I am pleased to submit the final report of the Committee appointed to review proposals and make recommendations for new NCE networks in the 2009 Networks of Centres of Excellence competition.
The Committee recognized the importance and significance of this competition in supporting research and development in areas of priority for Canada: health and life sciences and technologies; information and communications technologies; natural resources and energy; and, environmental science and technology. We were particularly attentive to the goal of creating genuine and viable networks that would be sustainable over time and would energize the research community. We looked for evidence that the proposed network would provide added value, enhancing the possibility of achieving meaningful results and outcomes.
The ten proposals under review gave evidence of a high level of ambition and excellence. The three being recommended were outstanding: NeuroDevNet aims to accelerate the pace of understanding the causes of neurological deficits in children; Carbon Management Canada (CMC) seeks to develop technologies to rapidly “decarbonise” fossil fuel production and use; Graphics, Animation and New Media Canada (GRAND) proposes to make advances in understanding relevant technologies. All have the potential to provide social and economic benefit to Canada and in striving to be best-in-class in the world, will make contributions beyond Canada's borders.
The Committee represented a very broad range of perspectives, experience and expertise. Members approached their task with dedication and with genuine respect for the applicants, allowing the Committee to find consensus in its recommendations. As Chair, I very much appreciated their collaboration.
The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program seeks to mobilize Canada's best research talent in the university, private and public sectors, and to apply it to the task of developing the economy and improving the quality of life of Canadians. Networks are selected on the basis of their excellence in research, their inclusion of the best cross-country talents, the extent of their partnerships with the receptor community, and their potential for socio-economic benefits. Industry Canada and the three granting agencies (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) jointly manage the program.
Since its inception in 1989, the NCE program has been linking Canadian researchers from the university, public and private sectors to work collaboratively on the advancement of research on the development of new technologies. Networks provide opportunities to develop innovative research approaches that cross traditional disciplinary and sectoral boundaries, and promote collaborations among social, physical and medical scientists and engineers. These collaborations have contributed significantly to accelerating the uptake of new knowledge and technologies by the industry and other receptor communities, and they have led to important socio-economic benefits.
Four priority research areas were established by the federal Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy in 2007. Based on these, the 2008 Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) report established thirteen research sub-priority areas. The NCE Steering Committee established a need for target areas for the 2009 Competition, based on these priority and sub-priority areas.
In order to best align the 2009 targets with recommendations of the International Advisory Committee and the recent NCE Program Evaluation, proposed networks were required to meet the five NCE Program Criteria, which are:
In addition, proposed networks had to address the 2009 Competition Framework, whereby the networks would:
New networks were expected to be multidisciplinary and to involve the participation of researchers whose expertise falls under the domains of two or more of the federal granting agencies, where appropriate. The 2009 Competition sought to result in a balanced portfolio of networks, and therefore the NCE expected to support a maximum of one new network in a given S&T priority area. For a detailed description of the Program Criteria, 2009 Competition Framework and the priority/sub-priority areas, see Appendices I and II.
The 2009 Competition for New NCE Networks was launched by the Government of Canada on December 1, 2008. University researchers and their private and public sector partners were invited to present Letters of Intent (LOIs) by March 2, 2009. A total of 38 LOIs were received. The NCE Selection Committee met from March 23-25 to conduct a review of the LOIs and to prepare a recommendation to the NCE Steering Committee. A total of 10 applicants were invited to submit a Full Application by August 11, 2009.
In addition to the Selection Committee review detailed herein, each Full Application was also subjected to a review by an Expert Panel responsible for performing an in-depth evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of a proposed network. Expert Panels met with the applicants (and a team of other representatives of the proposed networks) and conducted their assessments in August and September of 2009. The Full Applications and Expert Panel reports were submitted to the Selection Committee and were used during the Selection Committee review of Full Applications.
The recommendations of the Selection Committee are detailed in this report.
The 2009 NCE Selection Committee identified the top applications that met the required threshold of excellence for the NCE Program. The NCE Selection Committee recommended funding for the following three new NCE Networks (in alphabetical order):
|Network Name||Scientific Director||Host Institution||Amount of funding requested|
|Carbon Management Canada||Stephen Larter||University of Calgary||$25,000,000|
|Graphics, Animation and New Media Canada||Kellogg Booth||University of British Columbia||$23,250,000|
|NeuroDevNet||Daniel Goldowitz||University of British Columbia||$19,572,000|
These Networks are recommended for one five-year term of funding (2009-2014), subject to satisfactory annual review. Funding for additional five-year terms will be subject to a successful renewal competition.
