Successes and scientific excellence highlighted at the National Research Council of Canada’s Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony

Backgrounder

The National Research Council of Canada’s (NRC) Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony is the opportunity to recognize employees for their commitment to the organization’s values and their contributions to its scientific and technological achievements. Some of these achievements are described below:

Dr. Wayne Conlan: A career spent fighting the spread of infectious disease

Dr. Wayne Conlan has been a long standing researcher at the NRC. During his 22-year career he made exceptional contributions to the development of novel vaccines and immunotherapeutics for biodefence and infectious diseases. Dr. Conlan is internationally recognized as an expert in biodefence and infectious diseases. To name a few of his accomplishments: he developed a “best-in-class” tularemia vaccine; secured multi-millions of dollars in external funding to support biodefence and vaccine research and development; served as an expert in developing several federal biosafety standards and guidelines; and was instrumental in building a strong infection and immunity research program at the NRC. He is considered a mentor by many and exemplifies the NRC’s values of scientific excellence, collaboration, and impact.

Minimizing the negative effects of flight vibration on the human body

Repetitive vibrations experienced by aircraft pilots and crew, particularly in helicopters, often lead to health problems such as chronic neck and back pain. In addition to the discomfort endured by personnel, excessive exposure to vibration also results in significant financial burden on aviation organizations and the Canadian healthcare system. Between 2013 and 2016, the NRC developed a unique facility to allow researchers to test the impact of human exposure to vibration in a laboratory setting, and find solutions to mitigate the impact of vibration on the human body. This novel technology can reproduce the vibration profiles of new and existing helicopter models and other vehicles, and features fully integrated vibration and physiological monitoring systems. This important technology is proving to be valuable for the health and safety of military and commercial aircrews in Canada and abroad.

CanExport: Helping small and medium-sized Canadian businesses grow globally

Small and medium-sized Canadian businesses can encounter many challenges when seeking to participate in the global economy by entering and competing in foreign markets. A partnership between the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program and Global Affairs Canada Trade Commissioner Service addresses some of those challenges. This collaborative program, called CanExport, began in early 2016 and leverages the strengths of both partners in order to provide knowledge, connections and financial support to Canadian businesses representing various industry sectors, such as clean technologies, life sciences, aerospace, mining, automotive, defence, security, and consumer products. To date, the program has resulted in 1,200 agreements to enable small and medium-sized Canadian businesses to enter foreign markets and 40% of participants report they have successfully begun exporting their goods and services. CanExport is good news for businesses and the Canadian economy.

Innovative partnership: A model for the next wave of collaboration centres

The Canadian Centre for Research and Applications in Fluidic Technologies (CRAFT) is a new and important collaboration between the NRC and the University of Toronto. CRAFT aims to become a world-leading centre for research, education, and technology in the micro and nano sectors of the biomedical field. To achieve this goal, CRAFT will train and retain the next generation of biomedical scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs in Canada; assist the medical devices and manufacturing industries to be more competitive nationally and internationally; and ensure Canada remains at the forefront of translating discoveries into actual diagnostic devices that will benefit the health of Canadians and the Canadian economy over the next 20 years. CRAFT is the first partnership of its kind at the NRC and will serve as a model for the creation of similar collaboration centres with academia, industry, and other government organizations.

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