Summary Report of the Evaluation of the Aerospace Research Centre

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PDF version (121 KB)

Prepared by:
Office of Audit and Evaluation
National Research Council Canada

This report was approved by the NRC's president on June 26, 2020

Cat. No. NR16-321/2-2020E-PDF

ISBN 978-0-660-34899-5

The full report is available on the NRC's website: Evaluation



The National Research Council of Canada (NRC)’s Aerospace Research Centre supports industry and other government departments to create, advance and apply world-leading aerospace capabilities in Canada for the benefit of society. Its research is organized into five laboratories: Aerodynamics, Aerospace Manufacturing, Flight Research, Gas Turbines, and Structures and Materials Performance. It is one of the NRC’s largest research centres in terms of both budget and staff.

Budget Resources Projects

Earnings of $196.7 million

Direct expenses of $193.4 million

(during the evaluation period)

354 employees
Ottawa and Montréal
  • 714 unique projects with: Industry (86%)
  • Other government depts. (7%)
  • Academia (4%)
  • Other organizations (3%)

About the Evaluation

The evaluation assessed the research centre’s relevance and performance for the period of 2012-13 to 2018-19. The evaluation was carried out by the NRC’s internal Evaluation team and drew on the following methods: a bibliometric study, data review, document review, internal and external interviews, a client survey, and a peer review by experts from industry, government, and academia.


Impact on Business Innovation
  • Increased clients’ abilities to develop, adopt, and commercialize new technologies
  • Increased client growth and productivity
  • Reduced costs for clients
Advancement of Scientific Knowledge
  • Canadian leader in the topic areas of ice, ice particle, and fatigue of materials
  • Several ARC researchers have won prestigious awards for their work
Government Policy Solutions
  • Research is contributing to government operations, policies, and regulations
  • Collaborations with federal departments leading to social and environmental benefits

Appropriateness of research

  • New strategic focus on emerging technology well-aligned with industry and government needs
  • Increased communication and direction to staff required to ensure clarity of purpose and alignment of efforts within the research centre

Stakeholder engagement

  • Effectively engaged with its major industry clients and most of its government clients
  • Plans to enhance outreach to, and collaboration with, universities and SMEs
  • Peer review committee found no clear plan or mechanism to ensure successful engagement with these two groups


  • Available capacities, competencies and facilities to achieve objectives, but continued action needed to shift to new strategic areas and address overwork and stress
  • Timely decisions critical, regarding upkeep and maintenance of research facilities and aircraft
  • Need for facility investments and a clearly communicated way-forward