Carbon Management Canada (CMC)
The vision of the Carbon Management Canada (CMC) Network is a nation-wide, university-led, multidisciplinary research network that will develop the game-changing technologies and the business, social and policy frameworks necessary to rapidly “decarbonise” fossil fuel production and utilization. In partnership with industry and government, CMC's vision is to develop the insights and technologies necessary to cut Canada's annual GHG emissions by 350 Mt CO2/yr from the 1100 Mt CO2/yr business-as-usual forecast to 2050, or approximately 40% of the national GHG-reduction targets.
Scientific Director: Dr. Stephen Larter, University of Calgary
Graphics, Animation and New Media Canada (GRAND)
New media, animation, and games are the technological building blocks of the Digital Age. The GRAND NCE will undertake a comprehensive research program whose goal is to understand these underlying technologies and to make advances that lead to social, legal, economic, and cultural benefits for Canadians. GRAND research will ultimately include contributions to novel social media, e-learning and edutainment environments that enhance learning and skill development, information appliances that support applications for delivery of news and social commentary, games for single- and multi-player environments, digital books, and virtual museums and galleries.
Scientific Director: Dr. Kellogg Booth, University of British Columbia
NeuroDevNet aims to accelerate the pace of understanding the causes of neurological deficits, develop early diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic agents and strategies, and to transfer this understanding to health care professionals charged with ameliorating the lives of neurologically impaired children. They propose to do this by focusing on two themes: understanding the forces that shape the brain; and interventions to repair damaged brain. The approach proposed includes projects focused on three conditions that will work in a coordinated fashion enhanced by several core platforms – standardized animal models, genetics, imaging, neuroethics and neuroinformatics. The Network's research program aims to reduce the long-term costs to the health care system through early intervention and effective treatment of brain disorders, thereby having an enormous impact on children with developmental brain disorders, their families and Canadian society.
Scientific Director: Dr. Daniel Goldowitz, University of British Columbia
To ensure that the NCE Program goals and objectives are met, proposals are assessed against the five NCE Program Criteria, the 2009 Competition Framework and relevance to the target research areas. The Excellence of the Research Program is a necessary condition for the funding of a network; however, it is not the sole condition, because the goal of the NCE Program is also reflected in the four additional criteria.
The Network's research program must be driven to address Canadian needs and problems, and is therefore expected to be multidisciplinary and multisectoral.
Elements being considered are:
The training and retention of HQP is imperative to maximize the effectiveness of the Networks' contribution to the wealth, wellness and well-being of Canadians. The Training Program proposed by the Network is expected to add value to the formal training initiatives already available through the academic community and should aim at helping students find employment in the Canadian economy (i.e., private sector partners, government, etc.). The multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral nature of a network should be utilized to provide unique mentorship and training opportunities to maximize HQP retention and integration in all facets of the workforce.
Elements being considered are:
The Network must demonstrate that it has brought together the key individuals and organizations needed to generate and implement multifaceted solutions to the complex Canadian challenges it is designed to address.
Elements being considered are:
NCEs are expected to generate social and economic benefits by ensuring the rapid flow of ideas and innovations from researchers to Canadian receptors. Applicants are expected to demonstrate that the appropriate activities will be undertaken and the appropriate resources allocated to maximize those benefits.
Elements being considered are:
Each network must have an organizational structure appropriate for the management of the research and business functions of a complex multidisciplinary, multi-institutional program. The elements that must be included are:
In addition to meeting the five Program Criteria, the applicants are required to:
New networks would be expected to be multidisciplinary and to involve the participation of researchers whose expertise falls under the domains of two or more of the federal granting agencies, where appropriate.
Four priority research areas were established by the federal Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy. Based on these, the 2008 Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) report established thirteen research sub-priority areas. These priority and sub-priority areas were targeted for the 2009 NCE Competition.
