University of Saskatchewan

September 17, 2014   


October 04, 1999

Today the $173.5-million Canadian Light Source (CLS) -- Canada's biggest scientific project in a generation -- was officially launched at a ceremony celebrating the unprecedented federal-provincial-civic-academic partnership that has led to the nation's first synchrotron facility.

The football field-sized facility is now under construction on the University of Saskatchewan campus and will begin operations in 2003. The project represents a unique funding collaboration for a Canadian scientific enterprise.

The CLS will accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light, producing intense light beams for probing the structure of matter. This could lead to new drugs, more powerful computer microchips, better engine lubricants, new materials for safer medical implants and a host of other applications.

Owned and operated by the U of S, the facility will serve the research needs of Canadian universities, industry, scientific institutions and governments.

“This will be a new light for Canadian science and innovation as we embark on a new millennium,” said U of S President Peter MacKinnon. “The collaborative efforts of Canada, Saskatchewan, the City of Saskatoon and the academic community have made this tremendous research opportunity possible.”

He noted scientists and industrial researchers will be able to analyze molecules, materials and biological samples with higher accuracy and precision than has been possible before in Canada.

Construction of the building and the synchrotron machine is expected to create 500 jobs per year over four years. More than 200 scientists, technicians and operations staff will work at the CLS by 2008 when the facility is fully operational. An independent study has estimated the CLS could attract $35 million annually in commercial research and development spending.

“Through projects like the synchrotron, we are continuing to build a culture of research excellence here in Saskatchewan,” said Premier Roy Romanow. “The synchrotron puts us on the leading edge of the new, knowledge-based global economy, and creates jobs and futures for our brilliant young researchers – our best and brightest minds.”

"This is another milestone for the Canadian Light Source project," said Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale on behalf of the federal government. "We're laying the foundation for highly-skilled jobs to help our young scientists stay in Canada, to strengthen our scientific community and to conduct international-level research and advanced technology work. Today, we're also laying the foundation for economic growth in Saskatoon, the province and Canada."

Saskatoon Mayor Henry Dayday said that the city has chosen a unique and productive way to celebrate the year 2000. "Through our financial participation in this one-of-a-kind project, the City of Saskatoon is celebrating the new millennium with an investment in our future,” he said. “The synchrotron will not only help provide hundreds of jobs and economic spin-offs for our community, it will be the cornerstone for research and development for the province and the entire country."

Over $56 million of the funding for the CLS came from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which was created by the federal government in 1997 to support infrastructure for innovative research projects. According to Foundation President and CEO David Strangway, the broad funding base and multidisciplinary nature of the CLS make it an admirable example of just such projects.

"This is a major venture, one that places Canadian researchers on the very leading edge of many of today's most exciting fields," he says. "Above all, the CLS is an undertaking that will not only enhance the quality of work done by researchers, but promises to enhance the quality of life of Canadians."

Other capital funding includes $28.3 million from federal departments, $25 million from the Government of Saskatchewan, $7.3 million from the U of S, $2.4 million from the City of Saskatoon, $2 million from SaskPower Corp. and $300,000 each from the Universities of Alberta and Western Ontario. As well, $19 million will flow from other provinces, universities and industry to build beamlines that will carry synchrotron light to researcher workstations.

The Government of Canada will provide a significant portion (about 55 per cent) of the $13.9 million in annual operating costs (1998 dollars) through agencies such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the National Research Council (NRC), and the Medical Research Council. Remaining operating costs will be covered by user fees, the U of S and other sources as required.

For an illustration of how a synchrotron works visit the U of S Synchrotron facts page.

more information about the CLS, visit the U of S Research web site at:

Other Comments from Funding Partners

"The CLS project builds on Saskatchewan's tradition of innovation and gives us another opportunity to shine on a world stage," said Economic and Co-operative Development Minister Janice MacKinnon. "The synchrotron will mean an incredible boost for our economy, through the research jobs created and the world-class research conducted, and from that research, vibrant new activity and more jobs in Saskatchewan industry."

"We are committed to helping Canada become the world's "smartest" natural resources steward, developer, user and exporter of natural resources," said Jean McCloskey, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada. "That's why we are supporting the Canadian Light Source. Its facilities will help NRCan and our partners in a wide range of fields such as forestry, energy, geology, the environment and minerals technology."

"As CLS unlocks the secrets of matter, it will open the doors to national and international scientific frontiers;" said Dr. Peter Hackett, Vice-President (Research), NRC. "Canada needs such a facility to meet the competitive challenges of the 21st century."

"The Canadian Light Source is the realization of the dreams and hard work of many individuals in the Canadian science and engineering community," said NSERC President Tom Brzustowski. "NSERC is proud to have played an early role in the review process that established the project's merit, and we look forward to supporting some of the excellent research that will take place here once the facility is built."

"The synchrotron project is exciting news for researchers and all Canadians alike," said Dr. Henry Friesen, President of the Medical Research Council. "Not only will this new facility provide researchers with exciting new opportunities here at home, all Canadians will enjoy the tangible benefits of their research and the economic spin-offs they create."

"For Canada not to have a synchrotron for the next century would be akin to not having a single microscope in a university laboratory at the start of the last century," said CLS Interim Director Michael Bancroft. "The Canadian Light Source will help stem the brain drain that has been haunting Canadian science for the past 10 years."

Rate This Story

Score: 2.81/5 (176 ratings)