As a national laboratory supported through federal public funds, TRIUMF undergoes a comprehensive review and evaluation every five years to assess its performance, progress, and plans for the future. As part of the strategic planning cycle for 2015-2020, the NRC Office of Audit and Evaluation has been conducting a review of TRIUMF during 2013; the culmination of this effort is an International Peer Review (IPR) that combines multiple lines of evidence with other documentation and site visit to fully judge TRIUMF. On November 13-15, the International Peer Review Committee conducted its site visit to the laboratory.
The International Peer Review Committee (IPRC) included nine distinguished scientists and industry leaders, who bring skills from research, science, technology, commercialization, and laboratory management from Canada, the U.S., and Europe. The IPRC’s report will frame the final evaluation that is expected to provide valuable guidance to federal and provincial governments regarding investments in the next five-year plan.
Together with appearances from the TRIUMF Board of Management and the Advisory Committee on TRIUMF, the laboratory’s leadership team demonstrated recent successes and ambitious goals for the distinguished Committee to scrutinize and examine. All presentations were open for members of the greater TRIUMF community to attend.
The IPRC engaged in various activities with the goal of understanding more about the vitality, structure, and impact of the laboratory. In addition to the plenary talks, the IPRC connected with over 25 scientists and researchers through five parallel sessions, each with several talks dedicated to the various research areas at TRIUMF and featuring TRIUMF staff scientists, students at TRIUMF, and visiting researchers. In these sessions, the IPRC explored topics such as particle physics, nuclear physics, accelerator physics, nuclear medicine and materials science. TRIUMF hosted several of its partner companies, IKOMED Inc., Nordion Inc., and PAVAC Industries Inc., in a panel discussion with the Committee on the topic of innovation and industrial partnerships.
With precise timing, the Committee toured key facilities around the TRIUMF on a express walk-about. Key stops included the MHESA Radiochemistry Lab, the newly constructed ARIEL building and Electron Hall, ISAC-I and -II, the ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre, beam line M20 and the VECC Test Area. The tour provided a deeper look at the facilities, infrastructure, and talented individuals behind the research program outlined in the plenary sessions.
The Committee had an hour break to interact with undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students at a poster session held in the ISAC-II lobby. This gave the IPRC the chance to meet students and explore the latest research conducted at TRIUMF.
TRIUMF's steward in the Government of Canada is the National Research Council (NRC). Core operating funds for TRIUMF flow from the federal government through NRC via a five-year Contribution Agreement. In preparation for considering Five-Year Plan 2015-2020, NRC's Office of Audit and Evaluation is leading the review of TRIUMF according to Treasury Board guidelines based on the Financial Administration Act passed by Parliament in 2008.
At the conclusion of their visit to TRIUMF, the IPRC met briefly with the laboratory’s leadership team to provide preliminary, informal feedback. They commended TRIUMF for outstanding accomplishments in the present five-year cycle, identified some areas for growth, and commented on the “fantastic esprit de corps” they experienced at the site. The IPRC supports the goals of the Five-Year Plan 2015–2020 and applauds the entire TRIUMF laboratory for their commitment to the success of the program for the benefit of all Canadians.
A special thank you goes to all who were involved in the planning and performance of International Peer Review site visit.
–Melissa M. Baluk, Communications Coordinator