The four S&T priority areas and the thirteen STIC sub-priority research areas are:
Environmental science and technologies:
1. Water (health, energy, security)
2. Cleaner methods of extracting, processing and using hydrocarbon fuels, including reduced consumption of these fuels
Natural resources and energy:
3. Energy production in the oil sands
4. Arctic (resource production, climate change adaptation, monitoring)
5. Biofuels, fuel cells and nuclear energy
Health and related life sciences and technologies:
6. Regenerative medicine
8. Health in an aging population
9. Biomedical engineering and medical technologies
Information and communication technologies:
10. New media, animation and games
11. Wireless networks and services
12. Broadband networks
13. Telecom equipment
The NCE Secretariat has appointed an NCE Selection Committee, consisting of members who are internationally recognized experts in research, training, knowledge and technology transfer, and/or management, and whose combined areas of expertise address the research target areas.
Expert Panel reports will be submitted to the NCE Selection Committee. During the deliberations of the NCE Selection Committee on all Full Applications, the Chair or a designated member of each Expert Panel will be available (via telephone) to respond to questions and provide additional information to the NCE Selection Committee, as required.
Taking into account the Expert Panel reports, the NCE Selection Committee will evaluate and rate the applications according to the NCE Program Criteria and the 2009 Competition framework. The Selection Committee will prepare three types of reports to be sent to the NCE Steering Committee: 1) a confidential summary of recommendations to the NCE Steering Committee; 2) a brief confidential report for each application (each applicant will receive their report once the Steering Committee has made its funding decisions); 2), and; 3) a draft of the NCE Selection Committee's public report. The final version of the public report will be published on the NCE website after the competition results have been announced.
The NCE Secretariat reimburses expenses related to travel, honoraria and accommodation for Expert Panel members for the evaluation meeting, within the NCE Program financial guidelines.
Overview of roles and responsibilities:
NCE Selection Committee
The Selection Committee members are responsible for:
NCE Selection Committee members will evaluate all applications according to guidelines established by the NCE Secretariat and according to the practices of this Committee.
NCE Selection Committee Chair
The NCE Selection Committee Chair is a non-voting member of the Committee and is responsible for:
Elizabeth Dowdeswell's eclectic public service career has spanned provincial, federal and international borders and transcended traditional disciplinary lines. Her consulting practice tackles complex issues of social importance. Her most recent assignment as founding President & CEO of Canada's Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) resulted in a government decision on the long term management of Canada's used nuclear fuel. Ms. Dowdeswell served as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program and Undersecretary General of the United Nations, Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada, responsible for the national weather and atmospheric agency, including negotiating the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and led a number of public inquiries. Her early career included terms as Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth for the Province of Saskatchewan, educational consultant, university lecturer and high-school teacher.
She was appointed one of the first Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation mentors, is a visiting professor in public health at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto and a Director on the Board of several corporations and contributes in an advisory capacity to a number of not-for-profit organizations, including chairing the Scientific Advisory Committee of the new Council of Canadian Academies.
Chris Bissell joined the Open University became Professor of Telematics in 1999. He was Sub-Dean (Courses) in the Faculty of Technology from 1989-91, and Head of Department of Telematics (subsequently ICT) from 1996 to 2005. He has produced OU distance learning materials on a wide range of topics, including: control engineering, telecommunications, information technology and media studies. His research interests range from the history of technology to engineering education, with three current PhD students investigating: ICT in local government; computer-supported communication systems for distance learning; and the history of programmable logic controllers. Externally, Chris has worked with a number of other universities on quality issues - as external examiner, consultant, and quality assessor. He is an active member of SEFI (European Association for Engineering Education), having served on SEFI working groups in curriculum development and ICT. He has authored / coauthored two undergraduate textbooks, was part of the editorial team of the Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia of Invention and Technology, and has published around fifty refereed journal articles.
Past positions include serving as the Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and as Vice Chairman for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Dr. Bloom's main focus of concentration at the ILC is the International Clinical-Education and Consultation Service established to teach the principles of health care for older persons in developing countries. Dr. Bloom is the founder and director of this Service. Projects and teaching consultations thus far have been undertaken in Lebanon, Taiwan, South Africa, Singapore, Mexico,
Malta, Russia, Bulgaria, India and China.
The ILC is also leading a coalition of national organizations in establishing guidelines for the assessment and treatment of sleep disorders in older persons. Dr. Bloom is coordinating the
academic and clinical parts of this effort.
