Canada selects 9 projects to lead in international research

June 20, 2002

Ottawa, June 20, 2002… Allan Rock, Minister of Industry, today joined Dr. David W. Strangway, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), to announce the names of nine large-scale research infrastructure projects aimed at promoting Canada’s position in the areas of marine and environmental sciences, infectious diseases, astronomy, light sources, and particle physics.

"These projects represent a bold step into the future of our research community and of our country," said Industry Minister Rock. "They will have a significant impact in showcasing the best of Canadian research in a global context, and in enabling our researchers to make a distinctive impact on international science."

"These projects will strengthen Canada’s reputation as a research dynamo," said Dr. Strangway. "Over 500 Canadian researchers at 26 universities across the country will play a leading role in scientific collaborations that hold great potential for significant benefits for Canada and the other countries involved."

These projects were selected by the CFI Board of Directors upon the recommendation of a Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee comprised of leading researchers and practitioners from around the world. Each proposal was also reviewed by leading international experts in the area of research. The specific funding allocation of each project will be announced in the coming weeks following a budget review in consultation with the institutions.

The International Joint Ventures Fund is aimed at creating infrastructure in Canada that would showcase internationally outstanding research being undertaken in Canada, and to enable Canadian researchers to collaborate with the best scientists in the world.

The International Access Fund is designed to offer Canadian researchers access to world-class research collaborations and facilities located elsewhere in the world which will allow them to collaborate with the best researchers in many subject areas that are important for Canadians.

Three projects were selected under the International Venture Fund:

  • research icebreaker to study the changing Arctic Ocean and global climate change issues;
  • A highly innovative 5-beam advanced laser — capable of spanning a very wide range of wavelengths — a fundamental tool to transform the Canadian research and training environment in disciplines such as physics, chemistry, and biotechnology; and
  • A major new International Facility for Underground Science to transform Ontario's internationally renowned Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) from a large-scale experiment to a world-class facility and scientific destination.

Six projects were selected under the International Access Fund:

  • The Neptune Program to strengthen Canada’s leadership in research in the deep ocean;
  • The Canada-Kenya research laboratory to provide outstanding researchers in Canada—and their international collaborating partners in Nairobi, Oxford and Washington—with a state-of-the-art facility for research on highly infectious diseases such as AIDS and hemorrhagic fever;
  • A joint Canada-UK SCUBA-2 camera (SCUBA: submillimetre common user bolometer array) to be located on the James Clark Maxwell Telescope, in Hawaii, to produce images of the deep universe using radio waves;
  • The Canadian access-fee to the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) Telescope—a major international construction to be based in Chile, which will be the foremost land-based instrument over the next 20 years;
  • A beamline at the most advanced neutron spallation installation in the world, at Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the USA, to secure the leadership of Canadian researchers in using neutrons to look at engineering materials; and
  • The KOPIO Project—a new experiment in particle physics to explore the origin of matter. The project is a major new international initiative led by a team of internationally renowned Canadian scientists in Canada, and involves 63 scientists in six countries.

Canadian universities submitted a number of proposals reflecting their own institutional research priorities. The proposals were reviewed against the following criteria:

  • investments in infrastructure;
  • provision of access to facilities outside Canada;
  • provision of access to international programs.

These projects were selected following a national competition and will be funded by the CFI from two special $100 million allocations announced in Budget 2000. This is the first time infrastructure projects targeting multiple areas of international research are being announced in Canada.

The CFI is an independent, not-for-profit corporation established by the Government of Canada in 1997 to support the development of world-class research infrastructure at Canadian universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutions. The CFI has been entrusted with a capital investment budget of $3.15 billion.


For more information, please contact:

Douglas Lauriault
Director,
Public Affairs
Canada Foundation for Innovation
(613) 996-3193
douglas.lauriault [at] innovation.ca
Selena Beattie
Office of Allan Rock
Minister of Industry
Tel.: (613) 995-9001
 

Backgrounder

Selected projects by area of research

International Joint Ventures Fund:

Marine and environmental sciences:

  • research icebreaker to study the changing Arctic Ocean and global climate change issues. Canada will now have its own state-of-the-art dedicated research icebreaker to navigate the ice-locked waters of the Arctic. This ship—a national facility—will be home to world-class Arctic scientists doing research in Canada, with Canadians and for Canadians. This essential infrastructure will provide the platform for the training of the next generation of arctic researchers and will help build a bigger, stronger Arctic research community in Canada. Researchers and graduate students will be able to advance our understanding of the environmental processes at work in the arctic, particularly looking at the effect of global warming on marine life and on ocean processes and the weather. The ship and its high technology equipment will generate an enormous amount of interest globally and will enhance Canada's international partnerships in this key area of research. The administrative centre will be located at the Université Laval.

