Behavioural Science at Work for Canada: National Research Council Laboratories

By Veitch, Jennifer A. | Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, March 2007 | Go to article overview

Behavioural Science at Work for Canada: National Research Council Laboratories


Veitch, Jennifer A., Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology


Abstract

The National Research Council is Canada's principal research and development agency. Its 20 institutes are structured to address interdisciplinary problems for industrial sectors, and to provide the necessary scientific infrastructure, such as the national science library. Behavioural scientists are active in five institutes: Biological Sciences, Biodiagnostics, Aerospace, Information Technology, and Construction. Research topics include basic cellular neuroscience, brain function, human factors in the cockpit, human-computer interaction, emergency evacuation, and indoor environment effects on occupants. Working in collaboration with NRC colleagues and with researchers from universities and industry, NRC behavioural scientists develop knowledge, designs, and applications that put technology to work for people, designed with people in mind.

Résumé Le Conseil national de recherches Canada (CNRC), qui compte 20 instituts et plus de 4 000 employés et 1 200 étudiants, travailleurs et chercheurs invités additionnels chaque année, est le principal organisme de recherche et de développement au Canada. Les instituts du CNRC sont structurés de manière à pouvoir se pencher sur des problèmes interdisciplinaires dans les secteurs industriels et à fournir l'infrastructure scientifique nécessaire comme celle de l'Institut canadien de l'information scientifique et technique (la bibliothèque scientifique nationale). Les scientifiques du comportement travaillent dans cinq instituts, soit l'Institut des sciences biologiques, l'Institut de biodiagnostic, l'Institut de recherche aérospatiale, l'Institut de technologie de l'information et l'Institut de recherche en construction. La neuroscience cellulaire fondamentale, les fonctions du cerveau, les facteurs humains dans le poste de pilotage, l'interaction humain-ordinateur, les évacuations d'urgence et les effets du milieu ambiant intérieur sur les occupants sont au nombre des sujets de recherche. Par exemple, les chercheurs de l'Institut de biodiagnostic du CNRC ont réussi à identifier un marqueur neurophysiologique qui permet d'évaluer la fonction langagière chez les patients aphasiques en mettant au point une version informatisée d'un test de comportement standardisé et en le combinant avec l'électroencéphalographie (EEG). Les chercheurs de l'Institut de recherche aérospatiale étudient les effets des agents stressants sur les pilotes à l'aide d'un nouveau système embarqué qui permet d'effectuer des EEG et d'autres enregistrements physiologiques. À l'Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC, des études de l'utilisation et la recherche sociale contribuent à veiller à ce que les besoins humains influencent le développement de la technologie. À l'Institut de recherche en construction du CNRC, les chercheurs orientent les codes et la conception du bâtiment de manière à assurer la sécurité, le confort et le rendement des occupants. Avec le concours de collègues du CNRC et de chercheurs universitaires et de l'industrie, les scientifiques du comportement développent des connaissances, des conceptions et des applications qui mettent la technologie au service de la personne.

Since 1916, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has been responsible for "undertaking, assisting or promoting scientific and industrial research in different fields of importance to Canada" (,NRC Act, 1985). Many Canadians know NRC principally as the source of the official time signal. Some with longer memories recall the days when NRC was a source of research grants, prior to the establishment of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in 1978. Few realize that the NRC of today is a widely distributed institution with some 20 institutes and nearly 4,000 employees across Canada, and an additional 1,200 visiting scientists, guest workers, postdoctoral fellows, summer students, and co-op students each year.

NRC research spans the range from fundamental through applied investigations, from astrophysics through fuel cells.

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