Issue 31, April 19th, 2022

We hope you are doing well. We're busy as ever here at the McDonald Institute and have lots of news and opportunities to share with you.

As always, please consider joining the Canadian Astroparticle Physics LinkedIn group. The group is a place to share and create opportunities for the community, and connect with others in the field.

Please Complete Your McDonald Institute Census! 

The McDonald Institute’s annual census of Canada’s astroparticle physics research community is still open. If you received an individualized April 11 email request to complete the survey and have not yet done so, please take 20-30 minutes to respond.  

The survey collects required data for our funding agency (Canada First Research Excellence Fund) and for collecting feedback from community members.

If you did not receive your invitation to complete the census, please contact [email protected].

National Meeting - Hold the Date
The McDonald Institute is inviting researchers to meet in Toronto on August 4-5, 2022, for its fourth Annual National Meeting of the Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Community.

“After a long (too long) period spent distanced from each other, I’m delighted to have colleagues assemble face-to-face again,” says Scientific Director, Tony Noble.
“We have a lot to catch up on as the pace of research activity is accelerating around the world.”

The Annual National Meeting will focus on Canadian contributions to leading-edge collaborations expected to deploy experiments in the next 10 years. This follows the 2021 meeting focused on increasing scale in collaborations, and the 2020 focus on community sustainment.

(Un)Hacking Downstream Consequences: A Novel Innovation and Entrepreneurship Event  

The McDonald Institute piloted a novel online innovation and entrepreneurship event this past semester leveraging funds from Experience Ventures through the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University. The (Un)Hacking Downstream Consequences event drew together 33 undergraduate students from 20 different majors across six different degree programs to solve real-world problems and develop future-ready skills. Students were placed into nine multi-disciplinary teams and had the support of a graduate or research scientist mentor to support them towards their solutions. Experience Ventures identified six innovation and entrepreneurship skills to be developed during the event: resiliency, opportunity recognition, action orientation, risk management, systems thinking and transdisciplinary thinking. These transferrable skills were adopted and championed during the (Un)Hackathon to prepare students for personal and professional growth in the future. 

However, this was no ordinary hackathon event. For those unfamiliar with this phenomenon, hackathons are short-term competition-style events that incentivize teams to work rapidly on a problem to produce a solution prototype. Hackathons host workshops, guest speakers and sometimes connect teams with mentors. However, hackathons are often barrier laden for equity deserving students. In alignment with the Institute’s strategic vision for equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII), the staff team endeavoured to re-think the hackathon experience to create a more inclusive event. Rather than press forward with a traditional hackathon timeline of problem-solving for 48-72 hours straight, the (Un)Hackathon event was designed to spread out 16 hours of synchronous and asynchronous remote learning and group work over 10 days to accommodate student’s work-life balance. Teams participated in synchronous workshops and speaker events while also gathering asynchronously to work together on the solution to a problem affecting collaborators and partners of the McDonald Institute.  

Help for postdocs and graduate students affected by the war in Ukraine
Perimeter Institute (PI) is offering positions in theoretical physics for postdoctoral researchers and graduate students affected by the war in Ukraine. These positions are open to final-year undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers whose study or research has been interrupted by the war in Ukraine. Citizens of all countries are eligible. For more information, visit:

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has established a limited-time Special Response Fund for Trainees (Ukraine), or SRFT-Ukraine, to initiate or maintain the employment or financial support—via stipend or salary—of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are directly impacted by the crisis in Ukraine. For more information or to apply, visit:

Registration now open for the Summer Particle Astrophysics Workshop
The fourth annual Summer Particle Astrophysics Workshop (formerly EIEIOO) will run from May 3 - 12 this year. The Workshop is designed to provide students with the tools to get started in astroparticle physics research. This is also a great opportunity to meet other students in the field! Anyone with an interest in the material or looking to refresh their skills is welcome to participate. The sessions are virtual, and registration is free.

