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Streamlining Science

NRC Montreal Road Campus

Julien Lacroix, Author

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Brief History of the NRC

The National Research Council of Canada was established in 1916, mainly in response to the devastating technologies of the First World War, such as guns and gas.[1] After it’s focus on the war effort, the council’s mandate was more generally to foster ‘‘scientific development of Canadian industries for Canadian needs’’.[2] The political process by which this council was formed was by creating a Sub-Committee of the Privy Council on Scientific and Industrial Research on June 6th1916. This council was closely modeled on the British version of the same council. With provision for an Advisory Council, the name Advisory Council for Scientific and Industrial Research was given on November 29th, 1916. The advisory group quickly became know under its shorter name, National Research Council.[3]

Canada already had various institutions of research that fit into specific departments of the government, but the new Council sought a different type of institution, which had more of a university feel and freedom to it.[4] This idea will become more interesting when the idea of a campus dedicated to national research is discussed later. However, by the 1930s, the need was there to have a space large enough to conduct industrially oriented research and the solution was to build the National Research Council Laboratories.[5]

[1] Harold Kalman and John Roaf, Exploring Ottawa: An Architectural Guide to the Nation's Capital, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983), 122.
[2] ''NRC Opens Its Doors'', National Research Council Canada, Last modified May 22nd, 2003. 
[3] Mel Thistle, The Inner Ring: The Early History of the National Research Council of Canada, (Toronto:  University of Toronto Press, 1966), 4.
[4]  Thistle, The Inner Ring, 13.
[5] Thistle, The Inner Ring, 239.

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