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Introduction - Positioning Natural Resources Canada’s Science and Technology in the Innovation System

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Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) works to ensure the responsible development of Canada's natural resources, including energy, forests, minerals and metals. It also uses its expertise in earth sciences to build and maintain an up-to-date knowledge base of our landmass and resources. NRCan develops policies and programs that enhance the contribution of the natural resources sector to the economy and improve the quality of life of all Canadians.

NRCan furthers these goals by working with organizations in the national innovation system — private sector partners, clients and stakeholders, natural resource-based communities, other federal government departments and other levels of government — that share its interest in the use and sustainable development of the country’s natural resource endowment. And the department has had a great deal of success. For over a century, NRCan has been instrumental in creating and advancing economic and social opportunities across the spectrum of natural resources, as well as ensuring that natural resources strengthen the safety and security of Canadians.

As one of the top federal science and technology (S&T) contributors and part of an evolving national system of innovation, NRCan is taking steps to ensure its success continues. In November 2005, the department embarked upon an assessment of its S&T role within the natural resources and earth sciences systems of innovation. The motivation was to gather the knowledge and insight needed to guide NRCan’s investments and actions for the next decade, and enable NRCan to be:

  • Focused on the right S&T (aligned to government priorities);
  • Doing it right (excellence);
  • Well positioned and linked within the natural resource system of innovation; and
  • Recognized for the aforementioned, as well as supported with a stable resource base and adequate scientific infrastructure.

In carrying out this assessment, NRCan studied the evolving international and national landscapes and how various S&T organizations have responded to both common and unique pressures and demands. NRCan also consulted a representative group of its stakeholders to solicit their opinions and gain their insight.

This document summarizes our findings and outlines the next steps in NRCan’s development of a strategic S&T framework.

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