March 28, 2008
“Several members of the University in a quiet way have been doing very valuable research work—how valuable few of us realize.”
—1916-1917 President’s Report.
National Research Council. Summer 1953. A-650. View looking northeast of National Research Council building, with Engineering in background.
In this quote, President Walter Murray is obliquely referring to the University’s relationship with the newly created National Research Council (NRC). The NRC was formed in response to similar initiatives in Britain and the United States to “organized invention and research boards in conjunction with munitions work…”
Murray was appointed, along with other University presidents, to the Honourary Advisory Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Canada. The NRC’s advisory role changed in the 1930s when research laboratories were built in Ottawa. During the Second World War, the Council grew rapidly, performing research and development for the Allied war effort. In the post-war era, a series of Regional Laboratories were built across the country. The Prairie Regional Research Laboratory was opened in June of 1947.
In the 1948 President’s Report, President J.S. Thomson tells us, “The Laboratory is an institution of the National Research Council and is not directly related to the University. Nevertheless, as all knowledge is one, there are no intellectual walls of division separating the new Laboratory and the University.” The new lab was built facing the College of Engineering Building on campus and mirrors the 1925 structure using the same architect, Gentil J.K. Verbeke of Saskatoon. It is also clad in red brick.
In addition to the opening ceremonies, the University convened a “Special Convocation in honor of outstanding Canadian Scientists, who held a series of important conferences in our midst”.
U of S Archives