The CFI Invests $7.9 Million for Canadian Radio Astronomy Research

November 26, 2003

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Access to ALMA will help maintain Canada’s position amongst the top three nations in terms of academic research in radio astronomy and will be of great importance to our understanding of the origins of stars and planetary systems.

“This investment represents an important step forward in supporting the highest levels of research excellence,” said Industry Minister Allan Rock. “It will allow Canadian research institutions and their researchers access to the first ever ‘world observatory.’”

“Today’s investment will make it possible for Canadian researchers to witness the formation of the earliest and most distant galaxies and to examine the details of star and planet formation,” said Mrs. Charette. “But ALMA will go far beyond these main science drivers, and will have a major impact on virtually all areas of astronomy.”

“Canada’s researchers have made outstanding contributions to the development of science and innovation in Canada,” said Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, Minister of Veteran Affairs and Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development). “This strategic investment in the knowledge-based economy will ultimately improve Canada's economic performance in the global market.”

ALMA represents the merger of a number of major millimeter array projects into one global project. McMaster University will be working closely with the project’s administrative lead institution: the University of Calgary. This 15-country partnership includes all the leading research institutions in astronomy for which this is the priority program. It is jointly led by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the United States and the European Southern Observatory. The project leader for the CFI is Russ Taylor, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Calgary.

"These strategic, international partnerships will allow Canadian researchers to be at the cutting-edge of scientific research," said Stephen Owen, Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Indian Affairs and Northern Development). "Through collaboration projects such as the one announced today, we will without a doubt improve the quality of life for all Canadians."

This announcement is the fifth of nine large-scale international research projects being funded under the CFI’s two International Funds—the International Joint Ventures Fund and the International Access Fund. The International Access Fund, which includes projects such as ALMA, provides access for Canadian institutions and their best researchers to facilities in other countries and major international collaborative programs. They will perform innovative research through unique collaborative research opportunities that will lead to significant benefits for Canada.

The CFI is an independent corporation established by the Government of Canada in 1997 to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and other non-profit research organizations to carry out world-class research and technology development.

For more information:

Valérie Poulin
Coordinator, Media Relations
Canada Foundation for Innovation
(613) 996-3160
cell: (613) 447-1723
Mylène Dupéré
Press Secretary
Office of Allan Rock
Minister of Industry
(613) 995-9001
Daphne Guerrero
Communications Advisor
Office of Dr. Rey Pagtakhan
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State
(Science, Research & Development)
(613) 995-1333 
Joanne Meyer 
Office of Stephen Owen
Secretary of State
(Western Economic Diversification) 
(Indian Affairs and Northern Development)
(613) 952-7418