge meetings as it did this year.

Life Sciences: Resources are allocated based on continually re-evaluated alignment with community needs, NRC priorities, NRC-IMB priorities and AI mandate, as outlined above.

NRC-IBD: The AI cluster renewal was a formal systematic review in which all collective funding was evaluated.

NRC-IIT reviews all research projects on an annual basis and CI resources in NB are allocated based on the 3 year approved Business Plan.  Funding is allocated to the research priorities as outlined in the approved business plan

AI funding should be tracked separately from A-base funding.

AI funding will be tracked separately from A-base funding as described in response to Recommendation 9, above.

Life Sciences: As above.  Projects, resources will all be monitored and tracked separately from A-base and other B-base funding.

NRC-IBD:  AI funding is tracked in a separate cost centre.

E-Business and Information Technologies: Same as last year.

Ocean Technology: B-Base funding was allocated, along with A-Base and income, to salaries and ops as part of the overall institute financial plan.  Staffing and project funding is not linked directly to B-Base funds, so estimates of impact of B-Base on HQP is reasoned below.

Salaries from the AI B-Base funding in FY 2007-08 was allocated as $1.75M which equates to approximately 24 HQP FTE (@$74K/HQP).  Therefore, it is reasonable to claim that B-Base funding secured 24 HQP within NRC-IOT’s staff, or that approximately 30% of all HQP staff are funded by B-Base dollars. 

 AI funding is allocated into a separate fund centre and tracked through that fund centre.


2005-06 Evaluation of NRC’s Genomics and Health Initiative


Management Response

Progress Made in 2007-08

NRC should continue to fund the Genomics and Health Initiative and seek renewal of the Genomics R&D Initiative for a fourth phase.

Discussions to address the Phase IV program and competition design will be initiated with the GHI Directors General Committee and in consultation with the GHI Program Coordination Committee.  Recommendations from the GHI Evaluation and lessons learned from GHI-3 will be incorporated into the Phase IV program design.

The GHI Phase IV (GHI-4) competition was completed in November 2007.  Five large-scale research projects were selected for funding from April 2008 to March 2011.

Access to renewed funding (2008-11) for the Genomics R&D Initiative is being sought.

NRC should ensure that, once strategic priorities are articulated through the Renewal Initiative, GHI's objectives clearly align with these.

GHI's objectives will be reviewed after the NRC strategic priorities have been articulated through the Renewal Initiative.  Revisions will be made to ensure that the objectives are clearly aligned with NRC strategic priorities.  The VP (Life Sciences) will develop the revised objectives in consultation with the GHI Directors General Committee.

Completed.  GHI objectives have been reviewed and revised to ensure alignment with the new NRC Strategy (2006-11).  GHI-4 objectives were approved by the VP Life Sciences in December 2006.  The revised objectives are:

  • To translate scientific and technical knowledge within genome sciences and health-related research into social and economic well being for Canada.
  • To create and use new genomics or health-related technologies to contribute to the global competitiveness of Canadian industry in key industrial sectors (e.g., pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and agriculture).
  • To foster the development of large scale multi-institute and multi-partner research teams necessary to undertake multi-disciplinary research demanded by genomics, proteomics and health-related research.
  • To support and participate in regional, national and international genomics and health-related innovation networks through cooperation and integration across NRC institutes and with external partners such as industry, academia, government departments and other research organizations.

To foster excellence in horizontal research program management and accountability.

A portfolio approach should be taken in future GHI phases, funding a balance of new basic research Programs and Programs that are more applied.  For those Programs that propose "closer to market" applications, a market assessment study should be performed as part of the proposal process to examine the potential impacts of the work.

In GHI Phase IV, a more formalized portfolio approach will be established as part of the program evaluation criteria for use by the GHI Expert Panel and as a guide for NRC Senior Executives when making program funding decisions.   The portfolio approach will be based on funding a balance of programs with shorter-term commercial potential as well as those with longer-term research objectives.

Lessons learned from the market analysis studies conducted by NRC institutes (e.g., BRI) and as part of the pilot study conducted by NRC Corporate Services, will be used to develop the specific requirements for market analysis studies that will be implemented into the GHI Phase IV evaluation criteria. The GHI Expert Panel will also be strengthened to include additional members with business and marketing expertise.

Completed.  NRC Senior Executives used a formal portfolio approach to select GHI-4 projects.  The result is a balanced portfolio of programs with shorter-term commercial potential and longer-term research objectives.

As part of GHI-4 research program evaluation, independent market / strategic positioning studies were successfully conducted for each of the submitted program proposals.

The GHI Expert Panel was unanimous in its praise of the value added to the review and evaluation process by having the market studies available.

Efforts should continue to build upon the progress made in GHI-2 in integrating activities across NRC.  In addition, the complementarities between GHI Programs and other genomics and health research across Canada should be strengthened through increased collaboration with organizations external to NRC.

Integration and leverage were important elements in the GHI-3 proposal evaluation criteria.  Proponents were encouraged to assemble integrated, multi-disciplinary research programs that involved more than one NRC institute and to include research coordination and collaboration with other government departments and agencies, academia and/or industry.  An inter-departmental Genomics R&D Coordinating Committee oversees the collective management and coordination of the federal Genomics R&D initiative and ensures that collaborations between federal departments are pursued wherever relevant and possible.  The requirement for inter-institute collaboration in GHI Phase IV research programs will be strongly encouraged and collaboration with organizations external to NRC will continue to be an important criterion in proposal evaluation.

Completed.  Approved GHI-4 research programs were successful in ensuring continued integration across NRC research institutes (there are currently 10 institutes involved in the five GHI-4 programs). 

Additionally, efforts have been equally successful in integrating other government departments, universities and industry as collaborators into these research programs.  More than 50 universities and private sector companies have been identified as collaborators in GHI-4 research programs. 

AAFC is a formal partner in one of the five research programs and IMRIS – a private company, is a formal commercial partner in another. 

A GHI specific Logic Model, which defines expected results in the near, medium and long term, should be established to facilitate more effective performance measurement.  Objectives must be clearly stated and performance should be reported against the stated objectives at both the Initiative and individual Program level.  Meaningful indicators that are linked to clear objectives or strategic plans need to be identified, agreed to (i.e., between management, researchers, VPs, etc.), tracked and accurately reported upon.  The need to track performance and the allocation of resources should be balanced against the associated administrative burden.

NRC is currently leading an evaluation of the interdepartmental Genomics R&D Initiative. As part of this evaluation, a revised RMAF will be prepared for the Genomics R&D Initiative. The consultant used to revise the RMAF will be used to develop a GHI specific Logic Model, which will define expected results in the near, medium and long term.

Steps have already been taken in GHI-3 Program Charters to better define program objectives and key deliverables/milestones and research programs are required to submit quarterly reports that are focused on progress reporting against research objectives and milestones. In GHI Phase IV Program Charters there will be a focus on improving the definition of research objectives and how they link to the Initiative strategic plan and on better articulating and linking key program milestones.

Completed.  The RMAF developed for the Genomics R&D Initiative has been formally adopted by GHI and was used to guide the development of the Annual Integrated Performance Report (2006-07).

GHI-4 program charters have been completed they provide more clearly defined research objectives and their linkages to NRC strategic priorities.  Key program milestones have also been identified that will be used to track progress annually.

Efforts should be made to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the business development function and communicate it to researchers and business development officers so there is a common understanding of what activities are part of the function.

NRC is launching a comprehensive review of NRC business activities to ensure we have the right business activities and the right support for these activities in the future.  Specifically, the Terms of Reference for this Review call for examining activities with a view to revamping support to achieve the goals under our Renewal Plan, to capitalize on opportunities under Portfolio management; and to work better 'horizontally'.  This Review will ensure that GHI issues and opportunities uncovered during the evaluation are addressed appropriately.  This would include clarifying business development and marketing roles and communicating them across the Program and the Council.

Completed.  NRC’s Business Review team recommended that business development expertise needed to be involved early on in the process of identifying and carrying out research activities.  This included GHI projects where earlier involvement of Business Development Officers was highlighted as an opportunity for enhanced market outcomes and cross-NRC collaboration.  The new Central Business Services (CBS) office is ensuring that NRC’s major research programs consider market factors from the very early stages of planning research and throughout the life of a research program.  CBS provides a suite of tools and advice to assist institutes and programs to capitalize on market opportunities and to do this horizontally.

In the context of the upcoming Genomics R&D Initiative evaluation, an in-depth review of the science directions and research thrusts of departments involved in Genomics R&D as well as other federal organizations including CIHR, Genome Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Canadian Biotechnology Strategy should be undertaken to determine the extent to which the different programs are complementary or duplicative.  In this regard, the status and/or results of the current review by the Minister of Industry of federal government's involvement and investments in genomics R&D need to be taken into consideration.

The evaluation of the interdepartmental Genomics R&D Initiative will provide an in-depth review of the science directions and research thrusts of federal departments involved in Genomics R&D.  A similar review (i.e., the Genomics Review) of other federal organizations including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Genome Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the broader Canadian Biotechnology Strategy has been initiated and is being led by Industry Canada.  These evaluations/reviews will provide an excellent examination of how these different programs could be more effective.  The GHI Coordination Office, in consultation with the GHI Directors General Committee, will take steps to address any specific issues or concerns that are raised in the recommendations and associated management responses of these evaluations/reviews.

Completed.  An evaluation of the Genomics R&D Initiative was conducted in 2006.  The primary conclusion from this evaluation was that the Genomics R&D Initiative is relevant as a critical element of the broader Canadian activities in biotechnology and that it is complementary to other initiatives related to the regulatory activities associated with biotechnology and other federal genomics R&D investments (e.g., Genome Canada).  Industry Canada has recently completed a review of a full range of federal government involvement and investments in genomics research, including Genome Canada, the granting councils (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chairs, the Networks of Centres of Excellence and the intramural Genomics R&D Initiative.  This review concluded that the roles of these federally-funded research organizations are complementary and integrated, as well as appropriate to provide the capacities and structures needed to support the mandate of departments and the different scales of research programs.  Furthermore, while noting that there is room for improvement in the area of coordination and strategic planning, it concluded that federal investments have well positioned Canada given genome science developments, the increasing magnitude of collaborations and the continuing investments by foreign governments and institutions in genomics R&D.

The GHI Coordination Office should continue to help support the Scientific Leaders in the area of project management (e.g., training, reference materials, information sessions, workshops) with special attention given to those with less experience.  The Coordination Office should help to facilitate the sharing of good management practices between experienced Program Drivers/Scientific Leaders and new ones.

One of the key roles of the GHI Program Coordination Committee is to share best management practices amongst Scientific Leaders.  This approach will be strengthened in GHI Phase IV by the introduction of a project management workshop to be held during the launch of GHI-4.  The GHI Coordination Office, in consultation with participating institutes and Corporate Services, will develop the workshop.  The workshop objective will be to provide guidance on GHI and Institute program management requirements and performance management and will include presentations on best practice from experienced GHI scientific leaders.  Consideration will also be given to including presentations from professional project managers in the private sector.  With respect to specific project management training for Scientific Leaders, the GHI Coordination Office can provide financial support and facilitate specific training to support the delivery of horizontal research programs.  However, the training and development of Scientific Leader staff is an institute responsibility and any efforts in this area would require coordination and approval from institute management.

Completed.  A Kick-off Workshop was organized and implemented as part of the roll-out of GHI-4 research programs.  The Workshop provided guidance on the various aspects of GHI governance, as well as program / performance management requirements.  Best practices from GHI-3 research programs were integrated into the presentations.

The idea of a Kick-off Workshop has been incorporated into a standard element to take place at the beginning of each future phase of GHI. 

Implementation of the new governance and accountability structure put in place for GHI-3 should be monitored as to its effectiveness as Phase 3 progresses.

The GHI Directors General (DG) Committee as well as the GHI Coordination Committee will monitor the effectiveness of the new GHI Governance and Accountability structure.  This will be an annual agenda item for both committees recommendations made by the committees will be used to guide governance model revisions.  The effectiveness of the structure and operation of the various committees will be a key issue for discussion.  Any major changes to the governance and accountability framework would need to be agreed to by the GHI DG Committee and submitted to SEC for formal approval.

A review of the GHI Governance Framework has been completed with the GHI Program Coordination Committee (e.g., Scientific Leaders and Project Managers) and a meeting has been planned to conduct a similar review with the GHI DGs Committee in the Spring of 2008.

Proposals for future phases should be streamlined and should focus on the articulation of clear and realistic objectives and milestones.  There should be more transparency in the final Program selection process, including better articulation and communication to the Scientific Leaders of the rationale used for final funding decisions.  Consideration should be given to tracking the time taken to develop proposals for any future phases.

Changes to streamline and focus proposals on the articulation of real objectives and milestones have been initiated in GHI-3 and this will be built upon in GHI Phase IV.  Efforts to improve the transparency of the final program selection process were also introduced in GHI-3 and additional steps will be taken in GHI Phase IV.  For example, a more formalized proposal evaluation system will be developed to provide specific feedback on each evaluation criterion.  This information will then be used to create evaluation summary documents that will be communicated to each proposal proponent.  The overall objective of this change will be to better articulate the rationale used in the decision making process.

Completed.  GHI-4 research program proposals were streamlined and there was a much-improved articulation of real objectives and milestones.  These changes are also reflected in the approved GHI-4 program charters.

Changes to improve the transparency of the final program selection process were implemented and a more formalized proposal evaluation system was used.  Proponents were provided with much more detailed (and specific) feedback on each evaluation criterion in terms of the areas that were seen as strengths and weaknesses, together with commentary that provided the reasoning for any proposed changes.

This approach has been adopted as standard practice and will be used in all future phases of GHI.

The Programs’ Charters need to include specific plans on how the project will end in the event funding is discontinued after three years.

Based on evidence presented in the evaluation, there is clearly a perception by some participants in GHI research programs that funding is likely to continue beyond the nominal three-years of program approval.  In GHI-2 and GHI-3, competition guidelines indicated that programs were to be planned and funded for a limited duration (typically three years) and that associated research objectives and milestones were to be prepared on this basis.  In GHI Phase IV, program duration and the process for funding renewal will be more explicitly presented in program documentation.  Additionally, as part of the GHI Phase IV Program Charter development, a new requirement will be introduced that will require each program to prepare a closure strategy in the event that funding is discontinued.  As part of the GHI-3 program closure strategy, proposals may be put forward to seek continuing funding for a short period to ensure the completion of critical work.  Efforts will be undertaken for Phase IV funding decisions to be made six months in advance of GHI-3 completion so that adequate time is provided to implement closure strategy plans.

Completed.  GHI-4 Program Charters have been developed and because of program framework documentation and related presentations, it is now clearly understood that GHI-4 research programs will end in March 2011 and that a closure strategy is required in the event that funding is not renewed.

The changes to the decision-making timeframe (i.e. mid-November) provided 4.5 months advance notice so that GHI-3 programs not continuing into Phase 4 had adequate time to implement closure strategy plans.  This approach was viewed by participants as being very successful and will continue to be implemented into future phases.

To make optimum use of external reviewers, an independent assessment of past performance by experts should be integrated into the Program selection process of any new GHI phases.  Peer reviewers should be asked not only to review proposed work, but also provide an opinion on past performance at the same time.  Specific questions relating to research completed in the previous phase (e.g., achievement of objectives, quality and relevance of the outputs/outcomes) should be included as part of the proposal review.

GHI program proposals are required to include a Background Section that provides progress to date in areas directly related to the proposal and a list of outputs (e.g., publications, patents, licensing agreements, etc.) related to the research. For existing GHI programs, peer reviewers and members of the GHI Expert Panel have used this section to assess past performance. In the GHI Phase IV Competition, this section of the proposal template will be strengthened and the requirement to explicitly report on progress towards research objectives and milestones in areas directly related to the proposal will be made a requirement. Additionally, the GHI-3 performance reports will be made available to the reviewers of GHI-4 proposals.

GHI-3 research programs are required to submit quarterly performance reports that are reviewed by program Steering Committees and by the GHI Directors General Committee. As well, it is planned for the GHI Expert Panel to conduct formal mid-term reviews of GHI research programs, with recommendations made to the Vice President Life Sciences, who will determine if funding for a program will be continued, reduced or reallocated. These existing performance evaluation mechanisms are considered comprehensive and the integration of additional, independent assessments of past performance as part of future GHI program selection processes are seen to be unnecessary.

Completed.  The GHI-4 full proposal template included a requirement to explicitly report on progress towards research objectives and milestones in areas directly related to the proposal.  GHI-3 performance reports were also made available to the reviewers of GHI-4 proposals (external peer reviewers and the GHI Expert Panel).  This has been adopted and will be used in future GHI proposal processes.

A mid-term review of approved research programs by the Expert Panel has been established as part of the overall and ongoing performance management strategy within GHI.

Before replicating the GHI model for other NRC horizontal initiatives, the following issues need to be taken into consideration:

  • The effectiveness of a GHI-3 type governance framework;
  • The matching funds approach and the effect it has on institutes' ability to participate in multiple horizontal initiatives;
  • The balancing of the competitive process and accountability requirements with the demands on NRC scientists to prepare proposals at the institute and horizontal levels and the ability to find external experts to participate in reviews; and
  • The establishment of a suitable funding cycle in which the desired impacts are achievable.

NRC Senior Executive agree to consider these issues before putting in place any future horizontal initiatives at NRC.

The issues related to governance and funding for horizontal initiatives are currently being examined by NRC.


2006-07 Evaluation of Central and Western Cluster Initiatives - Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation


Management Response and Proposed Actions

Progress Made in 2007-08

NRC-IFCI must articulate a value proposition to industry to ensure its research and development (R&D) complements industry rather than potentially placing itself in competition with industry.

