NRC’s Dr. Greg Smallwood awarded inaugural Ian Shugart Award for Outstanding Career

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NRC Metrology’s principal research officer, Dr. Greg Smallwood examining window of Laser-Induced Incandesence instrument. NRC Photo

For 40 years, Dr. Greg Smallwood has been committed to conducting research that benefits the public. He has spent 37 of those years performing research at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and has earned many awards for his research.

On Oct. 24, Smallwood was honoured with the inaugural Ian Shugart Award for Outstanding Career during the Public Service Award of Excellence ceremony.

The prestigious award, given by the Treasury Board, recognizes Government of Canada employees who reflect the values of the public service and who have achieved notable results for Canadians. Senator Shugart passed away on Oct. 25, 2023, after a dedicated and outstanding career in the public service.”

The award was a complete surprise to Smallwood, who takes great pride in his career in public service. “I almost fell over when I found out. I had no idea I was nominated,” he said. “I’m humbled and honoured.”

Since joining the NRC in 1988, Smallwood has dedicated his research career to making a social impact. One of his most notable achievements was the development of an innovative black carbon measurement technique that was ultimately used to develop international regulations for aircraft emissions.

Black carbon, more commonly referred to as soot, is an aerosol nanoparticle emitted by combustion. The combustion of diesel engines is among the largest contributors of black carbon.

“It started with developing a new way of measuring black carbon with a technique called laser-induced incandescence,” he explained. “We patented that idea and licensed it. We originally thought it would be applied to measure the soot in flames, but then I saw the opportunity to use it to measure exhaust emissions from engines.”

For over a decade, Smallwood used his innovative measurement technique to work with Transport Canada on the development of a new black carbon emissions standard for commercial aviation. The collaboration between the NRC and Transport Canada helped to develop a standardized technical approach to measuring black carbon from aircraft engines.

Results from this collaboration were presented to the International Civil Aviation Organization. From there, Smallwood was part of a working group that developed an international standard for black carbon emissions from aircraft engines.

This standard was incorporated into the Canadian Aviation Regulations in 2019 and was adopted in regulations around the world, including Canadian legislation. His work helped to reduce the environmental and health impacts of civil aviation worldwide.

“There are so many people working in the government who are passionate about public service. They understand the incredible responsibility of being employed on behalf of the people of Canada,” explained Smallwood. “To even have been nominated would have been the thrill of a lifetime, but to receive this award, it’s a big deal.”

This article was prepared and distributed by the National Research Council of Canada.

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