To view a list of this year’s sessions, and to register, visit:

The Graduate Student Exchange Program allows graduate students at a recognized Canadian academic institution to travel and work with another research group for up to six months to gain experience and bring new knowledge back to their home research group. This program is also open to international students coming to a recognized Canadian academic institution. This opportunity is limited to applicants studying Astroparticle physics or a related field. Application for partnership-development visits (of no less than two weeks duration) that could potentially lead to an exchange may also be granted.

The applicant must be:
A graduate student enrolled at a recognized Canadian academic institution travelling within Canada or internationally, OR
An international graduate student coming to a recognized Canadian Institution

This opportunity is limited to applicants studying astroparticle physics or a related field being applied to the advancement of astroparticle physics.

Visit the Graduate Student Exchange section of the Mcdonald Institute Funding Opportunities web page for more information.

The McDonald Institute Proof of Concept Seed Fund Pilot Program provides early-stage support for technology innovation supervised by an awardee. Funding of up to $20,000 CAD is currently available to offset the real costs to an eligible astroparticle physics researcher developing an early-stage demonstration of practical technologies either adapted, or transferred from research-driven activities. Funding may be used for a portion, or the entirety of costs incurred for, prototype development, technology integration, or technology demonstration. Once funds for the current Pilot are exhausted, the opportunity will close until the next fiscal year (April 2022- March 2023). Please contact Dr. Alexandra Pedersen (Business Development Officer) for additional information and application guidance. 

Two-Eyed Seeing Astronomy Discussion
At the end of March, the McDonald Institute, in partnership with Queen’s University and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, hosted an evening of Indigenous astronomy and Dance at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston. The event featured Red Sky Performance, an Indigenous dance company based in Toronto that performed TRACE, a dance inspired by Anishinaabe star stories. An excerpt can be seen on YouTube here

After the unforgettable performance, Astronomer David Hanes (Queen's University) and Melanie Demers (Two Worlds Consulting) presented a Two-Eyed Seeing astronomy discussion exploring the different ways to know about and experience the universe. Watch the presentation here:
TeVPA 2022 will take place in person at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, August 8-12 2022. TeVPA is a major international conference bringing together expertise around the terascale including cosmic rays, cosmology, dark matter, galactic and extragalactic sources, gamma rays, neutrinos and multimessenger physics.

Visit the conference website to submit an abstract:

Registration and payment will become available soon.


The Graduate Instrumentation and Detector School (GRIDS) will be held at TRIUMF in Vancouver, Canada from June 13-24th after a two-year hiatus. GRIDS is aimed at graduate students for whom particle and radiation detection play a key role in their work, and who would like to gain hands-on experience with detectors and associated instrumentation technology. The school introduces practical aspects of detection principles and operations in nuclear, particle, and astroparticle physics as well as in nuclear medicine, such that participants achieve a working knowledge of the origin of data produced by commonly employed detector systems. 

The school includes two days of plenary lectures from world-renowned experts in the field, and eight days of hands-on experience setting up and running various experiments that will develop laboratory skills, including safety, problem-solving, teamwork, and more.
Plenary Speakers: 
Dr. Viktor Zacek (Université de Montréal) 
Dr. Claude Leroy (Université de Montréal) 
Dr. Karoline Schäffner (Max Planck Institute for Physics) 
Dr. Kimberly Palladino (University of Oxford) 
Dr. Etiennette Auffray (CERN) 
Dr. Daniela Bortoletto (University Oxford) 
Dr. Daniel Santos (LPSC) 
Dr. Kate Pachal (TRIUMF)  
Dr. Pia Loaiza (LAL) 
Dr. Stefan Ritt (Paul Scherrer Institut) 

The website will be updated shortly with information about the school and registration:  

TRISEP 2022 | TRIUMF | BC | Canada
The 2022 Tri-Institute Summer School on Elementary Particles (TRISEP) will be held from July 4-15, 2022 and hosted by TRIUMF. TRISEP is an international, graduate-level summer school on particle physics organized jointly by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, SNOLAB, Canada’s deep underground physics lab, and TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre. 

Visit the TRISEP website for more information.
Conversations at the Perimeter
Conversations at the Perimeter is the latest evolution in Perimeter Institute’s commitment to sharing the power and wonder of science with the world, which has been a central focus of the Institute since its inception.

