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November 13 , 2003
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NSERC set to open Atlantic office

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) announced Oct. 20 that it will open an office in Atlantic Canada in 2004.

"Every year NSERC invests more than $700 million in university research across Canada, yet up to now all its staff have been in Ottawa," said Robert Thibault, minister of Fisheries and Oceans, who made the announcement on behalf of Allan Rock, minister of Industry and Minister responsible for NSERC.

“The new office will be involved in helping Atlantic universities build research capacity and in stimulating innovation in the communities of our region.”

Mr. Thibault said research and the training of researchers are crucial to making Canada a world leader in innovation and NSERC's new office will be an asset for the research and business community and will help build a stronger economy in Atlantic Canada.

“We will also listen better if we're closer,” added Tom Brzustowski, president of NSERC. “And we'll make sure our regional staff are sufficiently senior to be able to make decisions and take prompt action locally.”

A similar small office for the Prairies was announced earlier in October. Others will eventually be established in Québec, Ontario and British Columbia.

Last year, Atlantic researchers received more than 1,400 NSERC grants and scholarships worth a total of $36.2 million.

The academic institutions that will be served by the new office include Mount Allison University, Université de Moncton, University of New Brunswick, Acadia University, Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, St. Mary's University, St. Francis Xavier University, University College of Cape Breton, University of Prince Edward Island and Memorial University of Newfoundland.

The establishment of local offices is part of a new "vision" for NSERC. Its traditional work of investing in people, discovery and innovation through national competitions will remain the federal agency's major responsibility, but in addition it will find ways to build the capacity of smaller universities to do excellent research; set up a program that will allow community colleges to play a greater role in helping small- and medium-sized businesses succeed in stimulating innovation at the local level; work with the provinces to improve science education in primary and secondary schools; and develop a framework for “big science” projects.

“Not all the details of the Atlantic office have been worked out at this point. We will be consulting university and college people, officials of the governments of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, business people and others to help us design the set-up that will work best for the Atlantic region,” said Dr. Brzustowski.

NSERC is a key federal agency investing in people, discovery and innovation. The council supports both basic university research through research grants, and project research through partnerships among universities, governments and the private sector, as well as the advanced training of highly qualified people.


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