Funding Opportunities

This page showcases successful funding opportunities and previous recipients from the McDonald Institute. These include all awarded competitions and opportunities, completed or in progress, as described under Current Funding Opportunities and Internships.

The information below is a snapshot of the key information of each successful funding opportunity. To meet the people behind the projects, visit our People page or go to the opportunity of interest.



Novel Collaborations with Astroparticle Physics

Description: Funding to host a collaboration meeting, targeting the creation of new scientific outcomes. BlueSky ideas that seed exploration of research interests or address overlap between research groups are encouraged.

Eligibility: Meetings will take place in Canada between Canadian collaborators, including any person who holds a position at a Canadian academic or research institute with a focus on Astroparticle physics. Participants must be groups that have not previously interacted scientifically (previously collaborated or jointly published), and interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

Principal InvestigatorCollaboratorsHost InstitutionTitleYear Awarded
Daryl HaggardThomas BrunerMcGill UniversityBuilding Strategic Collaborations for the Multi-Messenger Era2019
Aaron VincentJoseph Bramante, Sara Schon, Larry WidrowQueen’s UniversityDark Matter Theory in Canada2019

International Astroparticle Physics Collaborations

Description: Funding to host international collaboration meetings in Canada to create international linkages on research ideas, or meetings at international locations that demonstrate clear evidence for future opportunities in Canada.

Eligibility: Meetings must be between a Canadian Delegation and an International Delegation, and led by senior research officials. Individual travel may be considered, however the goal of this fund is to promote larger group interactions, ideally with a minimum of three team members.

Principal InvestigatorCollaboratorsHost InstitutionTitleYear Awarded
Joseph BramanteAaron VincentQueen's UniversityThe McDonald Institute Dark Matter and Astroparticle Theory Workshop2019

Research Resources

Frontier Research Venture Fund

Description: One year of research funding for new high-risk, high-reward research areas that help maximize the scientific output from the suite of experiments that are currently operational or under development. Projects must be one year in length and address one of the following:

  • Programmatic or Network-level research partnership development initiatives.
  • Unique capacity building/training/professional development opportunities within existing research projects.
  • Seed funding of new research and development initiatives to build new teams or enable proof of principle that will lead to follow-on funding from other sources of research support.
  • Funding can be used for salaries, equipment, materials, supplies, and travel.

Eligibility: Funding is for faculty members at any Canadian academic institution, who can currently hold funds from any of the granting agencies including CFREF.

Principal Investigator(s)Home InstitutionProject TitleYear Awarded
Juan Pablo Yáñez Garza, Carsten Krauss, Ken Clark, Roger MooreUniversity of Alberta , Queen’s UniversityPhysics potential of a Pacific Neutrino Observatory (P-ONE Neutrino Observatory)2018
Serge Charlebois, JF Pratte, Fabrice Retière, Thomas Brunner, Ken Clark, Simon VielUniversité de Sherbrooke, TRIUMFTowards High Efficiency single VUV photon Detectors2018
Levente Balogh, Joseph Bramante, Matthew Leybourne, Aaron Vincent, Anna Harrison, Daniel Layton-MatthewsQueen’s UniversityPaleo-Detectors2019
Peter Skensved, Pierre-Andrew Amaudruz, Phillipe Di Stefano, Art McDonald, Fabrice RetièreQueen’s University, TRIUMFDarkSide-20k2019
Peng Wang, Serge NagornyQueen’s UniversityDevelopment of Novel Crystalline Scintillators2019
Fabrice Retière, Pietro Giampa, Thomas Brunner, Ken Clark, Luca Galli, Giovanni Signorelli, Simone Stracka, Marc-André Tétrault, Simon VielTRIUMFThe Light Only Liquid Xenon (LoLX) and Argon (LoLA) R&D Programs2019
Mark ChenQueen’s UniversityLiquidO opaque liquid scintillator research, development, and measurements.2020

HQP Pooled Resources

Description: This competition assists with supervisor incurred salary costs of highly qualified personnel from undergraduate students through post doctoral fellows. Funding for positions is available to those pursuing astroparticle physics research in Canada aligned with the McDonald Institute Research Strategy.

