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Richard E. Azuma Undergraduate Summer Fellowship

The Richard E. Azuma Fellowship is intended to support promising undergraduate students iCanada who are considering a career in research fields associated with TRIUMF’s science program.  They will be students who are known amongst peers and teachers as exceptional individuals with a demonstrated track record of talent, passion, and leadership. The Azuma Fellowship is seeking not only students with stellar undergraduate records, but also those with diverse backgrounds, collaborative spirit, creativity, and other attributes that will set them apart as future researchers. 

Two Fellowships will be awarded each year to students attending one of TRIUMF’s Member Universities **. Students are eligible to hold the paid Fellowship at TRIUMF for four months in the summer break before their final graduating year. Fellows will have the opportunity to choose from a carefully selected list of unique research opportunities. Travel to and from Vancouver, as well as a one-week stay at TRIUMF House, will be reimbursed. 

Fellows who later elect to attend graduate school at one of TRIUMF’s Member Universities ** will be eligible for a $5000 entrance scholarship.

To fulfil TRIUMF's values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and commitment to our Strategic Plan, the Azuma Fellowship seeks to actively recruit members of underrepresented groups who have experienced historically and/or current barriers to equity. 

About Richard (Dick) Ernest Azuma

Dick Azuma spent his career as as professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Torontoand was a long-standing member of the TRIUMF community who made seminal contributions to various topics in nuclear astrophysics. Dick was instrumental in establishing the field of experimental nuclear astrophysics in Canada at the University of Toronto accelerator, then later at TRIUMF, where the well-known "Red Giant" experiment to constrain the critical 12C(alpha,gamma)16O reaction was performed by his group using the TISOL facility. That experiment laid the foundation for the ISAC and ARIEL facilities, and rare-isotope science in general, at TRIUMF. He was also one of the original founders of the DRAGON project at ISAC.

With roots at TRIUMF as old as the lab itself, Dick’s research and advocacy supporting the laboratory’s scientific program have had a long-lasting impactDick was a passionate educator and fierce defender against prejudice and discrimination made him a valued mentor to a generation of emerging science leaders.  

As a Canadian of Japanese heritage, in his early life Dick experienced significant hardship, including internment during the Second World War, due to systemic racism, oppression, and outright violence. After being kicked out of high school in Vancouver at age twelve, Dick worked as a logger until 14when he was readmitted to high school, eventually achieving the second-highest mark in the provincial exams. Dick went on to achieve his BA and MA in Nuclear Physics at the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow.  

Dick was a revered mentor, advisor, and teacher for many generations of young and hopeful graduate students throughout his academic career. He instilled in all his love and excitement for nuclear physics, inspiring in them the same commitment and respect for their students as he had for them.   

You can read more about Dick here.


Eligibility and Requirements 

At TRIUMF, we combine outstanding scholarship with innovative research. We are proud of our world-leading facilities, our training opportunities for the next generation of innovators, our commercial activities, our incubation of creative ideas and technologies, and our contributions to major projects around the globe. We are committed to recruiting, developing and retaining people who help us build a better future.  



To be eligible for this award, students must: 
  • Be undergraduate students enrolled at a TRIUMF Member University ** in the summer before their final year before graduation.
    • e.g for the Summer 2023 award, students must be eligible to graduate in 2024.
      • e.g, just completed 3rd year of 4 year program
  • Be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada
    • or, be a foreign undergraduate student who holds a Canadian Work Permit in addition to their Study Permit.
  • Be recommended by an administrative professor in their department - e.g. Chair, or Undergraduate Chair
To fulfil TRIUMF's values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and commitment to our Strategic Plan, the Azuma Fellowship seeks to actively recruit members of underrepresented groups who have experienced historically and/or current barriers to equity. We encourage applications from members of the following groups: Indigenous peoples, women, racialized persons, persons with a disability and persons of marginalized sexual orientation, gender identities and gender expressions. #

How to Apply and More Information 

February 20, 2023: Applications are now CLOSED.   Decision expected by mid March.

January 2023: Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 competition. 

Click HERE to access the Azuma felowship application site

Application Deadline: Sunday February 19, 2023

Students will be hired as Temporary TRIUMF Employees within the Student Program.  Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Any questions about the Fellowship and/or application process, can be referred to Marcello Pavan, Head Academic and User Programs, at  marcello [at]

Job Opportunities for Summer 2023

  • Understanding Cryogenic Detectors for Dark Matter Searches - Dr. Wolfgang Rau

    The SuperCDMS experiment uses solid-state detectors operated at extreme cryogenic temperatures, attempting to detect the very rare collisions of dark matter particles with ordinary matter. The TRIUMF group operates a test facility for cryogenic detectors. This summer we will be investigating the response state-of-the-art sub-eV resolution silicon detectors with a new sensor design to photons with wavelengths from sub-gap IR to near UV. Work at the detector test facility includes assembling the test setups and mounting them inside our cryostat, operating the facility and the detectors and acquiring and analyzing data.

  • Antimatter Physics with the ALPHA Collaboration - Dr. Makoto Fujiwara

    Azuma Fellows have the opportunity to be part of the world-renowned ALPHA antmatter project at CERN and TRIUMF.  As a part of this international project, you will have the chance to work on cutting-edge research in one or more of the following areas: antimatter detectors, antimatter traps, antimatter laser spectroscopy, and antimatter gravity experiments. The fellowship will require travel to TRIUMF in Canada, and CERN in Switzerland, where you will spend approximately 2 months at each location. This will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the research culture and gain valuable experience in a truly international setting.

  • Liquid Xenon Calorimetry for the Search for New Physics - Dr. Chloe Malbrunot

    Liquid xenon (LXe) detectors are planned to be used in a two cutting-edge TRIUMF-related research programs: the nEXO and PIONEER experiments. nEXO aims at uncovering the nature of the neutrino through the first detection of neutrinoless double beta decay (using 5t of xe-136 isotope) that would show that neutrinos are their own anti-particle. PIONEER, a recently approved experiment, will be searching for new physics in pion decays using a 7tonne LXe calorimeter.  The student’s work will be embedded within an R&D collaborative effort using the Light-only Liquid Xenon (LoLX) experiment to characterize new photosensors and study LXe scintillation processes. A particular R&D work will focus on the development of a LXe purity monitor for LoLX and a larger detector prototype under construction.
  • Development and application of advanced theory on exotic nuclei strcuture - Dr. Jason Holt

    What is the mass of the neutrino? How do stars die? Can we detect dark matter? Are fundamental symmetries violated at the smallest scales? As science probes ever more extreme facets of the universe, the role of nuclear theory in confronting such fundamental questions in nature continues to deepen, and recent advances are rapidly transforming nuclear theory into a true first-principles pursuit. In this project the student will focus on the development and application of powerful theoretical methods to explore fundamental questions on the structure of exotic nuclei, or more far-reaching connections to neutrino or dark-matter physics, neutron star physics, or searches for symmetry violation in nature, to confront with experiments being performed at TRIUMF or other prominent experimental facilities searching for new physics. 

  • Searching for Time Reversal Symmetry Violation with TRINAT - Dr. John Behr

    In 1956, Chien-Shiung Wu shocked Wolfgang Pauli and the physics world by showing that the weak interaction does not conserve parity. By 1957, theorists further proposed decay experiments to test another discrete symmetry, time reversal. Using TRIUMF's neutral atom trap, our small group of researchers mimics reversing the sign of time by fipping the spin of trapped atoms and nuclei, then testing whether the outgoing particles from beta decay change their relative directions. Given a good undergraduate physics background in quantum mechanics, optics, coding, and/or electronics, we develop with students an independent project supporting our experiments. This summer, we will improve our apparatus using on-tap stable potassium atoms, preparing for possible TRIUMF/ISAC accelerator beamtime for unique experiments testing time-reversal symmetry.

  • Manipulating individual exotic atoms for precision nuclear physics studies - Dr. Ania Kwiatkowski

    Atomic mass measurements play a critical role in many disciplines from forensics to metrology. In nuclear physics of short-lived nuclei, masses dictate the energetically allowed processes that drive the birth and death of a star, indicate the limits of nuclear existence, provide insights into the nuclear force, and constrain our understanding of the Standard Model. Unprecedented precision and accuracy therein have been achieved with ion-trap mass spectrometers, where a single atom's mass is weighed.  TITAN is a world-class facility deploying four on-line ion traps. The student will learn about state-of-the-art technology, advanced ion manipulation, low-energy beam transport, charged-particle detectors, and control of a complex research facility as well as the nuclear physics motivation for atomic mass measurements. In addition to working on an ion-trap mass spectrometer, the student will participate in all on-line experiments and co-author any resultant papers.

