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

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Stakeholder Advice

NRCan is overwhelmingly positively perceived. Many stakeholders consider the S&T conducted at NRCan to be world class and feel that it plays an essential role in the innovation system. The rapport between NRCan employees and stakeholders is generally viewed as positive. NRCan’s capacity to consult and listen to its innovation system stakeholders is perceived to be a strong asset.

The advice heard most often from stakeholders is that NRCan should act as a whole, rather than as a number of different sectors. This will ensure NRCan, with leadership and support at the highest levels, integrates science with policy to deal more effectively with horizontal policy issues.

Furthermore, there needs to be a vision of a linked S&T system with collaboration, both national and international, at its core. An integrated science and policy vision must include a commitment to S&T that focuses on government priorities and makes strategic choices to refine its scope.

Quote from a Stakeholder:

The goal for the Federal Government is to lead, innovate and engage partners. It’s about creating a balance, having a vision, creating policy while building the strength of partners.

Another important insight is that stakeholders believe that NRCan should focus on and lead breakthroughs that are high-risk and potentially high-return. This would not be limited to basic research and development, but would include working with partners to usher promising ideas through successive innovation phases.

Stakeholders suggested that NRCan could play the role of “facilitator,” helping industry address gaps in receptor capacity.

Stakeholders also believe that NRCan should favour public good S&T. NRCan’s public-good role extends to scientific advice in support of regulatory processes, the development of codes and standards, and public policy development. While it is not necessary that government perform all public good S&T, it must provide a clear direction and strategy plus ensure stable and adequate funding. Stakeholders feel that NRCan should move away from “fee for service” because it detracts from the pursuit of public good and support of new and emerging priority research areas.

To achieve this new research agenda, stakeholders feel a multi-disciplinary approach and human resource skills are needed. NRCan must take advantage of opportunities to cluster, or physically or virtually co-locate, with partners. Interviewees agreed that NRCan would need to address any barriers to implementation.

Finally, most stakeholders believe that NRCan has the most complete knowledge of natural resource S&T, placing it in an ideal position to share information with all stakeholders and to convince decision makers and Canadians of S&T’s value to society. NRCan’s knowledge of natural resource S&T, plus its other knowledge assets, such as commodity expertise, statistical data collections, and economic analysis capacity, give it a sizeable, sustainable, competitive advantage in the marketplace of natural resource ideas and innovation. Still, many say they know little about what NRCan does and that it should improve its capacity to communicate.

Together with sharing S&T knowledge and information, stakeholders said that NRCan should provide a leadership role in the innovation system. Stakeholders expect NRCan and the Government of Canada to lead the innovation system in three key ways: through facilitation; by establishing networking mechanisms; and by becoming a knowledge centre.

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