ARCHIVED - NRC-IRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research in Regina is Open for Business
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September 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario
Funding for the Regina Sustainable Communities Cluster
Federal funding for research by the NRC-IRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research (CSIR): $10 million over five years
The University of Regina with the creation of its new Centre for Sustainable Communities: $5 million over five years
The City of Regina as a "living laboratory:" $5 million over five years
Saskatchewan Industry and Resources: $5 million over five years
Western Economic Diversification: $5 million over five years
TOTAL: $30 million over five years
The space has been leased, the offices have been furnished, the laboratories are waiting, a number of staff are in place, and the research connections are beginning to gel. The stage has been well set for the NRC-IRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research (CSIR) to get up and running. And now, the planned technology cluster in sustainable infrastructure in Regina, Saskatchewan should really begin to take off, with benefits for the community and for the whole country.
The first CSIR projects will focus on water and wastewater infrastructure, including performance of water mains, life-cycle management and risk-based decision modelling. This choice of projects reflects the needs expressed in a number of town hall meetings in Regina and an NRC-led innovation round table held in cities across Canada in May 2003. It is also in line with the findings of the Civil Infrastructure Systems Technology Road Map, a document that outlines Canada's infrastructure challenges over the next 10 years.
An Integrated Research Effort
Since CSIR's announcement more than a year ago, NRC-IRC has been working on the time-consuming realities involved in establishing a world-class research facility: recruiting highly qualified personnel, leasing a suitable home for the facility, liaising with local industry and exploring potential projects. This process is now wrapping up-although recruiting continues-and the Centre is open.
CSIR will be at the heart of an integrated research effort with the University of Regina's Centre for Sustainable Communities, the City of Regina and Regina's local industry. All partners will work closely on projects, optimizing their chance of success.
"We've leased office space in a building adjacent to the university campus to facilitate the free flow of staff, and ideas," says Dr. Don Taylor, Director of NRC-IRC's Urban Infrastructure Program, of which CSIR is a part. "CSIR researchers will become adjunct professors at the university and involve students in their projects. In some cases, CSIR and university researchers will share laboratory space to encourage collaboration."
The NRC Model of Cluster Development
Knowing that successful clusters are built upon teamwork and a common purpose, NRC has developed a process that takes advantage of local strengths while leveraging NRC's national and international capabilities and partnerships.
It's easy to see this process at work in the new Regina cluster in sustainable infrastructure. Members of Regina's business, university and government communities have come together with NRC to develop a vision and a plan to make the cluster a reality.
But Regina is not the first community in Canada in which this process has played out. NRC's Plant Biotechnology Institute in Saskatoon recently opened its Industry Partnership Facility to support Saskatoon's world-class agrifood biotech cluster. NRC's Institute for Ocean Technology in St. John's is establishing a cluster in ocean engineering. And NRC's new National Institute for Nanotechnology in Edmonton promises to create a cluster in nanotechnology around one of the most technologically advanced research facilities in the world.
Going even further, CSIR staff will be charged with finding projects-and champions for them-among Regina's local industry. As part of the process, the City of Regina will serve as a kind of "living laboratory," ensuring that the technologies resulting from the projects move readily into practice. Regina's supportive local government is expected to play a key role in enabling the infrastructure research to take place.
Communities of Tomorrow
In addition, as part of the partnership, Regina is now home to the "Communities of Tomorrow: Partners for Sustainability," or CT, a not-for-profit corporation for research on sustainable communities. This new organization will initiate and fund research, demonstrations and commercialization projects, and collaborations that meet the requirements of sustainable development by improving quality of life, while also producing environmental and economic benefits.
Communities of Tomorrow's board of directors oversees the cluster's research and project selection committee and approves planned projects. The board also oversees all partnership activities. To achieve balance, the board includes members from each of the groups involved in the research effort, as well as from Saskatchewan Industry and Resources and Western Economic Diversification. Expanding the board to include private sector members is currently under consideration.
"It's been a whirlwind year, but it's been rewarding," says Taylor. "With our partners we're creating an entirely new entity in Regina, and it's exciting that we are really starting to move forward."
Find out more about NRC's role in the development of community-based innovation and about the NRC Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC):
- Building Technology Clusters
- NRC Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC)
- Construction Innovation (this article was originally published in Contruction Innovation June 2004
For more information on CSIR or the Regina technology cluster initiative, please contact Dr. David Hubble, Manager of CSIR, at (306) 780-3332, fax (306) 780-3421, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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