National Research Council Canada 2023–24 Departmental Plan

Table of contents

From the Minister

François-Philippe Champagne

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Mandate Letter

In 2023-24, the National Research Council of Canada ( NRC ) will continue working with the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Portfolio and other federal partners to position Canada as a global innovation leader by fostering competitive, sustainable and inclusive growth. The 2023-24 Departmental Plan lays out the key priorities the NRC is working to advance for the benefit of all Canadians.

The NRC ’s rich history of scientific contributions, collaboration with key partners and support to industry will enable the organization to continue finding solutions for a better future. Through excellence in research and innovation, in 2023-24, the NRC will continue to advance work in priority areas for Canada, including the development of technologies and materials for a more sustainable economy, increasing domestic biomanufacturing capacity, and strengthening Canada’s position in quantum and digital technologies.

As the NRC focuses on making progress on these key goals, its commitment to provide a safe, healthy, respectful and equitable workplace will remain a top priority. To ensure NRC programs and services are accessible to all groups, the NRC will continue to build a more diverse workforce that is balanced and representative of the Canadian population.

Together with Canadians of all backgrounds, generations, and in every corner of the country, we are building a strong culture of innovation to prepare Canada for the economy of the future.

To that end, I am pleased to present the 2023-24 Departmental Plan for the NRC .


From the President

Iain Stewart

Iain Stewart
National Research Council of Canada
Mandate letter for NRC President

The NRC plays a leadership role within the Canadian science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystem through our research and technology expertise and capacity, business innovation support and science-based policy solutions for government.

Every day, teams of researchers, engineers, business experts, technical officers and advisors, and other dedicated professionals across the organization make ground-breaking science and innovation possible. Our ultimate goal is to advance knowledge to help address the pressing issues of our time—from climate change and the digital revolution to emerging health issues—and boost Canadian business innovation and productivity.

Budget 2022 highlighted the urgent need to address Canada’s innovation challenges and outlined the important investments required to achieve global innovation leadership. The Fall Economic Statement in November 2022 followed with an investment of $962.2M over 8 years to renew the NRC ’s facilities and real property, with $121.1M ongoing.

This generational investment in research infrastructure will underpin innovation in government, academia and business in Canada for decades to come. The NRC ’s new Office of Facilities Renewal Management will lead the prioritization of future facility recapitalization projects, allowing us to continue our transformational journey into a more advanced research and technology organization that can better invent, innovate and prosper.

In 2023-24, we will continue to advance creative, relevant and sustainable solutions to Canada's current and future economic, societal and environmental challenges. As we wrap up the final year of our 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, we look ahead to the 2024-2029 strategic planning process to chart our path to continued research and organizational excellence, and increased and sustained impact for Canada and Canadians.

Through application of leading-edge research and technologies, and ongoing support to our partners, collaborators and clients, the NRC will remain well-positioned to advance knowledge, support government policy mandates and foster business innovation in support of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry's mandate letter commitments.

In 2023-24, our focus on government priorities will deliver results for Canadians:

  • Climate action and sustainability: We will support the reduction of Canada’s carbon emissions and transition to a green economy by, for example, advancing the deployment of technologies and materials needed to support critical mineral value chains, developing tools to reduce plastic waste and increase plastic circularity, collaborating on innovative construction materials, and revitalizing national housing and building standards to encourage low-carbon construction solutions.
  • Health and biomanufacturing: We will continue helping Canadian industry develop biologics and therapeutics as we complete the operationalization of our Clinical Trial Material Facility (CTMF) and the Biologics Manufacturing Centre (BMC), and the transition of the BMC into a not-for-profit corporation. We will also leverage our expertise in digital and nanotechnologies to advance solutions in health.
  • Quantum and digital technology solutions: To maintain Canada’s strength in quantum and semiconductor photonics, we will further develop quantum technologies in sensing, imaging, computing and communications, and modernize our fabrication facilities to improve critical supply chains for photonics and electronics. We will continue to use digital technologies in a range of applications, including autonomous transportation, rail safety, language understanding, health care and advanced manufacturing.
  • Business innovation and growth: To continue helping Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises ( SMEs ) develop and commercialize technologies, the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program ( NRC IRAP ) will enhance funding and advisory services by improving its tools to support program delivery and optimize the client journey.

As we are working on advancing knowledge and driving innovation, we will focus on:

  • Equity, diversity and inclusion ( EDI ): Continued implementation of the NRC ’s Workforce and Workplace EDI Strategy will allow us to increase representation across the organization and ensure equitable access to leadership opportunities and career development.

    The development of a new Strategic Human Resources Plan and Talent Attraction Strategy will help us build a more diverse and inclusive workforce by expanding our reach within the talent pipeline. We will also continue to integrate Gender-Based Analysis Plus into organizational planning and program design to help understand the impact of NRC programs on all populations, including diverse groups.

  • Collaboration and partnerships: By working collaboratively with other federal departments, expanding NRC Challenge programs and strengthening our international relationships, we will explore and implement new ways to better integrate leading university researchers and business partners with NRC resources. We will also continue to work with industry and academic partners to advance transformative research in priority areas for Canadians, support Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters and make infrastructure more resilient.

I look forward to another successful year working with our partners and collaborators as we continue to help the Government of Canada address our country’s most pressing challenges and deliver impact and benefits for Canadians.

Plans at a glance

For more than a century, the NRC has evolved to build and maintain a leadership role in the Canadian science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystem in 3 core areas: advancing scientific and technical knowledge, supporting business innovation and providing science-based policy solutions to government in priority areas.

In November 2022, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $962.2M over 8 years and $121.1M ongoing to renew NRC facilities and real property. This significant investment will enable the NRC to better invent, innovate and prosper as it supports Canada’s STI goals and delivers benefits for Canadians. The NRC will begin implementing high-priority facility projects in 2023-24, based on a 2017 to 2021 review of its research facilities and real property and a new approach for facility renewal.

In 2023-24, the NRC will complete the development of a refreshed 5-year strategic plan. The planning process will help the NRC identify transformative facility investments, advance the digitalization of research and increase its impact through research and organizational excellence. Through a combination of front-line and external stakeholder engagement, the 2024-2029 NRC Strategic Plan will provide an integrated strategic framework that sets a clear path towards achievement of the NRC ’s long-term ambitions.

In this final year of the NRC ’s 5-Year Strategic Plan 2019-2024, key priorities in 2023-24 will include climate action and sustainability, health innovation and biomanufacturing, development and application of emerging digital and quantum technologies, and continued support for Canadian industries, SMEs and the national economy.

Scientific and technological knowledge advances

As one of Canada’s leading federal research and development ( R&D ) organizations, the NRC helps tackle the world's most pressing challenges, such as climate change, health and economic crises, and capitalizes on opportunities presented by the digital economy.

To support the reduction of Canada’s carbon emissions and the development of solutions that address the negative impacts of climate change, in 2023-24 the NRC will continue to focus on research in key areas such as critical minerals, fuel efficiency and decarbonization of transportation, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and plastics reduction.

To complement these efforts, the NRC will further develop digital technologies that contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future. The NRC is well-positioned to support the transition to a digital economy with research related to smart applications for safer and more autonomous transportation, advancements in microfluidics and nanomedicine, stronger measurement capabilities and leadership in astronomy.

Innovative businesses grow

The NRC actively supports Canadian SMEs through NRC IRAP services, assistance from R&D programs and access to top assets and state-of-the-art facilities, such as the NRC ’s photonics fabrication facility. With the ultimate goal of creating Canadian wealth through innovation, in 2023-24 the NRC will continue to help SMEs grow to scale, take ideas to market and increase their reach within Canada and abroad.

In addition, the NRC will work with industry partners to increase health sector and biomanufacturing capacity in Canada, including the ongoing operationalization of the BMC and its transition to a not-for-profit governance model. Through its strengths in quantum and semiconductor photonics, the NRC will enable the photonic, electronic and semiconductor industries to commercialize innovations and help address supply chain vulnerabilities in Canada’s crucial supply of electronics and photonics chips.

