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$7.9M earmarked for Canadian radio astronomy research


Calgary, AB November 27, 2003 The Canada Foundation for Innovation has announced funding of $7.9 million to provide Canadian researchers access to the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. ALMA is, by international consensus, the most important development in radio astronomy in this decade.

Access to ALMA will help maintain Canada’s position amongst the top three nations in terms of academic research in radio astronomy and will be of great importance to our understanding of the origins of stars and planetary systems.

“This investment represents an important step forward in supporting the highest levels of research excellence,” said Allan Rock, the minister of industry. “It will allow Canadian research institutions and their researchers access to the first ever ‘world observatory.'”

ALMA represents the merger of a number of major millimeter array projects into one global project. McMaster University will be working closely with the project’s administrative lead institution: the University of Calgary. This 15-country partnership includes all the leading research institutions in astronomy for which this is the priority program. It is jointly led by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the United States and the European Southern Observatory. The project leader for the CFI is Russ Taylor, professor of astronomy at the University of Calgary.

This announcement is the fifth of nine large-scale international research projects being funded under the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s two international funds – the international joint ventures fund and the international access fund. The international access fund, which includes projects such as ALMA, provides access for Canadian institutions and their best researchers to facilities in other countries and major international collaborative programs. They will perform innovative research through unique collaborative research opportunities that will lead to significant benefits for Canada.