Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Queen’s-affiliated research facilities receive more than $60 million in major science initiatives funding

The Canadian Cancer Trials Group, SNOLAB, and Canada’s National Design Network see funding increase through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Sciences Initiatives fund.

At several national research facilities, scientists are tackling global research challenges and questions, including improving cancer treatments, elucidating dark matter, and advancing manufacturing technologies.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced close to $230 million in funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for 14 Major Science Initiatives (MSI) facilities based at 10 universities across the country. Three of these MSI facilities are affiliated with or based at Queen’s.

The MSI fund supports the operation of key national research initiatives by contributing to the ongoing operational and maintenance needs of these facilities. This new and renewed funding will support cutting-edge, collaborative, international research that is helping to power Canada’s scientific productivity and economic competitiveness, as well as allowing these groups to pivot to address the COVID-19 crisis. Of the almost $230-million increase to Canada’s MSIs, over $63 million will support Queen’s-affiliated facilities.

They are:

Canadian Cancer Trials Group ($3,825,000 – additional funds following mid-term review)

Based at Queen’s University, the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) is made up of more than 80 member institutions, comprising over 2,100 Canadian investigators who have facilitated the conduct of over 500 trials in more than 40 countries.  The Group consists of a network of clinical investigators from hospitals, universities, and cancer centres across Canada, and an Operations and Statistical Centre (OSC) at Queen's University. The OSC is comprised 140 faculty and staff within its research group and a management and administrative group that oversees all aspects of cancer trial development and conduct. The OSC is, in scope and scale, unique to cancer research in Canada. It provides operational and administrative support to conduct cancer trials and associated biological specimen research.

Over its 40-year history, CCTG has made many important contributions to cancer research. CCTG studies have improved the survival and quality of life of patients with cancer both in Canada and around the world by identifying multiple new treatments that have improved patient care. Importantly, CCTG has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by developing new clinical studies for cancer patients, including CCTG IC.8, a world-first clinical trial testing a novel immune-boosting strategy.

SNOLAB ($40,890,089 – renewed funding through to 2022-23)

Located 2 km 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 provides a unique capability and competitive advantage for Canada, as it is one of only a handful of underground laboratories worldwide capable of supporting the current and future generations of subatomic and astroparticle physics experiments. These include the search for Galactic dark matter and the study of neutrino properties and sources.

Beyond the possible achievements in fundamental physics, projects at SNOLAB are developing new radiation and photo detectors that have application in medical imaging and national security, and teams are researching new mining and genomic innovations to improve productivity and health. Additionally, teams at SNOLAB are applying expertise in gas-handling and control systems used in dark matter experiments to design a simple, easy-to-build, ventilator as part of the international Mechanical Ventilator Milano project.

Canada’s National Design Network ($18,310,000 – renewed funding through to 2022-2023)

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 continued funding will 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.

Currently, CNDN is collaborating with researchers across the country, from the University of British Columbia in the west to Université Laval in the east, to develop nanotechnologies that could help in fighting the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Major Science Initiatives fund supports ongoing operations for a select group of national research hubs,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “Through our leadership in these initiatives, Queen’s researchers gain access to leading-edge infrastructure – aiding them in addressing some of the most important issues facing society, including the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more information on Canada’s Major Science Initiative facilities, visit the website.