Jim MacLeod, NRC researcher, awarded prestigious medal for service in research collaboration.

Everyone knows that collaboration is one of the key factors in business growth; it can help to expand networks and complete large, complex projects. But accessing collaborative opportunities can be difficult, especially on an international scale.

Jim MacLeod, Research Officer for Icing at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), is an expert in the area of collaboration. On September 16, 2015, MacLeod was awarded the 2015 von Kármán Medal for his exemplary service and significant contribution to the enhancement of progress in research and technological cooperation among the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations. The Medal is the NATO Science and Technology Board’s (STB) highest award, and the unanimous decision makes MacLeod not only the fourth Canadian, but also the fourth NRC Aerospace employee to merit the award.


Major General Albert Husniaux, NATO Chief Scientist, presents the von Kármán Medal to Mr. MacLeod at the formal awards ceremony held in Tirana, Albania on September 16.

The von Kármán Medal honours MacLeod’s contributions of more than 30 years to the NATO community as a researcher, research partner, project leader and expert in specialized facilities for gas turbine engine performance measurements related to aviation safety. MacLeod is honoured to receive this recognition explaining that the award is a personal high and culmination of his career successes. However, MacLeod credits the award to his aerospace team and to NRC as a whole saying, “I would gladly give a piece of this award to everyone who has been involved. None of this would have happened without my team.”

NRC is part of a mixed research team with Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) supporting Canada’s NATO member, the Department of National Defense (DND). Although NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance committed to freedom and security, its science and technology arm extends into research and development by coordinating and giving direction to defense and technology research. NRC conducts aerospace research for DND, having been its resident facilities knowledge base for decades, making this award a win for the department as well.

MacLeod’s work as a member on the NATO STO Advanced Vehicles Technology Panel has allowed him to see how essential collaboration among NATO nations is to research and technology development. He points out that, “Through these connections, each NATO member brings their expertise to the table and as a result, larger and more complex projects are completed at a fraction of the price.”

Canada continues to share its expertise and knowledge with other NATO nations. “I’ve seen first-hand how Canada has let other NATO nations know what its strengths are in aerospace research and development, especially in the area of life cycle extension, materials fatigue, and failure monitoring,” says MacLeod. He continues by stating that, “If more connections could be made between Canadian industry and NATO partners an incredible amount of potential would be unlocked here and abroad.”

MacLeod’s work is primarily through NRC’s Reducing Aviation Icing Risk program which supports collaboration opportunities on strategic research projects to help de-risk innovative ideas, reduce start-up costs and accelerate commercial development timelines. For more information about NRC’s other aerospace programs, capabilities and facilities, visit our Aerospace research and development expertise website.

Envirotrec note: Bob McLeod represents the NRC Certification Authority at the GLACIER site in Thompson, Manitoba.

Originally published by the National Research Council Canada.