2023 Major Science Initiatives Fund workshop

NOVEMBER 2 TO 3, 2023


This two-day workshop is an opportunity for representatives of the 19 facilities currently funded through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiatives Fund (MSIF) to share their knowledge and discover new ideas for how to optimize Canada’s research facilities of national importance.

Have questions? Get in touch at msi-ism [at] innovation.ca (msi-ism[at]innovation[dot]ca)

Download a list of participants

Download the agenda

Download the University of Saskatchewan campus map

7 – 8 a.m.     Breakfast and check-in (Garry Room)


8 – 8:30 a.m.     Opening Remarks (Garry Room)


8:30 – 9:30 a.m.     Panel 1: Diversifying and expanding the facility user base to optimize benefits for Canada (Garry Room)

The users of research facilities supported through the Major Science Initiatives Fund span interdisciplinary researchers, institutions and organizations from across Canada and the world. A key goal of all facilities is to support research communities while optimizing the use of their equipment, services, resources and personnel. The panel will discuss various strategies to expand the user base and will identify potential barriers and how to mitigate them to maximize user access. The panelists will also share how their facilities maximize the use of their resources, approaches to deepen user engagement and support, and how these actions broadly benefit Canadians. 



  • Volker Gerdts, Director and CEO, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO)


9:30 – 10:30 a.m.     Panel 2: Community outreach and engagement (Garry Room)

Research facilities share their knowledge, expertise and services with diverse communities beyond their research users. These communities may include schools, patient groups or Indigenous communities. Facilities’ activities range from public outreach and science advocacy to engagement and partnerships with certain communities. The panelists will discuss the roles that their research facilities play among communities outside their user base and how this engagement enhances their impact. They will also discuss barriers to community outreach and engagement and how to mitigate them. The panelists will highlight opportunities and good practices for public outreach and engagement, particularly with Indigenous communities. 


  • Pauline Gerrard, Deputy Director, IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA)

  • Georgina Lloyd, Assistant Deputy Minister, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)

  • Daniela Loock, Director, Corporate Service, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC)


  • Janet Dancey, Director, Canadian Cancer Trials Group Operations and Statistics Centre (CCTG)


9:30 – 10:30 a.m.     Discussion with the CFI Session 1: Defining, measuring and assessing the impact of research facilities (Private Dining Room)

This interactive session will be a more focused and smaller group discussion for participants to pose questions to the CFI about impact measurement for research facilities. This is also a forum for participants to share their experiences, challenges and good practices for measuring impacts. 


  • Stéphane Mercure, Director of Performance, Analytics and Evaluation, CFI

  • Tomoka Takeuchi, Senior Evaluation Analyst, CFI


10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Networking (Garry Room)


10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Discussion with the CFI Session 2: A forum for finance professionals to discuss MSIF finance-related matters (Private Dining Room)

This interactive session will be a more focused and smaller group discussion for participants to pose questions to the CFI’s Finance staff on matters related to finance and the Participants can also share their experiences, challenges and good practices for financial oversight and administration of research facilities. 


  • Dominique Brisebois, Director of Finance, CFI

  • Gabriela Manoiu, Senior Finance Analyst, CFI


11:45 – 12:45 p.m. Panel 3: Keeping Canadian facilities at the global forefront as technology rapidly changes and new opportunities and challenges arise (Garry Room)

With technology changing faster than ever before, research facilities are aiming to keep up with new technology to remain internationally competitive and cater to a broad range of research users. For example, AI is fast improving scientific and engineering workflows, while the throughput and speed of research tools are steadily increasing. This panel will discuss challenges and opportunities created by rapidly evolving analytical tools and instruments and how research facilities continue to enable state-of-the-art science. The panelists will discuss strategies to address obsolescence, retrain staff on new instrumentation and extend the useful life of infrastructure. 


  • Naveed Aziz, CEO, CGEn – Canada’s national facility for genome sequencing and analysis

  • François Légaré, Scientific Head, Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS)

  • Warren Wakarchuk, Scientific Director, GlycoNet Integrated Services


  • Mark Boland, Machine Director, Canadian Light Source Inc. (CLS)


12:45 – 2 p.m. Lunch (Garry Room)


2 – 5 p.m. Facility visits (Departure from Marquis Hall Lobby)


5:30 – 6 p.m. Reception (Garry Room)


6 – 8 p.m. Dinner (Garry Room)

Keynote speaker

  • Nigel Smith, Executive Director and CEO, TRIUMF: Developing Canadian research facilities — lessons learnt and future directions

7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast (Garry Room)


7 – 9:15 a.m. Chairs breakfast and meeting (Private Dining Room, Board Chairs and CFI only)



8 – 8:15 a.m. Opening remarks (Garry Room)

  • Mark Lagacé, Director of Programs, CFI


8:15 – 9:15 a.m. Panel 4: Research facilities in a data-intensive and open-science world (Garry Room)

Research facilities are increasingly producing or working with large datasets. Data-intensive research comes with certain challenges, including developing the capabilities to securely store, disseminate, analyze and interpret the data. The convergence of big data with open-science policies promotes greater efficiency and collaboration, but also brings challenges around making the data accessible and user friendly while navigating security and privacy issues. This panel will discuss data ownership, research and data security, strategies for robust data management and strategies for open access to bridge diverse research communities.




9:15 – 10 a.m. Plenary: Reflections from Board Chairs meeting (Garry Room)



10 – 10:30 a.m. Break (Garry Room)


10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Panel 5: International collaborations of research facilities (Garry Room)

International collaboration is part of all advanced research enterprises. However, the international landscape is transforming and impacting how research facilities collaborate internationally. The panel will offer their perspectives on how to develop international collaboration with research facilities and how to mitigate barriers to participating in such joint initiatives. This panel is particularly relevant at a time when funding organizations and others are accelerating the pace of innovation and discovery by involving more researchers and their institutions. 


  • Girma Bitsuamlak, Director, Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment Research Facility (WindEEE)

  • Inmaculada Figueroa, Vice Chair, European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)

  • Roland Roberts, Deputy Chief Officer for Research Facilities, U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)



11:30 a.m. – noon Concluding messages and closing remarks (Garry Room)


Noon: Meeting adjourned