National Research Council Canada-NRC

National Research Council Canada-NRC

May 07, 2013 10:01 ET

Open for Business: Refocused NRC will Benefit Canadian Industries

The Government of Canada launches refocused National Research Council

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 7, 2013) - The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has transformed into an industry-focused research and technology organization. The refocused NRC will work with Canadian industries to bridge technology gaps, helping build a more innovative Canadian economy.

"NRC plays a pivotal role at the heart of Canada's innovation system," said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). "The refocused NRC will provide Canadian industries with access to strategic research and development, technical services and specialized scientific infrastructure they need to succeed."

"The Government's top priority is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians," said the Honourable Claude Carignan, Deputy Leader of the Government at the Senate. "By refocusing the NRC into a research and technology organization, our Government is ensuring that Canadian firms have the instruments and tools they need to become even more successful on the global stage."

The refocused NRC will support Canadian industries by investing in large-scale research projects that are directed by and for Canadian business. It will also develop international networks to ensure timely access to primary research and will open the doors to world class scientific infrastructure, technical expertise and people.

"We are very excited about this change. Our organization is now easier for business to understand and access," said John R. McDougall, President of the National Research Council. "We are committed to being a strong partner for innovation, and focused on achieving the concrete outcomes that will contribute to a stronger and more prosperous Canada. We will measure our success by the success of our clients."

Research and technology organizations are mission-oriented providers of innovation services to firms and governments, dedicated to building economic competitiveness and, in doing so, improving quality of life. The refocused NRC will strengthen Canadian industry by encouraging more business investment to develop innovative products and services.


For close to 100 years, NRC has been the primary federal vehicle for R&D performer and has engaged the world's most pressing challenges.

In the past, NRC researchers have brought forward breakthrough inventions like radar, the black box (used by the aerospace industry and beyond), canola and a vaccine for meningitis to the world.

Now, NRC is refocusing in order to better serve Canadian businesses, helping them to compete in the global marketplace against the world's most innovative companies.

NRC is Open for Business

As our county competes in the increasingly complex global marketplace, Canada's enviable standard of living cannot be taken for granted. The need for action is clear: we must encourage more business investment in research and technology development to guarantee our long-term economic growth.

To meet this challenge, NRC is refocusing to allow more Canadian businesses to access the world-class infrastructure, technical expertise and people they need to commercialize their innovative ideas. Our four business lines - Strategic R&D, Technical Services, Management of S&T Infrastructure and NRC-IRAP - work together to help fill the gap between early stage R&D and commercialization.

NRC is rebuilding itself to help grow Canadian industries and increase our strength in global value chains, all with the end goal in mind: high-quality jobs, increased business R&D activity, greater commercialization outcomes, and a prosperous and more productive Canada.

What we do

Strategic R&D - These typically longer-term contracts mobilize our world-leading experts, unique facilities and equipment to help our clients tackle challenges and problems through targeted research and technology development.

  • We are working with partners to increase the profitability of wheat varieties in changing climate, enabling Canada to capture a greater percentage of the world market.
  • We made history in 2012 when we completed the world's first test-flight powered by 100 per cent unblended renewable biofuel.

Technical Services - Services like testing, certification, calibration, prototyping, demonstration and scale-up help our clients solve their immediate technical problems.

  • Our hydraulically tilted table is helping to make our highways safer by giving clients tools to measure the roll stability and roll characteristics of large, heavy vehicles.

Management of National S&T Infrastructure - We ensure that Canada's large, unique engineering and scientific facilities are kept at world standards, helping Canadian and international clients make the most of specialized scientific infrastructure.

  • We open the doors for Canadian researchers to access some of the world's most powerful telescopes.

The NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) - NRC-IRAP provides Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the advisory services and financial support they need to grow and succeed. This program is also an important client portal into NRC's full suite of programs and services.

  • NRC-IRAP provides customized solutions to some 10,000 SMEs annually.

Today's NRC...

  • Understands drivers for industry change;
  • Quickly assembles cross-functional teams in response to urgent industry challenges;
  • Coordinates R&D with long-range business plans;
  • Develops clear, measurable project goals;
  • Plans and executes with end-user needs in mind;
  • Measures its success based on the success of its clients (sales, jobs, productivity);
  • Hires and maintains the best people and expertise; and
  • Connects Canadian businesses with international networks and markets.

Our Distinct Role

We have carved out a unique niche in Canada's innovation system as the country's national research and technology organization. Our goal is to promote greater private sector R&D, helping Canada develop into one of the world's best and most highly performing 21st century economies.

NRC's full suite of expertise, services and facilities can be seamlessly accessed via our 12 industry-themed entry points:

  • Aerospace
  • Aquatic and Crop Resource Development
  • Automotive and Surface Transportation
  • Construction
  • Energy Mining and Environment
  • Human Health Therapeutics
  • Information and Communications Technologies
  • Measurement Science and Standards
  • Medical Devices
  • National Science Infrastructure
  • Oceans, Coastal and River Engineering
  • Security and Disruptive Technologies

Our vision, mission and values

Our vision is to be the most effective research and technology organization in the world, stimulating sustainable domestic prosperity. Our mission is: Working with clients and partners, we provide innovation support, strategic research, scientific and technical services to develop and deploy solutions to meet Canada's current and future industrial and societal needs.

Our values are:

  • IMPACT: We make a positive difference for our stakeholders.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY: We are responsible for our work and our workplace.
  • LEADERSHIP: We value leadership, initiative and the application of best practices in our work.
  • INTEGRITY: We engage fairly and openly to earn credibility and trust.
  • COLLABORATION: We actively collaborate to generate better solutions.

A bit of history

As early as 1915, Canadian universities and industry began lobbying the federal government to encourage industrial research; in part due to the economic challenges Canada faced resulting from the First World War. The proposed research would be conducted in government laboratories in Ottawa with dedicated equipment. For example, in May of 1916, the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers suggested that prior to implementing certain industrial processes, they should be tested in government laboratories.

An Order in Council dated November 29, 1916, established the Honourary Advisory Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. This advisory body was soon known by its short title: National Research Council.

Orders in Council 1916-1266 and 1916-2967, Library and Archives Canada

National Research Council Act


Quick facts

  • Approximately 4,000 employees and 1,500 visiting workers
  • Some fifty facilities nationwide, including in Victoria, Vancouver, Penticton, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Cambridge, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Boucherville, Saguenay, Fredericton, Moncton, Halifax, Charlottetown, St. John's
  • NRC's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) has offices in over 100 communities across Canada
  • Planned budget for 2013 is approximately $900 million
  • NRC's four business lines: Strategic Research and Development, Technical Services, Management of National Science and Technology Infrastructure, and IRAP
  • NRC's three research divisions: Engineering, Emerging Technologies, and Life Sciences
  • NRC's portfolios: Aerospace; Aquatic and Crop Resource Development; Automotive and Surface Transportation; Construction; Energy, Mining, and Environment; Human Health Therapeutics; Information and Communications Technologies; Measurement Standards and Science; Medical Devices; National Science Infrastructure; Oceans, Coastal, and River Engineering; and, Security and Disruptive Technologies

Chronology and key milestones

1916 - NRC established through the NRC Act

1930s - New NRC laboratories built in Ottawa

1940s - Invention of the pacemaker

1950s - Development of canola

1960s - Development of the crash position indicator and the cesium atomic clock

1970s - Development of computer animation technology

1980s - Development of the Canadarm

2007 - Government releases Canada's new science and technology strategy: Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage

2009 - Canada's Economic Action Plan launched; unprecedented investment in science and technology, including $200 million for IRAP over two years

2010 - Group of independent experts tasked with reviewing federal support to research and development

2011 - Review of Federal Support to Research and Development ΓöÇthe Jenkins ReportΓöÇ released in the fall of 2011 by an expert panel; called for a simplified and more focused approach to research and development funding provided by the federal government

2012 - Economic Action Plan 2012 permanently doubles IRAP funding and supports the refocusing of NRC

2013 - Economic Action Plan 2013 provides an additional $121 million in support of the refocusing of NRC, as well as $20 million for new IRAP pilot program

Spring 2013 - Refocused National Research Council of Canada is officially launched

2016 - The National Research Council of Canada will celebrate its 100th Anniversary

Contact Information

  • Media Relations Team
    National Research Council of Canada
    1-855-282-1637 (24/7)
    Twitter: @nrc-cnrc

    Michele-Jamali Paquette
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)