Accepted. NRC-IFCI will regularly review, with our partners, our research directions against short, medium and long term needs of the fuel cell cluster and make adjustments in order to ensure that we maximize our impact in meeting the needs of industry through the unique provision of technology breakthroughs and expertise and core-competencies.

Our Cluster Business Plan is based on industry consultations, an independent survey of their needs and the Round Table and as such has captured key parts of their recommendations:

  • NRC-IFCI will communicate our cluster plan to the cluster members, advisory board and other stakeholders, including NRC-IFCI staff.
  • The cluster funding will be dedicated to working with industry to meet the short and medium term needs. NRC-IFCI will also use a small portion of the funding to collaborate with universities to address next generation technologies that will enable the industry to sustain its global leadership.
  • NRC-IFCI will use our A-base funds to develop relevant core competencies that will allow us to become world leaders enabling us to meet industry needs and will dedicate a small portion to exploratory work.
  • NRC-IFCI will link the cluster with universities and global research networks to bring in expertise and knowledge.

During 2007-08, NRC-IFCI was engaged in the first consortium project with industry, delivering pre-competitive research to two companies who had never collaborated before.

Other ways in which our R&D complemented industry:

  • Meeting of the technical sub-committee to review our technical plans.
  • Extensive collaboration with partners (5 with Ballard alone)
  • Knowledge transfer through publications, seminars, workshops
  • Work on pre-competitive issues critical to the cluster through Helmholtz projects with Germany that will link four key research organizations in Germany with NRC and universities in the cluster.
  • Cluster to cluster linkages developed through workshops held at NRC-IFCI with military and remote community stakeholders and with large US research laboratories at the University of Connecticut and Los Alamos Lab.
  • Development of the PEMFC national R&D network, currently applying for NSERC strategic funding.
  • Renewal of UBC MOU, signing of UW MOU.
  • SOFC Network received NSERC strategic funding
  • Advanced MEA development LOI for NCE/NSERC approved
  • 2 FC industry members willing to expand its industry participation in consortium

NRC-IFCI agreed to be part of the BC Fuel Cell Strategic Plan rep committee with H2FCC and BC Government Department of Mining, Energy and Minerals

NRC-IRAP fully expended allocated cluster funding, including 7 projects with hydrogen/fuel cells related Firms for $0.32M (total project costs for these projects was $5.13M) and 2 projects with organizations supporting the hydrogen/fuel cells sector for $0.073M (total project costs was $0.21M).

NRC-IFCI should focus on ways to increase usage of the HTEC, including the implementation of targeted marketing efforts.


  • NRC-IFCI will continue to implement the marketing plan for the HTEC. NRC-IFCI will allocate 20% of the time of the Business Development Officer (BDO) as well as 40% of Technical Officer (TO) time towards developing projects for HTEC.
  • NRC-IFCI will continue to work with H2FCC to increase utilization of HTEC by the BC fuel cell cluster.
  • NRC-IFCI will establish a partnership with Powertech Labs and CTC to market the HTEC to other industry sectors such as oil and gas, mining and military.

Undertook a marketing study to have the FC sector validate our understanding of their needs with the intent of increasing HEC usage.  Industry wanted us to ‘prove their concept’ – independently certify their experimental results.  They also identified the need for a vibration table and a smaller climate chamber.  The report also indicated the need for a marketing coordinator who would prepare marketing materials, call on potential clients and contact stakeholders.

Utilization doubled from previous year.

New billing strategy making HEC affordable for smaller companies.

NRC-IFCI must continue to focus on building internal research capabilities.

Accepted. Building core competencies and research leadership skills is critical in ensuring the sustainability of the Institute and is therefore a top priority. In addition to training research leaders, we plan to increase the number of research positions through increased revenue generation.

  • NRC-IFCI will allocate all its S&T A-base funding towards building internal research capabilities (core competencies) in low temperature and high temperature fuel cell technologies and in doing exploratory research.
  • NRC-IFCI will focus on the core competencies that are relevant to the industry with direction from the industry and an insight from market & technology intelligence studies to ensure our uniqueness.
  • NRC-IFCI will develop and implement staff training plan.
  • NRC-IFCI will put in place portfolio management process to ensure focus and sustainability.

Conversion of PDFs into RAs: full orientation.

Development of project selection process further with field of knowledge survey preceding project selection.

Key consolidation and market/IP assessment made to internal, fundamental projects that feed knowledge to collaborative and application oriented projects.

Strategic term positions turned into continuous.

Used information & advice from technical subcommittee of Advisory Board to direct core competency growth.

Development of testing capabilities through Advanced Testing and Verification project.

NRC-IFCI must ensure its research plan is focused and is within its resources and clearly communicate it to stakeholders.


  • NRC-IFCI will continue to focus by reducing the number of technology platforms for its internal R&D program. NRC-IFCI will do this in consultation with industry technical committee and our university partners.
  • NRC-IFCI will continue to focus on building world-class expertise in fuel cell materials, design and fabrication of fuel cells.
  • Quarterly communication of progress to the Advisory Board and key stakeholders.

Number of internal projects reduced to eight and communicated to Advisory Board Technical Sub-Committee.

Note that our core competency focus is working as our groups continue to receive more and more world recognition.

NRC should consider all options, including work force adjustments, when making a significant shift in research focus.


  • NRC-IFCI are in the process of finalizing the restructuring that will include work force adjustment. The initial strategy was to allow time and resources for retraining the staff to meet the needs of the new mandate. Over the last two years we have been going through the process of realigning which will result in reorganization and work force adjustment.
  • NRC-IFCI will align our resources to deliver on the technology and business plan.

Completed in 2006-07

NRC-IFCI must focus on managing resources and implementing plans and continue the development of management practices and processes to deliver against objectives.


  • NRC-IFCI has developed a project review and planning process that allows us to manage the resources, review progress and make decisions on new initiatives.
  • NRC-IFCI will continue to improve the process to maximize resource utilization.
  • NRC-IFCI will establish an Innovation Program Committee, consisting of group leaders and management, to regularly review progress, needs and priorities.

Increased governance with introduction of Management Accountability Agreements

Established position of business planner to plan and manage resources, monitor execution and report on results.  Established position of strategic planner to provide management team with additional resources.

NRC needs to clearly articulate what is meant by "flagship" institutes and what roles and responsibilities are related to this.

The industry is requesting NRC to provide one portal, which coordinates and focuses resources within NRC. In our view NRC-IFCI can be the portal for fuel cell R&D because NRC-IFCI is an applied institute, located in the centre of the largest fuel cell cluster and has become the centre of activities for the fuel cell industry as a whole. It has the largest fuel cell research group in Canada and works closely with its university partners to focus on meeting the needs of the industry. NRC-IFCI has become the hub that coordinates the fuel cell R&D community in Canada and interfaces with industry. Hydrogen & Fuel Cells Canada, the national industry association, is headquartered at NRC-IFCI and regularly communicates industry-involving needs. NRC-IFCI have built strong relationships with industry and the universities and established strong links with international research organizations. In addition, NRC-IFCI, with its Industrial Partnership Facility (IPF)/testing/demo facilities, industry-led Advisory Board and strong links with the NRC-IRAP ITA community, is very much aware of market and industry needs. So, as the portal, NRC-IFCI, on one side, can communicate those needs to the NRC FC Horizontal Program. The Horizontal Program will use that information to establish criteria for project selection that enables development of critical and yet novel knowledge platforms to be used by the applied institutes to support industry partners. And/or on the other side, NRC-IFCI can address multiple needs/requests from industry by linking them and/or their projects/consortia to appropriate NRC wide skills and expertise.

DG NRC-IFCI is leading development of National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Program.


2006-07 Evaluation of Central and Western Cluster Initiatives – National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT)


Management Response and Proposed Actions

Progress Made in 2007-08

Articulate NINT's strategic vision and the specific mechanisms by which it will be achieved.

This recommendation will be implemented within the calendar year.  NINT did have a plan for the first five years: to build, equip and populate NINT within a particular research framework articulated by Dan Wayner in 2002.  Also, the strategic framework for operation was acknowledged by the Board in its first meeting in June 2005.  However, in the past, approval of a formal strategic plan was hampered by a lack of understanding among the parties of what the strategic plan should include.  It is the intent of management to develop a strategic plan that reflects the joint initiative and that can be approved by the NINT Board on October 3, 2006 as well as the funding partners of NINT.  The strategic plan will provide clarity on the research plan and focus.

NINT management and the NINT Board of Trustees are still working on the final version of the Strategic Plan to capture the unique collaborative opportunities within the partnership.

Meanwhile, the Strategic Plan Draft document continues to provide the framework within which NINT is operated and from which the Business Plan is derived. 

NINT provided NRC with a Business Plan for the NRC Business Plan process.

The Board continues to ask for a Business Plan that covers all of the NINT partnership activities, but this has been hampered by the uncertainty of other partner funding.

Address outstanding human resource issues and maintain as a priority for management.

The recommendation will be acted on immediately.  The Director of Research position is a top priority with management and while the first search was not successful, creative alternatives are being pursued.  The open recruitment process may be expanded within the framework of the federal government staffing process, which requires that an Internal Competition be followed by an External Competition.

Other HR issues, such as long-term career paths, will be brought forward for discussion between the principals in the two organizations, but it should be recognized that there might not be solutions to all of the career issues.

The Director of Research took on a position of DG at another institute leaving the position at NINT at the end of 2007.

Recruiting for the Director Research position will proceed in the fall for appointment in the spring.

The DG has engaged in discussions with the RO/RCO community at NINT to determine how their careers can best be managed within the unusual structure of NINT resulting from the secondments to and from the University of Alberta.  This issue is particularly important and challenging for those who are not seconded.

Clarify the role and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees.

The role of the Board of Trustees is defined in the Governance Agreement for NINT.  As the Board continues to meet regularly and NINT is fully established, the responsibilities of the Board will become more definite.  To ensure that the Board’s role reflects the partners’ expectations, one-on-one interviews with partners and Board members will be initiated and results will be reported at the next Board meeting.

The Board of Trustees at the May 14, 2008 meeting expressed satisfaction with the operation of the Executive Sub-Committee and asked for a standing report to the Board.

The new Chair of the Board is expected to take a more active role in the governance and in the interactions with the Oversight Committee

Refine administrative systems.

This recommendation will be implemented to the extent possible.  The NRC personnel at NINT and the University of Alberta personnel are continually working on finding the most effective ways of working together.  A number of agreements have been signed, but more need to be implemented.  Special communication efforts will be made to make the processes more open and clear for everyone.

The University of Alberta has acknowledged the need to put into place a structure and process that allows for complete and accurate accounting for NINT related expenditures and funding that is managed by the University of Alberta.

There are ongoing negotiations with the University relating to all agreements, both new and existing since some of the latter are expiring.

Finalize the communication protocol and develop a communication plan.

This recommendation is critical and attention will be given to getting the communications protocol agreed upon and signed.  The major principles are in place and a protocol has been developed and agreed upon in principle.  The communications strategy needs to be developed and is important as NINT moves from a responsive to a proactive phase.

The partners have renegotiated the communications protocol with the joint agreement that future communications will focus on branding the NINT entity rather than the partners.

The document is nearly finalized and will be completed in 2008-09.

Secure sustainable levels of ongoing funding.

This recommendation is being acted on immediately.  The outcome of the evaluation process is feeding into the business plan for NRC renewal request to the Government of Canada.  In parallel, the Government of Alberta is developing a Nanotechnology Strategy that recognizes the critical role of NINT for Alberta.

NRC has secured funding for NINT through the 2009-10 fiscal year but will need to return to TB for funding thereafter.

The Government of Alberta is implementing its Strategy and is seeing some funding move to NINT. 

Discussions are ongoing among the three partners concerning dedicated resources to NINT.  This issue is at the top of the agenda for a meeting of the Oversight Committee scheduled for summer 2008.


2006-07 Evaluation of Central and Western Cluster Initiatives – Crops for Enhanced Human Health (CEHH)


Management Response and Proposed Actions

Progress Made in 2007-08

CEHH should increase linkages to the medical and nutritional research community working in the field of functional foods and nutraceuticals (FFN).

Accepted. NRC-PBI has currently begun establishing linkages with the medical and nutritional community at the University of Saskatchewan and NRC-INH in Prince Edward Island (PEI).

NRC-PBI developed a formal collaboration with Dr. Wang of NRC-INH to explore the efficacy of the phytosterol produced in Brassica.

NRC-PBI signed a Collaborative Research Agreement with Saponin Inc. to work on “Cyclopeptide Analogues as Human Therapeutic Agents”.  This work includes researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and Saponin Inc. 

NRC-PBI and 22nd Century Inc. signed a Research Collaboration and Licence Agreement to investigate nicotine biosynthesis in tobacco, including control and elucidation of the pathway.

Bioaccess has established a 47-company client base across Western Canada.

NRC-IRAP fully expended allocated cluster funding ($4M with a total project costs of $0.68M) to BioAccess Commercialization Centre (BAC).  Major achievements for the year included: 1) gaining competitive advantage for industry by recruiting business and technology analysts, by identifying experts and mentors across Western Canada, by providing internet access to information and services to almost 50 BioAccess clients and by designing a regulatory services/support program; 2) bringing local ideas to marketplace by completing a national environmental scan that identified key issues study and action, by initiating discussions with partners across Western Canada  and by producing a bi-weekly News Bulletin for industry; and 3) building competitive foundations by completing and implementing a communication strategy, by launching service offerings in Saskatchewan and across Western Canadian SMEs; and by initiated a Technology Roadmap project known as BioFutures.

CEHH should develop an operational/business plan clearly outlining commitments and timelines for any future activities should additional technology cluster initiative funding be received.

Accepted. NRC-PBI will develop an operational plan in consultation with NRC-IRAP, NRC-CISTI and the BioInnovation Centre to support all facets of the cluster as outlined in its business plan.

Due to the departure of a key employee, the plan will not be finalized until September 30, 2008.  A PHW Committee has been established to review and select proposals for funding.  An Operational Committee for NAPGEN was established

CEHH should develop a communications plan to guide future outreach efforts with the FFN cluster players. The plan should include strategies to communicate with cluster actors in the research/academic community as well as other stakeholders and industry.

Accepted. As part of its business planning, NRC-PBI has identified outreach and communications planning as critical to providing momentum in the community to develop the cluster.

BioAccess completed a marketing campaign aimed at communicating to companies across the West what BioAccess is and how it can help firms through the commercialization process.

BioAccess is in the process of completing a Technology Roadmap called “BioFutures” which focuses on what is next for this industry sector. 

2007-08 Cluster Dimension Project titled “The Functional Food and Natural Health Products Industry in Western Canada” provide BioAccess with a report giving an overview of the Western Canadian FFNHP industry.  Twenty-three companies were interviewed and 4 major areas were explored.

  1. Commercialization stage
  2. Company needs & fit with BioAccess
  3. Company need/fit with PBI
  4. The western Canadian FFNHP cluster

A second project provided an overview of the structure and strength of ties or links amongst firms and between network firms and select support organizations. 

NRC-IBD should establish an accountability framework between NRC-IBD and BCC to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the two organizations, particularly relating to tenancy arrangements of NRC-CCBT.

In progress. Leasable space in NRC-CCBT is already 48% occupied, only nine months after building completion.  For the remaining space, in accordance with the IBD-BCC Memorandum of Collaboration setting out each Party’s responsibilities, NRC-IBD will consult with BCC to determine space requirements in the next 12 months.  For space not required by BCC, NRC-IBD will seek tenants and organizations that will not be in the BCC program, so as not to compete with BCC program objectives.

As at 1 April 2008, leasable space in CCBT was 70% occupied.

The total number of tenants in CCBT as at 1 April 2008 was twelve, with six tenants enrolled in the BCC program and all twelve tenants are related to the Biomedical Cluster.

Through the Steering Committee meetings, BCC has advised NRC that there are plans for three additional clients for the BCC Program.

NRC Biomedical Technologies: NRC-IRAP fully expended allocated cluster funding ($0.44.M where total project costs of $0.92M ) as planned to Bio-Commercialization Centre (formerly CCBT) to provide mentoring and other support to SMEs; contributed to Skills Survey (HQP development) and initiated discussions with the investment community to devise an investment readiness strategy.

Given the significant amount of space within NRC-CCBT allocated to BCC, NRC-IBD should ensure that BCC has a current business plan in place outlining timelines, milestones and contingency plans for finding and securing appropriate clients for the allocated space and for participating in BCC programs.

Completed.  BCC has a current Business Plan and Work Plan, submitted to its Board of Directors in March 2006.  BCC also reports progress to NRC-IRAP monthly.

BCC has a current Business Plan in place and reports progress to NRC-IRAP monthly.

As per the Memorandum of Collaboration between NRC-IBD and BCC, NRC-IBD should ensure formal meetings of the Joint Steering Committee take place and appropriate mechanisms are established to monitor progress against commitments outlined in the MOC and to meet federal government accountability requirements.

Accepted.  Planning meetings have been ongoing since 10/2005 and carried out on an ad hoc basis to date.  Joint Steering Committee meetings will commence in Q4 2006.  These meetings will utilize agendas and actions arising to monitor progress against commitments.

In addition to the ad hoc meetings, there were formal Steering Committee meetings, which were held in May and November of 2007.


2006-07 Evaluation of Central and Western Cluster Initiatives – Aluminium Technology Centre (NRC-ATC)


Management Response and Proposed Actions

Progress Made in 2007-08

Fast-track the planned undertaking of needs analysis within local industry in the SLSJ region to determine opportunities related to the technology platforms that are being put in place in NRC-ATC.

