Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Recent cuts to NSERC MRS program

In case anyone has missed it, there is a recent report prepared by NDP's Critic for Science & Technology that details repercussions of recent NSERC MRS cut to major research facilities in Canada including the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre. The full report can be found at, the direct link to pdf is: ... here is the related excerpt from the pdf: "Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (Chalk River, ON)
The Canadian Neutron Beam Centre enables researchers to use neutron beams as tools for world-class materials research, which provides new understandings of materials and improves products for businesses. It is the only major neutron beam facility in Canada, and is part of an international network of about 20 such facilities around the world. This facility is a world-leader in the application of neutron beams to industrial research, working with researchers in heavy industries such as automotive, aerospace, defence, metal production, nuclear power, oil and gas, and rail to improve safety and performance of their products and services. In operation for 54 years, it was also home to Bertram Brockhouse, one of only three Canadians awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, for his work in the 1950s developing neutron beams into research tools.
Without MRS funding, the $30 million of installed capital in the neutron beam laboratory will be greatly underutilized, and the $500 million National Research Universal reactor that generates the neutrons will be further underutilized. The principal investigator outlines how the loss of MRS funding will affect educational and training opportunities:
The educational mandate associated with NSERC funding has allowed us to broaden the mission of the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre to include extensive outreach activities. Every two years we run a 5-day neutron summer school with 40-50 attendees where the students are introduced to neutron beam methods… The staff expends considerable efforts to assist new users to design and carry out their experiments and then follows through the analysis phase to make sure that experiments work and yield published results. It is this consistent commitment to the users’ success that has enabled us to grow the Canadian neutron user community. Falling back on the more limited (both in amount and scope) NRC support will leave us without
the ability to carry out the user-training missions, but it will also constrain us as NRC’s mission does not include a strong teaching or outreach component."

There is also a related article in the recent issue of Re$earch Money magazine titled: Closures imminent as science facilities grapple with loss of research support funding (unfortunately you need to be subscribe to it to access it):

Interesting note: liberal's science critic, Ted Hsu, actually is a scientist: and the NDP's science critic, Kennedy Stewart, actually has a PhD from the London School of Economics:
meanwhile the Minister of State for Science & Technology of the current government, Gary Goodyear, did not complete a university degree at least according to wikipedia: "After high school he attended the University of Waterloo, studying in Biomechanics and Psychology, but left without completing a degree.
He afterwards attended the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, where he graduated cum laude[citation needed], was class president, and valedictorian.[2] He started his full-time practice in Cambridge in 1984 where he was Clinic Director, Director of Patient Services and Past President of Future Recovery Canada. He was a co-designer of the three year post-graduate Sports Fellowship Program. He also co-authored “Practice Guidelines” and was Public Relations Director and Past President for the College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences in Toronto.[citation needed] He was also the health columnist for the Cambridge Times newspaper from 1986 to 1996, and has taught at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and the University of Waterloo.[citation needed]. Goodyear has not published any peer-reviewed scientific journal articles to date."

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Ted Hsu, the Liberal critic for Science and Technology, is a scientist, but more relevant to a blog called "future of neutron scattering in canada", he spent 2 years as a Post-Doc at AECL Chalk River.