The Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) was awarded to Queen’s University and the consortium of partners focused on astroparticle physics in September 2016. The award initiated a flurry of activity in the first year among the collaboration focused on the recruitment of 15 astroparticle physics faculty across Canada and the establishment of the administrative and governance bodies overseeing the award.



To be a globally recognized centre for research and learning, coalescing Canadian and international expertise in underground particle astrophysics and benefitting from the unique SNOLAB facility to deliver world-leading science focused on the big questions in particle astrophysics, cosmology and astronomy.



Enable a vibrant research program focused on priority areas that delivers excellent science and further solidifies Canada’s position as a world-leader in particle astrophysics.

Create a centre that brings together the critical mass of scientific and technical expertise in particle astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, detector development and low background techniques to lead the next generation of experiments.

Facilitate the exchange of ideas through collaboration, partnerships, and visitor programs, to develop research programs across regions and disciplines, nationally and internationally.

Inspire students and the general public through dynamic educational programs and captivating outreach activities.

Foster innovation in research and development by engaging scientists and engineers with businesses, and by sponsoring student internships in collaborating industries.


Strategic Goals

  1. To lead the next generation of increasingly challenging experiments by creating a critical mass in astrophysics, cosmology, detector development and low background techniques that will:
    • Maximize the scientific output from the suite of experiments that are currently operational or under development
    • Develop new experiments to expand universal understanding of particle astrophysics.
  2. Integrate learning of highly qualified people, students and the public in all initiatives through novel and interactive education, training and social mediums.
  3. Attract capital and operational funding to establish global-scale next generation detectors in Canada through international engagement, stakeholder support and knowledge translation.
  4. Actively collaborate with industry to facilitate knowledge transfer and subsequent innovation.
  5. To create a culture of equity in the science, administration and governance through engagement, participation and outreach.
  6. To maintain the excellence and integrity of the initiative through strong partnerships, governance and management.