TRIUMF brings innovation and industrial partners to B.C.

Innovation and Education – Minister of State for Science and Technology Ed Holder (left) visited TRIUMF in September to meet with Director Jonathan Bagger (right) and discuss scientific excellence, international projects, and successful engagement with the private sector.

On September 25-26, 2014, TRIUMF and Advanced Applied Physics Solutions, Inc. (AAPS), a TRIUMF company, welcomed leaders in knowledge mobilization and technology transfer from across Canada to its annual Innovations and Industrial Partnerships Workshop.

The workshop engaged colleagues from TRIUMF’s member universities in a forum to advance innovation and to explore opportunities for leveraging research that will benefit Canadian society,” said TRIUMF DirectorDr Jonathan Bagger.

“TRIUMF enables researchers and industrial partners to combine their expertise to address common challenges in knowledge translation and innovation.”

Jim Hanlon, President and CEO of AAPS, Inc. and Head of the Business and Administration Division of TRIUMF, says the two-day workshop featured strong presentations and the participation of all the attendees.

TRIUMF attracts people from science, technology and business,” Hanlon said. “That’s our role as a national laboratory.”

One of the world’s leading physics laboratories, TRIUMF brings together physicists and other scientific researchers, technical resources and commercial partners. The facility, which is located on the south campus of the University of British Columbia, employs 500 staff, including 150 students from across Canada and around the world.

TRIUMF was founded in 1968 by UBC, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria. Since its inception it has expanded to a network of 18 universities from coast to coast.

TRIUMF's mission has several different aspects. The laboratory is arguably best known for research in physics, nuclear physics, nuclear medicine and materials science. But its mandate also includes knowledge transfer and the commercialization of research for the benefit of all Canadians.

The commercialization of TRIUMF research is the responsibility of AAPS, a non-profit company that was created under the Networks of Centre of Excellence of Canada (NCE) Centre of Excellence for Commercialization of Research (CECR) program in 2008.

At TRIUMF, we're a hotbed of innovation,” said Hanlon. “Since AAPS was formed, it has been creating an average of one new start-up company per year.”

Although TRIUMF is a hive of research commercialization activity, the organization doesn't compete with Canadian industry.

We undertake the projects that others can't,” said Dr. Paul Schaffer,Head of TRIUMF's Nuclear Medicine Division. “The main economic sectors that we work with include aerospace, electronics, mining, medicine and material science.”

Other than its member universities, some of the organizations that TRIUMF partners with for innovation and research translation include the BC Cancer Agency, BC Innovation Council, Vancouver Board of Trade, Science World, GE Healthcare, Nordion Inc., PAVAC Industries Incorporated, ARTMS Inc. and Cisco Systems, Inc.

TRIUMF has worked with Nordion, which makes products to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, for 35 years. Nordion uses TRIUMF-based technology to create and ship 2.5 million radioisotope doses per year across Canada and around the world, all from its Vancouver site at TRIUMF.

In 2004, TRIUMF and Nordion won the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Synergy Award for Innovation for their longstanding university-industry partnership

PAVACis another British Columbia company that has benefited from working with TRIUMF. Richmond-based PAVAC develops industrial electron beam technology for customers all over the world. Since 2005, TRIUMF and PAVAC have been working together to produce superconducting radiofrequency accelerator cavities.

The technology is the base of the next generation of accelerators, with applications in health care, environmental mitigation and remediation, advanced materials science and high-energy physics. Because of PAVAC’s relationship with TRIUMF, Canada is one of only six countries in the world with this capability.

“Thanks in part to its 10 years of collaboration with TRIUMF, PAVAC will have new products coming out over the next five years,” said Hanlon.

ARTMS (Alternative Radioisotope Technologies for Medical Sciences) is a new TRIUMF spin-off company that was created in 2013 by AAPS to develop sustainable medical isotope technology. ARTMS technology avoids all of the complications that come with traditional medical isotope production that use nuclear reactors.

ARTMS will sell to companies and institutions that produce the most widely used medical radioisotope, Tc-99m, in the world,” said Hanlon.“It's green technology and we're expecting it will become a big business.”

Collaborating with industrial partners like Nordion, PAVAC and ARTMS is “second nature to TRIUMF,” says Bagger.

It's built into our DNA,” he said. “And we're anxious to talk to anyone or any organization that would like to work with us.”


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