  • Detector R&D for the Hyper-Kamiokande Experiment - Dr. Xiaoyue Li

    Hyper-Kamiokande (Hyper-K) is a next-generation flagship particle physics experiment in Japan. It has a broad and ambitious physics program, including the precision measurement of neutrino mixing using accelerator, atmospheric and solar neutrinos, the detection of supernova neutrinos, and the search for proton decay. The Azuma Fellow can choose to work on any one of the following projects in which the TRIUMF neutrino group is involved: the construction and testing of novel photosensors (multi-PMT); using deep learning to improve the sensitivity of current and future water Cherenkov detectors; using the photosensor test facility at TRIUMF for comprehensive characterization of PMTs; the development of a water monitoring system with applications in the precision calibration of Hyper-K as well as drinking water surveillance; participation in the Water Cherenkov Test Experiment (WCTE) that will take data in 2024 at CERN. 

  • Developing quantum variational encoder deep-learning models to generate ATLAS simulation data - Dr. Max Swiatlowski

    During the HL-LHC run ATLAS experiment will require several million CPU years per year, largely spent in computin simulations. Calorimeter simulations – detectors that capture particles and measure their energies - is a particularly CPU-intensive task. Deep Learning (DL) methods are a critical part of such simulations and LHC data analysis. Deep Learning can be combined with unique capabilities of quantum annealing processor in a Quantum-assisted Machine Learning model - the quantum variational autoencoder (QVAE), to generate simulated outputs of the ATLAS calorimeters. Prototypical QVAEs were developed by researchers at D-Wave. QVAEs are a type of generative machine learning model that produces samples using D-Wave quantum annealing processors by implementing a quantum Boltzmann machine (QBM) at their heart. QVAEs can increase the fidelity of modelling of complex datasets. We hope that QVAEs will speed up the sampling process over existing data-generation techniques, while maintaining high fidelity of the generated data.

    The recipient of the Azuma Fellowship will train QVAE models and study their performance. The student will analyze the performance of the models, seek out opportunities for improvement and implement selected solutions. The research will be performed on simplified open datasets, as well as open and proprietary ATLAS datasets. The student will work at the cutting-edge interface of quantum computing and machine learning, and will develop their presentation and writing skills through close collaboration with colleagues.

  • AI-driven tuning development for the ISAC linear accelerator complex - Dr. Wojtek Fedorko

    TRIUMF is working toward an AI-driven tuning procedure for parts of the ISAC linear accelerator complex. A fast simulation model interfaced to the OpenAI Gym Environment, encapsulating realistic and randomizable misalignments of the beam elements has been developed. A Deep Reinforcement Learning agent based on Recurrent Deep Deterministic Policy Gradients (RDPG) has been implemented and achieved automated tuning of simulated beamline with misalignments previously unseen by the agent.  The Azuma Fellow's main objective will be the realization of automated tuning on a section of a physical beamline of the ISAC complex. Input from accelerator physicists in designing the desired qualities of the control mechanisms will be incorporated into the models. The development of an automated tuning method able to learn without or with limited reliance on simulation, while frugal in terms of samples taken from the environment, is desirable. Beam in several accelerators and transport beamlines at TRIUMF, and in various accelerators around the world, can be destructive to the equipment due to the high beam power. Depending on the progress the recipient will design automated tuning strategies incorporating machine safety and protection mechanisms implemented at TRIUMF’s driver accelerators.


** For the Summer 2023 competition, eligible univerities will be those who were TRIUMF Members or  Associate Members on May 31, 2021. This will include some universitites that had not yet become full Members when TRIUMF incorporated on June 1, 2021.  The full list of eligible universities is: UVic, UBC, SFU, UNBC, Alberta, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Western, Waterloo, Guelph, McMaster, Toronto, York, Queen's, Carleton, McGill, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Saint Mary's

# The NSERC Dimensions definition of members of underrepresented groups includes, "..  but [is] not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups and members of LGBTQ2+ communities."