Accepted.  The Canadian Aluminium Transformation Technology Roadmap, of which NRC is a key stakeholder, will bring forward national and local industry needs.  Through a number of workshops, those firms are voicing their views on the sector priorities and their challenges to answer them.

NRC has played a key role in 2007 by pursuing the effort to develop a “Conseil sectoriel de l’aluminium”, a coordination committee for the whole of the aluminium industry.  This is in direct response to the first recommendation of the recent “Canadian Aluminium Transformation Technology Road­map”.  An executive committee, composed of NRC-ATC, the Aluminium Association of Canada, REGAL, Trans-AL and CQRDA, is presently developing the mandate and operating structure of such a coordination committee.

NRC was instrumental in organizing 5 meetings with key stakehol­ders in order for them to discuss the possible organization of a secretariat for the Canadian Aluminium Industry lead by the industry (SMEs and multi-nationals).  Work is still in progress in 2008

A wide distribution effort was performed following the official launch of the 2006 edition of the Canadian Aluminium Transformation Technology Roadmap.

NRC has collaborated with its partners in the promotion and production of documents:

  • Trans-Al Network: Aluminium Transformation Roadmap promotion (5 presentations across the province of Quebec and promotion during APMA congress in Hamilton, Ontario).
  • SVA: The Aluminium Valley Cluster Document (8 pages color flyer).
  • CQRDA: Collaboration for several articles featuring NRC’s achievements and people in Al-13 magazine.  NRC-IRAP contributed financial and in-kind support to the organization of “TRANSAL International Conference 2008”, Biarritz, Spain, lead by CQRDA.


  • A press conference was held with Minister Blackburn and NRC Vice-President Normandin to announce second round of cluster initiative budget renewal (2007-10).
  • Organization by IRAP Quebec of the ITA annual meeting in Saguenay in order to expose all ITAs of IRAP Quebec to the results of the CI.  All stakeholders of the aluminium CI were invited to assist a plenary session.

Trans-Al Network: NRC provides direct support to regional chapters of the Trans-AL Network (and coordinates regional chapters directly).  It is also present at the annual meeting of this SME network and shares technical and business presentations.

Between April and December 2007, ATC and Stakeholders members made 11 presentations on the Roadmap in Canada, while outside entities published 7 papers and 6 websites articles regarding the document.  Namely, the Canadian Aluminium Transformation Technology Roadmap, led by NRC, was featured in international industry journals (Light metal Age, USA, Aluminium Times, UK) as it was the first of its kind

Also, 500 copies of the document were distributed during Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association’s exhibition in Hamilton, Ontario, in May 2007.

Between April and December 2007, the document was freely accessed on the internet more than 2600 times.

NRC-IRAP fully expended allocated cluster funding to 13 projects with firms in the aluminium processing and manufacturing sector ($0.29M where total cost of projects was $5.47M) and 1 project with an organization ($3.5K  where total project cost  was $0.75M).

NRC-IRAP dedicated one full time domain specific Quebec ITA to the cluster.  An ITA in Ontario and BC worked closely with the cluster to link cluster activity to their local firms.


An integrated approach with all stakeholders of the cluster in order to develop programs and services dedicated to the need of SMEs, in particular.

  • NRC-ATC/IRAP/CISTI will introduce new joint activities to provide competitive technical intelligence and an information hub for industries mainly for SMEs.
  • NRC-ATC and NRC-IRAP will work together for the creation of new R&D programs dedicated to the needs of SMEs and in line with the objectives of cluster stakeholders such as CED, CQRDA, TRANSAL, APMA, REGAL and other Canadian universities.
  • NRC-ATC and NRC-IRAP plan is to effectively reach out for industries in not only the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region but all across Canada.

Using the same successful vehicle that has been used at IMI-Boucherville, multi-partners projects will be created to address common opportunities and issues of SMEs.

CISTI hired a new analyst to implement in Saguenay a new service for Competitive Technical Intelligence in aluminium related fields for the cluster.

NRC was involved in two major networking and showcase events for the CI:

  • "Synergie-AL" event was organized in collaboration with CQRDA, Trans-Al Network and REGAL;
  • "Aluminium Valley in Action" was organized in collaboration with SVA.

NRC-IRAP has contributed financial and in-kind support to the organization of "TRANSAL Conference 2008,” an international aluminium conference to be held in Biarritz, Spain in June 2008.

Support to innovation partners:

NRC has coordinated with REGAL and UQAC to develop and support their application to CFI for further specialized aluminium related R&D equipment not presently available in the cluster.  The application has been successful, with 16M$ granted to 4 universities (UQAC, Laval, Sherbrooke and ÉTS/Montréal), 5M$ of which is being installed locally at UQAC ‘S CURAL pavilion and will be accessible to NRC-ATC and the cluster.

NRC-ATC was involved in multiple research projects with external and internal CI companies

NRC-ATC has contributed to the training of several HQP (8 graduate students, 6 invited workers from Laval University, Alcan R&D and STAS.

NRC-ATC has produced 39 reports and publications in 2007.

NRC-ATC researchers teamed-up with Laval University and 4 industrial partners to launch a multi-year strategic research in aluminium hydroforming and succeed in securing a grant of $525,000 from NSERC.

Contractual discussions led to the renewal in 2007 of the partnership agreement with ALCAN (firstly signed with Alcan in 2002).

Discussions are advancing well to establish a strategic partnership with Novelis.  A formal proposal has been submitted to the company by  NRC-ATC.

IRAP's ITA is involved in three local initiatives with local stake holders to stimulate the CI:
1- AP-50 program with RTA and FTQ,
2- Innovation-02 with CRE and IDEA,
3- CLD Saguenay.

Examine the management of IP with key collaborators to ensure access to new knowledge by members of the 'cluster' community.

Accepted (with clarification).

The approach used so far with our key collaborators has been to maximize the speed of commercialization, knowledge generation for NRC-ATC, access to facilities and transfer of expertise for the other users in the cluster or in Canada.

The agreements signed by NRC-ATC will continue to maximize the NRC’s strategic objectives allowing knowledge transfer to other users of the cluster community to create wealth, jobs and benefits for Canada.

Friction Stir Welding: Work in progress with the system at the client site during the period.

NRC-IRAP, NRC-ATC and Trans-AL Network (representing more than 100 SMEs in Quebec) are structuring an umbrella agree­ment to provide access to NRC facilities and expertise and to various technical resources and infrastructure associated with the CI for the tran­sition from technology development to know-how adoption and imple­men­tation by SMEs in the cluster and in Canada.  This new formula of support has also been used with industries from BC and ON.

The number of partners in the cluster has now reached 70.


2006-07 Evaluation of Central and Western Cluster Initiatives – Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (NRC-CPFC)


Management Response and Proposed Actions

Progress Made in 2007-08

Seek out additional opportunities to inform, educate and build relationships with NRC-IRAP ITAs.

Accepted. NRC-CPFC views NRC-IRAP as a critical partner in diffusing its business offering to the Canadian industrial sector – an extension to its 'sales and marketing force'. NRC-IMS management will meet with the Director General of NRC-IRAP to identify the best way of informing Industrial Technology Advisors of NRC-CPFC commercial programs and services.

Over the course of the last reporting period, the NRC-CPFC management has continued to improve its relationship building with IRAP.  As was agreed upon in the last fiscal year between the NRC-IRAP management and NRC-CPFC management, the Director responsible for NRC-CPFC was invited to the NRC-IRAP Ontario/Quebec regional meeting (Boucherville, November 28th-29th, 2007) to give an overview of the photonics cluster initiative and its value proposition to SMEs in Canada.

Further discussions took place between the NRC-IRAP Director responsible for the photonic cluster and the NRC-CPFC Director to look at a strategy in delivering maximum impact to SMEs in Canada.  Five projects were funded using NRC-IRAP funds ($250K) leveraging a total of $1,551K from industry. 

The NRC-IRAP and NRC-CPFC directors jointly took part in a mission to France to explore international photonics cluster-to-cluster interaction.  Further discussions are underway to bring a Canadian Photonic industry delegation to France to explore business opportunities.

NRC-IRAP assigned a local ITA to work with NRC-CPFC to promote the services of the Centre with the ITA network as well as to link to potential clients

Continue to extend and link to the private sector as a means of making the services of NRC-CPFC known.

Accepted. This is core to what NRC-CPFC must do – insuring diffusion of NRC-CPFC service offering to the industrial sector. NRC-CPFC will do so by making sure all of its business office staff members are fully integrated in the business practices of NRC-CPFC. NRC-CPFC will also continue to attend trade shows such as Photonics North and West as well as sit on committees of 'photonics industry associations' to inform potential industrial clients.

NRC-CPFC has continued to extend its outreach to the private sector, hosting over 50 industrial clients in addition to no less than 15 international delegations within its premises and describing the various commercial offerings of the Centre and its value proposition.  In addition, NRC-CPFC has continued to support Canadian SMEs through international industrial missions to the USA funded by the Enhanced Representation Initiative (ERI). 

NRC-CPFC continues to run its annual Executive Symposium on Photonics Commercialization, a high-level international event that brings Senior Executives from leading photonics corporations together with high-ranking government officials to present their perspective on the commercialization of photonics.  Presenters showcased emerging commercial opportunities in optics and photonics and showed how these are changing the way we live. 

NRC-CPFC staff were invited to give presentations to Photonics West in California and Photonics North in Montreal.  NRC-CPFC has produced and distributed marketing materials highlighting its new technical services to industry.

NRC-IRAP provided $0.25M to 5 industry projects where the total project costs were $1.55M.

Resolve attribution of property tax and hydro costs.

Accepted.  NRC-IMS management will meet with the DG of ASPM to estimate the true utilities cost and taxes of CPFC complex.  Note, every day of service interruption affecting the CPFC results in a minimum of 2 days of shut down which cost CPFC $50,000 in lost opportunity.  ASPM needs to be sensitive to such pressures.

The cost of the utilities and taxes for NRC-CPFC has been valuated and has been incorporated within the business plan.  The cost is paid to NRC-ASPM each fiscal year and taken out of the B-base funding allocation provided by Treasury Board.

NRC-IMS management continues to work closely with NRC-ASPM to minimize the interruption of client services.  Campus-wide power interruptions (for periodic maintenance by Hydro Ottawa and others) still result in a complete shutdown of the facility.  In spite of forward planning, every time such an interruption occurs almost two full days of operation are lost, causing serious delays in the delivery of the milestones to NRC-CPFC clients.

Examine market potential and set cost-recovery expectations for the NRC-CPFC.

Accepted.  CPFC will continue to update its marketing plan on a regular basis and seek guidance from other international organizations (such as OIDA) in doing so.  As established in the original Treasury Board submission, the CPFC’s cost recovery policy is meant to cover some but by no means all of the operational costs of CPFC.  The impact of CPFC will be measured by its effectiveness in stimulating the Canadian economy (job growth, SME traction, VC investment, commercial product on the market, etc.).  CPFC will continue to run its bi-weekly business/marketing meeting to looking at CPFC forecasted revenues.

NRC-CPFC continues to maximize its impact in responding to its client base – both industrial and academic.  This may translate into providing services to start-ups where the return-on-investment is not immediate.  For example, clients to demonstrate the feasibility of a product to investors can use prototypes fabricated by NRC-CPFC.  This demonstration often leads to increased investment in the firm, which in turn translates, into increased business and revenue for NRC-CPFC as the client’s business ramps up.

NRC-CPFC reviewed its hourly rates at the start of the financial year and raised them to $375 from $350, in line with market pressures.

Over the course of the last fiscal year, NRC-CPFC has helped a record number of clients in numerous sectors of importance for Canada – ICT, Energy and Environment.

Since opening operations in 2005, NRC-CPFC has had a 100% year-to-year increase in revenue generation.  In order to maximize the Centre’s impact in helping Canadian industry and academic sector, an extended “shift” will be implemented in the fall of 2008. 

Establish a joint RMAF that takes into account the contributions, of funding, or program delivery of collaborators.

This recommendation is not accepted. Carleton University is responsible for the training program and has received funds from the province to do so. NRC has no jurisdiction or authority in this area, although the NRC-CPFC is represented on the formal training program of Carleton University.

This recommendation is not accepted.

Continue to develop marketing and communication strategies, especially those directed directly at firms, including firms in Ottawa.

Accepted. As stated previously, marketing and communication is key for a business unit such as the CPFC and a tool which needs to be exploited. CPFC will continue to obtain marketing and competitive intelligence using its internal BO forces and will try to integrate better with NRC-CISTI resources. As such, in its proposed business plan (2007-12), the CPFC anticipates partnering with NRC-CISTI to obtain competitive technical intelligence which will be distilled and analyzed to help identify CPFC's threats and opportunities – the results will be integrated in its business decision making process. On the communication front, the CPFC will continue to keep its website updated and disseminate its service offering to its stakeholders. A senior communication agent will be hired by the CPFC to perform these duties.

In the last reporting period, NRC-CPFC hired a Technical Marketing Officer and a Senior Communications Officer.  These two individuals were responsible for the development of the marketing material, which is now widely distributed, to the business community and various stakeholders.  The team has made significant progress in re-vamping the website.  During the same reporting period, NRC-CISTI and NRC-CPFC have been unsuccessful in filling the Technical Business Analyst position.  NRC is presently running our third competition for this position.

NRC-CPFC continues to maximize its outreach activities to the Ottawa photonic community through the delivery of its successful Annual Symposium on Photonics Commercialization and through the active support of the Ottawa Photonics Cluster and nationally through close interactions with stakeholders in Montreal, Quebec, Toronto/Waterloo and in western Canada.  This year NRC-CPFC attended a number of national meetings including Photonics North, annual meeting and conference of the Canadian Institute for Photonics Innovations and the annual meeting and conference of CMC Microsystems.

On the international front, NRC-CPFC, with the support of ERI, continues to strengthen existing relationship with regional industry-led photonics clusters such as those in Rochester, Tucson, Phoenix, Orlando, Boston, New York, San Jose, North Carolina, Colorado, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. 

Conduct a benchmarking study in approximately five years to gauge the position and strength of NRC-CPFC offering in relation to other centres.

Accepted with changes.  Although CPFC agrees that a benchmarking study would be needed in comparing the CPFC’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to other Centres, it needs to be done before the five-year mark.  In fact, this exercise should be done on an on-going fashion as part of the marketing plan and concurrently with updating the CPFC technology roadmap - both set of data are needed in order to complete a comprehensive analysis of the competitive offering of the Centre.

In 2007-08 NRC-CPFC, with the support of the Canadian Photonics Consortium (CPC) undertook a study of the status and impact of photonics in Canada in order to measure the industry’s competitiveness vis-à-vis other nations.  In this fiscal year it:

  • Completed a position paper on Canada’s role in photonics, “Canada in a Photonic World”, that serves as a framework for the study;
  • Initiated a series of selected interviews with key photonic companies in Québec, Ontario, Western and Atlantic Canada;
  • Conducted in-depth studies of the photonics sector in Québec, Ontario, Western and Atlantic Canada, including inventories of the companies;
  • Conducted five successful cross-Canada workshops on photonic sub-sectoral activity

The extensive and unique experience that NRC-CPFC has in this sector has been critical to the process.  Throughout the last half of 2007-08, NRC-CPFC dedicated the services of one Business Development Officer to work with the CPC consultants to provide strategic, technical and logistical input into the process. 

Examine communication policies given the NRC-government of Ontario/Carleton University partnership.

Accepted. This will depend of course on the continued support of the province of Ontario and Carleton University moving forward. So far, no major communication problems have been encountered between the three stakeholders. Carleton University and the Province of Ontario are quite amiable to calling the Centre ‘NRC's CPFC’.

The NRC-CPFC management and Carleton University management meet on a regular basis to explore new funding opportunities through provincial and federal programs.

Discussions are ongoing.


2005-06, 2006-07 Evaluation of  the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics’ Implementation of the Long Range Plan for Canadian Astronomy and Astrophysics


Management Response and Proposed Actions

Progress Made in 2007-08

NRC-HIA should develop a succession plan to ensure that research capacity at the Institute is not weakened with upcoming potential retirements of staff.

Aging demographics and global competition for scientific talent are challenges for NRC research institutes, including NRC-HIA.  As noted in the evaluation, the Institute took advantage of LRP funding to recruit new staff, including two outstanding scientists funded through the NRC New Horizons Program and to provide a research experience to a number of students and post-doctoral fellows.

In response to the recommendation, institute groups are creating staffing outlooks for the next five to ten years which will be integrated into an Institute hiring plan. The plan will emphasize global recruitment at the entry level, an area where NRC has a slight competitive advantage.

New talent is being recruited at the entry level with leadership potential as a trait to select for, all else being equal.  Two RO recruitments completed and a third underway.

Succession planning was a factor in the re-organization of DRAO, completed last summer.  An anticipated retirement (PRO) took place and leadership was transferred seamlessly.

Staff planning templates developed and will be implemented for incorporation into the next NRC-HIA Business Plan. 

There should be increased emphasis and efforts at NRC-HIA to systematically identify Canadian companies to be included in the work undertaken by the Institute for large international telescope project funded through the LRP. Progress made in Penticton, through NRC-HIA’s relationship with the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre (ORIC) should be formally monitored and if deemed successful, NRC-HIA should consider a similar approach in Victoria.

This recommendation concerns two separate areas where NRC-HIA works with companies: in the identifying, notifying and working with Canadian companies on LRP-related opportunities and in transferring technologies to the private sector for other applications.

With respect to the first part, the Institute faces a number of challenges: building industrial capacity and interest, addressing communication and legal impediments and meeting stringent international performance standards. The considerable efforts that were made to identify Canadian expertise are documented in this report. As a result, Canadian companies that were successful in winning high technology contracts associated with the EVLA and ALMA projects demonstrated the impact of LRP funding and the effect of exacting requirements of international astronomy projects on pushing a company’s expertise to the leading edge.

