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The National Research Council in The Innovation Policy Era

The National Research Council in The Innovation Policy Era: Changing Hierarchies, Networks, and Markets

G. Bruce Doern
Richard Levesque
  • Book Info
    The National Research Council in The Innovation Policy Era
    Book Description:

    The authors show how the NRC?s history is interwoven with the evolution of Canada?s economic and industrial development and with the fostering of science at Canada?s universities, in industry, and within the federal government.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8180-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    G. Bruce Doern and Richard Levesque
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    In this book we review and examine the dynamic but difficult institutional transformation of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in the past decade, in the context of diverse views of innovation policy. In this biography of an institution, we take three approaches. We review how the NRC has evolved through ′the Perron years′ and ′the Carty era,′ labels that reflect the two presidents who have held office in the last decade, Pierre Perron and Arthur Carty. We also review how the NRC has evolved in functional terms by looking at how its granting and spending mandates, research performance...

  6. Part I Macro Framework Issues, Historical Context, and Institutional Change

    • 1 Fostering Change: Innovation and Institutions as a Dual Analytical Framework
      (pp. 15-34)

      Before examining change in the governance of the NRC and in the political-economic environment within which it operates, we must first establish a two-part framework for analysis. One part is needed to help explain the emergence of the innovation policy paradigm. The other is needed to examine the nature of institutions – in particular, governmental institutions. At the dawn of the new millennium, the NRC sees itself as a governmental science agency that is central to Canada′s national and local systems of innovation, and that functions inside the parameters of Canada′s overall science and innovation policy. But what precisely is...

    • 2 The NRC in Historical Context
      (pp. 35-56)

      In Chapter 1 we supplied a framework centred on the conception of innovation policy and institutions, and discussed some of the immediate political imperatives of the Mulroney and Chrétien governments. But we did not talk about the longer history of the NRC or its traditions, culture, and achievements. In this chapter we consider the NRC in this longer historical context, drawing on earlier published histories to show how it has adapted over the years. Some historians have presented the NRC as evolving through three stages: its formative years from 1917 to 1939; its golden years from 1939 to 1969; and...

    • 3 The NRC in the Past Decade: A Closer Look at Institutional Change
      (pp. 57-74)

      In the preceding chapters we pointed out some of the broad parameters of change in the NRC; now we take a closer look at key features of institutional change in the turbulent past decade. Inevitably this means going ′inside′ the NRC by focusing on several key features of organizational analysis. Thus, in this chapter we consider the following issues: leadership and leadership change; the content of the NRC′s visions and five-year plans, and the processes it used to develop them; the role of the council, the executive structure, and key political relationships; the reform of the institutes and related funding...

  7. Part II NRC Institutes and Programs:: Institutional Change at the Mezzo and Micro Levels of Innovation

    • 4 The Biotechnology Research Institute
      (pp. 77-90)

      The first of our case study institutes is the NRC′s Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI) in Montreal. Biotechnology sounds like, and in many respects is, the quintessential industry of the knowledge-based economy. It is an enabling technology for the economy and for society as a whole. It is also a series of products and innovations that Canadians view with a sense of promise and new discovery but also with strong concerns regarding food and drug safety and biological ethics (the possibility of cloning humans being an obvious example of the latter). The BRI was established from the outset as an institute...

    • 5 The Institute for Research in Construction
      (pp. 91-103)

      Biotechnology is a vital field of research in this fast-moving, knowledge-based economy. The same might not be said of research on construction. In the same vein, the Biotechnology Research Institute is one of the NRC′s flagship institutes. Again, the same might not be said of the Institute for Research in Construction (IRC). The IRC and the construction sector suggest a realm where innovation is slower paced and where the industry is undoubtedly national rather than regionally concentrated or clustered. As we will show, the IRC is not pulled by the private sector but actually leads it in matters of research...

    • 6 The Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
      (pp. 104-115)

      The Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (HIA) is the third institute we have selected for closer examination. Named after a Canadian winner of the Nobel Prize, Gerhard Herzberg, the HIA is of particular interest because it has far deeper roots in the traditions of the former discipline-centred divisions that either the BRI or the IRC. Unlike most institutes, it also has a direct parliamentary and statutory mandate: to manage Canada′s two core observatory facilities in Victoria and Penticton, British Columbia, and to support research in astronomy at Canadian universities. This means that it has responsibilities as anationalinstitute that is...

    • 7 The Industrial Research Assistance Program: Advice, Networks, and Money
      (pp. 116-132)

      The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is like the institutes examined in the three previous chapters in that it supplies technical advice and is an intricately networked entity. However, it is different in that it has money to hand out to firms. Thus, as with all distributive incentive programs in government, IRAP′s culture centres on knowing ′how to give to get′ in supplying innovation-oriented services. IRAP is different also because almost by definition, its funding and advice are spread across many industrial and technological sectors, and because in many respects it enjoys solid political support in a way that the...

    • 8 National and Local Innovation Systems and the NRC′s Competitor-Partner Institutions
      (pp. 133-149)

      By examining IRAP and our three institutes, we have been able to observe something of the NRC′s institutional dynamics and of its diverse scientific and innovation realms. But our case studies only go so far; they have left out other aspects of the internal and external challenges that the NRC faces, represented by the work of other NRC institutes and by the institutional transformations and strategies of the NRC′s competitor and partner institutions.

      In this chapter we add yet another level to our analysis of the national and regional/local innovation institutions functioning with, and partly competing with, the NRC in...

  8. Conclusions
    (pp. 150-164)

    In this book we have examined the NRC′s difficult transformation in the past decade. Essentially we followed two stages. First we took a broader macro look at the NRC as a corporate entity, from its origins in 1916 to the Mulroney and Chrétien eras. The leadership of Perron and Carty has been central to our story. Then we analysed the NRC by looking closely at three of its institutes, and at IRAP, and also by examining the NRC′s competitor and partner institutions and how they are gearing up for the imperatives of the knowledge economy.

    The innovation paradigm in all...

  9. References
    (pp. 165-176)
  10. Index
    (pp. 177-179)