Global 15-Minute Lecture Competition
The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation has agreed to take on leadership for the Canadian portion of an IOM3-sponsored worldwide lecture competition. The Young Persons’ Lecture Competition was first brought to Canada by the McDonald Institute in 2019. Canada has had two worldwide podium finishes in that period – a third place by Morgan L. in 2019 and first place by Hannah Ramsay in 2021.

The competition is still open to young researchers in astroparticle physics topics related to materials, metals and mining. This competition is designed to attract science and engineering researchers under 28 years of age.

The winner of this competition will not only win a cash prize and a 3-week online course on the Introduction to Mineral and Exploration Economics provided by the University of British Columbia, but they will also have an opportunity to compete at IM3’s World Competition (date to be determined).

To find out more, please join us for a short webinar on April 21 st at 2:00 pm for a 20-minute presentation on the YPLC2022 competition.

Sarah Dawson, Interim Communications Officer
Sarah Dawson will be filling in as the Interim McDonald Institute Communications Officer while Zachary Kenny is on parental leave from June through October. Sarah was initially recruited as an assistant program coordinator with the Institute and worked with Business Development Officer Alex Pederson on the Experience Ventures Un-Hackathon. Sarah will be covering four months from May through August until she begins her law degree in September. Sarah’s quick learning and passion for communication will continue to bring value to the astroparticle physics community over the next few months!

The Professional Development Opportunities offerings are taking a short break! But we’ll be back mid-summer to update our offerings and share exciting new announcements for the program!

A reminder that the self-guided modules for enhancing your equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization (EDII) competencies are now available. These opportunities are open to students, staff, and faculty affiliated with the McDonald Institute. We thank our partners at the Human Rights and Equity Office (Queen’s University) for providing this training to the network!
Explore opportunities in astroparticle physics!
The Careers in Astroparticle Physics website features jobs, research positions, and other career-building opportunities in the field in a highly discoverable way. Prospective and current students can easily find current postings to take their careers to the next step, or just to keep them inspired and optimistic about their future.

View the Careers website at:

We hope you find this community resource helpful!
The McDonald Institute Managing Director (MD) position is open for applications

The McDonald Institute at Queen’s University is seeking a scientific-minded individual with a people-first approach to management, for the position of Managing Director (MD). Reporting to the Scientific Director, the MD is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the institute, including creating a collaborative environment that brings staff, researchers, government, and other stakeholders together for the purpose of conducting astroparticle physics research. This institute includes multiple sites, including the world-leading astroparticle deep underground research facility, SNOLAB. To be successful in the role, the incumbent will need to be extremely collaborative, strategic, and knowledgeable in the field of scientific research. The Institute currently has 2 years of funding remaining, which is anticipated to be extended, so a portion of the MD’s responsibilities will be contributing to the writing of applications for longer-term funding.

The MD will have the autonomy to use their creative and strategic acumen to realize opportunities and address challenges, ensuring this will be a challenging and rewarding opportunity. Additionally, this will be an interesting opportunity for anyone passionate about science, as they will be at the forefront of answers to interesting scientific questions, such as how the universe began, where is it going, and how it works.

The deadline to apply is May 8, 2022. More information about the application process and the position can be found on the official job posting.

Connect with the community:

Share some new research or ask a question to the community at the Canadian Astroparticle Physics LinkedIn Group

For the latest physics memes, pet photos, and virtual conference chatrooms, always feel free to say "hi" in the McDonald Institute HQP Community Discord

Do you have a recent result or publication that you would like shared with the Canadian Astroparticle Physics network and beyond? Send your work to CJ ([email protected]) to have it featured in our Science News series!
Science News is intended for students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and research associates actively working in astroparticle physics to quickly digest updates and progress in areas that are not directly connected to their specific project(s).

The McDonald Institute at Queen’s University is situated in the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee First Nations. The Institute is part of a national network of institutions and research centres, which operate in other traditional Indigenous territories. Visit to learn the traditional territories where astroparticle physicists are grateful to live and work across Canada.

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