Finally, the NRC will encourage industry adoption of sustainable and low-carbon technologies by, for example, supporting SMEs in projects aimed at shifting to a low-carbon construction sector, clean and renewable energy, and smarter, sustainable transportation.

Evidence-based solutions inform decisions in government priority areas

The NRC plays a significant role in creating innovative, high-impact solutions for a more sustainable and prosperous future. It does so by contributing scientific and technical knowledge, expertise and resources, and by working closely with other innovators, including federal departments and agencies, Canadian academia and entrepreneurs, and scientists around the world.

In 2023-24, the NRC will continue implementing collaborative R&D programming such as the NRC Challenge programs and Cluster Support programs, which bring together the best innovative minds from across the country to deliver transformative breakthroughs in key areas such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology, solutions for Canada’s aging population, clean fuels, quantum science applications and secure communication networks for rural and remote communities.

The NRC will also continue to collaborate with partners to advance more resilient infrastructure that addresses the effects of climate change, including decarbonization of the construction industry, reduction of transportation emissions and revitalization of national codes and standards development systems.

Effective delivery of internal services

Every day, NRC researchers, engineers, business experts, technical officers and advisors make cutting-edge science and innovation possible. Through continued improvements to internal services, such as information technology infrastructure, security systems and communications tools, NRC corporate branches provide staff with access to the tools needed to deliver on the organization’s mandate and strategic goals.

In 2023-24 the NRC will continue to develop and implement key initiatives to help it access and attract top talent, retain highly qualified employees, achieve an equitable and diverse workplace and make sure that all members of its workforce feel supported, nurtured and respected.

Core Responsibility: planned results and resources, and key risks

This section contains information on the department's planned results and resources for each of its core responsibilities. It also contains information on key risks related to achieving those results.

Science and Innovation


Grow and enhance the prosperity of Canada through: undertaking, assisting and promoting innovation-driven R&D advancing fundamental science and Canada's global research excellence; providing government, business and research communities with access to scientific and technological infrastructure, services and information; and supporting Canada's skilled workforce and capabilities in science and innovation.

The NRC has 3 departmental results for tracking and reporting against its core responsibility:

  1. scientific and technological knowledge advances
  2. innovative businesses grow
  3. evidence-based solutions inform decisions in government priority areas
Planning highlights
Departmental Result 1: Scientific and technological knowledge advances

The NRC undertakes research to make breakthroughs in response to some of the most important challenges and areas of opportunity for Canada and the world. The NRC stays at the forefront of Canada’s current and future needs by conducting key research and advancing technologies, enabling national and global cross-sector collaborations and providing partners with the R&D capabilities needed to advance their innovations.

Combatting the effects of climate change

R&D plays a critical role in driving made-in-Canada solutions to tackle the effects of climate change and meet Canada’s climate change objectives. To help create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future, the NRC will continue to dedicate research on new technologies and approaches in a range of areas such as critical minerals, clean energy, air and marine transportation, sustainable agriculture, and plastic waste reduction and circularity.

Critical minerals are pivotal for the green energy transition. The NRC will continue to conduct R&D and deploy the technologies and materials needed to stimulate critical mineral value chains in support of Canada’s first Critical Minerals Strategy, for example, commissioning a pilot-scale battery recycling facility in Ottawa and exploring new battery chemistries that can decrease demand for rare and expensive non-renewable critical minerals.

The NRC will also conduct life-cycle assessments to provide evidence-based decision-making tools to government in key areas of clean energy, including on critical minerals supply chains, to enable certification and traceability for batteries and hydrogen production pathways. The analysis of hydrogen production pathways and gaps in codes and standards, as well as the work with stakeholders such as the Canadian Standards Association, will support the development of Canadian hydrogen codes and standards.

Hydrogen is emerging as a leading contender in the search for environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional fuels in aircraft propulsion systems. To better understand its combustion behaviour, the NRC will participate in a 4-year multinational research project with leading engine manufacturers and academic institutions to develop high-fidelity models for engine design. The NRC will also publish initial results of a multi-year research collaboration with academic partners to advance new designs and structural components that will improve fuel efficiency in future aircraft.

As part of a program investigating the impacts of human behaviour and environmental factors on airborne disease transmission during air travel, the NRC will partner with the Federal Aviation Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control to conduct observational studies on passenger behaviour in various phases of travel, e.g. , boarding, in-flight. Findings will be applied as a model to determine effective risk mitigation protocols, solutions and strategies.

The NRC will continue to work with Transport Canada, Memorial University and industry partners to develop marine renewable energy technologies for Canada’s harsh environments and Northern communities, as well as technologies to reduce ship emissions and mitigate the effects of underwater-radiated noise from ships, including work under the multi-year propeller-induced noise and vibration project.

Building on recommendations from the 2021-22 evaluation of the NRC ’s Aquatic and Crop Resource Development program, the NRC will continue to expand collaborative projects in sustainable agriculture and increase expertise in the use of controlled and simulated environmental technologies to accelerate and optimize crop development for harsh and changing environments, including in Northern and isolated communities. Projects on advanced genomics and analytical technologies will accelerate protein crop design, improve the quality and safety of pulse crop products, and enhance sustainable protein processing and valorization technologies.

In support of the Zero Plastics initiative announced in Budget 2022, which aims to reduce plastic waste and increase plastic circularity, the NRC will:

  • leverage its multidisciplinary R&D in chemistry, physics, biology and engineering to develop a national program on environmental sensing technologies for greenhouse gases (GHGs) in air and micro/nanoplastics in water and Canadian waterways;
  • investigate a bench-scale novel system for the conversion of landfill-diverted plastic waste to fuel using solid carbon sequestration (trapping and isolating carbon in a storage area) in support of sustainable waste management practices and clean energy production;
  • continue to develop advanced measurement capabilities for micro/nanoplastics and create plastics reference materials to allow for standardized research on plastics across government;
  • launch experimentation to understand biodegradability and performance of emerging sustainable food packaging formulations to contribute to the circular economy.

Advancing digital technologies for smarter, more intuitive transportation systems

The transition to a low-carbon world presents opportunities for developing and enhancing new technologies to improve air, land and marine transportation.

  • Air transportation: Building on the success of earlier prototypes, which enabled the first autonomous flight of a medium-lift helicopter in Canada, the NRC will conduct flight trials for its advanced autonomous flight technology on rotary wing aircraft. New features will then be introduced to enable autonomous flight in the presence of simulated obstacles and to detect and avoid other “co-operative” aircraft. The NRC will also deploy infrared sensors to help assess the efficacy of wildfire suppression with existing aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft systems for intelligence gathering during a wildfire. This work will inform future wildfire suppression strategies across Canada.
  • Land transportation: In collaboration with VIA Rail, the NRC will improve rail transportation safety by evaluating the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles, satellites and vehicle-mounted systems designed to decrease the likelihood of trains colliding with vehicles at railway grade crossings. The NRC will also support regulators in evaluating new railway inspection technologies, such as machine vision tools, to replace some in-person inspections. Building on collaborative initiatives focused on the monitoring of track condition and ride quality using in-service locomotives, the NRC will also work with VIA Rail on the development and demonstration of an improved railcar fleet better adapted to Canadian weather.
  • Marine transportation: To improve the prediction of harsh environments, such as ice conditions, in Canadian waters, the NRC will continue to develop and test novel sensors, control systems and autopilots for marine autonomous surface ships. It will also make and commission the Vertical Planar Motion Mechanism—a unique Canadian capability critical for advancing research in submersible vehicle technology to support current and future submarine fleets.

