Established in October 2022, Neutrons Canada is a not-for-profit research organization focused on governing, managing and representing Canada’s infrastructure program for neutron beam research and development.
Establishment of the organization, with an independent board of directors drawn from government, industry, and academic sectors, completes six years of effort by the Canadian Neutron Initiative (CNI) working group led by University of Saskatchewan (USask) Vice-President Research Baljit Singh, and McMaster Vice-President Research Karen Mossman.
As founding members of Neutrons Canada, USask and McMaster will continue to play a central role in advancing access to neutron beam infrastructure for Canadian researchers and enabling them to collaborate internationally.
McMaster physicist Bruce Gaulin is leading a $47-million Canada Foundation for Innovation-funded, multi-institutional project to develop a national neutron beam user laboratory and ensure access to international sources for Canadian scientists. The lab will consist of a new guide-hall, two new beamlines, and three new neutron beam instruments to support materials research in clean energy, health and medicine, safety and security. USask is a key partner in this project.
Singh said the meeting represented an exciting start for Neutrons Canada and gave board members an opportunity to learn more about nuclear facilities and explore neutron beam projects already underway.
“As a nuclear research leader in Canada, USask is proud to work closely with McMaster University, which has longstanding excellence in neutron research, and be part of this collaborative initiative to enhance our national neutron beam infrastructure,” Singh said.
“USask is home to the Canadian Light Source, which along with our Fedoruk Centre, will be a major part of Neutrons Canada’s future. This initiative will ensure Canadian researchers have access to the advanced technologies they need to make ground-breaking discoveries with tremendous impacts in science, health, environment and the economy.”
Singh and Dave Tucker, McMaster’s assistant vice-president, research (nuclear), congratulated Dr. John Barrett, President of Portolan Global Inc., on being appointed the inaugural Board Chair of Neutrons Canada, saying the organization is in great hands under his leadership.
Barrett is the former President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association (2013-2019). He previously served as Canada’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency and has held executive positions in the Privy Council Office, Office of the Governor General of Canada, and Department of National Defense.
“Dr. Barrett’s experience and expertise in diplomacy and international governance in nuclear technology and his knowledge of the entire sector will ensure Canada’s neutron science community remains competitive on the global stage,” Singh said.
The board toured the McMaster Nuclear Reactor for a demonstration of the reactor’s neutron scattering capabilities. The group also visited the guide hall where the McMaster Small Angle Neutron Scattering (MacSANS) instrument is being assembled. MacSANS will be used to study a broad range of nanostructured materials by scientists from all over Canada.