The Institute intends to continue pursuing avenues for industrial outreach related to international projects. Bid packages are being prepared for the ALMA Band 3 receiver production, the major deliverable to ALMA from NRC-HIA.  NRC-HIA will position itself as an integrator and component contractor to Canadian companies while taking on the more specialized testing and quality control responsibilities. NRC-HIA will make an effort to win bids on components of projects that have more potential volume and market applications (such as the Band 1 receivers of ALMA) and that might attract more interest from companies. The institute will continue to work with and seek the advice of, the Canadian SKA Consortium, the organization that is directing SKA development and which includes industry representation.

With respect to non-astronomy applications of associated technologies, NRC-HIA initiated the ORIC “experiment” in Penticton, which has achieved some success in a relatively short period of time. The institute recently commissioned an assessment of HIA-Victoria technology with precisely this aim. Formal monitoring of ORIC is present to some extent by virtue of the Agreements in place. As well, NRC acts as the secretary to the ORIC Board of Directors. NRC HIA will also continue to build on its relationship with the NRC –IRAP in identifying technology transfer opportunities for SMEs.

The first phase of the Band 3 production plan was implemented through contracts to supply cryogenic low-noise amplifiers (Nanowave Inc.) and to assemble cryogenic mixer blocks.  The company is using technology transferred from NRC-HIA. 

A consortium of companies was assembled to respond to a Request For Tender issued by the CSIRO (Australia) to supply 45 12m antennae for the ASKAP project (SKA Pathfinder telescope).  The roughly $30M bid is based on NRC-HIA technology for making single piece composite dishes of this size.  A systematic search was conducted.

The DRAO won the “community Leadership” award at the Fifth Annual Silicon Vineyard Innovation Awards sponsored by the Okanagan Science & Technology Council (OSTEC).  Peter Haubrich, the ORIC Principle was named “Member of the Year.”  ORIC itself has become a major success story and is expanding beyond the borders of NRC-HIA to offer incubator and mentoring services. 

NRC engaged a locally well-known individual in its Business Development Office in Victoria.  He played a key role in putting together the consortium that bid on the ASKAP antennae (see above). 

NRC-HIA should take into consideration the perceived concerns regarding the weakening of astronomical research at the Institute and, if determined to be valid, should take action to remedy the situation.

It is the Institute’s view that this perception may no longer be valid: NRC-HIA has made a number of excellent junior recruitments, whose visibility is increasing as their research publications become more numerous and more cited. The two New Horizons candidates are considered to be at the level of Canada Research Chair Tier I recruitments at Canadian Universities.

NRC will, however, attempt to quantify the relative performance of its Research staff to a representative external sample through the implementation of a system for monitoring citation rates and/or the impact factor of the journals accepting NRC-HIA publications. The results will be communicated to the astronomical community. An integrated hiring plan is to be developed (see Recommendation 1).

The Institute selected three leading University departments to benchmark our research performance.  The metric used was citation rates per published paper, as this provides a measure of impact that is independent of the size of the samples being compared.  The results of this analysis showed that the impact of NRC HIA research staff was well ahead of two of the University departments and just slightly behind the third department.  The results can be understood in terms of specific individuals located at the three Institutions.  NRC HIA does not do any theory and the department that outperformed NRC did so because of their prominent theorists. 

NRC should secure funds for the remainder of the work assigned to NRC-HIA as outlined in the LRP and Mid-term Review documents to ensure that positive impacts continue. Significant impacts of NRC-HIA’s implementation of the LRP to date include strengthened research capacity at the Institute and increased opportunities for Canadian firms to participate in providing technology to international astronomical facilities.

Action toward this goal has been ongoing for more than one year and is a high priority for NRC. The Director General of HIA is working with the Director General of Strategy and Development Branch and the NRC Senior Executive Committee on developing a case for continued funding and continues to interface with the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy to ensure its support.

NRC stepped forward to cover basic requirements and to ensure key staff were kept in place.  “Transition Funding” was provided through internal NRC reallocations for 2007-08.  This has forced NRC to drop a proposed collaboration with Australia related to the SKA.  The lack of long-term funding limits the ability of NRC-HIA to participate in the major international projects prioritized in the LRP and is limiting our ability to position Canadian firms to benefit from these high-profile Mega-projects. 

The next round of funding received to implement the LRP should be tracked separately in NRC-HIA’s financial system.

The LRP is a complex array of international projects, each with its own reporting and cash management requirements, combined with initiatives related to improving the research capability of the Institute.  As noted in the report, NRC-HIA aligned its own efforts with those of the LRP and leveraged the LRP funding with its own A-base as well as other funds from within NRC. Where full LRP funding was not available, certain activities were augmented by NRC-HIA A-base funds (chiefly salaries).  All finances for individual projects were tracked in detail within the Institute and that will continue to be the case.

However, in the future, the cash flow from any new funding received for the advancement of the LRP will be tracked at the top level to the extent allowed by the NRC Financial system. This will provide a more transparent picture of the interplay between NRC-HIA A-base funding and the LRP funding to better quantify the impact of the LRP. The LRP projects will continue to be tracked.

All NRC-HIA projects are fully tracked following rigorous project-management principles and are entered into NRC’s financial systems in accordance with the newly implemented Business Planning Process. 

The difficulties of financially managing LRP long-term “Big Science” projects commitments within a five year planning cycle should be reviewed in light of a recommended framework by the Office of the National Science Advisor (ONSA)10. This proposed framework should be reviewed and discussed with the ONSA to determine how LRP projects might benefit and how it could be improved to better address some of the lessons learned during this evaluation and the needs of all Canadian “Big Science” projects in the future.

With its many national facilities, NRC has a strong interest in seeing the “Big Science” issue for Canada resolved. NRC provided input to the original framework and participated in a subsequent workshop with 40 distinguished community leaders. As well, it sought input from its governing council on the proposed framework and participated in a workshop at the Canadian Light Source devoted to this issue.

NRC, with all relevant agencies and organizations, is also participating in a working group sponsored by the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy to examine the barriers that were impeding progress toward implementing the LRP. The Working Group issued a report and circulated it to the participants and relevant stakeholders for further feedback.

NRC intends to continue the dialog with all sectors of the astronomical community, including the ONSA, to address this issue and seek solutions.

With key partners, NRC has established ACCA, the Agency Committee on Canadian Astronomy.  Modeled on the well established Agency Committee on TRIUMF (ACT) that oversees the TRIUMF laboratory, the Agency Committee on Canadian Astronomy (ACCA) was formed in 1997 to tackle from multi-agency perspectives the overarching issues facing Canadian astronomy.  These include the Long Range Plan implementation and the funding issues.  Under the chair of the NRC President, the ACCA members include the heads of CSA, CFI, NSERC and Industry Canada.  Canadian astronomy cuts across agencies to such an extent that it is increasingly important to coordinate efforts, given the increased number of players and funding sources.  ACCA provides a forum for discussion on GOC policy on astronomy funding, including coordinating the GOC investment in astronomy and the provision of advice to the GOC on its policy with respect to astronomy.  ACCA have put together a number of documents to advance discussions on “Big Science” policy in Canada.

A recent report by the Inter-Agency Working Group on Major Investments in S&T titled “Major Investments in Science and Technology in Canada: A Discussion Paper” providing an overview of models for maintaining national “Big Science” infrastructure.

If a second round of LRP funding is awarded, NRC should consider conducting a return on investment analysis and benefit-cost analysis, in coordination with other LRP-funded federal government organizations. If undertaken, these studies should be completed in advance of the next evaluation.

NRC-HIA will examine whether it is opportune to initiate a follow-on study similar to that done in 1999 by the ARA group under contract to KPMG. This study provides a methodology template and sets a benchmark.

Keeping in mind that the timeline required to assess benefits beyond the immediate economic impacts might prevent a full review before the next evaluation, NRC will look at the opportunity to conduct a return on investment analysis and benefit-cost analysis. Consultation with other Agencies will be undertaken if a decision to proceed is taken.

No new developments since the second round have been allocated.

10 - A Framework for the Evaluation, Funding and Oversight of Canadian Major Science Investments, Office of the National Science Advisor, January 2005

Table 3-11 Travel Policies

NRC follows Treasury Board Secretariat’s Travel policies and parameters.  NRC does not have any Special Travel Authorities. 

Table 3-12: Financial Statements



The following Financial Statement Discussion and Analysis (FSD&A) should be read in conjunction with the audited financial statements and accompanying notes for the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008. 

The responsibility for the preparation of the FSD&A rests with the management of NRC.  It has been prepared in accordance with the Public Sector Statement of Recommended Practice SORP-1.

The purpose of the FSD&A is to highlight information and provide explanations which enhance the users’ understanding of NRC’s financial position and results of operations, while demonstrating NRC’s accountability for its resources.  Additional information on NRC’s performance is available in the NRC Departmental Performance Report (DPR) for 2007-08.

The FSD&A consists of two distinct segments: Highlights, and Discussion and Analysis.  Please note that all financial information presented herein is denominated in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated.

Special note regarding forward-looking statements

The words “estimate”, “will”, “intend”, “should”, “anticipate” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.  These statements reflect assumptions and expectations of NRC, based on its experience and perceptions of trends and current conditions.  Although NRC believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, they may prove to be inaccurate, and consequently NRC’s actual results could differ materially from expectations set out in this FSD&A.  In particular, the risk factors described in the “Financial Risk and Uncertainty” section of this report could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those contemplated in forward-looking statements.

2007-2008 HIGHLIGHTS



Revenue:  Revenue is important to NRC, not only as a means of financing its operating and capital expenditures, but also because it provides an indication of the value that NRC provides to its clients and collaborators.  NRC earned total revenues of $155 million in 2007-08.  Although total revenue decreased from $170 million in 2006-07, the reduction is not due to ongoing operations but rather to unusual revenue related issues.  Sales of goods and services, revenue from other governments department excluding revenue adjustments related to the Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) program, and revenue from joint project and cost sharing agreements totalled $146 million in 2007-08, as compared to $145 million in 2006-07.

Revenue from Ongoing Operations (in millions)

Further details on revenue components are available in the Financial Analysis section.

Expenses:  Over the past three fiscal years, NRC’s total expenses have not significantly increased.  In fact, NRC has only had a 2.3% rise in expenses since 2005-06.  Furthermore, NRC’s major expense components have remained stable, as seen in the diagram provided below.  The following two categories of expenses are most important to NRC from both a research program and cost perspective, and represent 66% of total expenses.  All other significant expense variations are explained in the Financial Analysis section.

  • Personnel:  NRC’s total expenses, as detailed in the Notes to the Financial Statements, are made up of 49% in salaries and employee future benefits.  Personnel costs represent the most significant cost driver for NRC.  Salaries and employee future benefits decreased to $418 million in 2007-08 from $420 million in 2006-07.  Normal salary pay increases in 2007-08 are mainly offset by an extraordinary charge in 2006-07 amounting to $11.6 million for the Research Council Employees’ Association pay equity settlement for compensation of lost wages and interest to eligible employees employed between April 1, 1989 and March 31, 1999, as well as a retroactive pay increment cost due to the ratification of three collective agreements. 

    Furthermore, included in NRC’s total salaries and employee future benefits are expenses related to a realignment exercise which occurred in 2007-08.  This exercise, while difficult, was completed to better align resources with the NRC strategy and to better position NRC for the future.
  • Grants and Contributions:  Grants and contributions remained relatively steady in 2007-08.  NRC made total net contributions of $142 million in 2007-08, as compared to $143 million in 2006-07.  Net contributions from NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) ($80.6 million) and contributions to the TRIUMF laboratory for particle and nuclear physics ($51.5 million) comprise 93% of the contributions made by NRC in the current fiscal year.  In addition, contributions made through NRC Herzberg Institute of Astronomy (NRC-HIA) to support international telescopes ($9.2 million) make up the majority of the remaining balance.

NRC expenses (in millions)


Assets:  NRC’s total assets signify its ability to provide future services for Canadians.  NRC’s total assets as at March 31, 2008 totalled $851 million.  NRC’s largest single component is its capital assets, which represents 70% of the total.  The following assets are highlighted to demonstrate NRC’s activity with private and public sector clients. 

  • Capital Assets:  In 2007-08, NRC acquired and or constructed $60.9 million in capital assets, which brings NRC’s total capital asset net book value to $596 million.  NRC’s infrastructure is an important element for the successful delivery of its mandate; as such re-investments in capital assets are crucial.  NRC’s largest components of capital investments, as seen in the diagram below, are research buildings and facilities as well as machinery and equipment.  Combined, they account for over 75% of the net book value of the capital investments. 

NRC Book Value of Capital Assets (in millions)

  • Accounts Receivable:  At any given time, NRC has a significant amount of accounts receivable given that NRC finances a considerable amount of its operating and capital expenditures from external revenue.  As at March 31, 2008, NRC’s accounts receivable totalled $27.4 million ($26.9 million as at March 31, 2007). 

  • Inventory for resale and consumption:  Both inventory for resale of $2.3 million and inventory for consumption of $2.4 million present NRC’s future service potential.  Inventory for consumption represents inventory which will be used internally by NRC in order to administer its research programs, whereas inventory for resale is marketed in its current state to customers.

Net debt:  The government’s net debt position is often called its “future revenue requirements” because this indicator provides a measure of the future revenues required to pay for past transactions and events.  NRC’s net debt (financial assets less liabilities) as at March 31, 2008 reached $71 million, which represents a slight decrease of $1 million from the previous fiscal year.  The decline in net debt signifies that NRC’s future revenue generation needs have decreased by 1.4%.  Furthermore, the current year’s decline in net debt demonstrates that NRC’s revenues earned in 2007-08 sufficiently covered NRC’s total incremental spending, inclusive of its capital spending.

Equity of Canada:  NRC’s equity of Canada as at March 31, 2008 was $541 million ($544 million as at March 31, 2007), which illustrates NRC’s net resources (financial and non-financial) that will be used to provide invaluable future services for Canadians.  NRC’s equity of Canada is comprised of its Non-Financial Assets ($612 million) less its Net Debt ($71 million).  NRC’s largest component of Non-Financial Assets is capital assets. 


NRC Strategy 2006-2011:  NRC continued implementation of its strategy, Science at Work for Canada and contributed to the advancement of the federal S&T Strategy.  Following are some key achievements that were realized during the fiscal year:

  • To help foster an Entrepreneurial Advantage, NRC developed initial plans for four of the identified NRC Key Industry Sectors (Aerospace, Construction, Information and Communication Technologies, Manufacturing and Materials). These sectors are of economic importance to Canada and their plans targeted research priorities of the federal S&T Strategy;
  • To position Canada at the leading edge of important health and life science developments, and in keeping with one of the Strategy’s core principles—partnerships—NRC created a National Bioproducts Program plan (to be co-led by NRC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), including proposed areas of R&D focus;
  • Guided by core principles of the federal S&T Strategy, NRC launched a cross-NRC initiative in Nanotechnology and developed a plan for a cross-NRC initiative in Advanced Materials, targeting both basic and applied research in this emerging and strategic opportunity area;
  • To promote collaborative approaches, NRC began securing key third-party relationships in support of NRC National Programs and Key Industry Sectors of national interest from a social and economic perspective;
  • Implemented a new NRC-wide business planning process and realigned organizational resources to more effectively support NRC program priorities as well as the priorities and directions in the federal S&T Strategy;
  • Initiated facilities/equipment and information technology assessments to better understand long-term infrastructure investment requirements and identify opportunities for efficiency gains; and
  • Launched a Central Business Services Office to help NRC better address client need

Governance: NRC has continued to implement a number of initiatives to improve its corporate governance, in keeping with the broad government goal of improved management in the public sector and the NRC Strategy.

In 2007-08, an updated Statement on the Role of Council was approved by members in order to incorporate greater input on strategic financial management.  Consequently, NRC’s Executive Committee will assume responsibility for strategic financial advice in current year budget reviews, including initial budget allocations; financial situation arising from NRC’s multi-year plans; NRC’s long term capital plan; and other matters that may have a significant impact on NRC’s budget.

In 2007-08, NRC progressed in its implementation of the financial management model which holds the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) accountable to both the Comptroller General and the department head for financial management in the organization.  The model was first introduced by NRC in 2005-06 as a result of recommendations provided for all federal government departments by the Office of the Comptroller General.

In 2007-08, all NRC Institutes/Branches/ Programs (IBP) were asked to develop rolling three-year business plans aligned with the NRC Strategy and the federal science and technology strategy.  These business plans will be updated on an annual basis to reflect changing internal and external factors, as well as the ongoing decisions and priorities of both the federal government and the NRC Senior Executives.  The business planning process not only supports ongoing NRC strategic planning efforts, but also serves as the organization’s key mechanism for financial resource allocation decisions (which are made by the Senior Executive Committee of NRC).  The information contained in the business plans is expected to help NRC with its efforts in financial planning and budgeting, long-term capital planning (including real property), human resource planning, and information technology planning.  Finally, the business plans serve as a critical vehicle for NRC-wide communication, helping senior managers to identify opportunities for greater cross-NRC collaboration.

Financial Statement Audit of NRC:  In 2007-08, NRC’s financial statements were prepared in accordance with Treasury Board accounting policies and year-end instructions issued by the Office of the Comptroller General, which are consistent with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for the public sector.  The financial statements were audited by the Office of the Auditor General.  The audit provides added assurance with regards to the accuracy and completeness of NRC’s financial information, therefore providing NRC’s Council and senior management team with reliable information, from which strategic decisions can be taken.

