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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 

November 1, 2023: Applications open for the 2024 competition. 

Click HERE to access the Azuma fellowship application site

Application Deadline: Friday December 8, 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 2024

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • Feasibility Studies for Dark Matter Detection with Qubits. - Dr. Pietro Giampa

    Understanding the true nature of dark matter remains one of the most compelling open questions in modern physics. Despite the considerable evidence at the cosmological scale, and the advancment in the field over the past three decades, scientists have yet to measure an instance of dark matter in the laboratory. 
    Over the last few years, qubits have emerged as a potential detection technique for ultra-low-mass dark matter searches. In this project, the student will develop a set of calculations to estimate the feasibility of different conceptual experiments, designed with charged and/or flux quibits readout placed on a dark matter absorber layer. 
  • 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.

  • Research and development for the DarkLight dark matter experiment - Dr. Katherine Pachal

    DarkLight is an experiment being built at TRIUMF which will search for dark photons and similar new particles at a mass range around 12 to 18 MeV. The experiment will be placed in the 30 MeV electron beamline at TRIUMF. This small experiment consists of a target, two magnetic spectrometers, tracking detectors, and plastic-scintillator-based triggers. Much of the major work on these individual components is being completed now, so during summer of 2023, we anticipate that we will begin installing the experiment. The student will assist with installation and with testing the detector components, either “on the bench” before they are installed, or during commissioning. The student will gain experience with both software and hardware and will make critical contributions to this exciting new experiment
  • Junior Quantum Machine Learning Architect - Dr. Wojtek Fedorko

    TRIUMF scientists are leading efforts in multiple aspects of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider including detector development, data acquisition and data analysis including machine learning applications. During the High Luminosity run of the LHC (anticipated start date late 2020s), the ATLAS experiment will enter a new era of Higgs Boson precision studies, and searches for physics Beyond the Standard Model. This effort will require several millions of CPU-years per year, mostly spent in providing simulation and reconstruction of simulated data.

    Deep Learning methods are already becoming a critical part of such simulations and LHC data analysis. TRIUMF's team of scientists, together with their national and international partners, developed a method combining 'classical' Deep Learning methods with the unique capabilities of quantum annealing processors to create a quantum variational autoencoders (QVAEs) generating simulated outputs such as those of the calorimeters of the ATLAS experiment. During the course of the project the student will utilize ATLAS calorimetric cluster data and generic simulated electromagnetic calorimeter data to further develop the model, aiming to increase its performance. Time permitting, simulation conditioned on particle type and energy will be generated and simulation of calorimeter response to collimated particle showers (called 'jets') will be attempted. Successful completion of the project would have outsize impact on the field of particle physics, most notably on the study of the Higgs Boson.

  • ATLAS Deep Learning Student Research Assistant - Dr. Max Swiatlowski

    The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland smashes together protons to produce new particles that tell us about the fundamental nature of the universe. These collisions are spectacular, producing hundreds of particles that are recorded by the ATLAS detector. The enormous ATLAS detector uses a variety of detector technologies to measure and kidentify these particles. Hand-tuned algorithms are used to combine the inputs from each detector. The initial sub-detector, surrounding the collision point, tracks the charged particles, and (because it is immersed in a magnetic field) measures their momenta. Another crucial sub-detector system of the ATLAS experiment is its calorimeter. This can be thought of as an inward-looking camera - composed of cells of varying sizes and arranged in successive layers. Impinging particles are stopped within the calorimeter and various physical processes allow for the estimation of the energies of these particles. 

    TRIUMF, in collaboration with other laboratories throughout the world, is currently leading a new effort to use exciting, state of the art, deep learning and artificial intelligence techniques to dramatically improve our detector’s ability to identify and measure the energy of particles. The TRIUMF team established techniques based on convolutional and point-cloud deep learning architectures for identification  and energy measurement of individual particles combining the information from the tracker and clusters of energy in the calorimeter. In dense environments - such as within ‘jets’ or collimated showers of particles, the individual particles may impact the calorimeter in close proximity - resulting in clusters containing energy from multiple particles. The existing procedures rely on hand-crafted algorithms to correct the measured energy of clusters for such effects. The studies exploiting modern ML techniques promise to lead to substantial improvement in ATLAS's ability to interpret its data and improve our abilities to discover physics Beyond the Standard Model. 
  • Probing the Origins of Life with High-Energy Particle Accelerators - Dr. Chris Charles

    The oldest known isolated water on Earth (~ 2 billion years old, found in Timmins, Ontario at Kidd Creek Mine) has been trapped in a complex subsurface fracture network inside the rock at an extreme 3 km depth. This ancient water has not seen any contact with the terrestrial environment for all that time. The rock encasing these waters contains U, Th, K and other long-lived radioactive elements that, over geologic time, has decayed and bombarded the waters with alpha particles and other radiation. It is proposed that this natural irradiation may induce hydrolysis chemical reactions between the water and its geochemical surroundings, leading to the formation of organic molecules and organic acids that, in-turn, may be critical for sustaining primitive life in extreme isolated environments.

    This project will test that hypothesis, by using high-energy accelerated alpha particles to irradiate “mock” water samples mimicking the geochemistry of the Kidd Creek Mine waters.  Water samples will be irradiated using a novel experimental facility at TRIUMF, collected, and measured for any molecular species produced.  This project has extensive implications for the role of natural radioactive decay and its ability to sustain primitive life in deep subsurface environments on Earth and other planetary bodies in the Solar System, and extra-Solar Systems.

  • Installation and testing of the CERN perpendicular illumination - laser ion source trap  - Dr. Jens Lassen

    The full perpendicular illumination - laser ion source trap (PI_LIST) will be used at one of the ARIEL radioisotope production target stations for later use in high-resolution in-source laser ionization spectroscopy.  The student would first do a functionality test of our quadrupole mass spectrometer system, then add on an effusive atom source and finally do a functional test with those two combined. In the last step the PI-LIST device will be inserted between the effusive atom source and the QMS system, so that a first laser ion signal could be produced and the resolution improvements over conventional in-source ionization spectroscopy could be investigated.  
  • Single photon air analyser for forest fire early detection - Dr. Fabrice Retiere

    Single Photon Avalanche (SPAD) Diode arrays are widely used in particle physics for example in the DarkSide experiment searching for dark matter interaction in liquid argon. We have proposed a new concept for analyzing the molecular (e.g. NO2) and particulate (e.g. smoke) content of air leveraging our expertise in SPAD. The scope of the project is the construction and commissioning of a new sensors relying on digital SPAD arrays designed by the University of Heidelberg in Germany. The commissioning will involve assessing the sensor performances for the detection of various types of smoke. The project may also a contribution to the pilot project operated by Sensenet, the company we are collaborating with, in Vernon, BC.


# 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."