Canadian research is largely driven by the research programs of Canadian universities. In many fields, including nuclear and particle physics, our work in exploring nature’s most challenging questions exceeds the resources and scope of any single institution. A national laboratory, working closely with both Canadian and international scientific communities and drawing together the strengths and capabilities of many institutions, is required. For the Canadian particle accelerator science community, that laboratory is TRIUMF. TRIUMF provides research infrastructure and tools that are too large and complex for a single university to build, operate, or maintain.
Launched in 1968 by three universities (the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria) as a local facility for intermediate-energy nuclear physics, TRIUMF has grown to be a nationwide effort with many collaborating organizations across the globe. The laboratory has expanded its fields of research from nuclear physics to include particle physics, molecular and materials science, and nuclear medicine.
TRIUMF is owned and operated by a consortium of Canadian universities. The TRIUMF Board of Governors, which has representation from the Canadian university members, guides the overall direction of the laboratory.
The mix of resources at TRIUMF is very different than at a university. In fact, TRIUMF’s main strength is that it has a range of resources, both human and hardware, that serve to strengthen the laboratory’s role as a hub for discovery and innovation. University-based researchers want to work with TRIUMF because these resources simply are not available at their home institutions. In addition, as an active research centre, TRIUMF maintains an atmosphere that promotes intellectual activity through seminars, visitor programs, and workshops. Tying it all together is a management structure geared to maximizing the science impact for Canada.
The TRIUMF Life Sciences program is built on the lab’s unique ability to use its accelerator technology to produce isotopes, radiopharmaceuticals, and radiotracers for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The centrepiece of this program is the TRIUMF/UBC PET Centre, a joint TRIUMF-university venture that studies the origins, progression, and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
No discussion of the TRIUMF-university relations would be complete without a discussion of students and training. Although TRIUMF itself does not grant degrees, it works with the university community to enhance students’ and post-doctoral fellows’ training and research experience.
Learn more about TRIUMF’s Governance and Management.
TRIUMF Member Universities