Renewal of Terms and Conditions:  In 2007-08, NRC-IRAP renewed the Terms and Conditions of its most significant transfer payment program ($72.5 million in expenses in 2007-08) for a period of 5 years.  As such, Canada’s small and medium sized enterprises will continue to receive essential technological and financial contributions from NRC, therefore increasing Canada’s ability to innovate and maintain its presence within the global market place.

Audit of NRC-IRAP contribution recipients:  In 2007-08, the audit completed on sample recipients of contributions from NRC-IRAP showed improved compliance with program requirements.  In 2007-08, 87% of the contribution agreements audited received an unqualified audit opinion.  This is a significant improvement from previous years, where unqualified audit results amounted to 54% in 2006-07 and 38% in 2005-06.  A major contribution for this year’s success is due to NRC-IRAP’s recent implementation of a new financial monitoring framework which incorporates risk assessments prior to the commencement of, and during, each project.



As a federal government departmental corporation, NRC funds the majority of its salary, operating and capital expenditures from parliamentary appropriations.  The non-salary portion of this funding is fixed, with no indexing for price increases.  As a result, the actual funding for NRC, in terms of buying power, has been declining over the past decade.  In particular, the impact of rising costs related to payment in lieu of taxes and utilities is significant for NRC.

NRC owns and manages 185 specialized buildings that comprise approximately 560,140 square meters of space.  It also has an equipment and informatics base of approximately $197 million ($203 million in 2006-07) net book value.  NRC’s capacity to fund the upgrade or replacement of these assets from its appropriations is limited, and as a result will need to secure sources of funding external to NRC for this purpose.

In addition, since 2004, the federal government has announced a series of budget reductions across federal departments as part of its realignment strategy and initiative to increase its efficiency.  The impact on NRC has been significant and challenging.  The cumulative reductions to date have amounted to $33.3 million, with a minimum expected ongoing reduction of $12.9 million per year.  On a short-term basis, NRC has adapted to these changes by reducing investments in certain programs. 

To help position itself to meet these challenges, NRC has implemented changes since 2005-06 in its governance structure and has made significant progress towards a new, focused business strategy.  The completion of IBP business plans in 2007-08 marks a significant progress for NRC in order to continuously improve the planning, allocation and monitoring of resources, which will in turn help alleviate some of the financial pressures facing NRC.  

Details of other factors influencing NRC’s budget pressures are provided below.

Sunsetting Funding:  In order to ensure value for money, the Government of Canada’s practice is to provide funding for new initiatives on a sunsetting basis.  This means that rather than providing a permanent increase in the NRC allotment, the government allocates funding for a limited period of time, with the option for renewal.  Renewal is conditional on performance, linkages to priorities and availability of funding. 

Although funding is not necessarily provided on an ongoing basis, new government-approved initiatives, such as the establishment of technology cluster sites in communities across Canada, often entail an ongoing commitment from NRC in terms of the construction and maintenance of new specialized facilities and the hiring of staff.  There is also an expectation by the communities that support these new initiatives, and in some cases invest in them, that they will exist beyond the particular funding window.  These challenges add complexity to the organization’s planning, budgeting and operations.

Currently, NRC has several initiatives and projects funded on a sunsetting basis.  Examples include the following: 

  • Technology Cluster Initiatives funding:  Since its inception in 1999, NRC has received approval to spend a total of $598 million in technology cluster initiatives funding.  To date, NRC has spent $475 million.  The funding for all of NRC’s technology cluster initiatives terminates in fiscal year 2009-10, at which point NRC must request additional support from the federal government.
  • Astronomy funding:  The funding for Phase I of Canada’s Long Range Plan for Astronomy and Astrophysics (LRP) ended on March 31, 2007.  Since its end, NRC has provided interim financing.  A total of $97.5 million over five years is required for the LRP Phase II in order to maintain Canada’s contribution to existing offshore telescopes and to pursue on-going LRP projects.  Investing in the LRP Phase II could have additional future investment implications starting in 2010 depending on the government of Canada’s decisions regarding its future role in the astronomy LRP Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) projects. 
  • Genomics R&D Initiatives funding:  In 2007-08, NRC sought approval to renew the Genomics R&D Initiatives, which includes NRC as well as 5 other federal government departments.  Total funding requested amounts to $19.9 million until fiscal year 2010-11.

Foreign Currency:  NRC purchases roughly $55 million per year in goods and services in currencies other than the Canadian dollar, which exposes NRC to fluctuations in foreign exchange.  The majority of foreign purchases (89% on average over the last five years) are transacted in US dollars.  Due to the strengthening of the Canadian dollar over the last year, NRC has benefited from an increase in purchasing power over 2006-07 levels of approximately $4.2 million US.   A continued strong Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar will benefit NRC’s purchasing power, whereas a future decline in the Canadian dollar will have the opposite effect.

The 2007-08 gain in purchasing power was somewhat negated by the reduction in Canadian dollars received from foreign sales.  In 2007-08, NRC received $34 million CDN on sales of $32.9 million US.  By way of comparison, in 2006-07, NRC received $33.8 million CDN from $29.5 million US in sales.

Dependence on Revenue:  The nature of NRC’s activities permits NRC to generate revenues in order to reinvest in its operations. NRC’s dependence on external sources of funding has been growing since the early 1990s.  The portion of NRC’s operating and capital expenditures funded from external sources of income was roughly 11% in 1991-92.  In 2007-08, this percentage had climbed to over 24%.

In particular, NRC maintains technology centres that rely on external sources of revenue to fund the majority of their operations, namely NRC Centre for Surface Transportation (NRC-CSTT) and NRC Canadian Hydraulics Centre (NRC-CHC).  In addition, NRC’s two largest institutes –NRC Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) and NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) – rely on external sources of revenue to fund over 45% and 35% of their operations respectively.  Significant downturns in the industries or federal departments that these groups support will greatly impact NRC’s ability to continue operations at current levels. 

Finally, it is important to note that NRC must strike a fine balance between providing contract research services that generate needed revenue, and performing the government-funded research that keeps NRC at the leading-edge of science, technology and innovation.  Too much emphasis on revenue generating contract research could compromise NRC’s advanced knowledge and technology base, which in the long-term will reduce NRC’s ability to serve industry and respond to the needs of the nation in critical fields such as energy, the environment, health and wellness, and other priority areas outlined in the NRC Strategy.


The following is an analysis that explains the meaning of certain financial statement items, significant variances, and financial trends.


Due from Consolidated Revenue Fund:  This amount represents the amount of cash that NRC is entitled to draw from the federal government treasury.  This includes cash to discharge its liabilities for which NRC has already received an appropriation, as well as revenue received but not spent.  The $3.2 million decrease between 2006-07 and 2007-08 is due to the decrease in revenue available for use in subsequent years.

Accounts Receivable:

NRC-IRAP TPC Repayable Contributions

The NRC-IRAP Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) program has been administered by NRC on behalf of Industry Canada since 1998.  This program provides conditionallyrepayable contributions to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to support the pre-commercialization phase of their technology development.  This conditional repayment program in most cases requires quarterly repayments of the contribution based on a percentage of the recipient’s gross revenue.  This program terminated March 31, 2006, although it will continue to fund, and require repayment from existing agreements during its wind-down phase. 

This program supports small start-up firms, whose future success is often entirely dependent on one technology.  Failure to bring the technology to market, at times, can result in the firm ceasing operations.  Even with the very high-risk nature of this program, NRC has received repayments amounting to approximately 25% of contributions disbursed as at March 31, 2008 (20% – 2007).  With 280 projects still being administered, this percentage is expected to increase over the next decade. 

The NRC-IRAP TPC accounts receivable as at March 31, 2008 was $9.9 million ($10.7 million - 2007) with a corresponding allowance for doubtful accounts of $8.3 million ($7.1 million - 2007), highlighting the high risk nature of the program.

Trade Receivables and NRC-IRAP Audit Recoveries

NRC had accounts receivable with external clients worth $20.9 million as at March 31, 2008 ($19.6 million - 2007) with a corresponding allowance for doubtful accounts equal to $1.1 million ($2.2 million - 2007).  This amount represents receivables for work done with external clients as well as receivables for audit findings for NRC-IRAP.  Write-offs in 2007-08 were $938 thousand ($603 thousand in 2006-07), which is low given the total value of NRC revenue.

Aged Accounts Receivable

In 2007-08 and 2006-07, 80% of accounts receivable are aged 90 days or below.  NRC has successfully focused on collecting its outstanding receivables. The aging of all accounts receivable, gross of allowances, as at March 31 is as follows:

Aged Receivables (in millions)

Inventory for Resale:  NRC produces a number of products that are purchased by external clients, namely the Model National Construction Codes, monographs and certified reference materials.  Inventory for resale is presented at its lower of cost or net realizable value and has decreased by $545 thousand (19%) over 2007 closing values.  The decline is due to an increase in the allowance for obsolete inventory, increased by $500 thousand to $1.1 million in 2007-08.   
Equity Investments:  As part of its mandate to promote industrial innovation in Canada, NRC provides financial assistance to firms through access to equipment, intellectual property and incubation space in its laboratories and Industrial Partnership Facilities.  Since these companies are often in their infancy and cannot afford to pay the full cost of the assistance received, NRC, on occasion, takes an equity position in the company in return for the assistance provided.  This helps the firms survive the critical technology development stage.  It is not management’s intention to hold equity investments over the long-term. NRC will consider timely opportunities for divestiture of equity investments by taking into account the interests, market liquidity and expected future growth of the company.

The full value recorded on the statement of financial position reflects NRC's investment in publicly-traded companies as its shares in privately held corporations are deemed to have no market value.  Details of NRC’s investment in public companies are as follows:

Company Name

Number of Shares

Amount Recorded in Financial Statements

Market Value at March 31, 2008

PharmaGap Inc.


$ 392,933

$ 117,488

Chemaphor Inc.


$ 252,061

$ 277,267

Pure Energy Visions Corp.


$ 1

$ 79,800

Omnitech Consultant Group Inc.


$ 1

$ 0



$ 1

$ 3,540,322



 $ 644,997

 $ 4,014,877

NRC’s equity investments, presented on the Statement of Financial Position at $645 thousand, reached a fair market value of $4 million as at March 31, 2008, which represents an increase of $3.3 million from the previous fiscal year.  The increase is mainly due to the initial public offering of IMRIS Inc. in 2007-08, in which NRC had previously received common shares in settlement of debt owing.

Holmes Fund Investments:  The Holmes Endowment Fund is an investment bequeathed to NRC in July 1994.  Up to two-thirds of the endowment fund's yearly net income is used to finance the H.L. Holmes award on an annual basis.  The award covers a one or two-year period and provides the opportunity to Canadian post-doctoral students to study at world famous graduate schools or research institutes under outstanding researchers.  In 2007-08, NRC granted $93 thousand to the recipient of the 2007 NRC H.L. Holmes Award who will receive a total of $198 thousand, ending in July 2009.  The recipient is using the award to fund two years of collaborative research at the Harvard Medical School. 

In addition, the endowment fund reached a fair market value of $4.5 million as at March 31, 2008 ($4.3 million as at March 31, 2007). The investments within the portfolio had an average effective return of 4.7%. The endowment fund is presented at an amortized cost of $4.3 million ($4.2 million as at March 31, 2007) on the Statement of Financial Position and not at fair value.

Market Value of Investments (in millions)

Prepaid Expenses:  NRC’s prepaid expense as at March 31, 2008 was $13.6 million.  NRC prepays for goods and services only when contractually obligated.  Subscriptions form the primary component of NRC’s prepaid expenses.  NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI), Canada’s science library, subscribes to many of the world’s major scientific and technical journals and databases. 

Prepaid Expenses (in millions)

Capital Assets: NRC’s capital asset net book value has decreased from $601 million in 2006-07 to $596 million in 2007-08.  This $5 million decrease largely transpired given that NRC’s amortization for the year ($66.6 million) exceeded its acquisitions ($60.9 million).  The cost of capital assets has increased by 3% to $1,348 million in 2007-08.  The $40.6 million increase is attributable to $60.9 million in acquisitions, offset by $20.3 million in various transfers, disposals and write-offs.


NRC spent $60.9 million on capital expenditures during 2007-08, a slight decrease from the $62.1 million spent in 2006-07 (excluding new capital leases recognized of $58.1 million).  Of the $60.9 million in capital asset additions, $21 million relates to assets which are currently under construction.  The remaining balance is primarily made up of acquisitions related to machinery and equipment ($25.3 million), as well as buildings and facilities ($7.8 million).

The following represents significant capital assets expenditures in 2007-08:

  • Energy Retrofit project in progress for NRC Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology (NRC-ICPET).  NRC has spent $2.6 million on this project in 2007-08.  Once complete, the energy retrofit project will improve the operating efficiency and effectiveness of the building, therefore transferring the current investment into future cost savings for NRC.  NRC-ICPET also installed an emergency generator at a cost of $426 thousand.
  • NRC Institute for Research Construction (NRC-IRC) is in the process of constructing a new facility which will be used primarily to support activities within the Indoor Air Research and Development Initiative, which is part of the Clean Air Agenda.  Costs incurred to March 31, 2008 for the construction of this facility amounts to $994 thousand. 
  • NRC Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) is currently in the process of constructing and or renovating a number of its facilities.  As at March 31, 2008, approximately $3.3 million has been spent.  In addition, NRC-IAR is constructing a Fiber Placement Composite machine in order to develop and manufacture medium to full-scale size composite parts for aerospace applications.  Costs to date for the construction of the equipment amount to $5.9 million.
  • NRC Institute for Ocean Technology (NRC-IOT) has replaced the beach structure component of its wave tank in 2007-08 at a total cost of $750 thousand.  The replacement of the major component was required to ensure that future research tests produce accurate results to ensure that NRC-IOT continues to provide world-class research.
  • NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute (NRC-PBI) has purchased a new genetic analyzer in 2007-08 at a total cost of $604 thousand.  The instrument provides high throughput and high quality DNA sequence information which is essential for NRC research.  This instrument is unique within NRC as well as within the federal government research system.
  • NRC’s oldest property located on Sussex Drive in the National Capital Region received a new skylight and ventilation system in 2007-08 at a total cost of $820 thousand.  The renovations were required in order to maintain the accurate balance of atmospheric pressure within the building.  


Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities:  NRC’s accounts payable and accrued liabilities decreased by $3.1 million in 2007-08, mainly explained by the following: 

NRC’s accrued salary which represents salary earned by personnel up to March 31, 2008 for which they have not received compensation, decreased by $2.3 million in comparison with the previous year.  The accrual decreased this year given that a retroactive salary adjustment was recorded in the previous year following the ratification of the Administrative Services (AS), Administrative Support Group (AD) and Computer Systems Administrative (CS) collective agreements.  In addition, NRC did not require an accrual at year end as was done in the previous year for its portion of payments in lieu of taxes from the City of Ottawa, given that all of its liabilities were paid as at March 31, 2008, reducing accounts payable and accrued liabilities by $2.2 million.  The decreases are offset by a $1.1 million increase in contractor holdback liabilities at year-end, given that NRC had several large construction projects in progress.

Vacation Pay and Compensatory Leave:  Due to the nature of NRC’s operations, a number of NRC’s collective agreements do not impose maximum limits of accumulated vacation to be carried forward to subsequent fiscal years by employees.  Consequently, vacation pay and compensatory leave have steadily increased over the years.

Deferred Revenue:

Contributions Related to Leased Capital Assets

Deferred revenue is recognized for contributions related to leased capital assets. For NRC purposes, this is associated with leases of facilities for $1 per year with the University of Alberta, the University of Prince Edward Island, and the University of Western Ontario.  As at March 31, 2008 this balance was $59.8 million.  This balance has decreased by $2.7 million in the current year, and the decline is expected to continue given that associated revenue is recognized in accordance with the useful life of the related asset.  Consequently, this account increases only when new capital leases are established.  On such occasions, NRC will establish a non-financial capital asset as well as corresponding deferred revenue equal to the value of the capital lease.  Over time and as the asset is used, NRC recognizes equal amounts of amortization and revenue (lease inducement revenue).  As a result, no impact occurs on NRC’s net cost of operations or its Equity of Canada.

Specified Purpose Accounts

NRC undertakes collaborative work with clients for the mutual benefit of both parties.  Funding provided by the collaborator is placed in a Specified Purpose Account (SPA) and used over the duration of the project.  Amounts remaining in the SPA at year-end are recorded as deferred revenue as it is expected that it will be used in the upcoming year on the project.  At the end of 2007-08, this amount totalled $14.5 million, representing an increase of 10% over the previous year.


Other deferred revenue consists primarily of research press deferred revenue, as well as conference and seminar registration deferred revenue.  NRC had other deferred revenues of $6.9 million as at March 31, 2008 as compared to $9.2 million at March 31, 2007.  The decrease of $2.3 million (25%) is mainly attributable to the decrease in the number of Research Press subscriptions outstanding as at March 31, 2008 as well as the decline in the value of the US dollar given that all Research Press subscriptions are sold in US currency.  

  • Research Press: NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) publishes research journals that are available for purchase on a subscription basis.  When NRC receives payment for the subscription, it records the amount as deferred revenue and then recognizes the revenue each month as the journal is issued. 
  • Conference and Seminar Registration:  NRC conducts many conferences and seminars which often require registration many months in advance of the conference date.  Receipts from registration are recorded as deferred and recognized when the conference takes place. 

Deferred Revenue (in millions)

Environmental liability:  NRC’s environmental liability has decreased from $300 thousand to $100 thousand in 2007-08.  The estimated liability to remediate the land was reduced following a comprehensive environmental study completed on NRC’s Penticton solid waste landfill site.  Furthermore, to ensure the protection of the environment and the public, NRC has finalized in 2007-08 its plan to assess all research sites occupied by NRC.  The first phase, which is scheduled to be completed in 2008-09, consists of site risk assessments.  This first phase is critical to ensure that NRC directs further attention and resources on priority research sites.


