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March 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario


NRC Institute for Information Technology e-Business.
NRC Institute for Information Technology e-Business.

NRC continues to blaze a path in its efforts to stimulate community-based innovation in Atlantic Canada. NRC made its first hires in New Brunswick in 2001 and officially opened the Fredericton campus of the NRC Institute for Information Technology e-Business (NRC-IIT) in March 2003. NRC-IIT plays an important role in the development of an e-Business technology cluster in the region and has research groups located in Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Accomplishments in First 18 Months of Operation

153 Industry meetings

24 Memorandum of Understanding

12 Letters of Intent

9 Collaborative R&D Agreements


  • Presented 44 conference papers to over 5,700 people
  • Gave 91 public talks to over 9,000 listeners
  • Moderated/facilitated/ program committees/ sponsored: 15 conferences

Papers: 24 published papers (one awarded Best Paper)

NRC's approach to cluster-building has, from the outset, stressed the need for community consultation to engage business leaders, local government and the academic community. Recent MOU signings and the participation in key infrastructure project such as the NB Research Grid are important milestones in this process and indicators of a fast-growing cluster. Highlights of some recent and notable developments are listed below.

Atlantic Innovation Fund – NRC-IIT will be playing a role in several new projects which received funding from the Government of Canada's Atlantic Innovation Fund. Researchers from NRC-IIT will contribute their expertise to a diverse range of projects led by partners such as the University of New Brunswick (artificial intelligence and security), Innovatia (e-Learning) and the University College of Cape Breton (wireless systems).

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Atlantic Canada Workshop – In November 2003, NRC-IIT organized the first-ever Atlantic-wide workshop on this subject. HCI is a fast-growing research field within the IT sector and is focused on improving the way we use and interact with computer systems. At the present time such technology is certainly widespread, but doesn't always match the needs of users, making it difficult to use, decreasing productivity, etc. The HCI program at NRC-IIT is multidisciplinary, drawing on experts from human factors, computer science, information science, and experimental and cognitive psychology. Its goal is to develop, modify, evaluate and integrate technology to make everyday work and social life more productive and enjoyable. Organizers consider the meeting to be the initial step in establishing a full-fledged community of HCI researchers in the region.

"At this early stage it is difficult to demonstrate economic impact; we need to build capacity. But we do have one clear indicator of how we have already added value: for every dollar we invested in R&D at NRC, where there was external funding involved, our partners have been able to attract six dollars in funding." Christian Couturier, director of NRC-IIT e-Business

e-Health Collaboration – NRC-IIT was part of a multi-party agreement with the University of New Brunswick (Saint John) in the area of health research. The agreement, announced in mid-February, is intended to encourage stronger health research collaboration. NRC-IIT will play a role in applications involving IT and health, such as the development of e-tools and e-infrastructure to support healthcare delivery, disease prevention and wellness. "This initiative will contribute to building capacity in healthcare in New Brunswick," said Christian Couturier, director of NRC-IIT e-Business. "We came here to Saint John to establish partnerships that will lead to more research. The signing of this agreement represents an important example of these much-valued partnerships."

N.B. Research Grid – In February, NRC-IIT was also part of the announcement of a new New Brunswick / Prince Edward Island Research Grid. The new grid is designed to provide increased bandwidth to the research, industry and academic communities in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, so they can collaborate and participate in research and innovation projects regionally, nationally and globally. The research grid will facilitate next-generation research in both provinces and deliver the associated scientific, economic and cultural benefits of that research to the region. The grid will be located at NRC-IIT facilities in Fredericton.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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