Light Sources:

  • The development of a highly innovative 5-beam advanced laser—able to span a very wide range of wavelengths—will become a fundamental tool for a vast number of researchers in disciplines such as physics, chemistry, and biotechnology. The new facility will provide the ability to select, image and manipulate chemical events down to the level of the individual molecule. The laser is expected to become a familiar part of a world-class university's infrastructure and, in many cases, it will be able to replace highly expensive and remotely located synchrotron experiments. The administrative centre will be located at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in the Université du Québec.

Particle Physics:

  • The establishment of a major new International Facility for Underground Science in Canada will transform Ontario's internationally renowned Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) from an experiment into a world-class research facility. The enhanced facility will address some of the most fundamental questions in science: How does the sun work? What is the universe made of? What are the masses of the neutrinos? How do they mix, and what do they tell us about how Nature’s forces unified? What is the role of neutrinos in explosions of massive stars and the production of the heaviest elements in the periodic table? The new facility will allow Canada to attract more international researchers, strengthen existing international collaborations and forge new international collaborations. It will also secure Canada's leadership position in underground science and particle physics. The administrative centre will be located at Carleton University.


International Access Fund:

Marine and environmental sciences:

  • The Neptune Program will strengthen Canada’s leadership in research in the deep ocean: the last physical frontier on Earth. It will be the most advanced tool for gathering data on tectonics and marine processes and will open a window for the world to look at what is happening in the deep ocean. The program will lay sensors around the entire Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, just off Vancouver Island, and will allow researchers to study the movement of the sea bed, earthquakes, marine life and the movement of the oceans, all in real time. The program will develop and use state of the art marine technology and will also help develop technologies which could be used in planned research on other planets and moons, such as Europa. The administrative centre will be located at the University of Victoria.

Infectious diseases:

  • A new Canada-Kenya research laboratory will provide outstanding researchers in Canada, and their international collaborating partners in Nairobi, Oxford and Washington, with a state-of-the-art facility to conduct research on infectious disease research. The new facility will enable the international team to carry out complex genetic analysis of fresh—as opposed to frozen—biological samples in real time, in a setting where highly infectious diseases such as AIDS and hemorrhagic fever are prevalent. Sophisticated computer systems will connect the Canadian researchers with the site, and allow the rapid exchange of clinical, fieldwork and epidemiological data. Uncontrolled infectious diseases are widely recognized as a global health and economic problem. The Canadian-led research team is expected to attract considerable international interest as they make discoveries on the immunology and pathogenesis of new emerging infections, and develop treatments such as new vaccines. The administrative centre will be located at the University of Manitoba.

Astronomy:

  • A joint Canada-UK SCUBA-2 camera (SCUBA: submillimetre common user bolometer array) to be located on the James Clark Maxwell Telescope, in Hawaii, will offer an unprecedented installation to produce images of the deep universe using radio waves. Its new detector technology will make it up to 1000 times better than its predecessor (SCUBA) which was the best land-based instrument of its type, and had an impact in astronomy which is surpassed only by the Hubble telescope. The camera will be able to quickly produce better images of the deeper parts of the universe and will be unmatched as a large-scale star and galaxy mapping tool. It will be invaluable for researchers who will be able to pinpoint their specific areas of interest from these maps, and the speed of the camera will enable much more research to happen: it should be possible to do in one night what currently takes almost 3 years. The administrative centre of this project will be located at the University of Waterloo.
  • The Canadian access-fee to the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre Array) Telescope—a major international construction to be based in Chile, which will be the foremost land-based instrument over the next 20 years. ALMA will have unprecedented sensitivity and resolution which will allow astronomers to investigate such matters as the processes involved in galaxy formation as well as star and planet formation. The administrative centre will be located at the University of Calgary.

Neutron source:

  • Nobel Prize Winner and McMaster University’s Professor Emeritus, Dr. Bertram Brockhouse, invented the inelastic neutron scattering technique which allows researchers to study materials at the atomic level, without damaging the material. A CFI-funded beamline at the most advanced neutron spallationinstallation in the world, at Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the USA, will enable Canadian researchers to secure their leadership in using neutrons to look at engineering materials. The new facility will enable researchers to study materials in conditions which are currently impossible, for example, to examine materials in moving parts, such as in a running engine; and to look in real time at the stresses produced by repetitive actions. The administrative centre will be located at McMaster University.

Particle physics:

  • The KOPIO Project is a new experiment in particle physics to explore the origin of matter. The project is a major new international initiative led by and internationally outstanding team of scientists in Canada, and involves 63 scientists in six countries. The project will probe the innermost secrets of matter and energy which are hidden in the world of fundamental particles. These particles compose all matter and the laws they obey apply at all times and places in the universe: the goal of particle physics is discover and understand the rules that govern the behaviour of particles, and thereby better understand what the universe is and how it came to be. The project will also make important advances in accelerator and detector technologies, which will also have broader applications in areas outside of particle physics. The administrative centre will be located at the University of British Columbia.