NRC’s revenues for 2007-08 were $155 million as compared to $170 million in 2006-07.  Recent trends in revenue components are shown in the following graph.  The decrease results from isolated transactions, which when removed, demonstrate that NRC’s ongoing operational revenue actually increased by $1 million in the current fiscal year.

Revenues (in millions)

Services of a Non-Regulatory Nature:  In 2007-08, 40% ($62.9 million) of NRC revenues were generated from services of a non-regulatory nature, which primarily consists of research services provided directly to industry and academic clients. In 2007-08, NRC Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) and NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) accounted for over 43% of NRC’s service revenues, compared to 46% in 2006-07. 

Sales of Goods and Information Products:  As part of its goal to disseminate scientific and technical information of importance to industry, NRC has publications and certified reference materials that it sells to clients.  Total sales of goods and information products totalled $11.8 million in 2007-08, as compared to $11.3 million in 2006-07.  The largest component of revenue derived from sales of goods and information products is due to research press journals sold through Canada’s scientific library.  Research press income earned in 2007-08 was $6.5 million, compared to $5.8 million in 2006-07.  This increase would have been more significant, however the steady decline of the US dollar in 2007-08 has reduced the impact, given that all research press journals are sold in US currency.

Rights and Privileges:  Royalty revenue is earned from companies that license the rights to use NRC technology.  Royalties are typically based on a percentage of the licensee’s sales.  In 2007-08, NRC generated $9.5 million in royalties, up from $6.7 million in 2006-07 and $5.8 million in 2005-06.  The rise in revenue is primarily associated with NRC’s Institute for Biological Sciences (IBS) which earned revenue of $5.3 million in 2007-08, up from $3.5 million in 2006-07 and $3.8 million in 2005-06, from which its largest royalties are earned through its license for the Meningitis C vaccine.   

Lease and Use of Property:  Facilitating access to NRC researchers and facilities is an important part of technology transfer at NRC.  To this end, NRC provides laboratory space to companies on a commercial basis, often as part of a collaboration or technology transfer agreement.  Revenue from lease and use of property amounted to $4.3 million in 2007-08, as compared to $3.2 million in 2006-07.  The 34% increase in the current year is primarily associated with additional agreements at NRC Biotechnology Research Institute and NRC Industrial Materials Institute.

Financial Arrangements with Other Departments and Agencies:  NRC undertakes research on behalf of other government departments.  The incremental costs associated with this work are reimbursed to NRC.  In 2007-08, the amount of work undertaken for other government departments was significant, totalling $46.6 million ($57 million in 2006-07 and $58.8 million in 2005-06).  The decline of $10.4 million in revenue is associated with NRC’s Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) program with Industry Canada.  The TPC transfer payment program terminated on March 31, 2006, and as such only existing associated contracted projects continue to receive funding from NRC.  Consequently, revenue has declined significantly in the past three years.  In 2007-08, the NRC received a total of $4.5 million, as compared to $15 million in 2006-07 and $18.8 million in 2005-06.

Revenues from Joint Project and Cost Sharing Agreements:  NRC also receives income through collaborative research projects that involve cost sharing arrangements for work that is likely to lead to new expertise or technology.  In 2007-08, collaborative funding across all sectors at NRC earned a total of $15.5 million ($17.2 million in 2006-07 and $21 million in 2005-06).  Revenue from joint research projects are not recognized until the project is complete.  As such, revenue can fluctuate slightly depending on the number of on-going projects at year end.


As noted in the Highlights section, NRC’s expenses increased from $847 million in 2006-07 to $853 million in 2007-08.  49% of expenses represents salary and benefits costs. 

Expenses (in millions)

Salaries and Employee Future Benefits

Salaries decreased by approximately $1 million from 2006-07.  In 2006-07, three collective agreements were ratified at year end, therefore causing a large one time adjustment of $4 million for retroactive pay increments in addition to a pay equity settlement of $7.6 million.  The absence of one time adjustments in 2007-08 were offset by increases for general pay increments.

Grants and Contributions

In 2007-08, grants and contributions from NRC remained stable in comparison to the previous fiscal year.  The largest category of NRC grants and contributions relates to funding allocated to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through NRC-IRAP.  These increased to $72.5 million in 2007-08, from $65 million in 2006-07.  However, NRC-IRAP distributed only $2.9 million in contribution for the TPC program, down from $11.6 million in 2006-07, due to the winding down of the program.  A decrease in contributions expense of $3.6 million also resulted from an increase related to the allowance for uncollectible (or write-off) TPC receivables in 2007-08, as the transfer payment to Industry Canada is reduced accordingly.

NRC’s contribution to TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, increased by $6 million to $51.5 million in 2007-08 ($45.5 million in 2006-07).  The increase was provided to fund operation and maintenance expenses in order to satisfy facility conformity costs.  TRIUMF is an unincorporated association that operates a research laboratory.

Contributions made through the NRC Herzberg Institute of Astronomy (NRC-HIA) to support international telescopes totalled $9.2 million in 2007-08, from $12.6 million in 2006-07.  The decrease is due to instrument construction delays as well as the purchasing power increase of the Canadian dollar.

Utilities, Materials and Supplies

In 2007-08, expenses related to utilities, materials and supplies reached $89.3 million, as compared to $81 million in 2006-07.  The $8.3 million increase primarily results from NRC’s accounting treatment of prepaid expenses.  In 2006-07, NRC-CISTI set up a large prepaid for its serial renewal subscriptions, consequently reducing the expense incurred in 2006-07.  As a result, the expense incurred in 2007-08 increased by approximately $5.4 million.  The remaining balance can be attributed to NRC Herzberg Institute for Astronomy, which incurred additional expenses of $2.9 million in 2007-08 due to project requirements.

Bad Debts

NRC’s bad debt expense increased from $3.7 million in 2006-07 to $6.4 million in 2007-08.  The increase is related to write-offs recorded in the year for bad debts within NRC-IRAP’s TPC program, as discussed within the Grants and Contributions section.


In 2007-08, award costs increased from $1.7 million in 2006-07 to $3.2 million in 2007-08.  The additional award costs are related to NRC’s rights and privileges revenue, which was $9.5 million in 2007-08.  The awards expense has a direct relationship with revenue given that patent awards are distributed to personnel as income is earned from the respective license agreements.  NRC distributes a maximum of 35% of revenue earned to personnel responsible for the creation of the commercial patent.  Consequently, a rise in royalty revenue results in a corresponding increase in award costs.

Other Expenses

Other Expenses amounted to $58 thousand in 2007-08, as compared to $3.1 million in 2006-07.  The main reason for the decrease in other expenses is due to the pay equity settlement recognized in 2006-07 of $2.9 million related to damages pursuant to the Canadian Human Rights Act to all Eligible Employees of the Research Council Employees’ Association.


Financial Statements

National Research Council of Canada

March 31, 2008

Auditor's report - Page 1


Auditor's report - Page 2


Auditor's report - Page 3


National Research Council of Canada
Statement of Operations
for the year ended March 31

(in thousands of dollars)








Expenses (Note 13)




Research and development




Technology and Industry support












Revenues (Note 14)




Research and development




Technology and Industry support












Net Cost of Operations




The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.

National Research Council of Canada
Statement of Equity of Canada
for the year ended March 31

(in thousands of dollars)








Equity of Canada, beginning of year




Net cost of operations




Net cash provided by Government (Note 3)




Change in due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund




Services received without charge (Note 15)








Equity of Canada, end of year




The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.

National Research Council of Canada
Statement of Cash Flow
for the year ended March 31

(in thousands of dollars)












Operating Activities




Net cost of operations




Non‑cash items




Amortization of capital assets




Gain on sale of equity investments




Net (loss) gain on disposal of capital assets




Services received without charge (Note 15)








Variations in Statement of Financial Position




Increase in accounts receivable and advances




Decrease in inventory for resale




Increase in endowment fund investments




Increase in prepaid expenses




Increase (decrease) in inventory for consumption




Decrease (increase) in liabilities




Cash used by operating activities








Capital Investment Activities




Acquisitions of capital assets




Proceeds from disposal of capital assets




Cash used by capital investment activities








Investing Activities




Proceeds from sale of equity investments




Cash used by investing activities








Financing Activities




Net cash provided by Government of Canada (Note 3)




The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.

National Research Council of Canada
Notes to Financial Statements
Year ended March 31, 2008

1. Authority and Objectives

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) exists under the National Research Council Act and is a departmental corporation named in Schedule II of the Financial Administration Act. The objectives of NRC are to create, acquire and promote the application of scientific and engineering knowledge to meet Canadian needs for economic, regional and social development and to promote and provide for the use of scientific and technical information by the people and the Government of Canada.

In delivering its mandate, NRC reports under the following program activities:

  • research and development; and
  • technology and industry support.

These program activities also include NRC’s priorities of enhancing development of sustainable technology clusters for wealth creation and social capital as well as program management for a sustainable organization.

2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

These financial statements have been prepared in accordance with Treasury Board accounting policies and year‑end instructions issued by the Office of the Comptroller General, which are consistent with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector. The significant accounting policies are:

a) Parliamentary Appropriations

NRC is financed mainly by the Government of Canada through Parliamentary appropriations. Appropriations provided to NRC do not parallel financial reporting according to Canadian generally accepted accounting principles since appropriations are primarily based on cash flow requirements. Consequently, items recognized in the statement of operations and the statement of financial position are not necessarily the same as those provided through appropriations from Parliament. Note 3 provides a high‑level reconciliation between the bases of reporting.

b) Net Cash Provided by Government

NRC operates within the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is administered by the Receiver General for Canada. All cash received by NRC is deposited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and all cash disbursements made by NRC are paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The net cash provided by Government is the difference between all cash receipts and all cash disbursements including transactions between departments (including agencies) of the federal government.

c) Due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund

Due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund represents the amount of cash that NRC is entitled to draw from the Consolidated Revenue Fund without further appropriations.

d) Revenues / Deferred revenue

  • Revenue is recognized in the year in which the underlying transaction or event occurred that gave rise to revenue.
  • Revenue from license fees, joint research projects and other sources is deposited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and is available for use by NRC.
  • License fees received for future year license periods are recorded as deferred revenue and amortized over the license period.
  • Funds received from third parties for specified purposes are recorded upon receipt as deferred revenue and recognized as revenue in the year in which the related expenses are incurred.
  • Contributions of leased capital assets are deferred and amortized to operations on the same basis as the related depreciable capital assets.

e) Expenses

  • Grants are recognized in the year in which the conditions for payment are met. In the case of grants which do not form part of an existing program, the expense is recognized when the Government announces a decision to make a non‑recurring transfer, provided the enabling legislation or authorization for payment receives parliamentary approval prior to the completion of the financial statements.
  • Contributions are recognized in the year in which the recipient has met the eligibility criteria or fulfilled the terms of a contractual transfer agreement.
  • Vacation pay and compensatory leave are expensed as the benefits accrue to employees under their respective terms of employment.
  • Services received without charge from other government departments and agencies are recorded as operating expenses at their estimated cost.

f) Employee future benefits

i) Pension Benefits

Eligible employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, a multiemployer plan administered by the Government of Canada. NRC’s contributions to the Plan are charged to expense in the year incurred and represent NRC’s total obligation to the Plan. Current legislation does not require NRC to make contributions for any actuarial deficiencies of the Plan.

ii) Severance Benefits

Employees are entitled to severance benefits under labour contracts or conditions of employment. These benefits are accrued as employees render the services necessary to earn them. The obligation relating to the benefits earned by employees is calculated using information derived from the results of the actuarially determined liability for employee severance benefits for the Government as a whole.

g) Accounts receivable

Accounts receivable are stated at amounts expected to be ultimately realized; a provision is made for receivables where recovery is considered uncertain. 

h) Conditionally repayable contributions

Conditionally repayable contributions are contributions that, all or part of which become repayable, if conditions specified in the contribution agreement come into effect. Accordingly, they are not recorded on the Statement of Financial Position until the conditions specified in the agreement are satisfied at which time they are then recorded as a receivable and a reduction in transfer payment expenses.  An estimated allowance for uncollectibility is recorded where appropriate.

i) Contingent liabilities

Contingent liabilities are potential liabilities, which may become actual liabilities when one or more future events occur or fail to occur.  To the extent that the future event is likely to occur or fail to occur, and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made, an estimated liability is accrued and an expense recorded.  If the likelihood is not determinable or an amount cannot be reasonably estimated, the contingency is disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.

j) Environmental liabilities

Environmental liabilities reflect the estimated costs related to the management and remediation of environmentally contaminated sites. Based on management’s best estimates, a liability is accrued and an expense recorded when the contamination occurs or when NRC becomes aware of the contamination and is obligated, or is likely to be obligated to incur such costs. If the likelihood of NRC’s obligation to incur these costs is either not determinable or unlikely, or if an amount cannot be reasonably estimated, the costs are disclosed as contingent liabilities in the notes to the financial statements.

k) Inventory

Inventory for resale and for consumption is recorded at the lower of cost (using the average cost method) or net realizable value. The cost is charged to operations in the year in which the items are sold or used.

l) Equity investments

Equity investments include shares in publicly and privately held companies. Equity investments are typically obtained as a result of debt settlement negotiations or as a result of non‑monetary transactions (where financial assistance at better‑than‑market conditions was provided to firms through access to intellectual property, equipment and incubation space in laboratories). If the estimates of the non‑monetary transactions cannot be determined, the equity investments are  initially recorded at a nominal value. Otherwise they are initially recorded at fair value based on market prices. If the fair value of equity investments becomes lower than the book value and this decline in value is considered to be other than temporary, the equity investments are written down to fair value.

m) Endowment Fund Investments

Endowments consist of restricted donations subject to externally imposed restrictions stipulating that the resources be maintained permanently. Income from the investment of endowments may only be used for the purposes established by the donors.

Endowments are recognized as an asset when the amount to be received can be reasonably estimated and ultimate collection is reasonably assured. Income from endowments is recorded as deferred revenue and recognized as revenue in the year in which the related expenses are incurred.

Funds received for endowments are invested in bonds and are carried at amortized cost. The premium or discount determined at the time of acquisition is amortized until the security’s maturity. Fair value of bonds is based on market prices.

n) Foreign Currency Transactions

Transactions involving foreign currencies are translated into Canadian dollar equivalents using rates of exchange in effect at the time of those transactions. Monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are translated using rates at year end. Gains and losses resulting from foreign currency translation are reported on the Statement of Operations according to the activities to which they relate. Net gains and losses relating to the sale of goods or services in foreign currency are included in revenues.  Net gains and losses relating to the purchase of goods or services in foreign currency are included in expenses. 

o) Capital Assets and Amortization

Capital assets and leasehold improvements having an initial cost of $5,000 or more are recorded at their acquisition cost. Contributed capital assets are recorded at market value at the date of contribution. NRC does not capitalize intangibles, works of art and historical treasures that have cultural, aesthetic or historical value. Assets acquired under capital leases are initially recorded at the present value of the minimum lease payments at the inception of the lease. Capital assets held for sale are recorded at the lower of their carrying value or fair value less cost to sell and no amortization is recorded. Amortization of capital assets is calculated on a straight‑line basis over the estimated useful life of the asset as follows:

Asset Class

Amortization Period


Not applicable

Buildings and facilities

25 years

Works and infrastructure

25 years

Machinery, equipment and furniture

10 years

Informatics equipment

5 years

Informatics software

5 years


5 years


10 years

Leasehold improvements

Lesser of the remaining term of the lease or useful life of the improvement

Assets under construction

Once in service, in accordance with asset class

Leased capital assets

In accordance with asset class

Where NRC enters into land leases at a nominal value, the transaction is considered as a non‑monetary transaction and is recorded at fair value. Fair value of the transaction is based on market prices. If the estimates of the non‑monetary transactions cannot be determined, the amount of the transaction is recorded at a nominal value.

p) Measurement Uncertainty

The preparation of these financial statements in accordance with Treasury Board accounting policies and year‑end instructions issued by the Office of the Comptroller General, which are consistent with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for the public sector requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses reported in the financial statements. At the time of preparation of these statements, management believes the estimates and assumptions to be reasonable. The most significant items where estimates are used are contingent liabilities, environmental liabilities, the liability for employee severance benefits, the allowance for doubtful accounts, the fair value of non‑monetary transactions related to leased capital assets and the useful life of capital assets. Actual results could significantly differ from those estimated.  Management's estimates are reviewed periodically and, as adjustments become necessary, they are recorded in the financial statements in the year they become known.

q) Asset Retirement Obligations

Liabilities are recognized for statutory, contractual or legal obligations, when incurred, associated with the retirement of tangible capital assets when those obligations result from the acquisition, construction, development or normal operation of the assets. The obligations are measured initially at fair value, determined using present value methodology, and the resulting costs capitalized into the carrying amount of the related asset. In subsequent periods, the liability is adjusted for the accretion of discount and any changes in the amount or timing of the underlying future cash flows. The capitalized asset retirement cost is depreciated on the same basis as the related asset and the discount accretion is included in determining the results of operations.

