[Next] [Previous] [Top] The Role of Engineering in Building a National Strategy in Science and Technology in Canada
NSERC AND ITS STRATEGIC PLAN
- The Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has recently published its new strategic five-year plan. The debate which led to that plan raised very important issues regarding the role of university research within the S&T activities in Canada.
- Engineers in Canada do recognize the importance of university research in the advancement and application of knowledge without which technology development would be virtually impossible. This is not to say, however, that every university professor has strong capability and an inherent right to obtain special funds to carry out basic research as he/she pleases. The granting councils should avoid "saupoudrage" and be encouraged to award grants to the most creative and the most productive researchers. Quality and productivity should be measured not only in terms of numbers of papers published but other means as well, such as the significance of their research to the long-term needs of industry or the number and application of their inventions.
- Engineers in Canada are very supportive of NSERC's new business plan and appreciate its intent to increase interactions with industries. The "research alliances" discussed in the plan will lead to increased wealth and job creation through sustainable development.
- Granting councils and industry should recognize that one of the outputs of greatest value from academic research is people highly educated and well trained. People constitute the best form of technology transfer. Research funds should be allocated mainly according to the quality and quantity of this input.
- It should also be recognized that government and other financial incentives are necessary to entice academic researchers and industrial people to undertake cooperative projects. These incentives must be strong enough to encourage companies with no previous history of such interaction and/or no previous involvement in R&D to approach and work with the universities in collaborative projects. This applies particularly to small or medium-sized manufacturing firms.
The Federal Government should provide NSERC with the funds necessary to successfully accomplish the goals and university/ industry roles expressed in its latest strategic plan, particularly the financial assistance required by universities to undertake joint research with industry.
The Role of Engineering in Building a National Strategy in Science and Technology in Canada - 15 JAN 97[Next] [Previous] [Top]