In addition to the above, his major areas of interest include chronic disease management, health promotion/disease prevention, medication use/misuse, transitional care and dementia. He has given numerous presentations nationally and internationally, has authored a book on drug prescribing for older individuals, has written many chapters for textbooks and other medical books, and has published a number of papers in the medical literature.
Mr. Buisson recently moved to the USA from France, where he was Director of the Maisons-Laffitte Corporate Research Center of VEOLIA Water-Anjou Recherche. A recognized expert with broad experience in process development and optimization for drinking water production, wastewater treatment, and industrial water recycling. His specific expertise lies on membrane applications in water cycle management (drinking water, desalination, municipal and industrial wastewater and industrial in-plant process water), with a recent emphasis on membrane bioreactors and hybrid processes. He has acted as a technical advisor for North American and European companies, as well as public institutions (European Commission, Environment Canada, AWWARF).
He has been involved in many national and international research and development programs.
Mr. Firmin is a Mining Engineer with a B.Sc. Honours degree in Mining (1969), and a Masters degree in Mineral Production Management (1974) both from Imperial College, London, England. He has 40 years experience in the mining and petroleum industries.
Since 1974 Mr. Firmin has been employed by Shell Canada Limited and has held several positions primarily in the areas of oil sands and coal development. Initially he was involved with the early stages of the feasibility studies and design of a major oil sands project oil sands project and participated at the provincial government public hearings as the proponents expert mining witness.
In 1995, Mr. Firmin initiated and led Shell's research into new bitumen extraction and froth treatment technologies that included the evaluation of existing and emerging research and technology efforts within the industry. These research efforts were the precursor to the commercial processes now being utilized at Shell's current oil sand operations as well as the basis for future oil sand developments by Shell and other oil sand developers.
Following approval of the commercial oil sands mining project in 1998, he became a member of the owner's Project Execution team to manage detailed engineering and construction. On completion of the construction activities in 2003 Mr. Firmin was appointed Manager, Regulatory Affairs with additional responsibility for surface land acquisition and management. Mr. Firmin took formal retirement from Shell in 2007. Shell currently retains his services a Senior Consultant for future oil sands developments.
Dr. Gibbons has held the positions of Honorary Professorial Fellow in Science and Technology Policy Researchwith the University of Sussex and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Prior to these appointments he was Founding Director of the Programme of Policy Research in Engineering Science and Technology at the University of Manchester and Director of Research and Technology Transfer in that University.
Dr. Gibbons has an active research interest in science and technology policy generally but has additionally carried out research in the process of technological innovation in industry and the evaluation of research. He is co-author with colleagues of two major books on the nature of contemporary science: New Modes of Knowledge Production and Re-thinking Science, which have arguably set the agenda for much current science policy debate.
His work has been vigorously taken up by the South African authorities who have adopted the notion of Mode 2 research as a guiding concept during the current, and ongoing, transformation of the South African higher education system. From 2000 to 2003, he was a member of the UK Economic and Social Research Council and Chair of its Research Priorities Board.
In 2004 he became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Higher Education and was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal for excellence in research by the government of Canada.
Professor Jeffries has been at NSF since autumn 2006 after 21 years at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), where he is a Professor of Geophysics at the Geophysical Institute. He is a polar scientist specializing in snow and ice research. Originally from Manchester, UK, Jeffries completed his doctorate at the University of Calgary in 1985. He then moved to Alaska as a post-doctoral research fellow to continue his studies of the Ellesmere ice shelves, the only ice shelves in Canada. Since then he has studied sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and been to Antarctica nine times to study pack ice thickness and formation. At the invitation of NSF, he has been Chief Scientist aboard the Antarctic research vessel 'Nathaniel B. Palmer' on six occasions. In recent years his work has focused on lake ice growth and heat flow in Alaska, where he developed the Alaska Lake Ice and Snow Observatory Network (ALISON), a science education project that involves K-12 teachers and students as scientific partners in the measurement of lake ice and snow. In addition to his primary duties as AON Program Director, Jeffries also serves on the NSF management team for the Science and Technology Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, and is a member of the coordinating committee for the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program.
Martin A. Martino
Dr. Martino is a board certified, fellowship-trained Gynecologic Oncology Surgeon at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he is the Director of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery in Gynecologic Oncology. He is an Assistant Professor at the Penn State College of Medicine and a member of the Penn State Cancer Institute. He has presented and published his research at both regional and national levels. His research interests include venous thromboembolism prophylaxis, cancer genomics and robotic surgery.
