Earth, sun and light: The new Advanced Research Complex

Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The University of Ottawa opens the Advanced Research Complex (ARC) today, taking an important step towards making Ottawa the geoscience epicentre of Canada and the photonics capital of the world.

Its impressive glass lobby situated on bustling King Edward Avenue gives passersby the opportunity to catch a glimpse inside the $70-million facility (view the video). The ARC will bring together researchers, students and partners from various disciplines to foster greater scientific exchange. The complex will house specialized laboratories, an impressive accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) and vibration-resistant floors.

“With the opening of the Advanced Research Complex, we're making significant strides toward fulfilling our goal of becoming one of the top five research universities in Canada by 2020,” says Allan Rock, president of the University of Ottawa. “This would not have been possible without the support of the governments of Canada and Ontario.”

“The federal government is making record investments in science and technology to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of Canadians,” says Royal Galipeau, MP for Ottawa-Orleans, on behalf of the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “Through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the government has invested in the Advanced Research Complex in order to position Ottawa as a photonics and geoscience powerhouse and enhance the University of Ottawa's leadership in research and innovation.”

Bridging the gap between basic research and technology development

The Advanced Research Complex will have a tremendous impact on the National Capital Region, attracting top-level scholars, creating exciting synergies with partners and other universities and forging links with innovators around the world. The ARC will also enrich the graduate student experience by giving these future scientists unprecedented access to the latest technology, top labs and international expertise.

“The new facilities will help the photonics and Earth sciences teams in developing new technologies that will lead to improvements in our everyday lives,” says Mona Nemer, vice-president, Research, at the University of Ottawa. “More accurate medical diagnoses, faster telecommunications, safe disposal of nuclear waste and the development of solar energy are a few examples of the solutions to today's world challenges that ARC will be able to tackle.”

Canada's only accelerator mass spectrometer

Weighing in at 44 tonnes, the new accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) will parse out reality one tiny atom at a time. The $10 million AMS facility will enable scientists to conduct the most advanced environmental research and unlock important natural mysteries of resources, climate and health.

Pioneered more than 30 years ago, the accelerator mass spectrometer is the only one of its kind in Canada. The facility will train AMS laboratory technologists and managers from all over North America.

The Advanced Research Complex received funding from the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and from the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Research Fund.

“Great discoveries and innovations so often come from bringing people of vastly different disciplines together so their ideas can naturally collide, prompting them in new—and sometimes unexpected—directions,” says Gilles Patry, president and CEO of CFI. “This state-of-the art facility will become the catalyst for these kinds of extraordinary collaborations.”

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