Applying emerging and disruptive technology solutions to real-world problems

The NRC will leverage its expertise in nanotechnologies, quantum technologies, big data analytics and AI -driven natural language understanding to address a range of emerging challenges. For example, the NRC will:

  • Build synergies with biomedical nanotechnologies and microscopy to further bolster Canada’s impact in the emerging area of nanomedicine.
    • This impact was previously illustrated by the NRC ’s novel vaccine delivery platforms.
  • Analyze ultrathin surface layers using super-resolution imaging mass spectrometry to build a 3D map of the chemical composition of samples, such as cells, which no other technique can currently do.
    • Enhancing a fundamental understanding of cellular processes in biology will have implications for medicine and the treatment of diseases.
  • Develop novel quantum imaging technologies with Canadian university partners to study fundamental aspects of coherent electronic dynamics in molecules.
    • This work will help advance the development of next-generation artificial light harvesting—a critical green technology—and strengthen Canada’s leadership in ultrafast X-ray photonics.
  • Further develop a fibre coupled single-photon source to produce a “plug-and-play” field-deployable device that targets commercialization-ready Quantum Key Distribution, which will build on work done with the Canadian Space Agency.
  • Translate microfluidics-based diagnostics innovations for applications in space and commercial uptake with the Canadian Space Agency.
  • Partner with international collaborators to explore how to improve 3D print fidelity and its impact on print quality.
  • Collaborate with Indigenous communities and academia to develop speech generation tools for Indigenous languages to help teach and preserve their use.
  • Conduct collaborative research with the Department of National Defence, Defence Research and Development Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the development of integrated virtual reality and stress biomonitoring for training scenarios.

The NRC is recognized internationally for its measurement research and metrological services, which benefit Canada’s society, economy and environment. The NRC will focus on initiatives such as the following:

  • The first major acoustic gas thermometer measurement campaign to support the continued ability to achieve traceability to the international SI (system of units) for all NRC client thermometer calibration.
    • The NRC built the next-generation thermometer to ensure independent Canadian realization of the redefined kelvin (unit of temperature) across a wide temperature range.
  • Development of a portable optical clock, Canada’s most accurate clock and a key piece of infrastructure for international timekeeping. The clock will enable the NRC ’s contribution to the international SI second redefinition campaign, which will impact all of measurement science.
    • It will allow the NRC to realize the redefined SI second with high precision, maintain an accurate timescale for Canada, and support the development of state-of-the-art measurement capabilities and quantum standards.
  • Building off an initial project on measurements of methane emissions from permafrost in the North, the NRC will expand its collaboration with the Geological Survey of Canada to improve field-deployable methane sensors and develop temperature sensors for permafrost bore-holes.

Representing Canada on the world stage in astronomical ventures

The NRC manages ground-based observatories established or maintained by the Government of Canada for the benefit of the Canadian astronomy research community. In this ongoing role, the NRC will continue to support professional astronomers and university students, to access top observatories and participate in observatory boards to represent Canada’s scientific and industrial interests, by:

  • commissioning the dish manufacturing facility at the Dominion Radio Astronomical Observatory in support of the Canadian Hydrogen Observatory and Radio-transient Detector (CHORD) project;
  • recording the first astronomical observations from the upgraded John A. Galt 26m Telescope and the upgraded 1.8m Plaskett Telescope, both located at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia;
  • delivering an initial correlator for the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, which will consist of 4 SKA antennas, under the 2-year Cooperation Agreement signed in 2021;
  • publishing the first results from the Canadian NIRISS Unbiased Cluster Survey (CANUCS), a key science program of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which studies clusters of galaxies in the distant universe. The JWST is the most complex and powerful space telescope ever built.

Leveraging collaborative platforms to foster Canada’s next generation of diverse researchers

The NRC will continue to help boost the diversity of the talent pipeline for Canadian industry, academia and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) employers, ultimately enabling a more diverse and inclusive research landscape and improving the quality of scientific and technical outputs.

Through the hiring and training of students, highly qualified personnel and early career professionals, the NRC will contribute to increasing the representation of equity deserving groups ( e.g. , women, Indigenous Peoples, racialized persons and persons with disabilities) in traditionally under-represented fields, such as the construction and automotive sectors, and the field of astronomy. The NRC will also leverage its STEM student programs to increase collaborative opportunities for students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates.

To inspire the next generation of researchers, the NRC will deliver its first cycle as administrator of the Killam program. The Killam Prizes uphold the vision of Dorothy Killam to build Canada’s future through advanced study and the Dorothy Killam Fellowships are awarded to leading researchers whose superior, ground-breaking and transformative research will positively improve the lives of Canadians. The program will continue to follow inclusive excellence practices and maintain equitable participation in Canada’s research mission. In 2023, the NRC will celebrate the first cohort of inspiring scholars and thought leaders through a series of communications and engagements, including the annual Killam Prize ceremony.

The NRC will continue to support collaborative research through its collaboration centres and Ideation Fund projects. Through these initiatives, the NRC partners with universities, SMEs and other government and research organizations to support the development of young talent by encouraging, testing and validating transformative research ideas.

In 2023-24, a fifth round of projects will launch under the NRC ’s 2 Ideation Fund Initiatives (New Beginnings and Small Teams) and refined project intake processes will be used to increase the quality of proposals and provide better expert panel feedback.

Departmental Result 2: Innovative businesses grow

The NRC supports the creation of innovation and wealth in Canada through its scientific, technical and industrial expertise. Through its advisory services, funding, R&D services and connections to Canadian SMEs , the NRC helps industry take ideas to market, build domestic capacity in priority areas and access global value chains to grow and expand to international markets.

The NRC ’s national funding program, NRC IRAP , helps SMEs identify business opportunities, understand innovation challenges, and access the most appropriate business and technical expertise.

Helping SMEs innovate and scale up

Regarded worldwide as one of the best programs of its kind, NRC IRAP is a cornerstone of Canada’s innovation system. It provides a wide range of technical and business advisory services and funding to SMEs to help build their innovation capacity and commercialize their ideas. NRC IRAP will continue to improve and expand its offerings by creating and refining tools to better support program delivery, exploring further use of digitalization, and advancing the Enterprise Roadmap to optimize the client journey. In particular, it will:

  • evolve its client-focused initiatives to remove growth barriers for firms led by members of equity deserving groups by providing curated support through Contribution to Organizations and Contribution to Firms funding mechanisms; developing tools to help SMEs progress on their EDI maturity journey; and amplifying recruitment activities to attract, retain and advance a more diverse workforce in an evolving innovation ecosystem.
  • refine its Large Value Contribution Framework, as recommended in the NRC IRAP 2021-22 evaluation, which integrates robust selection criteria with an expanded approach to identify and develop value-added services that address gaps and challenges faced by SMEs during scale-up, including the economic impact of COVID-19 .
  • support Employment and Social Development Canada's Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, through placing graduates within SMEs to improve their access to quality employment in their field of study, with a focus on opportunities for women in STEM and persons with disabilities.
  • increase SME awareness of the NRC IRAP Certificate program, designed to help them access the NRC ’s technical and research services by connecting them to relevant R&D groups and offsetting a portion of the costs of R&D services.

The NRC also helps SMEs grow by providing technical and research services and access to its state-of-the-art facilities, including:

  • collaborating with SMEs to evaluate the effectiveness of innovative technologies to reduce airborne transmission of infectious diseases, leveraging a new facility in the NRC ’s Centre for Air Travel Research;
  • using purpose-built facilities designed to replicate the unsteady airflows found in urban environments to help SMEs characterize the performance of their remotely piloted aircraft systems in these unique conditions;
  • supporting SMEs in optimizing and scaling up processes for the development of bio-based products from agriculture and marine biomass through the NRC ’s atypical fermentation facility;
  • providing SMEs with expert advice and access to an anechoic chamber and custom-calibrated equipment, for the measurement of sound levels and distortion of acoustic signals, to demonstrate the effectiveness of products such as loudspeakers.

Intellectual Property (IP) plays a key role in research excellence and recognition of the commercial benefits of R&D efforts. NRC IRAP will continue to deliver IP Assist to SMEs to support the protection, monetization and commercialization of their IP . Leveraging IP Assist funding, NRC IRAP will continue to provide expert advisory services to enhance firms’ cyber resiliency and protect shared investments from outside threats.

