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Major funding boost for two Queen’s-affiliated research institutions

Window on a Window to the Universe – An underwater camera mounted in the SNO+ (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory) neutrino detector captures a snapshot image when the 12-metre diameter acrylic sphere is 85 per cent full.
(Photo credit: Mark Chen, Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy)

Seven of Canada’s leading and internationally renowned research facilities will receive a large funding boost of almost $40 million, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Science Initiatives (CFI MSI) fund.  Two of these national facilities, SNOLAB and the Canadian National Design Network, are affiliated with Queen’s and will be granted $12 million from the funds to continue their operations and contributions to leading-edge research.

Queen’s is affiliated with national research facilities that receive support thought the Major Science Initiatives fund:
The Canadian Cancer Trials Group
SNOLAB
Canada’s National Design Network

Announced today by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, the funding is part of an additional $160 million for the CFI MSI included in last year’s federal budget. The new funding will support cutting-edge, collaborative, international research that is helping to power Canada’s scientific productivity and economic competitiveness.

“The Major Science Initiatives fund supports ongoing operations for a select group of national research facilities that serve as hubs for collaboration in research and innovation,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Through our leadership in these initiatives, such as SNOLAB and Canada’s National Design Network, researchers at Queen’s gain access to leading edge infrastructure – aiding them in addressing some of the most important issues facing society, such as advanced manufacturing, cancer treatment, and probing the deepest mysteries of the universe.”

Of the almost $40 million increase to seven of Canada’s research facilities, over $12 million will support Queen’s-affiliated SNOLAB and Canada’s National Design Network:

SNOLAB will receive almost $7 million in support of the lab’s continued operation. Located 2km below the surface, in the Vale Creighton Mine located near Sudbury, SNOLAB was born out of the Queen’s-led Sudbury Neutrino Observatory – for which Arthur McDonald was named co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics and winner of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. SNOLAB is one of only a handful of underground laboratories worldwide capable of supporting the current and future generations of subatomic and astroparticle physics experiments, including the search for Galactic dark matter and the study of neutrino properties and sources.

The work conducted as part of the SNO collaboration and, subsequently, at SNOLAB has led to groundbreaking results cementing Canada’s, and Queen’s, reputation as world leaders in the field.  Building on this history of success, Queen’s is home to Gilles Gerbier, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Particle Astrophysics. SNOLAB continues to attract top-flight scientific collaborations, including through the Queen’s-based Arthur B. McDonald Astroparticle Physics Research Institute.

Canada’s National Design Network (CNDN) managed by CMC Microsystems provides researchers with access to products and services for designing, prototyping and testing their ideas. The $5.3 million funding increase will continue to support researchers across the network by providing state-of-the-art commercial design tools, expertise and industrial connections for research and development in advanced smart technologies.

The long-term goal of the CNDN is to foster Canadian leadership in advanced technology manufacturing and establish Canada as a global technology leader. Queen’s works with CMC Microsystems to manage CFI funds granted to Queen’s as part of Canada’s National Design Network.

“The support of the Government of Canada through the CFI is critical to ensuring that these prominent research centres can continue to contribute to leading-edge discovery,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The enhanced funding ensures consistency of operations of these facilities, allowing our researchers to focus on their important work.”

For more information on the CFI MSI, please visit the website.

This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette.