Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Awards (SURA)

The Faculty of Science at UVic also offers a number of undergraduate research awards for students who wish to participate in research under the direction of a faculty member.

Where do I find information about SURAs?

Faculty of Science SURA awards are tenable for a minimum of 3 months of full-time work over one academic term.  As they are awarded across all Science departments, there are a limited number of these awards.  In addition to a stipend from the Faculty of Science, a supervisor also contributes funds. 

For more information about these awards, including eligibility criteria, check out the Faculty of Science SURA information.

How do I apply for a SURA?

To apply for this award, a student and proposed supervisor must complete the Science Undergraduate Research Award (SURA) application.
The yearly deadline for these awards is February 15th.

SURA project descriptions

Project Title:  Online Visualization Software for the EGSnrc Monte Carlo Particle Transport Code
Supervisor:  Dr. Magadalena Bazalova-Carter
The EGSnrc Monte Carlo (MC) code is a well used MC code in medical physics applications. The manuals of two main MC codes, BEAMnrc and DOSXYZnrc, have so far received 1300 citations in the last 15 years. While both codes are widely used, their visualization part could be significantly improved and it is the topic of the proposed project.
The goal is to interface the Fortran-written codes with a web browser based 3D visualization in collaboration with Ottawa's National Research Council (NRC).
First, all the EGSnrc tools will be extended to output data and graphs as plotly.js HTML pages and/or mathplotlib python code, which can plotted in a browser and would prove useful immediately (month 1 ). Second, python scripts to read and write phase space files will be written, that will perform everything that current statdose and beamdp programs can achieve. Then y relatively simple analysis routines will be written (which can be translated from the existing Mortran code) and output routines to create plotly graphs. Moreover, this could be used with any phase space file; not only EGSnrc data (month 2-3).
The outcomes of the project will be extremely useful for researchers interested in EGSNrc Monte Carlo particle transport, as they will be able to visualize their MC setup as well as results in a convenient fashion in a web browser, which has been a small roadblock for the use of the EGSnrc in the past.

Project Title: Structures in the Halo of the Milky Way
Supervisor:  Dr. Julio Navarro
The student will work on a project aimed at characterizing the stellar halo of the Milky Way that appears as “foreground” point sources in the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey. This is a state-of-the-art optical survey carried out by an international team of astronomers at HIA-NRC, who have kindly shared the data with us for this project. The student will analyze color-magnitude diagrams of stars, and will assign distances to them probabilistically in order to explore the structure of the stellar halo in the direction of the Virgo Cluster. Main tasks include firming up details of the identification of the Sagittarius Stream on NGVS data, including a characterization of distance gradients within the survey, and of potential bifurcations in the stream, as well as deriving an estimate of the slope of the stellar halo density profile. We expect to submit a publication to a major astronomical journal when this project is completed.

Project Title: Pixel Adhesive Project
Supervisor:  Dr. Justin Albert
ATLAS at the CERN LHC is a large general-purpose particle detector.  The innermost subdetector is the pixel detector, which operates in an intensely high radiation and high interaction environment.  The pixel detector is exposed to ~2 kW of heat input, however, the pixels and onboard electronics must be kept at a stable - 20 degrees Celcius operating temperature to avoid damage and large temperature-dependent calibration variations.  The amount of support material and refrigerant in the pixel detector must be minimized in order to avoid excessive scattering of the charged particle tracks.  The bottleneck in heat transfer within the pixel detector is the adhesive used to mount the pixels and electronics onto the carbon fibre support frame.  The student will investigate the addition of sodium metasilicate to the ATLAS pixel epoxy to attempt to improve thermal conductivity, without impacting adhesive properties or radiation hardness.  The student will test the thermal conductivity of epoxy + sodium metasilicate mixtures using a thermal camera, and the adhesion strength using weights.  If the results are promising, radiation tests will be performed on the new candidate adhesives at TRIUMF late this summer.