UNBC Joins TRIUMF: International Research Excellence Recognized

January 6, 2010
At its recent Board of Management meeting TRIUMF approved the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) as an associate member of the consortium of 16 universities that owns and operates Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.  Paul Young, Chair of the Board and Vice President for Research at the University of Toronto, said, “We are proud to add BC’s fourth research university to the TRIUMF family.  It says something important about UNBC—and about TRIUMF. This laboratory serves the entire nation and pulls together Canadian strengths for international excellence and impact.”

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The university’s closer association with TRIUMF will allow it to participate in discussions about setting the direction of the laboratory as well as enhanced partnerships for new research infrastructure that strengthens efforts on the UNBC campus. Gail Fondahl, Vice President, Research, at UNBC, said, “We are delighted to strengthen our connections with TRIUMF and look forward to a new level of research excellence with national and international impact.”

UNBC has been involved in TRIUMF since the university began operations nearly 20 years ago.  UNBC faculty and students have participated in a number of nuclear physics experiments at TRIUMF that examine the origins of chemical elements in the furnaces of distant stars.  UNBC faculty are also part of a team being formed with TRIUMF, the University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, and Japan for a new research facility using ultracold neutrons that will pursue a new understanding of the fundamental properties of nature and its basic particles. 

UNBC, Northern Health, and TRIUMF are also uniquely positioned to research and develop the generation, transport, and novel application of medical isotopes in smaller-scale urban and rural environments such as Prince George and Northern BC. With the coming of the new regional Cancer Centre to Prince George, a growth in this area of research is anticipated.

Nigel S. Lockyer, director of TRIUMF, commented, “UNBC brings energy and enthusiasm to the TRIUMF team as well as specific talents in natural resources and the environment as well as fundamental physics. Canada’s international reputation is stronger because of UNBC’s participation in TRIUMF.”

Research has been conducted by two UNBC faculty members, Dr. Ahmed Hussein (now Professor Emeritus) and Dr. Elie Korkmaz, by two UNBC research associates, Dr. Grant O’Rielly and Dr. Tracy Porcelli, both stationed al TRIUMF, as well as by a number of UNBC graduate (MSc) and undergraduate (summer research) students.

TRIUMF’s core operations are supported via a contribution through National Research Council Canada with additional funding from the Canadian institutes for Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Natural Resources Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research council of Canada, Western Economic Diversification, and the Government of British Columbia.
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Dr. Gail Fondahl

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