2. Our S&T objectives

Creating a Sustainable Canadian Resource Advantage through Science and Technology

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Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) science and technology (S&T) strategic objectives must resonate with the values and expectations both of NRCan’s own people and all Canadians.

The objectives must:

  • seamlessly mesh with the departmental mandate and the principles laid out in both NRCan’s Strategic Framework and the federal government’s S&T framework, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage
  • succinctly capture and communicate what it is we want to achieve by reflecting the pillars of our S&T Mission of Excellence, which are relevance, impact and world-class quality
  • be long-lasting – responding to both the priorities and circumstances of today while taking the best possible account of future uncertainties, challenges and opportunities

NRCan’s five S&T strategic objectives meet these criteria.

A recognized source of world-class natural resource S&T

To be a recognized source of world-class S&T for the natural resource sectors – one marked by the highest standards of scientific integrity and quality; relevance and responsiveness to current and emerging natural resource challenges; and a willingness to share and apply our S&T for maximum impact and the economic, social and environmental advantage of Canadians.

A champion for applying S&T for sustainable natural resource advantage

To champion the application of S&T to achieve the department’s vision of improving the quality of life of Canadians by creating a sustainable resource advantage. Our S&T will be aligned with our strategic outcomes and support the government-wide S&T strategy to focus on priority areas – especially in natural resources and energy.

A leader in integrating S&T with policy and program decision making

To be a leader and a model practitioner – for both the federal government and for other science-based public institutions – in integrating S&T with policy and program decision making. NRCan will manage S&T across the department in a transparent manner that recognizes and respects the importance of scientific integrity while building an effective and symbiotic relationship among our scientific, policy and program communities.

A partner in understanding and addressing national and international natural resource issues through S&T

To infuse a global mindset in how we approach S&T and innovation. We can share our distinctive S&T knowledge and capabilities with Canada and the world. We will build new national and international S&T partnerships and collaborations that bring S&T ideas and knowledge into the department to help us deliver our mandate.

A trusted and effective communicator of NRCan’s S&T priorities, directions and performance

To be a trusted and effective communicator, engaging in dialogue with the public and stakeholders. NRCan will reach out to citizens and stakeholders, listening to their views and responding to their needs. We will effectively communicate NRCan’s S&T priorities, directions and performance. We will work to foster an S&T culture of excellence in Canada and help ensure that public debate on natural resource issues is informed by the best available scientific evidence and insight.

A sunny solution to heating homes

The thrust of much of NRCan’s S&T could be termed anticipatory problem solving – looking to the future; seeing the challenges that will arise in 10, 20, 30 years or more; and taking innovative, pre-emptive steps now to address them.

That is certainly the case with the Drake Landing Solar Community. Conceived by NRCan in partnership with government organizations and industry, the 52 single-family house subdivision located in Okotoks, Alberta, is expected to see 90 percent of its home heating and 60 percent of its hot water needs met by solar energy by the fifth year of its operation.

Before the full solar potential can be realized, there is a ramp-up period while the ground and the storage tanks are heated. The solar fraction has increased from 55 percent in year one to approximately 75 percent at present and is on track to reach 90 percent in year five. Each home will also produce five tonnes fewer greenhouse gas emissions per year than a conventional Canadian home.

The community is heated by a system that captures and stores solar energy underground during the summer and disperses it to each home to meet heating needs in the winter.
Underlying the concept for Drake Landing is the realization that in Canada, especially in the residential sector, the vast majority of energy used is for space heating, which is based on fossil fuel use. This NRCan-driven undertaking could revolutionize how communities’ homes are heated during the winter months.

In the not-too-distant future, when fossil fuel supplies are running out and supply and demand have driven their cost upward, renewable energy – solar energy – will become a necessity.
NRCan, through such forward-looking projects as this, is ensuring that Canada is prepared for that day.


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