University of Saskatchewan

September 19, 2014   

Grand Opening of Canadian Light Source Ushers in New Era for Research

October 22, 2004

After five and a half years of construction and $174-million invested, Canadian science is set to go global with today’s grand opening of the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron at the University of Saskatchewan.

"As one of the top `third-generation' synchrotrons in existence and a model for newer facilities, Canada joins 15 other countries who are using synchrotron science to investigate matter in a whole new light," said federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale.

"We are confident the research conducted at the Canadian Light Source will have world-wide implications and Canadians will be the first to benefit from new discoveries in areas of human health, environmental technologies, and materials science. This project is a shining example of the Government of Canada's continuing investments in research and new technology to ensure Canadians can fully participate in the 21st century economy."

The U of S-owned national facility is one of Canada’s largest science projects in a generation. The made-in-Saskatchewan design is one of the most efficient, compact and most advanced in the world.

"In its pursuit of excellence, the University of Saskatchewan has secured a Canadian flagship science facility and increased Saskatchewan's already high standing in the global research community," said Premier Lorne Calvert. "We aren't just opening a world-class synchrotron. We are launching opportunities in Saskatchewan that will lead to profound advances in science and technology for the benefit of all people."

“The CLS is an impressive example of the type of partnerships that are essential to ensure Canada’s capacity to effectively compete internationally in important areas of research,” said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

The world’s newest synchrotron is the product of an unprecedented level of co-operation among federal, provincial and municipal governments, universities across the country and industry.

“A national facility of this calibre is tremendous for our university and our research collaborators at 26 universities across Canada,” says U of S President Peter MacKinnon. “We have a very large research capacity at U of S and that capacity has just taken a quantum leap forward. The opening of the CLS marks a new era of more intensive engagement for both our faculty and students.”

The first call for proposals to do research at the CLS went out in September, with the first experiments expected to take place early in 2005. Six of the seven Phase I beamlines will be complete by the end of 2004, with the seventh coming on stream in the first quarter of 2005. A $44.5 million Phase II expansion will add five more beamlines, with the first scheduled for commissioning in 2007. There is room for more than 30 beamlines at the synchrotron.

“Today, we are celebrating the start of the research phase in the life of the CLS,” says CLS Executive Director Bill Thomlinson. “I would like to congratulate our team here at the CLS. Due to their efforts, we are entering the global synchrotron community with a state-of-the-art research facility. I also want to applaud the vision of our partners in government, academia and industry. Your investments and support will pay dividends to Canadians for many years to come.” Saskatoon Mayor Donald Atchison said that the strong relationship fostered between the City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan is critical for mutual success.

“We view the City of Saskatoon’s unprecedented $2.4 million involvement in science as an investment in our future -- the future of research and development, the future of economic development, and the future of job creation in our community,” Atchison said.

Like the 40 or so other synchrotrons around the world, the CLS accelerates a stream of electrons. This hair-thin beam travels at nearly the speed of light around a ring-shaped vacuum chamber about as thick as a man’s wrist. Powerful electromagnets built around this stainless steel pipe keep the electrons moving around the ring.

The electrons give off a brilliant flash of laser-like light every time they are forced to change direction. This synchrotron light is produced in all frequencies from infrared through visible light to X-rays. This light is guided through beamlines to end stations where scientists perform a wide range of experiments.

CLS funding partners include the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian government (including Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), Natural Resources Canada, and the National Research Council), Saskatchewan Industry and Resources, Ontario Innovation Trust through the Ontario Synchrotron Consortium, the Government of Alberta through the Alberta Science and Research Authority, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, U of S, the City of Saskatoon, SaskPower, Boehringer Ingelheim, University of Western Ontario and University of Alberta. GlaxoSmithKline has also provided funding towards a U of S chair in an area of synchrotron science.

The total operating budget is $90 million over five years. This includes funding from Science and Engineering Research Canada (also known as NSERC), WD, the National Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the U of S. To support the development of an anticipated $5 million from commercial fee-for-service charges, WD and Saskatchewan Industry and Resources are also providing bridge funding.

For more information on Canada’s synchrotron, including print-quality photographs, visit:

Note to Editors: Stock footage of the CLS facility (including interior overhead photos), an explanatory diagram and a beta tape of an animation showing how a synchrotron works are all available through the Research Communications Office.

For more information, contact:

Michael Robin
U of S Research Communications
(306) 966-2427

Matthew Dalzell
Canadian Light Source Inc.
(306) 657-3739


The Canadian Light Source – A National Partnership

The $174-million U of S-owned national facility represents an unprecedented scientific collaboration of government, academic and industry partners from across Canada. Below are comments from partners.

“The Canadian Light Source is a shining example of successful partnership across government towards the common goal of expanding the boundaries of our knowledge,” said the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry. “I am proud to see our Industry portfolio partners, such as NSERC and the National Research Council, contributing to such an important and inspiring initiative.”

