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Canadian Science Policy Centre | Panel 10: From Excellence to Impact: How Large Research Infrastructure Stimulates Growth

Panel 10: From Excellence to Impact: How Large Research Infrastructure Stimulates Growth

Download: panel_10.mp3

Governments are increasingly concerned with the economic impact and societal relevance of scientific investments. Canada’s new knowledge economy is strongly enabled by premier national research institutes that support a broad cross section of academic, government, and industrial users from many different disciplines. Large science facilities are important drivers for growing Canada’s future economy and fostering innovation in industry. They include the Canadian Light Source, TRIUMF, SNOLAB, and Ocean Networks Canada, to name a few.

From the training of highly qualified personnel to the engagement of the private sector through unique research capabilities to the transfer of laboratory-developed technology to Canadian businesses, these facilities stimulate growth at both the local and national levels.
The purpose of this symposium is to discuss the unique and complementary manner in which large science facilities drive societal and economic impacts for Canada. The discussion will highlight basic principles, challenge assumptions, and analyze specific examples.

Moderator Details


Mark Henderson is a veteran journalist specializing in topics relating to Canadian science and technology and research and development. Since 1994, Mr. Henderson has been the editor of RE$EARCH MONEY, a national newsletter focused on science and technology policy and funding issues. RE$EARCH MONEY features articles on business R&D spending, academic research and government policy and funding programs pertaining to R&D. Prior to joining RE$EARCH MONEY, Mr. Henderson wrote for newspapers, magazines, government departments and agencies and corporations on business, municipal politics, cultural and entertainment issues, particularly cinema and music.

Mr. Henderson holds an Honours Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University and a Honours BA in Film Theory from Queen’s University.

Panelist Details

Nigel Smith

Nigel Smith joined SNOLAB as Director during July 2009. He currently holds adjunct Professor status at Queen’s and Laurentian Universities, a visiting research position at the U.K. STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and a visiting Professorial chair at Imperial College, London. He received his Bachelor of Science in physics from Leeds University in the U.K. in 1985 and his Ph. D. in astrophysics from Leeds in 1991. He served as a lecturer at Leeds University and a Research Associate at Imperial College, London before moving to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory as Group Leader (Dark Matter) in 1998, subsequently serving as deputy division head for precision weak physics. He has worked in astrophysics studies throughout his career. His early research work was in studies of ultra high energy gamma rays from astrophysical sources using extensive air shower array telescopes in Harrogate, UK and at the South Pole. In 1987 he “wintered-over” as the sole operator of the telescope at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott station at the South Pole, being the first Briton to successfully winter at the Pole itself. From 1992 to his appointment as SNOLAB Director he was actively involved in, and was periodic Spokesperson for, the development and operation of underground detectors at the Boulby underground facility in North Yorkshire, U.K., searching for the Weakly Interacting Dark Matter particles left over from the Big Bang which are thought to make up about 23% of the Universe. As Director he has operational responsibilities at the SNOLAB underground facility hosted at the Vale Creighton mine, and for the development of the science programme.

Martin Taylor
University of Victoria
Emeritus Professor

Martin Taylor is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Victoria. He is also adjunct professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University, and in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. From 2007-2012, he served as Founding President and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada, the not for profit agency responsible for the management and development of the VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada ocean observatory programs, and the Ocean Networks Centre for Enterprise and Engagement, a federal centre of excellence for commercialization and research. Before assuming this position, he was for nine years (1998-2007) the University of Victoria’s first Vice-President Research. He has extensive governance experience including as: a member of the federal Council of Science and Technology Advisors; a member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Board; a board member and chair of the finance committee of TRIUMF; a board member and chair of the Michael Smith Health Research Foundation; a board member and chair of the NSERC Canadian Healthy Ocean Strategic Network; and as board chair of the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo. He served on the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on the assessment of Canadian ocean science (2012-13) and is Special Advisor to Community Based Research Canada. Prior to his appointment at UVic, Martin Taylor served from 1974-98 on the faculty at McMaster University, where his responsibilities included: chair of Geography (1991-97); founding director of the Institute of Environment and Health (1990-96); and Acting VP Research (1994-95). He holds a BA (Hons Geography) from Bristol University and an MA and PhD in Geography from UBC. He is the author of two books and over 100 peer-reviewed publications in the field of environmental and community health.

Dr. Jonathan Bagger

Dr. Jonathan Bagger was elected Director of TRIUMF effective July 1st, 2014. Prior to his role at TRIUMF, he served as Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs at Johns Hopkins University, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Physics and Astronomy. He served as the university’s Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2012 to 2013.

Bagger’s research centers on high-energy physics at the interface of theory and experiment. Together with Julius Wess, he is the author of the monograph Supersymmetry and Supergravity. Dr. Bagger has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study. He served as Chair of the International Linear Collider Steering Committee, as Vice Chair of the U.S. Department of Energy/National Science Foundation High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, and as a member of the U.S. National Research Council’s Board on Physics and Astronomy. He has served on the Fermilab Board of Overseers, the SLAC Scientific Policy Committee, the Space Telescope Institute Council, and the Board of Directors of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Bagger graduated from Dartmouth College in 1977. After a year at the University of Cambridge as a Churchill Scholar, he continued his graduate study at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in 1983 and took a postdoctoral research position at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. From 1986 to 1989, he was Associate Professor at Harvard University.

Robert Lamb
Executive Director
Canadian Light Source Inc.

Robert Lamb is the Executive Director of the Canadian Light Source Inc.

Professor Lamb was educated at Melbourne and Cambridge Universities, and subsequently held academic appointments in England, Germany, the United States, Hong Kong and Australia, as well as senior administrative positions in both University and Government. He works at the interface between Physics and Chemistry, has published over 200 papers and 39 patents, and trained 81 postgraduates.

A major interest is in the way public and private sectors form relationships to translate science into technology. Along the way he has also been involved in the creation of four companies, the most recent in Hong Kong/China.

Professor Lamb has been a synchrotron light source user in Europe, US and Asia for over 25 years. He was also the founding director of the Australian Light Source.