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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