The NRC will maintain a valuable IP portfolio to attract collaborators and protect its freedom to operate and secure competitive advantages for future users of the technology. Canadian SMEs will continue to benefit from reduced project fees, facilitating access to NRC facilities and expertise and increasing collaboration opportunities.

The NRC will enhance international relationships and networks to define key priorities to maximize opportunities for Canadian companies and help them grow, scale up and become more globally competitive through co-innovation. As of June 2022, with full membership in Eureka—the largest public network for international cooperation in R&D and innovation—Canada is in a favourable position to play a more significant leadership role in the network, drive future programming that benefits Canadian industry, and invite non-member countries to collaborate through the platform.

Acting as Canada’s national office, the NRC will work with government stakeholders, including Global Affairs Canada, Industry Science and Economic Development Canada, and Innovation Canada, to define key priorities for international growth of Canadian SMEs through Eureka.

The NRC will also continue its delivery of joint programming with Global Affairs Canada, including calls for proposals and partnership development activities to facilitate Canadian SME access to complementary expertise, facilities and market access.

Supporting industry adoption of sustainable and low-carbon technologies

The NRC facilitates sustainable economic development and climate-resilient infrastructure by supporting Canadian SMEs in projects aimed at moving towards a low-carbon construction sector, clean and renewable energy, and smarter, sustainable transportation. Specifically, the NRC will:

  • develop a Centre of Excellence in Construction Life-Cycle Assessment to support industry development of low-carbon materials and solutions and help other government departments (OGDs) to create construction sector policies that involve life-cycle carbon;
  • develop and launch projects to advance digitalized construction tools to spur innovation and reduce construction costs, driving towards increased productivity in the sector;
  • conduct performance and safety evaluations of new batteries and battery innovations for SMEs through the Advanced Clean Energy program;
  • support 2 Canadian firms with testing and validating natural graphite and moving new anode materials suitable for mobile applications towards commercialization, while ensuring green sources of materials for batteries;
  • expand licensing activities to Canadian SMEs for mining-related sensing technologies to make mineral processing more sustainable;
  • mobilize NRC subject matter experts through collaborative projects under the Strategic Innovation Fund to support industry partners in deploying propulsion electrification technology within their product offerings or across their operational fleets;
  • use national NRC facilities to evaluate new Canadian bus manufacturer designs through advanced aerodynamics testing for energy efficiency and climatic resiliency in extreme weather conditions.

Increasing health sector and biomanufacturing capacity and innovation

Throughout the pandemic, NRC IRAP ’s collaboration with Innovative Solutions Canada, Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) was key in helping Canadian SMEs develop innovative solutions in response to COVID-19 . NRC IRAP will continue to provide its support for innovative SMEs to bring novel technologies related to COVID-19 to market.

In addition to NRC IRAP ’s collaborative ongoing pandemic response, the NRC will continue to provide its unparalleled range of R&D services and expertise to SMEs developing health technologies, biologics and therapeutics pivotal to Canada’s growing health sector.

The NRC will strengthen connections with SMEs through translation projects in diagnostics and digital therapeutics, advance the development of its HEK293SF-3F6 platform to create scalable processes for viral vector production, and advance the development of the its CHO2353 platform to create a robust and rapid system to support the production of SARS-CoV2 antigens and achieve technology transfer for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) production in anticipation of use in Phase I and II clinical studies with industry partners.

The NRC will also develop its proprietary adjuvant technology to enable licensing to partners, advance a number of biologics towards clinical studies with industry partners, validate methods for engineered cell therapy approaches, and complete the construction and operationalization of the Clinical Trial Material Facility (CTMF) through engagement with its first client.

Spotlight on the Biologics Manufacturing Centre

In 2023-24, the NRC will complete the operationalization of the Biologics Manufacturing Centre (BMC) to deliver end-to-end manufacturing, including production, purification and fill and finish of biopharmaceuticals, such as vaccines, from cell-based biologics production ( F al vector, protein subunit, virus-like particle base).

The BMC will also complete the technology transfer of a COVID-19 vaccine for its first client in preparation for commercial production, implement a not-for-profit governance model, and initiate the transition of its operations under the new not-for-profit organization. As a result, the NRC ’s long-term role will be to provide effective oversight of the contribution and lease agreements between the new entity and the NRC , and to ensure the realization of the BMC ’s objectives.

Enabling the photonic, electronic and semiconductor industries to commercialize innovations

The NRC ’s Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC) provides advanced engineering and manufacturing services, commercial-grade prototyping and pilot-run production facilities to allow the Canadian photonics industry to take innovations from concept to market—work that is crucial to Canada’s supply of electronics and photonics chips.

Using the CPFC , the NRC will continue to build on world-competitive strengths in academic research, prototyping and systems integration to help the industry carry out R&D in photonic and electronic components for sensing and semiconductor component fabrication processes to address societal needs in defence, safety and security, health and environmental monitoring.

In particular, the NRC will continue to modernize its fabrication facilities, including the CPFC and Advanced Technology Fabrication facility, to help address critical supply chain vulnerabilities and enable the NRC to maintain a strong position in the quantum and semiconductor photonics sectors. To further optimize its contribution to businesses, the CPFC will also become a separate business unit within the NRC .

Based on a recommendation in its 2021-22 Evaluation of the Nanotechnology program, the NRC ’s Nanotechnology program will further engage with industry to increase the number of client agreements for collaborative research projects and access to NRC facilities and equipment. The NRC will transform its nanotechnology cleanroom into an industry-focused space to help serve Canada’s growing semiconductor industry by providing a private, secure location for companies to bring in the specialized equipment needed to take their technologies to market.

Departmental Result 3: Evidence-based solutions inform decisions in government priority areas

Collaboration with key federal and industrial partners, combined with testing of new approaches to strengthen research and technology development, allows the NRC to stay at the forefront of innovative solutions to everyday problems and areas of high importance for Canadians. Working with partners across the country, the NRC plays an important role in breakthroughs that will help address Canada’s greatest challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Leading collaborations to drive scientific breakthroughs in Canada’s priority areas

The NRC ’s Challenge programs enable domestic and international collaboration by bringing together researchers, facilities, and academic and industry partners to advance transformative research in priority areas for Canadians. These include:

  • Arctic and Northern issues
  • Aging in Place, AI for Design
  • Applied Quantum Computing
  • Disruptive Technology Solutions for Cell and Gene Therapy
  • High-Throughput and Secure Networks
  • the Internet of Things: Quantum Sensors
  • Materials for Clean Fuels

Plans for the Challenge programs in 2023-24 include the following:

  • Disruptive Technology Solutions for Cell and Gene Therapy: The program will advance a made-in-Canada chimeric antigen receptor T-cell product to clinical trials and develop a scaled-up biomanufacturing process to enable new therapeutic candidates for improved health outcomes. Other plans include collaborating with OGD s to support the development of policies to improve the rare disease innovation ecosystem.
  • Applied Quantum Computing: After completing its researcher hiring campaign, the program will build relationships with collaborators and launch its first wave of projects. The program will continue to align with the National Quantum Strategy to amplify Canada's significant strength in quantum research; grow the country’s quantum-ready technologies, firms and talent; and solidify Canada's global leadership.
  • Internet of Things: Quantum Sensors: In response to a second round of funding announced in Budget 2021 and in line with the direction of the National Quantum Strategy, the program will launch a new phase of projects requiring the inclusion of a Canadian SME among the collaborators. As a first step, projects will be selected from a 2022-23 Canada-UK collaborative industrial research and development call for proposals.
  • Materials for Clean Fuels: Collaborative research projects selected in the second call for proposals for the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program will support the discovery of advanced materials necessary for CO2 conversion systems using Materials Acceleration Platforms. In partnership with OGDs , the NRC will develop a life-cycle and techno economic assessment framework and associated tools pertaining to new CO2 conversion pathways to provide evidence-based decision-making tools for government in clean energy. The NRC will create collaborative research projects on CO2 conversion involving Canadian SMEs to foster innovation and sustainable industrialization for more resilient infrastructure.

