Proposed Synchrotron Projects Heads into Final Funding Review
Oct. 23, 1998
For Immediate Release
PROPOSED SYNCHROTRON PROJECTS HEADS INTO FINAL FUNDING REVIEW
The University of Saskatchewan-led synchrotron project and three other proposed research projects will advance to the final stage of review in the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) funding competition.
The CFI announced Monday that its board of directors has decided to send four U of S-based projects, including the $178.2-million Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron project, on to the second round of review which entails more detailed assessment.
"We're delighted that we've passed this hurdle with the CLS and we're now in the home stretch," said University of Saskatchewan president George Ivany.
"This national research facility is now a very good bet to go ahead. This is heartening news for our researchers and for those at the 17 major Canadian universities that have endorsed our proposal."
Saskatchewan Economic and Co-operative Development Minister Janice MacKinnon said, "Weâ€™re pleased to see the Synchrotron moving to another stage in its approval process, and are confident in the results from this due diligence the CFI is performing.
"The Synchrotron is a major project for our research community and will create many research and construction jobs in the provincial economy. We look forward to a lot of innovative research and economic benefits from the Synchrotron, not only for Saskatchewan, but for the rest of the nation as well."
As expected, the CFI review panel wants more detail on specific aspects of the proposal. However, the questions the CFI wants answered won't be known until the CFI informs the university later this week.
The final CFI decision on the synchrotron project may not be known until March.
The proposed synchrotron, if successful in securing the final $71.3 million from the CFI, would be the biggest scientific project ever built in Canada. It could be under construction on the U of S campus as early as next April.
Of the $106.9 million that's already in place, $42.8 million is committed from public sector partners, there's an in-kind contribution of $32.6 million (the Saskatchewan Accelerator Laboratory site and beamline contributions from the University of Western Ontario), and $31.5 million is anticipated from corporations.
The CFI has also invited three other proposed U of S projects to undergo further review. These are:
- Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Center -- a centre for studying the structure of matter using state-of-the-art instruments such as X-ray equipment, microscopes and lasers.
Total cost: $7.75 million, with $3.1 million requested from the CFI and the rest to come from provincial and federal agency partners.
- Infrastructure for Applied Animal, Plant and Microbial Biotechnology -- a sixth-floor addition to the College of Agriculture building for applied biotechnology research in animal, poultry and food science. It would include a food science research and development pilot plant.
Total cost: $14.89 million, with $3.96 million requested from the CFI and the rest from industry and private donations.
- Regional Site Licenses for Full-Text and Database Research Information Services -- purchase of Western Canadian-wide licences for full-test digital scientific and technical journals.
Total cost: $11 million, with $4.4 million requested from the CFI and $6.6 million to come from all Western Canadian university libraries.
The CFI is an independent, federally funded foundation with an $800-million endowment to spend on boosting Canada's national research infrastructure. The four U of S projects are among 159 nationally that will advance for further consideration.
Dr. Dennis Skopik, director of the Saskatchewan Accelerator Laboratory, stressed the CLS is critical to Canada's ability to maintain its scientific and industrial competitiveness. Canada is the only G7 country without one. At present, Canadian academic researchers spend more than $1 million a year using foreign synchrotron facilities.
The synchrotron would produce light a million times more intense than medical X-rays by using strong magnets to accelerate elections. It's an indispensable high-tech tool for both pure and applied research by university and industry researchers.
It would be used to probe the structure of matter, develop new drugs, design new microchips for more powerful computers, manufacture tiny biomedical implants, and create new materials.
A 1996 peer review sponsored by Canada's leading scientific granting agency has urged that Canada construct a synchrotron and that the national facility should be located at the site of the accelerator laboratory on the U of S campus.
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