"Synchrotron light will be a tremendous boost to Canada's research capacity and will lead to tangible environmental, social and economic rewards for Canadians," said the Honourable Stephen Owen, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport). "This world-class facility demonstrates the success of collaboration and Western Economic Diversification Canada is extremely proud to have helped secure the support of other federal partners for this project."

"The Canadian Light Source is a great scientific and engineering achievement, unique in Canada as the first state-of-the-art synchrotron facility designed, built and operated in our country," said Interim National Research Council President Michael Raymont. "The CLS will benefit science in many disciplines, and NRC is proud to have played a leading role in this project since its inception and looks forward to CLS research collaborations in the future."

"As one of Canada's pre-eminent science departments, Natural Resources Canada is proud to support the CLS synchrotron,” said the Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada." It will advance the Government of Canada's commitment to the development of 21st century technologies, contributing to their economic importance through knowledge, innovation, and international leadership."

"The Canadian Light Source will lead to profound advances in science. It marks the launching of a key element in our drive to place Canada and Saskatchewan at the centre of global research and development activities," said the Honorable Eric Cline, Minister of Saskatchewan Industry and Resources. "We are extremely proud to have this facility in Saskatchewan. It represents unprecedented partnerships, opportunities and knowledge."

“Through 75 years of operation, SaskPower has served our customers and helped to build the provincial economy, said the Honorable Frank Quennell, Q.C., Minister Responsible for SaskPower. “The Canadian Light Source synchrotron is a window on the future and our contribution ensures SaskPower will see the possibilities that lie ahead of us.”

“NSERC is proud to support the work being done at the Canadian Light Source in Saskatchewan,” said Dr. Tom Brzustowski, President of NSERC. “This facility will serve to enhance Canada’s competitiveness in a broad range of scientific disciplines, while helping us to become one of the world’s top countries in R&D. We are pleased today to confirm an ongoing annual commitment of $5.6 million towards the CLS operating costs.”

"The Synchrotron is the microscope of the 21st century, providing a powerful tool for Canadian scientists to understand the molecular secrets of the human body,” said Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of CIHR.

"The University of Saskatchewan is to be congratulated for securing and building one of the largest science initiatives in Canada", said University of Alberta President Dr. Roderick Fraser. "The opening of the Canadian Light Source will have a tremendous impact on the work of the Alberta Synchrotron Institute in building research capacity in synchrotron applications in Alberta. We look forward to increasing our close collaboration as the CLS becomes fully operational".

"The successful collaborations between provincial and federal organizations in realizing the establishment of ASI and the CLS place Alberta in a competitve position for attracting and retaining innovation researchers," said Dr. Kevin Keough, President and CEO of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. "In Alberta, AHFMR has pioneered investment in top-notch health researchers. Our commitment to this initiative is one more example of our long-term investment for very positive future health outcomes."

"This world-class facility is the result of true team effort and reinforces a Canada-wide commitment to investing in the future. The Alberta Science and Research Authority is proud to be part of such an important initiative that will allow new discoveries in priority areas of life sciences and energy," said Dr. Marvin Fritzler, Chair Alberta Science and Research Authority.

"The University of Western Ontario is extremely pleased to join our partners in developing the cutting-edge research that will be carried-out at the Canadian Light Source," says Dr. Nils Petersen, Western's Vice-President (Research). "Western has been inextricably linked to the synchrotron project from the very beginning and we look to shed light on discoveries using this facility for many years to come."

"Congratulations to the large CLS team for an incredible effort, and marvellous results," said Dr. Michael Bancroft, Executive-Director of the Ontario Synchrotron Consortium. "I am particularly pleased that the PGM beamline, funded by the Ontario Synchrotron Consortium, has recently produced the first outstanding experimental results from the synchrotron radiation produced by the CLS facility."

“We are extremely pleased to have participated in such an important project for the future of Canadian science and technology,” said Dr. Michael Cordingley, Vice-President Research for Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. “Boehringer Ingelheim maintains a strong commitment to research and development in Canada and the new protein crystallography beamline will be an exciting resource for our pharmaceutical research scientists.”

"We are proud to support the University of Saskatchewan's pioneering research in synchrotron science," said Kevin Fehr, Director, Basic Research & Genetics at GlaxoSmithKline Inc. "We believe in the enormous potential of this light source for medical research. It is our hope that the end result will be more effective drug therapies and ultimately improved health outcomes for patients in Canada and around the world."

"We view the City of Saskatoon's unprecedented $2.4 million involvement in science as an investment in our future - the future of research and development, the future of economic development, and the future of job creation in our community," said Saskatoon Mayor Donald Atchison. "To the academics, researchers, and technicians who will work at this facility – Saskatoon welcomes you with open arms - we sincerely hope you enjoy our warm hospitality. To the rest of the world, we encourage you to follow Canada's bright new light to our doorstep, and discover how Saskatoon Shines!"

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