In support of the Government of Canada’s 5 Global Innovation Clusters, the NRC developed its Cluster Support programs to bring together its national network of researchers and facilities with collaborators from industry, academia and government to work on important scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs.

The NRC ’s Advanced Manufacturing, AI for Logistics, Digital Health and Geospatial Analytics, Ocean, and Sustainable Protein Production programs will continue to advance projects and program objectives in key areas of importance for Canada.

Cluster Support program spotlight: Advanced Manufacturing

The NRC ’s Advanced Manufacturing program will contribute to achieving Canada’s climate change-related targets through initiatives funded by Natural Resources Canada, such as the transition to zero-emission vehicles and light-weighting of ground transportation vehicles to help reduce fuel consumption.

The program will launch new strategic initiatives in transportation vehicle manufacturing to create smarter, more complex, functional high-value products through advanced materials, processes and digitalization of manufacturing.

The program will aim to increase environmental sustainability in  NRC -led industrial R&D groups, METALTec Surftec  and SIGBLOW . SIGBLOW will help develop tank manufacturing methods for hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

The NRC will launch a new industrial R&D group, STAMP Hybrid, to develop a cost-effective, one-step process for the fabrication of metal/thermoplastic composite hybrid components.

Developing more resilient infrastructure through collaboration

In Budget 2022, the Government of Canada tasked the NRC with conducting R&D on innovative construction materials and revitalizing national housing and building standards to encourage low-carbon construction solutions. In response, the NRC will leverage its research expertise in collaborations to advance designs and decision-making for the development of resilient infrastructure that addresses the impacts of climate change.

Research projects will be launched under the NRC Platform to Decarbonize Canada’s Construction Sector to reduce the carbon footprint of key structural materials and use innovative components as alternatives for high embodied carbon materials with the aim of reducing the environmental footprint of buildings and infrastructure. The NRC will also initiate the development of guidelines for low-carbon federally funded projects for buildings and infrastructure.

The NRC will lead policy discussions with the provinces and territories to define the role of the National Model Codes in addressing durability and extreme weather events such as flooding, wildfire and extreme wind. It will also make future climate data available to the National Model Codes development system to enable building design for future climates.

The NRC will support innovative companies in the marine and coastal sectors by developing resilient infrastructure designs and decision-making tools to evaluate and forecast flooding risk and impact. Work in this area will include evaluating flood barriers to accelerate the development and certification of solutions and initiating a project to test and scale up natural infrastructure solutions.

Within the framework of an NRC -United Kingdom collaboration, the NRC will continue to work with Transport Canada to complete the Brigital project, including market access of a world-first decision-supporting tool for bridge monitoring and early detection of bridge displacement based on satellite imaging technology. Also in collaboration with Transport Canada, the NRC will investigate properties of non-volatile particulate matter (nvPM) emissions from aircraft engines.

The NRC will lead measurement experiments for civil aviation gas turbine engine emissions to characterize nvPM emissions from conventional and sustainable aviation fuel combustion, support the nvPM mass instruments, and work with international teams to improve the reliability and consistency of nvPM measurements.

With support from the Greening Government Fund, the NRC will help reduce GHG emissions from government-owned aircraft by assessing retrofit solutions, such as propulsion electrification and low-drag coatings for external surfaces. The outcome of these assessments will inform planning within the Department of National Defence and Transport Canada for emissions reductions.

The NRC will leverage its vehicle life-cycle analysis tool to help PSPC procure zero-emission fleets and help Natural Resources Canada provide public visibility on life-cycle emissions of different vehicle types. In addition, the NRC will help develop codes and standards for Hydrail (Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Rail) in collaboration with Transport Canada, University of British Columbia and Canadian Space Agency.

Gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus)

Diverse groups of people experience policies, programs and initiatives differently. GBA Plus is an analytical tool used to support the development of responsive and inclusive policies, programs and other initiatives. It involves intersectional analysis that considers many other factors in addition to sex and gender differences.

Aligned with the Government of Canada’s renewed commitment to GBA Plus, the NRC will further integrate GBA Plus into existing organizational planning and program design, develop plans for data collection, and monitor and adopt a GBA Plus lens for evaluation activities key to measuring outcomes and impact, as well as informing further areas for continuous improvement.

To ensure all populations, including diverse groups, can access its programming, the NRC will:

  • continue to factor GBA Plus considerations into the design of the Collaborative Science, Technology and Innovation program initiatives, project proposals and evaluations, and to collect EDI and GBA Plus data;
  • continue to develop and deliver NRC IRAP programs with an inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) lens to make them accessible to all innovative, growth-oriented SMEs ;
  • foster growth by enabling firms to develop plans for the adoption of EDI principles;
  • promote the value of an inclusive culture both within the program and for firms, to fully represent the Canadian landscape;
  • enhance the integration of GBA Plus considerations into all aspects of the program, in response to a recommendation from the 2021-22 Evaluation of NRC IRAP;
  • increase awareness of accessibility requirements for external and internal communications products and activities to ensure equitable access to all populations, including equity deserving group members such as persons with visual impairment.

The NRC is committed to building relationships with Indigenous researchers, innovators and communities to bridge Western and Indigenous knowledge systems to create new knowledge that can help Canada address the critical issues of our time.

Aligned with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, the NRC will continue to build intercultural competency as a first step towards long-term relationships with First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples. The NRC ’s Indigenous Engagement Network, the key mobilizing body for this work, continues to grow in membership and prominence. The network will support the Indigenous Engagement Strategy and reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis rights holders.

United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In 2023-24, the NRC will develop a new 3-year Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS). The strategy will outline how the NRC will contribute to several long-term goals identified in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and the UN SDG s. It will draw upon activities across the organization, including efforts in NRC labs and facilities, collaborations with OGDs , and fee-for-service research with industry partners.

Planned activities for the coming year that will help the NRC contribute to UN SDG s include the following:

  • SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy: The NRC will help decrease diesel use in the North by commissioning and deploying a modified diesel gensetFootnote1 to allow for fuel-switching to biogas at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station.
  • SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation: NRC researchers will enhance the resilience of Canada’s infrastructure to climate change and extreme weather events by partnering with experts and stakeholders across Canada to develop guidance for resilient dams and use nature-based solutions to mitigate the impact of heat waves (urban heat islanding) and urban flooding. The NRC will also continue to support uptake of climate change adaptation considerations in Canada’s National Codes, including the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code and the National Model Codes; and develop a new Canadian standard for wildland urban interface design.
  • SDG 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable: The NRC will advance the National Guide for Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Fires to a standard for the design of WUI ; map the WUI hazards; and develop climate-based design indices for buildings, including anticipated impacts of climate change.
  • SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns: In collaboration with industry and OGDs , the NRC will develop guides, standards, data and decision support tools foundational to a low-carbon construction sector. These efforts will support government policy on green procurement and make federally developed materials and tools, particularly high-emission construction materials, available to private-sector early adopters.
  • SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts: The NRC will continue to lower GHG emissions through completion of carbon-neutral plans for its Montreal Road South campus and Royalmount and Saskatoon facilities, management of electrical demand of loads for 2 NRC Ottawa campuses, and the building recommissioning program.
Innovation (formerly named Experimentation)

The Government of Canada has a long history of innovative policy-making informed by evidence. A key government priority is strengthening the culture of innovation by creating and maintaining a strong link between problem-solving, evidence generation and management decision-making. Rigorously testing innovations in real-world settings ensures departments continue to achieve value for money, while improving social, environmental and economic outcomes for Canadians and public servants.