3. Parliamentary Appropriations

NRC receives most of its funding through annual Parliamentary appropriations. Items recognized in the Statement of Operations and the Statement of Financial Position in one year may be funded through Parliamentary appropriations in prior, current or future years.  Accordingly, NRC has different net results of operations for the year on a government funding basis than on an accrual accounting basis.  The differences are reconciled in the following tables:

a) Reconciliation of net cost of operations to current year appropriations used

(in thousands of dollars)








Net Cost of Operations








Adjustments for items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting appropriations:








Amortization of capital assets




Financial arrangements with other Federal Government departments and agencies




Services received without charge (Note 15)




Specified purpose accounts expenses




Decrease (increase) in salary accrual




Refunds of previous year's expenditures




Decrease in payment‑in‑lieu of taxes accrual




Increase in employee future benefits




Cost of goods sold




Loss on disposal of capital assets




Write‑off of inventory




Increase in vacation pay and compensatory leave




Decrease (increase) in litigation claim expense accrual




Decrease in environmental liabilities




Bad debts recovery (expense)




Expenses related to Justice Canada








Total items affecting net cost of operations but not affecting appropriations








Adjustments for items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting appropriations:




Acquisitions of capital assets and additions to assets under construction




Inventory purchases




Increase in prepaid expenses




Total items not affecting net cost of operations but affecting appropriations








Current year appropriations used





b) Reconciliation of Parliamentary appropriations provided to current year appropriations used

(in thousands of dollars)








Parliamentary appropriations provided:




Vote 55 – Operating expenditures




Vote 60 – Capital expenditures




Vote 65 – Grants and contributions




Statutory amounts:




Revenues pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(e) of the National Research Council Act




Contributions to employee benefit plans




Proceeds from the disposal of surplus Crown assets




Collection agency fees








Revenues available for use in subsequent years




Lapsed appropriations




Current year appropriations used





c) Reconciliation of net cash provided by Government to current year appropriations used

(in thousands of dollars)








Net cash provided by government








Adjustments for items not affecting appropriations:












Increase in accounts receivable and advances




Increase in endowment fund investments




Decrease in inventory




Increase in capital assets




(Decrease) increase in liabilities




Total items not affecting appropriations








Current year appropriations used




4. Accounts Receivable and Advances

(in thousands of dollars)




Accounts receivable from external parties




Accounts receivable from other Federal Government departments and agencies




Employee advances








Less: allowance for doubtful accounts on external accounts receivable












Repayable contributions




Less: allowance for uncollectibility




Net repayable contributions












5. Equity Investments

Equity investments include shares in publicly and privately held companies. It is not management’s intention to hold equity investments over the long‑term. NRC will consider timely opportunities for divestiture of equity investments by taking into account the interests, market liquidity and expected future growth of the company. Of all portfolio investments where NRC holds an equity position, six were for debt settlements for a total value of $684,168 (six valued at $644,839 in 2007) and eighteen were obtained by non‑monetary transactions (twenty in 2007), of which nine (eight in 2007) are inactive or have filed for bankruptcy. Estimates of the non‑monetary transactions cannot be determined, as the value of the financial assistance is highly speculative.

The fair value of the equity investments as at March 31, 2008 was $4,014,877 ($757,292 in 2007).

6. Endowment Fund Investments

This account was established pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(f) of the National Research Council Act to record the residue of the estate of the late H.L. Holmes. Up to two thirds of the endowment fund's yearly net income is used to finance the H.L. Holmes award on an annual basis. The award provides the opportunity to post‑doctoral students to study at world famous graduate schools or research institutes under outstanding researchers.

(in thousands of dollars)




Restricted cash and investments, beginning of year




Net income from endowment




Awards granted




Restricted cash and investments, end of year




The portfolio had an average effective return of 4.71% (5.02% in 2007) and an average term to maturity of 5.24 years as at March 31, 2008 (5.07 years as at March 31, 2007). The fair value of the endowment investments as at March 31, 2008 was $4,460,397 ($4,261,721 in 2007).

7. Capital Assets

(in thousands of dollars)



Capital asset class

Opening balance


Transfers, disposals and write‑offs

Closing balance






Buildings and facilities





Works and infrastructure





Machinery, equipment and furniture





Informatics equipment





Informatics software















Leasehold improvements





Assets under construction





Leased capital assets










7. Capital Assets - Continued

Accumulated amortization





Opening balance


Transfers, disposals and write‑offs

Closing balance


2008 Net book value

2007 Net book value

































































































Amortization expense for the year ended March 31, 2008 is $66,554,738 ($64,209,615 in 2007).

At March 31, 2008, NRC held eight land lease agreements (eight in 2007) for a nominal annual cost of one dollar with universities. In these instances, NRC owns the building on the leased land. The fair value of the land for these non‑monetary transactions cannot be determined.

On March 21, 1996, NRC entered into a non‑monetary transaction. NRC entered into a lease agreement with the University of Western Ontario for the relocation of the Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute (IMTI) whereby leased property was provided to NRC for twenty‑five years at a nominal cost of one dollar. NRC has no obligations to the University of Western Ontario other than the relocation of the institute. The property was recorded as a leased capital asset at its fair value of $10,000,000. The annual amortization of $400,000 for the capital asset is exactly offset by the amortization of the deferred contribution related to the leased property.

On May 23, 2006, NRC took possession of a new facility and entered into a non‑monetary transaction with the University of Alberta. NRC entered into a lease agreement with the University for the housing of NRC’s National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), whereby leased property is provided to NRC at a nominal cost of one dollar per year. The lease provides a one year term with options to renew on ten sequential occasions, each of the first nine renewals to be for a period of five years and the tenth renewal for a period of four years.  The building was recorded as a leased capital asset at its fair value of $44,400,000. The annual amortization of $1,776,000 for the capital asset is exactly offset by the amortization of the deferred contribution related to the leased building.

On September 1, 2006, NRC took possession of a new facility and entered into a non‑monetary transaction with the University of Prince Edward Island. NRC entered into a lease agreement with the University for the housing of NRC’s Institute for Nutrisciences and Health (INH), whereby leased property was provided to NRC at a nominal cost of one dollar per year.  The lease provides a nineteen month term with renewal options for seven additional periods of five years, and one additional period of three years and five months (to August 31, 2046).  The building was recorded as a leased capital asset at its fair value of $13,700,000. The annual amortization of $548,000 for the capital asset is exactly offset by the amortization of the deferred contribution related to the leased building.

8. Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities

(in thousands of dollars)








Payable to other Federal Government departments and agencies




Accrued salaries, wages and employee benefits




Contractor holdbacks




Sales tax payable








9. Deferred Revenue

(in thousands of dollars)




Deferred revenue – contributions related to leased capital assets




Balance, beginning of year




Contributions received




Contributions recognized as revenue




Balance, end of year








Deferred revenue ‑ specified purpose accounts




Balance, beginning of year




Funds received




Revenue recognized




Balance, end of year








Deferred revenue ‑ other




Balance, beginning of year




Funds received




Revenue recognized




Balance, end of year












10. Employee Future Benefits

Employees of NRC are entitled to specific benefits on or after termination or retirement, as provided for under various collective agreements or conditions of employment.

a) Pension benefits

NRC and all eligible employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, which is sponsored and administered by the Government of Canada. Pension benefits accrue up to a maximum of 35 years at a rate of two percent per year of pensionable service, times the average of the best five consecutive years of earnings. The benefits are integrated with Canada/Quebec Pension Plans benefits and they are indexed to inflation.

The expense amounts to $42,051,439 ($40,275,048 in 2007) which represents approximately 2.2 times (2.3 times in 2007) the contributions by employees. Both the employees and NRC contribute to the cost of the Plan. As at March 31, 2008, the contributions are as follows:

(in thousands of dollars)




NRC’s contributions




Employees’ contributions




NRC’s responsibility with regard to the Plan is limited to its contributions. Actuarial surpluses or deficiencies are recognized in the financial statements of the Government of Canada, as the Plan’s sponsor.

b) Employee severance benefits

NRC provides severance benefits to its employees based on eligibility, years of service and final salary. These severance benefits are not pre‑funded. Benefits will be paid from future appropriations. Information about the severance benefits, measured as at March 31, is as follows:

(in thousands of dollars)




Accrued benefit obligation, beginning of year




Expense for the year




Benefits paid during the year




Accrued benefit obligation, end of year




11. Contingent Liabilities

a) Environmental liabilities

Liabilities are accrued to record the estimated costs related to the management and remediation of contaminated sites where NRC is obligated or likely to be obligated to incur such costs.  NRC has identified one site (one site in 2007) where such action is possible and for which a liability of $100,000 ($300,000 in 2007) has been recorded.  NRC’s ongoing efforts to assess contaminated sites may result in additional environmental liabilities related to newly identified sites, or changes in the assessments or intended use of existing sites.  These liabilities will be accrued by NRC in the year in which they become known.

b) Claims and litigation

Claims have been made against NRC in the normal course of operations. Some of these potential liabilities may become actual liabilities when one or more future events occur or fail to occur.  To the extent that the future event is likely to occur, and a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made, an estimated liability is accrued and an expense recorded in NRC's financial statements.

As at March 31, 2008, NRC had thirteen claims (thirteen in 2007) outstanding of which two (three in 2007) related to pending charges that will likely result in a liability and two where the outcome is undeterminable (two in 2007). The two claims that will likely result in a liability can be reasonably estimated (three in 2007). A total accrued liability of $1,289,136 ($1,550,000 in 2007) was recorded based on NRC's legal assessment of potential liability.

c) Asset Retirement Obligations

NRC has not recognized any asset retirement obligations in the financial statements. NRC’s legal obligations related to asset retirements are subject to several uncertainties and therefore fair values cannot be reasonably determined. Changes in these assumptions and uncertainties could materially affect NRC’s assets and liabilities as well as the resulting amortization and accretion expenses related to the asset retirement obligation.

NRC generally incurs the costs associated with the removal and disposal of asbestos and other designated substances located in NRC buildings during major renovations. The timing and scope of renovations which result in the removal of regulated substances cannot be reasonably estimated at this time.  Consequently, the asset retirement obligations associated with the removal of asbestos and other designated substances within NRC’s premises have not been recognized in the financial statements.

12. Contractual Obligations

The nature of NRC’s activities can result in some large multi‑year contracts and obligations whereby NRC will be obligated to make future payments when the services/goods are received.  Significant contractual obligations that can be reasonably estimated are summarized as follows:

(in thousands of dollars)





2013 and thereafter


Transfer payments







Operating contracts














13. Expenses

(in thousands of dollars)




Salaries and employee future benefits




Grants and contributions




Utilities, materials and supplies








Professional and special services




Transportation and communication




Repairs and maintenance




Payments in lieu of taxes




Bad debts
















Cost of goods sold




Net loss on disposal of capital assets












14. Revenues

(in thousands of dollars)




Sales of goods and services




Services of non‑regulatory nature and other fees and charges




Sales of goods and information products




Rights and privileges




Lease and use of property












Financial arrangements with other Federal Government departments and agencies




Revenues from joint project and cost sharing agreements




Lease inducement revenue




Donations and bequests








Gain on sale of equity investment




Net gain on disposal of capital assets








15. Related Party Transactions

NRC is related as a result of common ownership to all Government of Canada departments, agencies, and Crown corporations.  NRC enters into transactions with these entities in the normal course of business and on normal trade terms. Refer to Note 4 and Note 8 for receivable and payable to other Federal Government departments and agencies. Also, during the year, NRC received services, which were obtained without charge from other Federal Government departments and agencies. These services without charge have been recognized in NRC’s Statement of Operations as follows:

(in thousands of dollars)




Employer’s contributions to the health and dental insurance plans provided by Treasury Board




Audit services provided by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada




Legal services provided by Justice Canada




Workers’ compensation benefits provided by Human Resources and Social Development Canada




Payroll services provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada




Accommodation provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada








The total of legal services provided by Justice Canada amounts to $1,154,030 ($1,176,429 in 2007). Of this amount, $360,143 ($635,462 in 2007) was provided without charge. The total of accommodation provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada amounts to $321,080 ($322,318 in 2007). Of this amount, $149,298 ($156,876 in 2007) was provided without charge. The total of Workers’ compensation benefits provided by Human Resources and Social Development Canada amounts to $834,813 ($690,606 in 2007). Of this amount, $309,838 ($360,188 in 2007) was provided without charge.

16. Financial Instruments

NRC’s financial instruments consist of accounts receivable and advances, investments, accounts payable and accrued liabilities, and deferred revenue. Unless otherwise noted, it is management’s opinion that NRC is not exposed to significant interest, currency or credit risk arising from these financial instruments. Unless otherwise disclosed in these financial statements, management estimates that the carrying values of the financial instruments approximate their fair value due to their impending maturity.

17. Comparative Information

Comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the current year's presentation.

Section IV - Other Items of Interest

Organizational Information

NRC Mandate

Under the National Research Council Act, NRC is responsible for:

  • Undertaking, assisting or promoting scientific and industrial research in different fields of importance to Canada.
  • Establishing, operating and maintaining a national science library.
  • Publishing and selling or otherwise distributing such scientific and technical information as the Council deems necessary.
  • Investigating standards and methods of measurement.
  • Working on the standardization and certification of scientific and technical apparatus and instruments and materials used or usable by Canadian industry.
  • Operating and administering any astronomical observatories established or maintained by the Government of Canada.
  • Administering NRC's research and development activities, including grants and contributions used to support a number of international activities.
  • Providing vital scientific and technological services to the research and industrial communities.

Consult for more details about NRC’s legislative framework.

NRC Accountability Framework

NRC reports directly to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Industry.  NRC works in partnership with the members of the Industry Portfolio to leverage complementary resources and exploit synergies in areas such as innovation of firms through S&T, SMEs and economic growth of Canadian communities.  The NRC Council provides strategic direction and advice to the President and reviews organizational performance.  The President is the leader, responsible for fulfilling corporate strategies and delivering results.  Five Vice Presidents (Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, Technology and Industry Support and Corporate Services) are responsible for a portfolio of research institutes, programs and centres.  Figure 4-1 provides an overview of NRC’s organization.

Figure 4-1:  NRC Organizational Chart

NRC Organizataional Chart

Organizational Sustainability

Highly qualified professionals (scientists, engineers, technicians and others) in conjunction with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment are prerequisites to performing at the leading-edge of R&D. NRC faced challenges in sustaining these key resources and continued to focus on strategies to address these challenges. 

Implementing NRC’s Strategy: Science at Work for Canada and advancing the federal S&T Strategy: Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage

Corporate business plan – NRC established its corporate business plan in the first quarter of 2007-08.  This business plan reflects key commitments and decisions of the NRC Senior Executive Committee and sets organizational direction for three fiscal years (2007-08 to 2009-10).  The plan puts forward an approach for helping to enhance the financial flexibility of NRC, while ensuring financial and non-financial resources fully align in support of priority NRC programs.  It also outlines the steps NRC is taking to implement new horizontal R&D initiatives focused on key industrial and social issues for Canada.  Heightened collaboration with the private, public and academic sectors is a key theme throughout the document.  The corporate business plan will be updated on an annual basis to reflect changing internal and external factors, as well as the ongoing decisions and priorities of both the federal government and the NRC senior executive.

An integrated solution to planning, risk and performance management – In support of the federal S&T strategy modern approach to management, NRC began the implementation of an integrated management framework in 2007-08 for providing senior management and NRC Institutes, Branches and Programs (I/B/Ps) with the planning and performance information they need to support integrated decision-making, resource allocation and functional planning (human resources, capital assets and finance).  This cross-functional change initiative is responsible for embedding modern management processes and systems for the integrated framework and has a mandate until April 2010.  In addition to the integrated corporate business plan, NRC developed a performance measurement framework aligned with its strategy as well as business plans from each of its I/B/Ps.  The integrated planning effort supported internal management decision-making and contributed to delivering a fully populated Program Activity Architecture to the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Understanding the impact of federally performed S&T – In 2007-08, NRC participated actively with the Policy Research Initiative (PRI) aimed at improving the government’s understanding of the impact of federally performed S&T.  NRC has taken the lead on a study to determine the best practices for measuring S&T impacts on behalf of PRI to address the S&T strategy policy commitment of increasing accountability to Canadians. 

