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Large investment in small particles

Queen’s receives $63.7 million federal government investment to form Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre.

  • Tony Noble, Interim Director of Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC), speaks at Queen's University's Stirling Hall during the funding announcement on Tuesday. (University Communications)
    Tony Noble, Interim Director of Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC), speaks at Queen's University's Stirling Hall during the funding announcement on Tuesday. (University Communications)
  • Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, announces the investment of $63.7 million Canada First Research Excellence Fund to support the creation of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC). (Bernard Clark)
    Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, announces the investment of $63.7 million Canada First Research Excellence Fund to support the creation of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC). (Bernard Clark)
  • Queen's student Elizabeth Fletcher talks about the impact that the support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund will have.
    Queen's student Elizabeth Fletcher talks about the impact that the support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund will have.
  • Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research) speaks at Stirling Hall after it was announced that the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC) had received $63.7 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. (University Communications)
    Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research) speaks at Stirling Hall after it was announced that the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC) had received $63.7 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. (University Communications)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf thanks the Government of Canada after it invested $63.7 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund to support the creation of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC). (University Communications)
    Principal Daniel Woolf thanks the Government of Canada after it invested $63.7 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund to support the creation of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC). (University Communications)

Queen’s University announced today that it has received an investment of $63.7 million from the Government of Canada’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) to support the creation of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC).

The centre aims to strengthen partnerships between Queen’s and other Canadian universities, attract top talent and build on Canada’s position as a leader in the field.

About the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre

Objectives

  1. To expand on the scientific culture at Queen’s University and partner institutions by building a powerful team working on all aspects of particle astrophysics.
  2. To extract maximum scientific output from the current suite of SNOLAB experiments, by strengthening the scientific resources at Canadian universities and engaging the broader community in the undertaking.
  3. To create a research team with the ability to lead global-scale, next generation experiments and attract international collaboration; and
  4. To create opportunities to embed students at all stages of their careers in this scientific culture, developing skills and creating training opportunities through linkages to colleges, industries and international programs.

Partner Universities

  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • Carleton University
  • Laurentian University
  • McGill University
  • Université de Montréal
  • University of Toronto

Partner Organizations

  • Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
  • The Institute of Particle Physics (IPP)
  • The Perimeter Institute
  • SNOLAB
  • TRIUMF

“We are very thankful to the Government of Canada for their support for the new Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund is a testament to the impact that Queen’s researchers are having in Canada and internationally in the study of the deepest mysteries of the universe. This new research centre will expand the scientific culture at Queen’s by attracting highly-skilled researchers who will lead the way on the next generation of ground-breaking experiments.”

The new centre will be headquartered at Queen’s, with members located at seven affiliated Canadian universities and five affiliated research organizations. To support the centre’s continuing and future research and experiments, 41 positions for researchers, engineers, designers and technicians will be created. In addition, positions for approximately 18 postdoctoral fellows and 40 graduate students will be created on an annual basis. Queen’s has already committed to adding seven new faculty members – including two Tier II Canada Research Chairs – in support of the centre and its research aims.

“Through this initiative we will develop new particle astrophysics detectors capable of probing the highest priority questions in physics today while integrating students, fostering greater international collaboration, engaging industry and cementing Canada’s place as the global leader in the field,” says Tony Noble, Interim Director of CPARC.

The funding will be used to establish the CPARC as the world’s leading research group in the study of particle astrophysics. Through its new and existing partnerships, the centre will be involved in many of the world’s leading dark matter (PICO, NEWS, SuperCDMS and DEAP-3600) and neutrino physics (SNO+) experiments. These partnerships will allow researchers to extract maximum scientific output from the current suite of SNOLAB experiments.

"Today's investment in creating CPARC is evidence of the government's commitment to excellence in research,” says Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands. “This funding will help Queen's researchers become global leaders in particle astrophysics and is critical to Canada's long-term success in today's globally competitive world."

In addition to its primary research aims, the new centre will also provide additional opportunities for industry partnerships, which will benefit, amongst others, the nuclear, mining and medical industries. It will also provide new opportunities to embed students at all stages of their careers in this scientific culture, developing skills and creating training opportunities through linkages to colleges, industries and international programs.

“At Queen’s we have fostered a culture of research excellence and strongly encourage and support the collaborative efforts of our researchers,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “Through its many partnerships and the collective work of its researchers, the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre will cement Queen’s and Canada’s place as a world-leading destination for particle astrophysics research.”

Particle astrophysics is an institutional priority at Queen’s University. A leading research-intensive university, Queen’s has consistently demonstrated its unwavering support for this field since the inception of the SNO project over two decades ago. In 2014, Queen’s announced the appointment of Dr. Gilles Gerbier as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Particle Astrophysics. Dr. Art McDonald’s co-receipt of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, and the awarding of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, came in recognition of his leadership role in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory team – many of whom are now leaders on the CPARC initiative.