To support this departmental practice of testing new approaches and methods for continual improvement by addressing significant problems and finding solutions with the potential for high impact, the NRC will:

  • support the digital transformation of metrological services, including designing an e-commerce platform and metrological information databases to meet the diverse and unique needs of these services, this work will prepare Canada's measurement system for adopting mature digital standards and services;
  • continue to test and develop new links for NRC IRAP clients through an ongoing partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). NRC IRAP will support the BDC in sharing its programming with clients beyond the Ontario pilot and build on efforts to extend the reach of BDC / NRC IRAP interactions nationally.
Key risks

The NRC is exposed to a range of internal and external factors that may impact its ability to achieve results in support of its core responsibility. Internally, the NRC faces hazard and operational risks with the potential to disrupt business activities, such as damage to its buildings and research facilities, personal injury, liability claims, cybersecurity breaches, process or system failures, and infrastructure breakdowns.

Externally, the NRC is subject to systemic risks that create uncertainty for the research it conducts and the businesses it supports. These risks include fluctuating GDP (gross domestic product), inflation, international relations and trade flows, commodity prices, pandemics and other health crises, regulatory changes and climate change. In most cases, the NRC has controls in place to mitigate these risks—either by reducing their likelihood or limiting their impact on the organization.

In 2023-24, the NRC will focus its attention on key risks driven by slowing economic conditions, increasing security threats, intensifying competition for STEM talent and aging critical infrastructure. The NRC will work to mitigate the risks of inflation and recession through continuous financial forecasting and planning and regular financial reporting through its governance mechanisms. It will mitigate the risks of a cyberattack and data/privacy breach through continued efforts to secure information assets in its Legacy network and increase employee awareness of potential cyber threats and how to avoid them.

To mitigate the risk of a talent shortage, the NRC will implement its new Talent Attraction Strategy and employer value proposition. The risk of operating inadequate facilities and equipment will be mitigated by proceeding with several capital revitalization projects identified in the NRC ’s Facilities Renewal Plan led by the new Office of Facilities Renewal Management.

Planned results for Science and InnovationFootnote2

The following table shows, for Science and Innovation, the planned results, the result indicators, the targets and the target dates for 2023-24, and the actual results for the 3 most recent fiscal years for which actual results are available.

Departmental Result: Scientific and technological knowledge advances
Date to achieve targets: March 31, 2024

Performance indicators TargetsFootnote3 2019-20 Actual results 2020-21 Actual results 2021-22 Actual results
Citation score of NRC -generated publications relative to the world average 1.25 1.38 1.38 1.21
Number of peer-reviewed publications generated by the NRC 1,050 1,003 1,090 1,187
Number of patents issued to the NRC 90 173 118 99
Number of licence agreements 35 37 54 30
Ratio of the NRC ’s workforce made up of underrepresented groups relative to Canadian average labour market availabilityFootnote4 Women 1.00 1.00 1.02 1.03
Indigenous Peoples 0.75 0.90 0.93 0.94
Racialized persons 1.00 0.50 0.52 0.60
Persons with disabilities 0.65 0.40 0.43 0.45

Departmental Result: Innovative businesses grow
Date to achieve target: March 31, 2024

Performance Indicators TargetsFootnote 3 2019–20 Actual results 2020–21 Actual results 2021-22 Actual results
Percentage of R&D clients who report positive benefits of working with the NRC 90% 92% 87% 93%
Percentage revenue growth of firms engaged with the NRC ( IRAP -engaged firms)Footnote5 20% 31% 32% 32%
Percentage growth in Canada's science and technology related jobs through NRC supported firms ( IRAP -engaged firms)Footnote5 10% 20% 20% 18%
Revenue earned from clients and collaborators $80.0M $88.5M $65.1M $86.2M

Departmental Result: Evidence-based solutions inform decisions in government priority areas
Date to achieve target: March 31, 2024

Performance Indicators TargetsFootnote 3 2019–20 Actual results 2020–21 Actual results 2021–22 Actual results
Revenue earned from other federal government departments $80.0M $77.7M $76.4M $79.6M
Number of NRC peer-reviewed publications co-authored with other federal government departments 60 51 62 83
Planned budgetary spending for Science and InnovationFootnote 2

The following table shows, for Science and Innovation, budgetary spending for 2023-24, as well as planned spending for that year and for each of the next 2 fiscal years.

2023-24 budgetary spending
(as indicated in Main Estimates)
Planned spending
Planned spending
Planned spending
1,388,919,204 1,388,919,204 1,305,366,917 1,254,606,712
Planned human resources for Science and InnovationFootnote 2

The following table shows, in full-time equivalents, the human resources the department will need to fulfill this core responsibility for 2023-24 and for each of the next 2 fiscal years.

Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
Planned full-time equivalents
3,302.8 3,315.8 3,322.8

Internal Services: planned results


Internal services are the services that are provided within a department so that it can meet its corporate obligations and deliver its programs. There are 10 categories of internal services:

  • management and oversight
  • communications
  • legal
  • human resources (HR) management
  • financial management
  • information management (IM)
  • information technology (IT)
  • real property management
  • material management
  • acquisition management
Planning highlights

The NRC ’s internal services provide the support, structure and tools required for employees to develop their skills, excel in their work and achieve organizational objectives effectively in a safe, respectful and equitable environment.

Following an in-depth review, the NRC ’s HR branch will launch a renewal of its program and service offerings to better enable the organization to achieve its strategic and operational objectives and truly be an employer of choice. By improving its HR offerings, the NRC will be able to continue putting HR strategies into action in 2023-24 to promote employee well-being and mental health, EDI and talent attraction and development.

  • In tandem with its strategic planning process, the NRC will develop a new Strategic HR Plan to support the attraction, development and retention of a talented and diverse workforce and maintain a healthy, respectful and inclusive workplace. To complement efforts included in the Strategic HR Plan’s talent attraction theme, the NRC will implement a new Talent Attraction Strategy and build capacity in talent outreach through increased partnerships to better reach the talent pipeline, enhanced presence at key events and promotion of the employer value proposition.
  • The NRC will support talent management and enhance leadership capacity across the organization by strengthening its processes for workforce and succession planning, supporting the identification and development of high potential employees, and equipping supervisors in key HR management areas such as effective team leadership, labour relations, EDI and official languages. As a result of its Review of Retirement Options for Continued Engagement, the NRC will continue to raise awareness and increase participation in retirement options, use workforce planning tools to ensure that retirement options are considered, and discuss retirement options in retirement courses.
  • Under the NRC ’s 5-year Strategic HR Plan ending March 2023, the NRC will continue to implement its Workforce and Workplace EDI Strategy to help increase representation of equity deserving group members, implement a management sponsorship program for racialized persons and Indigenous Peoples, deliver on the NRC Accessibility Strategy developed in 2022-23, and enhance measurement capacity to drive EDI programming and monitor progress. The NRC will also conduct an employment systems review to inform a refreshed EDI strategy and lead the consultative process for the development of its pay equity plan.
  • The NRC will continue to implement its Wellness Strategy including wellness and mental health training, events, tools and resources; engagement of the Wellness Ambassador Network to promote wellness initiatives across the organization; and continued monitoring and reporting on wellness performance indicators and programming.

Building on past successes such as the roll-out of the NRC ’s Conflict of Interest program, the organization will continue to ensure that staff feel safe to address issues in the workplace, such as conflicts and harassment. It will do so by continuing to deliver conflict resolution services to employees and managers; raising systemic issues that the organization should address; and offering tools and training in support of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act and several NRC codes and policies including the Code of Conduct, Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention and Resolution, Research Ethics and Integrity, and Conflict of Interest.

In 2023-24, the NRC will continue to modernize its services and systems to equip staff to work in an evolving IT environment. Specifically, the NRC will:

  • continue to play a leadership role in convening the Chief Information Officer community of science-based departments and agencies for a co-ordinated and collective approach to identifying and addressing digital requirements for researchers;
  • lead 3 projects, working with PSPC ’s Labs Canada, to evaluate outcomes from innovative approach pilots for modernized IM / IT science solutions;
  • build on best practices by leveraging existing tools and strengthening client relationships to lay the groundwork for a mature service management approach to internal IM / IT delivery;
  • continue to leverage cloud environments as a potential source of storage and compute solutions in support of digital research requirements, and leverage cloud-based software solutions to modernize the NRC ’s corporate application landscape.
    • In addition, investments in talent, technology and more efficiently structured processes will help increase the NRC ’s cybersecurity capabilities.

