Funding Found for Canadian Neutron Scattering Program

Buyers, Bill buyersw at
Wed Jan 22 12:31:00 CST 1997

From: "Buyers, Bill" <buyersw at>
To: Neutron List at ANL <neutron at>
Subject: Funding Found for Canadian Neutron Scattering Program
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 19:19:00 -0500

                         Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering
                     Institut canadien de la diffusion des neutrons

To:         CINS/ICDN Membership
From:     Bill Buyers, President

                                  FUNDING FOR NEUTRON SCATTERING
                                                One year after the cuts.

Great news!  The New Year is going to be a happy one after all!

A  letter was sent Thursday, January 17, 1997 by  Anne McLellan,
Minister of Natural Resources, to Robert Nixon, Chairman of AECL  Here
is the gist of it.

Funding of $1.5M per year will be provided for three years for the CMS
(Condensed Matter Science) program, the name by which the Chalk River
neutron scattering user program is known.

The funding, half of which has been contributed by Natural Resources
Canada, will be held by the National Research Council (NRC).

Responsibility for the program will move to NRC on April 1, 1997.  It is
expected that NRC will include the CMS program in its long term planning
provisions.  (I interpret this to mean that NRC will help us make the
case for continuing funding beyond the three year bridging period.)

AECL will provide  neutron beams and laboratory and office space,
provided there is no incremental cost to AECL.

My reactions:

I am much relieved after a long battle.  I am particularly relieved that
the stress under which the Chalk River scientists have lived this past
year is now subsiding.

I appreciate the sterling work done by Thom Mason, who, attended
meetings and was an effective spokesperson for the user community.
Those of us most closely involved in making the case to government
deeply appreciate the strong support we have received from the
university community from coast to coast, including the excellent
letters written by the Presidents of Canada's leading research
universities.  We are grateful, too, for support from our industrial
collaborators.  The Canadian Association of Physicists, particularly
Paul Vincett and Bev Robertson,  played a most important and helpful
role in meetings with politicians, including Jon Gerrard, and government
officials. We are grateful also to Don McDiarmid of the National
Consortium (NCSES) who  made many presentations in meetings with
government, and also to CAUT and AUCC for their support.

There was also considerable support from individuals and
agencies within the government, who, as you may recall, called the CMS
neutron beam program " a key strategic technology"  for Canada.  NRC
most certainly provided strong support when it was most needed, and
NSERC also spoke in favour of the program.

Turning that strong verbal support into dollars was much more difficult,
even when the funding sought was the least of all the programs cut last
March 1996.  And the pace at which the government reached a decision on
alternative funding can only be described as glacial.

One thing I have learned is that direct contacts in government need to
be developed and departments informed about the program.  Letters of
support from the non-government community, while absolutely necessary,
are by no means sufficient.  Support expressed in conversations with
government officials at all levels is effective and much needed.  So
also is communication with politicians.  Since we started the year with
very few connections to government, and not much political influence (we
still don't have much), I feel fortunate that we have succeeded in
convincing government, at least for the next three years.

As I  see it, CINS/ICDN played a vital role in representing with a
single voice the needs of the Canadian scientists for neutron beams for
materials research.  We (and that means all of you)  will have to remain
actively involved in supporting the national neutron network for the
next few years.  We need to build the case for continuing funding.  This
requires high performance and excellent visibility.  The need to
communicate the research to society and government will not disappear.
Indeed I expect those of you in universities are facing the same needs
to communicate the benefits of your own research if you are to save
enough good research for Canada's future.  So we have a challenging road
ahead - and we must remain vigilant.

The Future with NRC

We are thinking of calling the NRC program the Neutron Centre for
Materials Research (NCMR).  I am open to suggestions for names.  I
expect we will become part of the Steacie Institute for Molecular
Sciences.  The amount of funding is less than we had before the cuts.
This is going to cause problems trying to fit into the new budget.
Brian Powell and I are making a plan and we will just have to do the
best we can.

National User Program

However the funding is enough that we can continue to run a national
user program.  This means that


as I said in the recent issue of CINEWS, which you all should have
received by now.   So keep your proposals coming, grab the proposal form
off the Web-site,  http://CU17.AECL.CA, or the anonymous ftp site
CU17.AECL.CA, and come for your next experiment.

All instruments are operating well and NRU is healthy.  I expect many of
you will want to collect some new data so you can showpiece your
research when the International Conference on Neutron Scattering comes
to Toronto this summer.  I am expecting a very large turnout of Canadian
papers, so let's show the rest of the world what we can do!

I hope to welcome you soon at Chalk River.

Best wishes to you all,

Bill Buyers

More information about the Neutron mailing list