Arctic research program


The Arctic program has Government and Industry partners in the fields of resource development, northern transportation, marine safety and construction, working closely with indigenous and northern communities.

With burgeoning industries such as mining, tourism, commercial fishing and oil and gas, Canada's Arctic is full of opportunities and huge engineering challenges surrounding environmentally safe and sustainable economic development. In response, the Arctic program develops technologies that will ensure the sustainable and low-impact development of the North while also increasing the quality of life for Northerners through more reliable and relevant infrastructure.

By partnering with the northern shipping and mining industries, as well as with government regulators and operators, the program develops technologies that will result in safer and more efficient shipping operations in ice-covered waters. The Arctic program also works to improve petroleum development by optimizing ice management, investigating ice loads on offshore structures, developing oil spill solutions and improving the performance of life-saving appliances (LSA) in extreme and remote environments.For further information about projects the Arctic program is delivering, please take a look at our NRC publications archive to view Arctic program-related research papers.


Collaborate with us

Collaborate with us on strategic research projects to help de-risk your innovative ideas, assist with performance evaluation of technologies and evaluate new methods of increasing safety and efficiency.

Collaboration opportunities

We are actively seeking partners and collaborators to help develop technology to ensure the sustainable development of the Arctic. Potential partners include:

  • Government institutions, the petroleum industry and consulting companies looking to address technical issues related to the development of offshore oil and gas in the Arctic
  • Regulators, transportation and marine industries hoping to address northern transportation issues both in developing safer and more efficient shipping, and ensuring more reliable ice road operations
  • Regulators, consulting companies, oil & gas and marine safety industries looking to develop new and improved technologies to increase the chance of survivability in the event of an emergency evacuation from an offshore platform or a vessel in ice-covered waters
  • Government, consulting companies, construction industry and Arctic community planners & regulators wanting to address the key issues facing northern communities due to the harsh environment

The Arctic program's priority areas will enable sustainable and targeted technology solutions in the following areas:

Resource Development: Increasing the reliability of offshore development in ice-covered waters. Projects include:

  • Design ice loads on fixed structures
  • Vessel station-keeping in ice and ice management
  • Ice gouging and its influence on the design of seafloor facilities
  • The engineering implications of climate change on ice conditions
  • Improved oil spill countermeasures and clean-up methods in ice

Northern Transportation: Developing and implementing technologies that will increase efficiency and reduce the number of incidents and vessel structural damage. Projects include:

  • Input into Canada's Arctic shipping regulations
  • Vessel routing through difficult ice conditions
  • Development of the Canadian Arctic shipping risk assessment system
  • Extending the life of ice roads

Marine Safety Technologies: Improving the performance of life saving equipment in harsh environments. Projects include:

  • Input into safety regulations
  • Developing evacuation egress technologies
  • Developing evacuation survivability technologies
  • Development of next generation evacuation and survival systems

Through the community infrastructure thrust, the NRC aims to improve the quality of life for Northerners.

Community Infrastructure: Increasing the quality of life in Northern communities through more reliable and relevant infrastructure. Projects include:

  • Participation in standards development and updates
  • Reliable water supply
  • Solutions to settling foundations
  • Creating more energy efficient buildings
  • Updating sewage and wastewater treatment
  • Using bioremediation techniques on contaminated sites
Collaborator benefits

Lifeboat testing in sea ice

The NRC's partners have the added benefit of working with an expert team that adds value to collaborations through a combination of knowledge, experience and access to comprehensive tools to deliver objective and accurate technology solutions to our clients.

Working with the NRC, our partners realize the following benefits:

  • Access to unique expertise, combined with competitive rates, customized service options and measures that ensure data integrity and confidentiality
  • Access to over 60 years of research on Arctic-related technologies
  • Established and strong relationships with key industry partners
  • Support from a multidisciplinary team that links Arctic-based engineering activities to key sectors, including oil and gas, mining, transportation, environment, renewable energy and security
  • Access to state-of-the-art software and world-class facilities
Technical advisory services

We are able to provide key technical services and expertise to partners on a one-on-one basis or as part of multi-party collaborations. We can assist and guide clients and partners in proven approaches for the development and qualification of new technologies. Our multi-disciplinary array of technical services includes:

  • Ocean energy technologies
  • Wave and turbulence modelling
  • Operations and fuel consumption
  • Sea keeping, resistance and propulsion
  • Operation in harsh environments engineering
  • Ship-model correlation
  • Model and full scale trials
  • Offshore oil and gas facilities
  • Environmental monitoring and remediation
  • Field trials and testing
  • Data mining
  • Numerical models
  • Canadian Arctic Shipping Risk Assessment System (CASRAS)
  • Physical modelling
  • Hydrothermal performance evaluation of building technologies
  • Indoor environment and fire safety
  • Civil infrastructure and water safety
Research facilities

Partners and clients have access to an extensive range of facilities, instrumentation and equipment. Using our world-class laboratory facilities located in Ottawa, Montreal and St. John's, scientists, engineers and technologists can create innovative products and services that reduce risk and improve the longevity and performance of Arctic-based assets. These NRC labs feature the following assets:

Contact us

If you're interested in partnering with the NRC to collaborate on research and development in support of our Arctic initiative, please contact:

Mark Murphy, Business Advisor
Telephone: 709-772-2105

Targeted industries

Oil & gas, transportation, government, marine safety, construction