University of Saskatchewan

September 22, 2014   

Government invests $3.1 million to advance synchrotron and solar energy research at U of S

May 26, 2011

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — Today the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Canada and Gordon Wyant, MLA for Saskatoon Northwest on behalf of the Honourable Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration, joined U of S President Peter MacKinnon and Dr. Tom Ellis from the Canadian Light Source to announce $3.1 million dollars towards two innovative projects in Saskatchewan’s science and technology sector.

“It is passion and commitment that drive our world-class researchers to see beyond the test tube or computer model to the creation of new industrial products that improve our lives,” said Minister Yelich. “Our Government has that same commitment to strengthening the Canadian economy and the practical application of research helps us achieve that goal.”

“The Brockhouse project is another example of the Government of Saskatchewan’s ongoing commitment to the CLS,” Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Minister Rob Norris said. “This investment will help ensure the long-term success of the CLS, expanding our province’s role in the global knowledge-based economy and the advancement of Saskatchewan’s innovation agenda.”

“Research, teaching and learning at our university is a collaborative endeavour,” said Peter MacKinnon, president of the University of Saskatchewan. “The funding announced today will support the Solar Photovoltaic Research Group (SPRG) to achieve efficient, affordable solar power, as well as help build new beamlines at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) to investigate materials at a scale smaller than most of us can imagine. Because of this support, the university – together with its partners, the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, the University of Guelph and IBM – will make ground-breaking discoveries that change lives everywhere.”

CLS received funds for the construction and commissioning of the Brockhouse X-ray Diffraction and Scattering Sector (Brockhouse project), a suite of three beamlines and ancillary facilities which will assist researchers in investigating the structure of materials at the nanometre scale. After commissioning, these new beamlines will help researchers understand the complex make-up of natural and synthetic materials, and enable researchers to study and manipulate them for a range of applications including creating the next generation of computer chips and innovative batteries.

“The Canadian Light Source is extremely grateful for Western Economic Diversification’s ongoing support, especially with today’s announcement for the Brockhouse project,” says CLS Director of Research Tom Ellis. “The result of a partnership led by the University of Guelph that includes WD, the provinces of Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, IBM and international research institutions, Brockhouse equips the CLS with an unparalleled suite of tools for fundamental and applied research ranging from next generation computers to new ways to store energy.”

The Solar Photovoltaic Research Group (SPRG) at U of S will use their funds to purchase equipment to pursue the design, fabrication and testing of organic solar cells, improving the longevity and cost-effectiveness of existing technology and introducing new opportunities for photovoltaic power generation. U of S researchers are working to develop a new way to extend the life of solar cells and make them more affordable.

“The development of clean, alternative energy sources is the great challenge of this century. By using our knowledge of spectroscopy, electrochemistry and materials science that has been gathered through decades of fundamental scientific research, Saskatchewan scientists are now in a position to become world leaders in developing this technology,” states Professor Ron Steer, SPRG leader.

Western Economic Diversification Canada in partnership with the provinces, industry associations and communities promotes the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision-making.

- 30 -

For additional information, contact:

Lloyd Suchet
Office of the Minister of State – Western Economic Diversification

Marieka Barrie
Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration
Tel:(306) 798-3170

Professor Ronald Steer
Department of Chemistry
University of Saskatchewan
Tel: (306) 966-4667

Matthew Dalzell
Canadian Light Source
Tel: 657-3739 Cell: 227-0978

Toll-Free Number: 1 888 338-WEST (9378)
Web Site: WD is online at

A stronger West. A stronger Canada

Backgrounder (more details)

Rate This Story

Score: 2.71/5 (389 ratings)