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April 06, 2006— Ottawa, Ontario

National Research for National Impact

Many people are familiar with the medical device called the heart pacemaker. Since 1950, this tiny piece of technology has improved the lives of millions of people around the world. Less known is the fact that the first "cardiac pacemaker" – a circuit that provided a gentle electric stimulus to the heart muscle duplicating the normal body nerve stimulation, was developed in Canada by Dr. Jack Hopps and his colleagues at the National Research Council (NRC). Subsequent to this development, Canadian company Mitel Inc. became the world's largest manufacturer of the inside parts of the pacemaker.

In the early 1970s, NRC researchers developed an optical coating technology for anti-counterfeiting applications. Currently, all Canadian banknotes of $20 or more use this technology. While only Canadian currency bears the "patch" form, many other countries are now making use of this made in Canada technology.

Whether it is life saving devices like the pacemaker, security devices or new materials for making cars and aircraft lighter and stronger, there are multitudes of examples of NRC's mission of putting science to work for Canada.

Federal – or publicly funded research laboratories are an essential element in Canada's science infrastructure, and ultimately in Canada's capacity to innovate. The National Research Council is at work in every province across Canada, focused on benefiting Canadians. NRC employees are contributing to improving our quality of life, they are creating new technology companies and jobs, supporting small and medium sized enterprises, training future scientists, and last but not least transforming knowledge into new technologies, new products and new services for the global marketplace.

Dr. Pierre Coulombe was appointed as NRC President in February 2005.
Dr. Pierre Coulombe was appointed as NRC President in February 2005.

Last year alone, NRC had a 57% increase in the number of new technologies licensed to the private sector, and had 95 patents issued for new technologies or processes. Since 1995, a total of 61 companies have been created based on NRC technology. These new companies account for approximately 500 jobs and $375 million in cumulative private investment. Today 115 companies across Canada are co-locating with NRC in specialized technology business incubators where they share our research and development capacity, our knowledge and equipment. Working in partnership with industry has been a distinguishing characteristic of NRC since its inception in 1916.

Just as the heart pacemaker and optical thin film continue to have an impact around the world, NRC employees, our labs, our specialized research facilities and our programs continue to target national science and technology needs and priorities for the benefit of Canadians – creating wealth and social value, and helping Canada secure its future.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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