Queen’s University affiliate receives major funding to support astroparticle research

SNOLAB, a Queen's affiliated research company based near Sudbury that specializes in astroparticle research will receive $102 million over the next six years from the Canada Foundation for Innovation Major Sciences Initiative program.

SNOLAB Researchers focus on dark matter and the neutrino particle. SNOLAB Executive Director and Professor of Physics at Queen's University Dr. Jodi Cooley says dark matter research is focused on trying to identify the 85% of the missing mass in the universe:

"The other set of physics experiments are things called neutrino double beta decay, that's like trying to understand better radiation and radioactivity...We have a set of experiments trying to understand how radiation affects cell development...We know radiation has played some role in the development of our species because even on the surface of the earth we get radiation from cosmic rays," Dr. Cooley adds.

The funding from CFI will support SNOLAB's large scope of current and future research experiments.

"The experiments are at different stages. We have some that are running right now and they need scientific and technical support to stay operating. Some of the money goes to supporting those experiments. We have other experiments that essentially are under construction, they're not yet to the point that they're taking data..We have engineers, scientists, technicians of various levels...to help construct those experiments. We have another set that we're planning for in the future...those experiments are next generation, we help them to do some pre-planning of what would it take for them to go into space underground," says Dr. Cooley.

SNOLAB also provides opportunities for students and international collaboration.

"We host at any time 30 undergraduate students..These are students who apply through a process and spend some time with us...The students we get changes every 4 or 6 months, some will stay longer...We also support and host students who are working on their master's or PhD degrees, faculty from all over Canada and actually from all over the world. A lot of the experiments we have underground are international efforts..international collaborators who bring money and people into the Sudbury region as well," says Dr. Cooley.

SNOLAB is one of 14 Canadian institutions to receive CFI funding. The other Queen's affiliate, Canadian Cancer Trials Group received $20 million.

Listen to the full CFRC interview with Dr. Jodi Cooley below: