The Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC), a national research facility in Chalk River, Ontario, that is now in a decommissioning phase, “had a positive impact on Canadian innovation, research, and industry, as well as on the development of highly qualified personnel in Canada.” This is the conclusion of Strategic Policy Economics (Strapolec), a leading strategy consulting firm commissioned by the CNBC to analyse and summarize the benefits that materials research using neutron beams the CNBC has offered to Canada’s academic communities and industries.
“Among other analyses, Strapolec undertook the first longitudinal analysis of students that have received training at the CNBC over the years,” adds Root, noting that there have been about 1000 such students over the past 35 years.
The study found that the CNBC was an engine of supply of highly qualified people, enhancing university training and inspiring students to pursue greater educational achievements, which led to careers in Canada’s academic, industrial manufacturing, and scientific R&D sectors where their skills are needed most.
Other major findings of Strapolec include:
- The CNBC was a key element of Canada’s research infrastructure that supports its innovation economy and was competitive with international neutron beam facilities.
- The CNBC’s user community was well-distributed across Canada, and it enabled these users to make greater scientific impacts; it was used by a high proportion of Canada Research Chair holders and was rated Canada’s most valuable research asset by international scientific experts.
- Researchers who used the CNBC attracted a high proportion of collaborative industry research dollars from a broad cross-section of Canada’s industries that invest in R&D.
“The CNBC was held in high esteem among the international research community; it was probably the best regarded major research facility in Canada,” says Thad Harroun, President of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering. “Our expertise is now focussed on re-creating that success at a new facility.”