Back to top

Selkirk College TRIUMFs in physics research

Selkirk College has joined forces with TRIUMF--a consortium of 15 universities in Canada whose purpose is to conduct world-class experimental research in subatomic physics and nuclear medicine and to commercialize its spin-off technologies.

Housed at University of British Columbia’s campus in Vancouver, TRIUMF is one of the world’s leading subatomic physics laboratories. It has partnerships and collaborations with researchers from across Canada and around the world.

It usually costs thousands of dollars and about 2 years of advanced planning to book an experiment in TRIUMF’s research facility. One of their latest developments, a new form of superconducting linear accelerator (linac), is budgeted at about $60 million.

Selkirk is the first college in Canada to work with TRIUMF through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). “I believe that this partnership could have significant programming implications for Selkirk, and major commercialization and economic benefits for the region,” says Dean of
University Arts and Sciences, Neil Coburn.

The reason that Selkirk College was “chosen” to become a partner goes back to the history of master-mind Morgan Dehnel. Dehnel completed a PhD in accelerator physics at TRIUMF/UBC, and returned to his roots in Nelson to set up his business “D-Pace” along with his two brothers Kent and Kurt Dehnel.

D-Pace has licensed about 10 technologies from TRIUMF and commercialized 3 of them to date. Its most prominent product is a negative hydrogen ion source for cyclotrons, a type of particle accelerator used to produce radioisotope tracers for diagnosing cancerous tumors. D-Pace was recognized as a Canadian Innovation leader by the federal government earlier this year.

The company has contracts to build and further develop ion sources for research/production facilities around the world. Morgan is currently in France for a few months to co-ordinate a 5-year supply deal recently signed with a European accelerator manufacturer. D-Pace’s most recent sale is to Fermilab in the USA.

Morgan would like to work with Selkirk College to possibly commercialize more of the technologies D-Pace has licensed. Part of TRIUMF's mandate is to transfer technology to the market place for the social and economic benefit of Canadians. Because of the Dehnels’ success in commercializing TRIUMF technology and creating a Canadian company (in a small, rural community) that is successful in the world market, TRIUMF is interested in a partnership with Selkirk College that would support these activities.

“This is a great opportunity for TRIUMF to connect world-class training and opportunities with the highly talented students and faculty at Selkirk,” says Head of Strategic Planning and Communications at TRIUMF Tim Meyer.

This article is a press release from Selkirk College.