Release Date: January 6, 2010
Media Contact: Dale Johnson, External Relations
Phone: 306-585-5439
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University of Regina first in Canada to join elite U.S. research group

The University of Regina has become the first university outside the United States to become part of an elite group of universities that conducts research into nuclear physics and technology commercialization.

The U of R has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), a consortium of more than 60 universities in the U.S. As well as its research projects, SURA jointly operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia with the U.S. Department of Energy.

"This membership demonstrates the high regard the U of R has in the international research community," says the U of R Vice President of Research, Dr. David Gauthier. "Being part of SURA will mean that U of R students and faculty can participate in larger-scale, collaborative, international research projects."

Membership in SURA means opportunities for funding for workshops, conferences and specialized equipment. Another important potential benefit is the funding of "bridged positions" to conduct research at Jefferson Lab.

"This also means U of R professors and students will have access to funding for sabbaticals and fellowship programs, providing opportunities to study and teach in the U.S.," says U of R physics professor Zisis Papandreou, the U of R representative on the SURA board.

Two other U of R physics faculty members, Dr. Garth Huber and Dr. George Lolos, will sit on important decision-making committees of SURA. U of R President Dr. Vianne Timmons will be on SURA's Council of Presidents, the body that decides on all recommendations by the board.

The U of R was invited to apply for membership in SURA because of its long-standing and leading-role research work at the Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia.

The U of R Physics Department began work last year on the construction phase of the GlueX experiment, one of the highest priority projects of a $310 million international research effort, which will be looking into how matter is held together.

There is a combined investment of $1.8 million for the Regina portion of the project, which will cover equipment and salaries of researchers and students during the next three years. About $600,000 is coming from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the federal funding agency for university-based research and student training. The other $1.2 million is coming from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Part of the project - a barrel calorimeter, which measures energy - is being constructed at the University of Regina by undergraduate students and will measure the energy and timing of particles that pass through it, which may help physicists learn more about protons and neutrons and how they are bound together.

For more about SURA go to: