The National Research Council in the Innovation Policy Era: Changing Hierarchies, Networks, and Markets


179 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-3536-1
DDC 352.7'45




Reviewed by Alex Curran

Alex Curran is a former member of both the National Advisory Board on
Science and Technology and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council. He was chair of the Telecommunications Sectoral Advisory
Committee on Free Trade and the first recipien


The National Research Council (NRC) was established in 1916 with a
mandate to advise the Government of Canada on scientific and
technological manners, and to perform scientific research in support of
both its advisory function and Canadian industry. The scope and type of
work entrusted to the NRC has evolved over the years, prompting changes
in its organization and management. In the past two decades, the NRC has
been converted from a “university without students” into a resource
that is valued by innovative small and medium-sized Canadian companies.

This book describes the transition within the NRC from hierarchically
managed, centralized, discipline-oriented laboratories to
market-oriented, dispersed institutes that are becoming centres of
support for technically sophisticated industries. There are case studies
of four of the “reborn” institutes, as well as discussions of the
two NRC presidents who managed and implemented the changes—the first
taking a strong stance in forcing change in the face of entrenched
opposition, the second restoring a measure of cooperation and peace
within the organization.

The authors conclude that further change is inevitable. Their book will
be of interest both to those who are interested in understanding how
management change is created and to those who are affiliated with the
industries that have become dependent on the NRC’s institutes.


Doern, G. Bruce, and Richard Levesque., “The National Research Council in the Innovation Policy Era: Changing Hierarchies, Networks, and Markets,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,