He has been recognized as a national leader by the American Medical Association where he received the AMA Foundation Leadership Award in 2007 for his outstanding service, commitment and dedication to Medicine. He was also awarded the 2008 “Press Ganey” Patient Satisfaction Award for highest overall physician rating submitted by patients at his institution.
Dr. Martino serves on the board of the regional chapter of the American Cancer Society and on the Advisory Board for FORCE, a group committed to helping women with hereditary family cancers. He is a member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Mr. Putt holds a P.Eng. designation, is the President of the Canadian Society for Senior Engineers, a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, past CPR Engineering Medal recipient and is the Past-President of the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society for Engineering Management.
Prior to starting his consulting practice in management of technology development, Mr. Putt had 27 years experience with Imperial Oil Limited and its Affiliates, the last 14 of which were in positions of executive leadership, five of which were research management. Subsequently, Mr. Putt consulted to the NRC as an Industrial Technology Advisor. He is a founding Director of PTAC Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada. He is currently a Director of Maxxam Analytics International Corporation.
Ken Putt is a member of the NSERC Committee on Research Partnerships and was formerly on NSERC's Advisory Committee on University Industry (Research) Grants as well as the NSERC-SSHRC Management of Technological Change Selection Panel for Chair appointments. He is an emeritus member of the Innovation Management Association of Canada. He also coaches CEOs and mentors executives.
Stratford Managers, founded in 2006, helps businesses increase shareholder value by identifying corporate growth opportunities or impediments and then working with management to implement changes to accelerate revenue and profit growth. In early 2007, Mr. Roche was Interim President and CEO of CMC Microsystems.
Prior to starting Stratford, Mr. Roche was President and CEO of Tundra Semiconductor, a company he co-founded in 1995. Under his leadership, Tundra grew 25% per year on average and delivered profits after tax of over 10% of revenues. Through organic growth and strategic acquisitions, the company grew to over 300 employees with operations around the world, revenues of over $80M per annum and a market value of over $300M in the public markets. Prior to starting Tundra, he was a founding member in 1986 of Newbridge Networks Corporation, a manufacturer of data and voice communications products. He helped Newbridge grow to over 5,000 employees and earn revenues of over $1B. Newbridge was acquired by Alcatel in 2000.
Mr. Roche has served on numerous public, private and non-profit boards including Stratford, Tundra, Fidus, CANARIE.
John A. Robson is Vice President for Operations at the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. Before coming to CIRM in September of 2008, Dr. Robson served as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. Prior that he was the Associate Director for Scientific Affairs at the Montreal Neurological Institute for 10 years.
Dr. Robson earned a BS in Biology from Trinity College, and a PhD in Anatomy and Neuroscience from Duke University. After postdoctoral positions at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Chicago, he was a faculty member and research scientist at the State University of New York (Upstate Medical University, Syracuse), where he led neuroscience research lab, directed the Neuroscience Graduate Program and chaired the committee that distributed internal research funds.
Pat Weeks is currently Principal of Weeks Consulting, LLC, a company specializing in corporate and nonprofit strategic planning and executive coaching. She is the former Vice President for Planning and Business Development of the Fox Chase Cancer Center (retired January 1, 2008) with responsibilities for strategic planning, technology transfer, legal affairs and policy development. In that capacity, Mrs. Weeks was responsible for the negotiation of all commercial agreements of the Fox Chase Cancer Center as well as the management of the Center's technology portfolio.
Mrs.Weeks is currently Chair Emeritus of the Board of BioStrategy Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of startup bioscience companies. Ms. Weeks is Past President of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and has served as President-Elect, President and Past President, VP for Professional Development as well as the VP of the Eastern Region of that organization. She has served on numerous planning committees and task forces in her tenure as a member of AUTM. She is a former Chair of the Philadelphia chapter of LES. She is also a member of the PA Biotech Association. She participates in numerous efforts to market the region's strength in high technology. She has been an invited speaker and facilitator at many national and international conferences, symposia and workshops on the subject of the transfer of academic technology to the commercial sector and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations.
Mrs. Weeks received her B.A. degree with honours from SUNY and her M.S. in Organizational Development from the University of Pennsylvania.