Backgrounder: New funding boosts major science projects at UVic



The accelerator at the heart of ARIEL uses technology developed in BC to produce some of the most powerful beams in the world—up to the equivalent of 5,000 light bulbs concentrated into one square millimetre—to create isotopes, which are variants of particular chemical elements.

Rare isotope science is a major worldwide effort, with billion-dollar investments being made in Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Africa. In Canada, rare isotopes are produced at TRIUMF, a national facility in Vancouver that is owned and operated by a consortium of 19 Canadian universities, including UVic.

ARIEL II will significantly increase the productivity and impact of TRIUMF’s rare isotope program and ensure that Canada remains a global leader in this intensely competitive field. It will attract scientists from around the world to participate in experiments in the physical and health sciences.

ARIEL II will develop the next generation of medical isotopes for imaging applications and targeted tumour therapies, providing breakthroughs in nuclear medicine ranging from brain health to cancer treatment. Medical isotopes are made at only a handful of facilities worldwide, and demand is expected to escalate in the coming years.

The ARIEL project is led by UVic physicist Dean Karlen. Both phases of ARIEL are a joint initiative between UVic and TRIUMF, with support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the BC Knowledge Development Fund, the National Research Council of Canada, and in-kind contributions.

For more information on ARIEL visit


Other projects in this funding announcement that significantly involve UVic are:

UVic physicist Rob McPherson and his team are receiving $1 million to build new elements for the massive ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider—the world’s largest science experiment—in Europe. UVic physicists have a long history of leadership in the ATLAS project, which involves more than 3,000 scientists from 39 countries seeking to understand the fundamental building blocks of matter. UVic is one of three universities partnering with Carleton University on this $6-million ATLAS upgrade project.

• Churchill Marine Observatory (CMO)
UVic, through Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), is receiving $200,000 to help the University of Manitoba develop, install and maintain the cabled estuary observatory component of a new Churchill Marine Observatory in Hudson Bay. The collaboration builds on the success of ONC’s world-leading NEPTUNE and VENUS cabled observatories, and since 2012, a community observatory in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. The CMO will investigate technological, scientific and economic issues related to marine transportation, and oil and gas development in the Arctic.

• Canadian Light Source (CLS)
This national facility, located at the University of Saskatchewan, houses a state-of-the-art synchrotron, a source of brilliant light that allows scientists to study the microstructure and chemical properties of materials. UVic is a partner in a new CFI-funded project to upgrade the CLS beamline infrastructure. Past research at CLS has defined the molecular basis of chronic disease, defined new targets for drugs, and led to a better understanding of protein interactions within living cells.

• ADEPT (Advanced Design Platform Technology)
UVic is one of 32 universities participating in ADEPT, a national “virtual laboratory” led by Queen’s University which gives science and engineering researchers access to world-leading tools, facilities and expertise for designing, making and testing new innovations in microsystems (miniaturized devices) and nanotechnology. Applications include health care and biomedical devices, transportation, communications, clean technology and cybersecurity.

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Keywords: physics, oceans, funding, CFI, ARIEL

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