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To keep pace with rapid global technological change and innovation, technology clusters across Canada are organizing their best minds and resources around focused and pioneering ideas.
Learn more about Canada's Technology Cluster Initiatives (via NRC corporate website).
Video length: 9:38 min
Narrator: The National Research Council is putting science to work for Canadians. NRC is translating discovery into innovation by providing leadership and resources for 11 technology clusters located across Canada.
The clusters gather top minds from industry, government, universities and science agencies. The goal: to develop and commercialize products and processes that meet national challenges including health, wellness, sustainable energy and the environment.
Cutting edge medical devices of the future are being developed now in the Biomedical Technology cluster located in Winnipeg. It's supported and guided by NRC's Institute for Biodiagnostics. Much of the work focuses on advanced imaging of neurological disorders. NRC's biomedical testing and development includes new technologies that are actually able to scan patients while they are in surgery.
Harry Schulz (Chief Innovation Officer, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority): This is about better patient care, ultimately. It is about economic development and building new Canadian innovation capacity and taking some of the things that are on the lab bench and some of our research settings and introducing them into the medical product marketplace.
Narrator: NRC lends support to small and medium size enterprises such as Koven Technologies. Its newest product is a device that safely removes blockages from inside of arteries. NRC's team-based approach results in a constant transfer of information between cluster partners on advanced technologies. This generates new tools, greater revenues and better health care for Canadians.
We're talking small tech. Edmonton's National Institute for Nanotechnology is at the vanguard of world-wide research into building machines the size of molecules. The nanotechnology cluster initiative is fostering the creation of companies that will revolutionize the way we make everything from transistors to skyscrapers.
The trillion-dollar ocean technologies market is the focus of Newfoundland's cluster in St. John's. NRC is working with partners to improve the energy efficiency in marine transportation, service for the oil and gas sectors and monitoring of the ocean environment. It's all about developing new technologies to help Canada's ocean industries compete in the global market.
In Regina, the technology cluster initiative is dedicated to making drinking water safer and roads and bridges last longer. That means taking on challenges like protecting our drinking water pipes from contamination and corrosion.
Public demand for cleaner skies and cleaner energy sources is driving fuel cell and hydrogen technology to the forefront of science achievement. The National Research Council is at the centre of a technology cluster in Vancouver that combines the expertise of government scientists, industry leaders and university researchers in creating zero-emission energy products.The result of this partnership is cutting edge hydrogen and fuel cell technologies - developed, tested and readied for commercial markets.
Ballard Power Systems is at work now, providing one of the world's biggest market applications of fuel cell technology. In partnership with Ida Tech, Ballard is supplying backup power generators for cell phone towers in India.
Chris Guzy (VP Operations & Chief Technology Officer, Ballard Power Systems): The relationship with NRC kinda works in a chain all the way from the idea generation all the way to the final product testing. It really helps shorten the time it takes to get from an idea to a commercial product that somebody wants to buy.
Narrator: British Columbia's hydrogen highway is just the starting point for the fuel cell and hydrogen technology cluster initiative. Its partnership is reaching out to world wide commercial markets, creating jobs at home and providing clean energy alternatives.
The city of bridges - Saskatoon. Here, the Plants for Health and Wellness cluster develops plant-based pharmaceuticals and disease-resistant crops. As an active partner, NRC's Plant Biotechnology Institute offers local companies access to its leading genomics equipment and state of the art labs.
In Halifax, the Life Sciences Cluster Initiative is developing marine based products for health and wellness, in addition to advanced technologies to make brain surgery safer. Surgeons use an NRC-designed virtual reality program to rehearse the removal of tumours. The neuro-surgery simulator delivers top quality medical care - and a world-leading commercial opportunity.
Saguenay, Quebec. The heart of the Aluminium Valley. This is where the world's largest aluminium producer RIO Tinto ALCAN casts half of Canada's aluminium products. Many of the machines and processes used here have been developed locally by small and medium sized suppliers such as STAS Industries. STAS is also working closely with NRC researchers to develop next generation processes - such as semi-solid aluminium. It's a more efficient way to rapidly die-cast parts for the auto industry.
This vital technology cluster is a partnership between industry, university researchers and NRC to move beyond primary aluminium production and export new value-added products. NRC testing of advanced designs include laser welding and friction welding, along with new structures for impact absorption. The designs have wide spread applications for the transport and construction industries.
Luc Roby (General Manager, Aluminium Valley Society): The National Research Council has the capacity to help the small, medium enterprises to increase their degree of innovation and bring on the market a high quality of product.
Narrator: The nation's capital boasts one of the top five photonics clusters in the world; NRC's Canadian Photonic Fabrication Centre is helping Canada become a global leader in processing, transmission and storage of information.
The Information Technologies and e-Business cluster, located in Fredericton and Moncton, provides a competitive edge for Canadian industries with applications in the learning, health care and entertainment fields. NRC's Institute for Information Technology helps companies create and commercialize software and systems technologies for the electronic business market.
Scientists at the Nutrisciences and Health cluster in Charlottetown are tackling some of the toughest problems facing people today. The cluster, supported by the National Research Council, is finding solutions to health conditions such as Alzheimer's Disease, Stroke and Diabetes - important issues as our population ages.
The Charlottetown cluster is a successful parternship of the PEI BioAlliance, universities, business and science agencies. Much of the research on human and animal health is done collaboratively at NRC's Institute for Nutrisciences and Health.
The strong science base is attracting major pharmaceutical companies like Novartis and Genzyme to this cluster initiative. Small startups such as Chemaphor have also signed on as industrial partners. Chemaphor studies bioactive compounds found in nature to develop alternatives for antibiotics in feed animals. The goal -- make our food chain healthier and transform an island economy into an inventor of globally relevant products for human and animal health.
David Hankinson (Chair, Chemaphor): You need specialized equipment, you need people who have the scientific background. And you need to be able to bounce ideas off people. We can do all of that here with the NRC cluster. I think we're really doing something for humanity here.
Narrator: Innovative technology clusters are partnerships for excellence and success. They are proven science platforms that are helping to build a stronger Canada.
David Hankinson (Chair, Chemaphor): Investing in science is a long haul proposition. Many things in society we do once and walk away from. This is a long term systemic investment that you kind of keep up to be competitive with the world. And to advance our society. You develop stable funding stream and support it and do it. Because that's who Canadians are. We reach for higher things. It's about jobs. It's about healthcare. It's about education.
Narrator: For more information on the National Research Council and its role in Canada's technology clusters, please visit nrc.gc.ca
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