Strategies for sustainable resources – Faced with ongoing resource pressures, NRC is making more strategic choices regarding the use of resources.  In 2007-08, this included:

  • Addressing funding issues – NRC continued to prioritize key R&D and technology and industry support activities, initiatives and programs in the context of the organization’s strategy.  It also produced strategies and mechanisms for ongoing reallocation and conduct efficiency improvement reviews to ensure effective investment of resources for sustainability in priority areas.  NRC initiated a new organizational resource allocation process in the fourth quarter of 2007-08, requiring all NRC I/B/Ps to develop and submit business plans on an annual basis.  To secure funding, these plans must demonstrate alignment with the priorities outlined in both the NRC strategy and the federal science and technology strategy.  NRC Senior Executive Committee reviewed all of the I/B/P plans, identified priority initiatives within the plans and funded those initiatives that were deemed essential in order for NRC to execute its strategy, fulfill its mandate and help deliver on the federal science and technology strategy.  In 2007-08, initial steps were also taken to identify opportunities for operational efficiencies.  Notably, NRC initiated audits on organizational-wide facilities and information technology.  The results of these audits, which are scheduled to be completed in 2008-09, are expected to identify potential areas for efficiency gains while highlighting priorities that may require enhanced investments to ensure their long-term sustainability.
  • Talent Management – NRC continued to move toward the development of an organization-wide Human Resources Management (HRM) strategy, which will be integrated with the corporate business plan.  During 2007-08, the Human Resources Branch (HRB) prepared a business plan for 2008-11, which represents the first iteration of an integrated HRM plan for NRC.  Throughout 2007-08, NRC continued to focus on previously identified HRM priorities and the development of new HRM strategies to support NRC’s future directions.  The following are highlights of some of the progress made in 2007-08 with respect to key HRM priorities:
    • Integrated HR Planning – The HRB Business Plan 2008-11 incorporated the results of a comprehensive environmental scan which identified HR trends and challenges including an aging population, a decrease in the working-age population, employee generational diversity and increased immigration.  The scan also revealed the need to align HRM policies with the NRC goal of becoming more integrated and agile.  The environmental scan was supplemented by a review of all I/B/P business plans (approximately 30 plans) to identify common HRM requirements.  The HRB business plan incorporated strategies related to governance and accountability, talent attraction and retention and talent management (including recruitment, retention, promotion and development talent critical to the advancement of NRC’s overall strategy). 
    • Classification Renewal – In 2007-08, NRC approved an initiative to bring classification practices in line with NRC’s strategy.  The NRC Senior Executive Committee approved a plan to renew the classification framework for all positions at NRC.  The initiative, as outlined in the HRB Business Plan, will take approximately three years to complete.  Four key projects were identified: a renewal of the MG (Management Category) classification standard; a review and update of the RO (Research Officer) and RCO (Research Council Officer) policy and promotion criteria; a renewal of the TO (Technical Officer) standard; and a renewal of all the other classification standards.  This initiative promises to improve NRC’s ability to attract, retain and reward the talent that the organization has and requires to continue to develop and implement its strategy.
    • Leadership Development – In 2007-08, NRC continued to develop and implement its Leadership Enrichment and Development (LEAD) program.  A selection process was undertaken to attract the next round of participants.  This process attracted 44 applicants and NRC identified 17 employees for the organization's intensive leadership development program; those who were unsuccessful received feedback on their performance in the selection process as well as access to a multi-source competency assessment and time with a consultant to understand results and formulate a learning plan.
    • HR Performance Management – In 2007-08, several priorities were identified related to optimizing individual and organizational performance, much of which has been captured in the HRB Business Plan 2008-11.  NRC started reviewing its HR performance management processes, to manage consistently performance at all levels of the organization.  NRC commenced the delivery of performance management training in collaboration with bargaining agents.  In May-June 2007, NRC took steps to improve Management Accountability Agreements (MAAs) as part of the performance planning and review process for the Management (MG) category.  Approximately 95% of NRC's intact management teams participated in 1-day workshops focused on completing MAAs.  Workshops were aimed at linking individual performance agreements to the objectives of the organization and to integrated business planning.
    • Turnover – Turnover has been relatively consistent for the past three years, with turnover of continuing staff being considerably lower than that of NRC's 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, representation levels for all four designated groups improved from 2006-07 to 2007-08.  Once again, representation for visible minorities surpassed availability.  The difference between representation and availability for persons with disabilities changed from -4 in 2006-07 to +1 in 2007-08.  The difference for women improved from -36 to -26 and for aboriginal peoples from -16 to -10.

Designated Group















Aboriginal peoples






Persons with disabilities






Visible minorities








Total workforce


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

  • Learning Strategy – As outlined in the 2007-08 NRC Report on Plans and Priorities, NRC had planned to develop a comprehensive learning plan in 2007-08.  However, this activity was deferred in order first to focus on the HRM environmental scan and identification of broader HRM priorities.  The need for a comprehensive learning strategy was once again identified at various levels of the business planning process and as such, was incorporated in the HRB Business Plan 2008-11.  An organization-wide learning needs analysis was initiated and continues.
  • Collective Agreements – NRC’s Labour Relations (LR) Group continued to negotiate and administer collective agreements on behalf of NRC and maintained ongoing consultations with the two 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, three of which were negotiated during the 2007-08 period with three having gone before Arbitration Boards for eventual final determination in April of 2008.
  • Official Languages (OL) – NRC continued with its commitment to its Official Languages Program objectives.  The number of NRC executives meeting the linguistic requirements of their positions remained virtually the same year over year, due to the hiring of executives in bilingual non-imperative positions and the successful achievement of other executives in reaching their linguistic goals.  The OL Advisor continued to meet personally with each newly hired executive to establish a language-training plan when needed and to secure their commitment to meet OL Program goals.  Overall, roughly 89% of NRC employees meet the linguistic requirements of their positions (virtually all of those who have not yet achieved their linguistic requirements are currently in a language training program or have established a training plan).  NRC’s Consultative Committee on Official Languages’ activities continued to be recognized as a best practices leader by a number of federal organizations.  Again, in 2007-08, NRC received a number of unsolicited requests to present its OL best practices for organizations such as the Canada Border Service Agency, Justice Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans.  NRC also presented to the Pacific Federal Council in Vancouver at its request.
  • Staffing and Recruitment – During the reporting period, NRC recruited 526 employees bringing the total number of NRC staff to 4,2619.  Contributing to the federal S&T Strategy People Advantage, over 1,231 students, Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) and Research Associates (RAs) worked on research teams at NRC institutes.  These individuals had the opportunity to work in a challenging research environment with leading experts in their fields thereby gaining valuable experience and training.  In 2007-08, 491 graduate students, 384 summer and co-op students, 151 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Visiting PDFs and 151 RAs worked at NRC.
  • Integrated S & T initiatives – As an active member of the ADM S&T Integration Board and its related working/task groups, NRC continued to work with other science-based departments and agencies and central agencies to address common management issues having an impact on federal science, this past year.  This included participating in interdepartmental efforts to address human resource challenges.  The Integration Board’s efforts are currently concentrated in the following four HR areas:  leadership, retention, recruitment and learning and professional development.
  • Ongoing HR Services and Support – In 2007-08, NRC’s HR Client Relations Management Group designed and administered an on-line survey of all internal clients to gauge their level of satisfaction with HR services and support received locally.  The completion rate was 48% and the results demonstrated a very high level of satisfaction with the products and the approach of the local HR service providers.

9 - salaried employees, as of 31 March 2008

  • Maintaining and upgrading NRC S&T infrastructure – NRC continues to recapitalize its assets through the appropriation of $5.7 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 2007-08 were:

    • Replace cooling tower lines  (M55, Ottawa)
    • Building controls upgrade (M55, Ottawa)
    • Replace air handling units (U70,Ottawa)
    • Main entrance upgrades (U66, Ottawa)
    • New chiller (M20, Ottawa)
    • Switchgear upgrade (U89, Ottawa)
    • Re-roofing (M50, Ottawa)
    • Upgrade elevator controls (M58, Ottawa)
    • T4 & T5 transformer replacement (M50, Ottawa)
    • Switch gear upgrade (U70, Ottawa)
    • Chiller replacement (NRC-IBD, Winnipeg)
    • Chiller replacement (NRC-IOT, St. John’s)
    • Cooling Tower upgrade (NRC-BRI, Montreal)
    • Pump upgrades (NRC-IMI, Boucherville)
    • Sprinkler expansion (NRC-IMB, Halifax)
    • Roof anchor upgrades (NRC-IMB, Halifax)


  • Developing three-year NRC Communications Outlook –  NRC completed design and began implementation of its strategic communications framework encompassing internal, external, corporate marketing and stakeholder relations components.  The new framework positions, profiles and promotes the organization’s unique contributions to the federal S&T strategy, NRC’s own support to industry and its creation of true economic value and social benefits for Canada and all Canadians.  In addition to an overarching three-year corporate communications strategy, NRC completed its strategy for internal communications, began development of sub-strategies for the other components of the framework and prepared a business plan for the function aligned with the NRC Strategy.  NRc also began implementation of a new organization structure for its communications function. All of these changes supported implementation of the recommendations from its comprehensive Communications Situation Assessment.  In addition, NRC continued its involvement in interdepartmental and government-wide horizontal S&T and innovation initiatives, including S&T Integration Board Communications and the Government of Canada S&T web portal. 
  • Strengthened Internal Audit Function – In 2007-08, NRC further strengthened its internal audit function in accordance with the new Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Policy on Internal Audit.  The President of NRC approved five internal audit reports upon the recommendation by the Audit Committee.  NRC posted two of the reports on its website ( in January 2008 and expects to post the remaining three reports shortly.  NRC also started six other internal audits and they were in various stages of completion by the end of March 31, 2008.  NRC created new audit positions bringing the number from 3.5 to 5 FTEs using the Incremental financial resources provided by Treasury Board.  Rigorous recruiting efforts resulted in all of these positions staffed by professional qualified and experienced staff. 

The activities outlined above as part of NRC’s strategy implementation initiatives will help address Management Accountability Framework commitments.

Implement Action Plan on recommendations of the Auditor General of Canada–Overall, NRC has made very positive progress in implementing the OAG’s recommendations and is actively addressing the recommendations provided in the OAG’s February 2007 Status Report.  Related accomplishments include:

  • Revised role of Council and membership profile;
  • Approved Corporate Business Plan;
  • Draft Human Resources Branch Business Plan pending SEC approval by March 31, 2008;
  • Development of the Management, Resources and Results Management Structure (MRRS) for NRC including key performance indicators and targets; and
  • Development of the Balanced Scorecard aligned to the Corporate Business Plan.

Work still requiring progress includes recommendations pertaining to the collection and reporting of performance data and project management. However, significant activity has been taken toward addressing them.

Awards and Achievements

  • Atif, M. NRC-IRC
    Selected as Keynote Speaker for two International Conferences on Energy and the Built Environment: CISBAT 2007 (Switzerland) and International Conference on IAQ and Energy-Efficient Ventilation (Japan).
  • Beaudoin, J. NRC-IRC
    Certificate for Distinguished Contribution, Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada
  • Brown, B. NRC-CISTI
    Margaret Ridley Charlton Award for Outstanding Achievement, Canadian Health Libraries Association
  • Carignan, S., Craig, G., Ellis, K., Gubbels, A., Jennings, S., Swail, C. NRC-IAR
    The Technical Collaboration Program (TTCP) Team Achievement Award, for significant contribution to flight safety and operational effectiveness of all weather rotorcraft operations
  • D’Arcy, R. NRC-IBD
    Emerging Professional Award for outstanding contribution in Science & Technology, Discovery Centre, Halifax, NS
  • Dean, W. NRC-PBI
    Distinguished Service Award, American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers
  • Dimitrievska, S. NRC-IMI
    Prix du meilleur de maitrise, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal
  • Douglas, S. NRC-IMB
    NRC-NSC Eminent Researchers Exchange Program with Taiwan
  • Elmahdy, NRC-IRC
    Certificate of Service, Standard Council of Canada
  • Hoult, D. NRC-IBD
    Excellence in Technology Transfer Award, Federal Partners in Technology Transfer
  • Johnston, A. NRC-IAR
    The Technical Collaboration Program (TTCP) Team Achievement Award, for significant contribution to collaborative research in the area of electron beam curing of polymers and advanced composite materials
  • Ko, A. NRC-IBD
    Honorary title of Associated Researcher for 2007-08, National Optics Institute
  • Lall, S. NRC-IMB
    Best Overseas Indian Fisheries Scientist, Professional Fisheries Graduate Form, Mumbai India
  • Mandache, C. NRC-IAR
    The Technical Collaboration Program (TTCP) Team Achievement Award, for assignment on Transient Eddy Current Systems
  • Massie, B. NRC-BRI
    Prix de reconnaissance de l’Universite de Montreal, Faculte de medecine
  • Proulx, G., NRC-IRC
    Public Service Award of Excellence, Government of Canada, for Excellence in Citizen-Focused Service Delivery in promoting fire safety
  • Quilliam, M. NRC-IMB
    Discovery Award (Nova Scotia) – Professional of Distinction
  • Smith, I. NRC-IBD
    Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Manitoba Alumni Association
  • Whiteway, M. NRC-BRI
    Elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology
  • Zimcik, D. NRC-IAR
    Canadian Space Agency, Director General’s Award, for outstanding contribution during assembly, integration and test of Radarsat-2

How to Reach Us

Senior Management and Corporate information

Pierre Coulombe
(613) 993-2024

Secretary General
Marielle Piché
(613) 993-3731

Vice-President Life Sciences
Roman Szumski
(613) 993-9244

Vice-President Technology and Industry Support
Patricia Mortimer
(613) 998-3664

Vice-President Physical Sciences
Richard Normandin
(613) 993-4449

Vice-President Corporate Services
Don Di Salle
(613) 993-0361

Vice-President Engineering
Sherif Barakat
(613) 949-5955

General Inquiries:
1-877-672-2672 or (613) 993-9101

Corporate Headquarters
1200 Montreal Road
Montreal Rd. Campus
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R6

DPR Contact:
Jennifer Birta
Senior Evaluation Officer
Planning and Performance Management
(613) 991-0937

Access to Information and Privacy:
Huguette Brunet
(613) 990-6111



Research and Development

Under the Direction of the Vice-President Life Sciences

Biotechnology Research Institute – Montreal, QC
Director General: Michel Desrochers
General Inquiries: 514-496-6100

Institute for Biodiagnostics – Winnipeg, MB
Director General: Ian Smith
General Inquiries: 204-983-7692

Institute for Biological Sciences – Ottawa, ON
Director General: Jim Richards
General Inquiries: 613-993-5812

Institute for Marine Biosciences– Halifax, NS
Director General: Joan Kean-Howie
General Inquiries: 902-426-8332

Plant Biotechnology Institute– Saskatoon, SK
Director General: Jerome Konecsni
General Inquiries: 306-975-5575

Under the Direction of the Vice-President Physical Sciences

Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics– Victoria and Penticton, BC
Director General: Gregory Fahlman
General Inquiries: 250-363-0001

Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology– Ottawa, ON
Director General: Janusz Lusztyk
General Inquiries: 613- 993-4041

Institute for Information Technology – Ottawa, ON, Gatineau, QC, Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John, NB
Director General: Christian Couturier
General Inquiries: 506-444-6132

Institute for Microstructural Sciences – Ottawa, ON
Director General: Marie D’Iorio
General Inquiries: 613-993-4583

Institute for National Measurement Standards – Ottawa, ON
Director General: Jim McLaren
General Inquiries: 613-998-7018

National Institute for Nanotechnology – Edmonton, AB
Director General: Nils Petersen
General Inquiries: 780-492-8888

Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences – Ottawa and Chalk River, ON
Director General: Danial Wayner
General Inquiries: 613-991-5419

Under the Direction of the Vice-President Engineering

Institute for Aerospace Research – Ottawa, ON and Montreal, QC
Director General: Jerzy Komorowski
General Inquiries: 613-993-5738

Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation – Vancouver, BC
Director General: Maja Veljkovic
General Inquiries: 604-221-3099

Industrial Materials Institute – Boucherville and Saguenay, QC
Director General: Blaise Champagne
General Inquiries: 450-641-5000

Institute for Ocean Technology – St. John’s, NL
Director General: Mary Williams
General Inquiries: 709-772-6001

Institute for Research in Construction – Ottawa, ON and Regina, SK
Director General: Bob Bowen
General Inquiries: 613-993-2607

Canadian Hydraulics Centre – Ottawa, ON

Executive Director: John Coleman
General Inquiries: 613-993-2417

entre for Surface Transportation Technology – Ottawa, ON
General Manager: Paul Treboutat
General Inquiries: 613-998-9365

Technology and Industry Support

Under the Direction of the Vice-President Technology and Industry Support

Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information – Ottawa, ON with offices across Canada
Director General: Pam Bjornson
General Inquiries: 1-800-668-1222

Industrial Research Assistance Program – Ottawa, ON with offices across Canada
Director General: Tony Rahilly
General Inquiries: 1-877-994-4727

Corporate Services

Under the Direction of the Vice-President Corporate Services

Administrative Services and Property Management Branch
Director General: Jerry Rogers
General Inquiries: 613-993-2440

Information Management Services Branch
Director General: Shane Brunas
General Inquiries: 613-991-3773

Strategy and Development Branch
Director General: Rob James
General Inquiries: 613-990-7381

Branches and Offices Reporting to the President

Executive Offices and Secretary General
Secretary General: Marielle Piché
General Inquiries: 613-998-4579

Finance Branch
Chief Financial Officer: Daniel Gosselin
General Inquiries: 613-990-7471

Human Resources Branch
Director General (Acting): Isabelle Gingras
General Inquiries: 613-993-9136

NRC Internal Audit
Director: Jayne Hinchliff-Milne
General Inquiries: 613-949-7689

NRC Legal Services
Director: Louis Robayo
General Inquiries: 613-993-0035

NRC Council Members

Pierre Coulombe
President (and Chair of Council)
National Research Council Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

Douglas MacArthur
MacArthur Group, Inc.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Dennis Anderson
Management Consultant
Libau, Manitoba

Eva Mah Borsato
Intellectual Capital Corporation Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta

Patricia Béretta
Biomedical Engineer
Elmira, Ontario

Gilles Patry
Rector and Vice-Chancellor
University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario

Louis Brunel
International Institute of Telecommunications
Montreal, Quebec

Alan Pelman
Former Vice-President, Technology Canada
Weyerhaeuser Ltd.
Vancouver, British Colombia

Paul Clark
Former Vice-President
Research and Technology
NOVA Chemicals Corporation
Calgary, Alberta

Barbara Stanley
BESCO Holdings 2002 Inc.
Rothesay, New Brunswick

Delwyn Fredlund
Senior Geotechnical Engineering Specialist 
Golder Associates Ltd
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Howard Tennant
President Emeritus
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Alberta

Peter Frise
Scientific Director and CEO,
Auto 21
Windsor, Ontario

Normand Tremblay
Partner, SECOR
Montréal, Québec

John Harker
Cape Breton University
Sydney, Nova Scotia

Allan Warrack
Business Professor (Emeritus)
University of Alberta,
Calgary, Alberta

Margaret Lefebvre
Executive Director
Canadian Association of Income Funds
Montreal, Quebec

David Wood
Head of Finance and Corporate Development, Secretary and Treasurer
Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Vancouver, British Columbia

Kellie Leitch
Assistant Dean (External), Chief/Chair of Paediatric Surgery and Assistant Professor, Paediatric Orthopaedics
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario