National Research Council

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National Research Council

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The National Research Council (NRC) is a Canadian government organization responsible for national research and technology. The Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development is responsible for overseeing the NRC. The NRC was formed in 1916 due to pressures arising from World War I. During World War II, the NRC became a military and science research organization investigating chemical and germ warfare agents, radar, the proximity fuse, and cryptology. Following World War II, NRC returned to former duties and many of the projects became new organizations such as the Defense Research Board, Canadian Patents and Development Limited, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and the Medical Research Council of Canada (in the 1950s). In 1978, the NRC’s university research funding in natural sciences passed on to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. During the 1980s, following governmental budget cuts, financial cuts were made to the NRC’s staff and programming. However, the NRC worked hard to recover.

The NRC’s mandate is to: undertake, assist, or promote research in fields of interest to Canada; provide important scientific and technological services to the research and industry communities; investigate standards of measurement; work on standardizing and certifying materials used in Canadian industry; operate and care for astronomical observatories established by the Canadian government; maintain a national science library; and publish and sell scientific and technological information as the Council deems fit.
Programs included under the NRC are the Arctic Program, Vaccine program, Health Technologies, and Industrial biomaterials.
Nobel prize winners associated with the NRC include Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson, Dudley R. Herschbach, John Polanyi, Rudolph A. Marcus, Harry Kroto, Bertram Brockhouse, John Pople, John Cockcroft, Gerhard Herzberg, and Donna Strickland.


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Compiled by Emily Kroeker 17 March 2020. Updated by M.Fraser on 20 April 2020.



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