In the evolution to a digital workspace, security and IT must work hand-in-hand. In 2023-24, the NRC will increase its security awareness programs, including the integration of required IT infrastructure and the transition to a fully digitized security screening process. Specific plans include the creation of a robust Cyber Security Awareness Training and Education program for employees with elevated network privileges; delivery of a security module tailored to the specific security roles and responsibilities of NRC managers, including identification, reporting and management of security events; and enhanced Open Source Intelligence capability to support due diligence processes prior to major contract awards and the signing of contribution agreements.

Using digital communications tools such as social media channels and its external website, the NRC will continue to increase awareness of how its research programs and NRC IRAP support key government priorities, including health innovation and biomanufacturing, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response, advancement of quantum and digital sciences, and climate change and sustainability. A major communications strategy for 2023-24 will be the modernization of the NRC and the reinvigoration of its advanced research and development that supports Canada’s science, technology and innovation ecosystem.

Following the Government of Canada’s announcement in November 2022 of an investment of $962.2M over 8 years and $121.1M ongoing to renew the NRC’s facilities and real property, the NRC ’s new Office of Facilities Renewal Management (OFRM) will lead the prioritization of future NRC facility recapitalization projects and work with programs and branches through the 2024-2029 strategic planning process to identify transformative facility investments that will advance the NRC ’s digitalization of research ambitions.

Building on the creation of the OFRM, the NRC will continue to implement recommendations identified in the 2020 audit of its real property management. These include developing a strategy to expand real property information management capacity by addressing critical gaps and existing data quality challenges and continuing to ensure sound stewardship in the management of the NRC ’s real property portfolio through updates to building condition assessments, functionality assessments and integration of facilities review findings into portfolio planning.

Planning for contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses

The NRC ’s target is to award a minimum of 3% of the total value of its contracts to Indigenous businesses by the end of 2023-24. This is part of Phase 3 onboarding for the Government of Canada Indigenous Procurement Strategy to award a minimum of 5% of the total value of contracts to Indigenous businesses by March 31, 2025.

The NRC will leverage the enhanced tools developed by PSPC such as supply arrangements and standing offers with Indigenous organizations. It will also leverage information shared and OGD best practices through the Treasury Board Secretariat Senior Designated Officials for Procurement community and the Chief Procurement Officer Council.


  • The opportunity for goods is mainly for computer hardware where set-asides can be requested from Shared Services Canada for Indigenous vendors, for goods such as furniture where there are Indigenous vendors and standing offers established by PSPC .
  • The main challenge for the NRC , a primary purchaser of scientific equipment and supplies, is that there are no known sources of Indigenous vendors in the scientific equipment category.


  • There is an opportunity for Indigenous participation in construction contracting, which can be incorporated under 4 categories as part of the Indigenous Participation Plan:
    1. Subcontracting
    2. Skills Development
    3. Human Resources
    4. Innovative Approaches and other measures.
    PSPC is using this format, which the NRC can implement as mandatory, for large construction projects.


  • There is an opportunity for services in the categories of professional services, temporary help services and translation services.
  • The main challenge is that most services that the NRC requires are related to specialized needs that only a handful of vendors can provide.
5% reporting field
2021-22 actual %
forcasted % target
2023-24 planned %
Total percentage of contracts with Indigenous businesses 2.5% 3% 3%

Planned budgetary spending for internal services

The following table shows, for internal services, budgetary spending for 2023-24, as well as planned spending for that year and for each of the next 2 fiscal years.

2023-24 budgetary spending
(as indicated in Main Estimates)
planned spending
planned spending
planned spending
159,510,996 159,510,996 163,909,564 163,656,234

Planned human resources for internal services

The following table shows, in fulltime equivalents, the human resources the department will need to carry out its internal services for 2023-24 and for each of the next 2 fiscal years.

planned full-time equivalents
planned full-time equivalents
planned full-time equivalents
1,007.6 1,007.6 1,007.6

Planned spending and human resources

This section provides an overview of the department’s planned spending and human resources for the next 3 fiscal years and compares planned spending for 2023-24 with actual spending for the current year and the previous year.

Planned spending

The following graph presents planned spending (voted and statutory expenditures) over time.

Departmental spending 2020-21 to 2025-26

Departmental spending graph 2020-21 to 2025-26
Long description of Departmental spending trend graph

Table 9

Planned spending (in millions of dollars)
  2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25 2025-26
Statutory 479.1 229.0 229.9 253.6 251.9 251.8
Voted 1,169.6 1,207.3 1,212.0 1,294.8 1,217.4 1,166.5
Total 1,648.7 1,436.3 1,441.9 1,548.4 1,469.3 1,418.3

2022-23 forecast spending of $1,441.9M represents an increase of $5.6M compared to 2021-22 ($1,436.3M).

The increase in total planned spending in 2023-24 and 2024-25 is due to new funding for R&D infrastructure and decarbonisation of construction, offset by sunsetting funding.

The decrease in 2025-26 is also due to sunsetting funding.

The following table summarizes the primary year-over year funding variances contributing to changes in planned spending for each fiscal year.

(in millions of dollars)
Items 2023-24 2024-25 2025-26
Total planned spending 1,548.4 1,469.3 1,418.3
Variance over prior year 106.5 (79.1) (51.0)
Primary Funding Variances R&D Infrastructure 71.7 49.3 24.7
Decarbonisation of Construction Sector 25.2 4.1 2.6
NRC IRAP Grants & Contributions (32.6) (58.1) (17.3)
TRIUMF (0.8) (2.7) (38.8)
Total funding variance 72.4 (75.6) (50.6)
Budgetary planning summary for core responsibility and internal services (dollars)

The following table shows information on spending for the NRC ’s core responsibility and for its internal services for 2023-24 and other relevant fiscal years.

Table 11

Core Responsibility and Internal Services 2020–21 actual
2021–22 actual
forecast spending
budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates)
planned spending
planned spending
planned spending
Science and Innovation 1,503,588,404 1,285,688,819 1,291,387,884 1,388,919,204 1,388,919,204 1,305,366,917 1,254,606,712
Internal Services 145,066,909 150,620,495 150,524,867 159,510,996 159,510,996 163,909,564 163,656,234
Total 1,648,655,313 1,436,309,314 1,441,912,751 1,548,430,200 1,548,430,200 1,469,276,481 1,418,262,946

Planned human resources

The following table shows information on human resources, in full-time equivalents (FTEs), for the NRC ’s core responsibility and for its internal services for 2023-24 and the other relevant years.

Human resources planning summary for core responsibility and internal services

Table 12

Core responsibility and Internal Services 2020–21
actual full-time equivalents
2021–22 actual
actual full-time equivalents
2022–23 forecast
full-time equivalents
2023–24 planned
full-time equivalents
2024-25 planned
full-time equivalents
2025-26 planned
full-time equivalents
Science and Innovation 3,270.3 3,307.7 3,297.8 3,302.8 3,315.8 3,322.8
Internal Services 991.0 978.2 967.6 1,007.6 1,007.6 1,007.6
Total 4,261.3 4,285.9 4,265.4 4,310.4 4,323.4 4,330.4

The NRC 's forecast FTEs of 4,265.4 in 2022-23 is expected to increase slightly over the following 3 years. These increases are primarily due to new FTEs being hired as part of the Decarbonisation of Construction initiative, as well as new funding for investing in the NRC ’s R&D infrastructure.

Estimates by vote

Information on the NRC ’s organizational appropriations is available in the 2023-24 Government Expenditure Plan and Main Estimates (Parts I and II).

