National neutron strategy consultation draft released

TVB Associates was pleased to support the Canadian Neutron Initiative (CNI) working group by writing its national neutron strategy discussion paper. The consultation draft was released publicly following the CNI-CIFAR Roundtable on a National Neutron Strategy. This strategy has emerged from consultative processes over the past several years.

Canada’s social, environmental and economic challenges require a complete twenty-first century scientific toolkit for research and innovation in materials. Because everything is made of materials, innovation in materials underpins nearly all technology advances for national priorities, including:

The strategy identifies four key objectives that are essential to put into place the required infrastructure and governance framework to enable Canadians to use neutron beams:

  1. Forge partnerships with high-brightness neutron sources in other countries;
  2. Build on existing domestic capabilities, including full exploitation of the McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR), a medium-brightness neutron source;
  3. Explore and invest in developing new neutron sources for the long term; and
  4. Create a new, national governance and management framework for these activities.

The full discussion paper is available below.

Official release of the consultation draft of the national neutron strategy (prepared by TVB Associates)

Report on the Roundtable “Toward a national neutron strategy”

TVB Associates was pleased to have a strategic role supporting the Canadian Neutron Initiative (CNI) working group and CIFAR to hold a national roundtable event entitled, “Towards a National Neutron Strategy.”

Author: Daniel Banks (TVB Associates) and Anne Ballantyne (Fedoruk Centre)
Originally published: Fedoruk Centre (Jan 20, 2021)
Summary of the roundtable by CIFAR (March 17, 2021)

The Canadian neutron beam community is aligning around an emerging strategy to rebuild Canadian capacity for materials research and development with neutron beams.

On December 15 and 16, 2020, leading scientists from across Canada gathered virtually to shape this “national neutron strategy” at a roundtable organized by the Canadian Neutron Initiative (CNI) and CIFAR, with support from the European Spallation Source and the Fedoruk Centre.

The roundtable was a culmination of extensive consultation since 2015, when it became clear that Canada’s only neutron source, the NRU reactor, would close permanently in 2018, jeopardizing the future for research with neutron beams by Canadians. Ideas and feedback were invited on key elements of the strategy, including the needed infrastructure and associated programs, domestic and foreign, spanning the near-term to the long-term.

Neutron beams are irreplaceable tools to generate knowledge and advance materials for 21st century challenges such as ensuring a clean and sustainable environment, and protecting the health and safety of our communities. (See

The national neutron strategy encompasses infrastructure and a governance framework enabling Canadians to address these challenges with world-class tools. Roundtable participants were optimistic about prospects for partnership with foreign neutron facilities, for developing the neutron beam lab at the McMaster Nuclear Reactor, and for exploring our options for neutron sources, each of which are elements of the strategy.

The meeting confirmed that there is broad support for the proposed national neutron strategy and specifically for the creation of a national coordinating organization, Neutrons Canada, which would be charged with governing and managing the strategy’s major activities as a coherent program.

Official report from the roundtable on a national neutron strategy (prepared by TVB Associates)

Client awarded $18M in federal funds for operations of a major research facility

TVB Associates was pleased to have a strategic role supporting CMC Microsystems to apply for renewal of its operating funding for Canada’s National Design Network® (CNDN), which provides 10,000 researchers in Canada access to design tools, testing equipment and prototyping services.

The funding totals $18.3M over three years from April 2020 to March 2023, and was awarded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation via its Major Science Initiatives Fund. 

“This is important funding and will maintain a key asset for researchers in Canada. The network provides fundamental support for innovation in our country both in terms of new technologies and in training highly skilled Canadians.”

Gordon Mein, Chairman of the CMC Board of Directors

Author: Daniel Banks, President, TVB Associates Inc.
CMC Microsystem’s announcement: CFI funding fuels new services for researchers from CMC and CNDN (July 2020)
Image: CMC Microsystems

Universities reach consensus to pursue new framework for materials research with neutron beams

TVB Associates is pleased to have provided strategic support to the Canadian Neutron Initiative (CNI) working group, comprised of university executives. The CNI seeks to enable research with neutron beams to continue following the 2018 closure of Canada’s primary neutron source, the NRU reactor, in Chalk River.

On 2020 January 29, VPs of Research or their designates from 16 universities met in Ottawa to discuss a proposed new pan-Canadian, university-led framework to manage Canada’s infrastructure, international partnerships, projects, and programs for materials research with neutron beams. The gathering discussed the creation of “Neutrons Canada” as a central feature of the new framework.

“The roundtable meeting of university executives from 16 institutions across Canada was an historic moment, topping off five years of work to establish a new, pan-Canadian, university-led framework to govern, manage, and represent Canada’s programme and capacity for materials research with neutron beams.”

Dr. Karen Chad, Vice-President of Research, University of Saskatchewan and Chair of the CNI working group.

The university executive participants formed a consensus around three propositions:

  1. Canada should maintain its leadership role in materials research with neutron beams;
  2. Canadian universities need to establish a pan-Canadian, university-led framework to govern, manage, and represent Canada’s program for materials research with neutron beams; and
  3. Canadian university Vice-Presidents of Research should devote their own time and attention to help shape this new framework and to ensure ongoing engagement of their universities as Institutional Members.

The CNI working group will invite additional university executives to join the current group and act as a steering committee for the establishment of Neutrons Canada.

Official report on the roundtable meeting towards the establishment of “Neutrons Canada” (prepared by TVB Associates)