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Defence Research and Development Canada research centres

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) operates seven research centres across Canada, each with a unique combination of expertise and facilities to carry out world-class research.

Atlantic Research Centre (ARC)

The Atlantic Research Centre (ARC) is Canada's centre of excellence for maritime defence science. The centre conducts research and provides advice to the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces in the areas of underwater warfare and surveillance, integrated warship survivability and performance, maritime information warfare, materials science, power and energy, and signature management.

ARC has scientists, engineers, technologists, computer scientists and support staff located in its main campus in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and a materials science laboratory located in His Majesty's Canadian Dockyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Working closely with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), ARC staff access unique facilities such as the “floating laboratory” on the Acoustic Calibration Barge moored in the Bedford Basin. Additionally, the centre manages a field camp on the Northwest Passage at Gascoyne Inlet on Devon Island and has scientists co-located with Power and Energy facilities at the National Research Council in Ottawa, Ontario.

ARC collaborates with other government organizations, industry, universities and international partners to maintain expertise in anti-submarine warfare, mine and torpedo defence, Arctic surveillance, naval platform technology, the modelling and simulation of ship systems, shipboard command and control, maritime information and knowledge management, emerging materials, energy management, and signature management. This expertise is applied primarily to maritime defence and security domains, but also to the air and land environments.

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Mailing Address:

Atlantic Research Centre
PO Box 99000 Stn Forces
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
B3K 5X5

Centre for Operational Research and Analysis (CORA)

The Centre for Operational Research and Analysis (CORA) exists to improve Canada’s defence and security by providing operational research, strategic analysis and joint targeting expertise to the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Armed Forces, and defence and security partners, within Canada or deployed, and at all security levels. CORA delivers evidence-based analysis and researched information to support planning and decision making toward improvements to program execution and outcomes, the identification of issues and risks with proposals for mitigation, and the effective use of resources such as personnel, equipment and budgets.

CORA is a distributed scientific centre with most of its teams integrated with the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence partner organizations.

Read about Centre for Operational Research and Analysis research and development capabilities.

Mailing Address:

Centre for Operational Research and Analysis
National Defence Headquarters (Carling)
60 Moodie Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K2

Centre for Security Science (CSS)

Established in 2006 as a dedicated centre related to public safety and national security, the Centre for Security Science (CSS) develops and delivers innovative science and technology solutions and advice to the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces, other government departments, and the safety and security communities.

CSS is responsible for managing the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP) in partnership with Public Safety Canada. As a federally funded program, the CSSP’s mission is to strengthen Canada's ability to anticipate, prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters, serious accidents, crime and terrorism through the convergence of science and technology with policy, operations, and intelligence.

CSS addresses a broad range of public safety and security priorities across six lines of effort:

  1. Preparedness and resilience
  2. First responders
  3. Border security
  4. Surveillance, intelligence and interdiction
  5. Critical infrastructure resilience
  6. Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) security

These lines of effort allow the CSS to better respond to the ever-changing needs of the public safety and security communities. They are designed to encourage the horizontal convergence of knowledge and science through collaboration, which includes CSS subject-matter experts and stakeholders. The resulting priorities help shape science and technology challenges which are relevant, will lead to impactful CSSP investments, and ultimately will improve the safety and security of all Canadians. CSS also has a team of experts that provide operations analytic support to security operations, risk assessments and exercise coordination.

CSS is located at the Department of National Defence's Carling Campus in Ottawa, Ontario with a regional office in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Read about Centre for Security Science research and development capabilities.

Mailing Address:

Centre for Security Science
National Defence Headquarters (Carling)
60 Moodie Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K2

Ottawa Research Centre (ORC)

The Ottawa Research Centre’s (ORC) current areas of expertise include:

  • Communications electronic warfare
  • Cyber operations
  • Radar electronic warfare
  • Radar systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and command and control (C2)
  • Space domain awareness
  • Space radio frequency intelligence
  • Defence space operations
  • Continental defence modelling

Since its inception in 1941, the ORC has evolved from chemical-biological research to radiological defence, to the development of gas masks, flame thrower fuels, and batteries. Since the early 1970s, the ORC has grown into a world-class centre for electromagnetic sciences research.

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Mailing Address:

Ottawa Research Centre
3701 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0Z4

Suffield Research Centre (SRC)

The Suffield Research Centre (SRC) invests in unique and sensitive science and technology capabilities including chemical-biological-radiological (CBR) defence in the areas of personnel defence and medical countermeasures, blast protection and injury, advanced energetics and weapons effects, autonomous systems, and training in CBR defence.

The SRC features the unique Experimental Proving Grounds, one of the world’s largest instrumented outdoor laboratories at approximately 500 square kilometres. The SRC is co-located with Canadian Forces Base Suffield offering a unique opportunity for scientists and researchers to work directly on the science and technology questions that are important to the Canadian Armed Forces, either in a laboratory or field setting.

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Mailing Address:

Suffield Research Centre
PO Box 4000 Stn Main
Medicine Hat, Alberta
T1A 8K6

Toronto Research Centre (TRC)

The Toronto Research Centre (TRC) is DRDC’s centre of excellence for human-centric science and technology in the defence and security environment. Research and development is conducted to understand, sustain, and enhance the well-being and effectiveness of military personnel, and to address individual, social and technological aspects of human performance and effectiveness, in order to support the operational needs of the Canadian Armed Forces through research, advice, test and evaluation, and training.

The areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, warfighter effectiveness, training, human-technology teaming, operational performance and health, influence and information warfare, as well as social and psychological factors that affect military life and operations.

The TRC is co-located with the Canadian Forces Environmental Medicine Establishment (CFEME). Together they have unique experimentation facilities, such as environmental chambers, diving chambers, hypobaric (altitude) chamber, human bio-analysis lab, and the only human-rated centrifuge in Canada.

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Mailing Address:

Toronto Research Centre
1133 Sheppard Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M3K 2C9

Valcartier Research Centre (VRC)

The Valcartier Research Centre (VRC) investigates innovative technologies in the fields of combat systems science, electro-optical systems and information systems to advise the Canadian Armed Forces. Its proximity to the 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier allows scientists and researchers to work directly with members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Construction work on a three-phase, $272-million project to upgrade the VRC began in October 2020. Once completed, this new research facility will consolidate nearly 500 employees including 225 Defence Scientists, engineers and technologists from different locations on-site into one centrally-located building with 80 new multi-disciplinary laboratories, built to energy efficient standards.

Read about Valcartier Research Centre research and development capabilities.

Mailing Address:

Valcartier Research Centre
2459 de la Bravoure Road
Québec, Québec
G3J 1X5