Future-oriented condensed statement of operations

The future-oriented condensed statement of operations provides an overview of the NRC ’s operations for 2022-23 to 2023-24.

The forecast and planned amounts in this statement of operations were prepared on an accrual basis. The forecast and planned amounts presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan were prepared on an expenditure basis. Amounts may therefore differ.

A more detailed future-oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations with the requested authorities, are available on the NRC ’s Financial and performance reporting page.

Future oriented condensed statement of operations for the year ending March 31, 2024 (dollars)

Table 13

Financial information 2022-23
forecast results
planned results
(2023-24 planned results
minus 2022-23 forecast results)
Total expenses 1,465,202,000 1,557,149,000 91,947,000
Total revenues 179,559,000 184,369,000 4,810,000
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 1,285,643,000 1,372,780,000 87,137,000

The NRC 's 2023-24 planned expenses and revenues are based on the Annual Reference Level Update (ARLU). They include the NRC ’s portion of the expenses accounts of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation (CFHT) ($1.1M) and TMT International Observatory LLC ( TIO ) ($3.9M).

Revenues are composed of:

  • research services ($75M)
  • technical services ($87.7M)
  • intellectual property, royalties and fees ($6.7M)
  • sale of goods and information products ($3.3M)
  • rentals ($7.9M)
  • grants & contribution ($1.5M)
  • Also included is $2.4M of accrued adjustments mainly from lease inducement ($2.1M)

The 2022-23 forecast includes funding related to COVID-19 initiatives. This includes $66.2M in grants and contributions, $25.3M in operating expenditures and $36.0M in capital expenditures. Grants and contributions is composed of $57.5M for Vaccine Therapeutics and $8.7M for Innovative Solutions Canada.

Operating expenditures include $22.2M for the BMC , $1.6M for the CTMF and $1.5M for the Pandemic Response Challenge program. Capital expenditures include $26.7M for the CTMF and $9.3M for the BMC .

Corporate information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister:
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, P.C. , M.P. , Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Institutional head: Iain Stewart, President

Ministerial portfolio: Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Enabling instrument: National Research Council Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-15

Year of incorporation / commencement: 1916

Other: The NRC is a departmental corporation of the Government of Canada, reporting to Parliament through the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

The NRC works in partnership with members of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Portfolio to leverage complementary resources to promote science and research and integrated innovation, to exploit synergies in key areas of science and technology, to promote the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises and to contribute to Canadian economic growth.

The NRC ’s Council provides independent strategic advice to the NRC President and it reviews organizational performance. The President provides leadership and strategic management and is responsible for the achievement of the NRC ’s long-range goals and plans in alignment with government priorities.

Each of the NRC ’s vice-presidents is responsible for a number of areas composed of programs and research initiatives, research centres, the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program and/or a corporate branch. Vice-presidents and NRC managers are responsible for executing plans and priorities to ensure successful achievement of objectives.

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Information on National Research Council’s raison d’être, mandate and role is available on the NRC ’s Corporate page.

Information on National Research Council’s mandate letter commitments is available in the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Mandate Letter.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on the NRC’s Financial and Performance Reporting page.

Reporting framework

The NRC ’s approved departmental results framework and program inventory for 2023-24 are as follows.

Core Responsibility: Science and Innovation

Departmental Results Framework
  • Departmental Result: Scientific and technological knowledge advances
    1. Citation score of NRC -generated publications relative to the world average
    2. Number of peer-reviewed publications generated by the NRC
    3. Number of patents issued to the NRC
    4. Number of licence agreements
    5. Ratio of the NRC ’s workforce made up of:
      1. women
      2. Indigenous Peoples
      3. racialized persons
      4. persons with disabilities relative to Canadian average labour market availability
  • Departmental Result: Innovative business grow
    1. Percentage of R&D clients who report positive benefits of working with the NRC
    2. Percentage revenue growth of firms engaged with the NRC ( IRAP -engaged firms)
    3. Percentage growth in Canada's science and technology related jobs through NRC supported firms IRAP -engaged firms)
    4. Revenue earned from clients and collaborators
  • Departmental Result: Evidence-based solutions inform decisions in Government priority areas
    1. Revenue earned from other federal government departments
    2. Number of NRC peer-reviewed publications co-authored with other federal government departments

Program inventory

  • Advanced Electronics and Photonics
  • Aerospace
  • Aquatic and Crop Resource Development
  • Automotive and Surface Transportation
  • Biologics Manufacturing Centre
  • Business Management Support (Enabling)
  • Collaborative Science, Technology and Innovation Program
  • Construction
  • Design & Fabrication Services (Enabling)
  • Digital Technologies
  • Energy, Mining and Environment
  • Genomics Research and Development Initiative Shared Priority Projects
  • Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Human Health Therapeutics
  • Industrial Research Assistance Program
  • International Affiliations
  • Medical Devices
  • Metrology
  • Nanotechnology
  • National Science Library
  • Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering
  • Research Information Technology Platforms (Enabling)
  • Security and Disruptive Technologies
  • Special Purpose Real Property (Enabling)

Internal Services

Changes to the approved reporting framework since 2022-23

Biologics Manufacturing Centre added to program inventory as part of 2023-24 amendment process; no other changes to the Core Responsibility or other programs in the program inventory since 2022-23.

Supporting information on the program inventory

Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to the National Research Council's program inventory is available on GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on the NRC ’s Financial and performance reporting page:

Federal tax expenditures

The NRC ’s Departmental Plan does not include information on tax expenditures.

Tax expenditures are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for government‑wide tax expenditures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report provides detailed information on tax expenditures, including objectives, historical background and references to related federal spending programs, as well as evaluations, research papers and gender-based analysis plus.

Organizational contact information

Mailing address

National Research Council of Canada
1200 Montreal Road, Bldg. M-58
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0R6
Telephone: 613-993-9101 or toll-free 1-877-NRC-CNRC (1-877-672-2672)
Fax: 613-991-9096
ATS: 613-949-3042

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

  • Operating and capital expenditures
  • transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals
  • payments to Crown corporations

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A document that sets out a department's priorities, programs, expected results and associated resource requirements, covering a 3 year period beginning with the year indicated in the title of the report. Departmental Plans are tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A change that a department seeks to influence. A departmental result is often outside departments' immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A factor or variable that provides a valid and reliable means to measure or describe progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that consists of the department's core responsibilities, departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department's actual performance in a fiscal year against its plans, priorities and expected results set out in its Departmental Plan for that year. Departmental Results Reports are usually tabled in Parliament each fall.

full time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person year charge against a departmental budget. Full time equivalents are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work. Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical tool used to support the development of responsive and inclusive policies, programs and other initiatives. GBA Plus is a process for understanding who is impacted by the issue or opportunity being addressed by the initiative; identifying how the initiative could be tailored to meet diverse needs of the people most impacted; and anticipating and mitigating any barriers to accessing or benefitting from the initiative.

GBA Plus is an intersectional analysis that goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences to consider other factors, such as age, disability, education, ethnicity, economic status, geography, language, race, religion and sexual orientation.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2023-24 Departmental Plan, government-wide priorities are the high-level themes outlining the Government’s agenda in the 2021 Speech from the Throne:

“building a healthier today and tomorrow; growing a more resilient economy; bolder climate action; fighter harder for safer communities; standing up for diversity and inclusion; moving faster on the path to reconciliation and fighting for a secure, just, and equitable world.”

high impact innovation (innovation à impact élevé)

High impact innovation varies per organizational context. In some cases, it could mean trying something significantly new or different from the status quo. In other cases, it might mean making incremental improvements that relate to a high-spending area or addressing problems faced by a significant number of Canadians or public servants.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative in which 2 or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead up to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in the Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within a department and that focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

An inventory of a department's programs that describes how resources are organized to carry out the department's core responsibilities and achieve its planned results.

result (résultat)

An external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead, they are within the area of the organization's influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an Appropriation Act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.