Eligibility: The applicant must be able to supervise at a Canadian academic institution and be eligible to hold an institutional account for grants or awards (e.g. granting agencies, or currently receives CFREF funding). The proposal must be in line with the McDonald Institute’s vision and scientific goals.

Principle InvestigatorCo-ApplicantsInstitutionPosition typeYear Awarded
Pierre GorelChris JillingsSNOLABPostDoc2018
Fabrice RetièreTRIUMFPostDoc2018
Fabrice RetièreTRIUMFPhD2018
Mark ChenRyan Martin, Alex WrightQueen's UniversityPostDoc2018
Erica CadenSNOLABPostDoc2018
Alan RobinsonUniversité de MontréalUG2018
Alan RobinsonUniversité de MontréalPostDoc2018
Razvan GorneaThomas KoffasCarleton UniversityPostDoc2018
Mark BoulayCarleton UniversityPostDoc2018
Stephen GodfreyThomas Grégoire, Heather Logan, Daniel StolarskiCarleton UniversityPostDoc2018
Simon VielCarleton UniversityPhD2018
Marie-Cécile PiroUniversity of AlbertaPostDoc2018
Clarence VirtueLaurentian UniversityPostDoc2018
Thomas BrunnerMcGill UniversityUG2018
Thomas BrunnerMcGill UniversityPostDoc2018
Thomas BrunnerMcGill UniversityMSc2018
Jonathan VeinotAksel HallinUniversity of AlbertaPostDoc2018
Jonathan VeinotAksel HallinUniversity of AlbertaPostDoc2018
Jonathan VeinotAksel HallinUniversity of AlbertaPhD2018
Wolfgang RauQueen's UniversityUG2018
Ryan MartinQueen's UniversityPostDoc2018
Jim ClineMcGill UniversityPhD2018
Phillippe Di StefanoQueen's UniversityPostDoc2018
Simon VielCarleton UniversityPostDoc2018
Pietro GiampaTRIUMFUG2018
Phillippe Di StefanoQueen's UniversityPhD2018
Phillippe Di StefanoQueen's UniversityMSc2018
Stephen GodfreyThomas Grégoire, Heather Logan, Daniel StolarskiCarleton UniversityPostDoc2018
Pietro GiampaTRIUMFUG2019
Adam RitzUniversity of VictoriaPostDoc2019
Fabrice RetièreTRIUMFPostDoc2019
Mark ChenQueen's UniversityPhD2019
Daryl HaggardThomas BrunnerMcGill UniversityUG2019
Daryl HaggardThomas BrunnerMcGill UniversityPhD2019
Phillippe Di StefanoArt McDonald, Peter SkensvedQueen's UniversityPostDoc2019
Razvan GorneaThomas Koffas, Simon VielCarleton UniversityUG2019
Razvan GorneaThomas Koffas, Simon VielCarleton UniversityUG2019
Razvan GorneaSimon Viel, Thomas KoffasCarleton UniversityUG2019
Thomas KoffasRazvan GorneaCarleton UniversityUG2019
Mark BoulayCarleton UniversityPostDoc2019
Stephen GodfreyThomas Grégoire, Heather Logan, Daniel StolarskiCarleton UniversityPostDoc2019
Simon VielCarleton UniversityUG2019
Simon VielCarleton UniversityUG2019
Peng WangQueen's UniversityUG2019
Joseph BramanteQueen's UniversityMSc2019
Joseph BramanteQueen's UniversityMSc2019
Thomas BrunnerMcGill UniversityUG2019
Jo BovyUniversity of TorontoPostDoc2019
Pietro GiampaTRIUMFUG2019
Mauricio BarbiUniversity of ReginaMSc2019
Jason HoltTRIUMFUG2019
Jason HoltTRIUMFUG2019
Jason HoltTRIUMFPostDoc2019
Ryan MartinQueen's UniversityUG2019
Lawrence WidrowQueen's UniversityPhD2019
Alex WrightQueen's UniversityMSc/PhD2019
Daniel SiegelPerimeter Institute, University of GuelphPhD2019
Simon VielCarleton UniversityPhD2019
Matthew LeybourneQueen's UniversityPostDoc2019
Marie-Cécile PiroUniversity of AlbertaPostDoc2019
Thomas BrunnerMcGill UniversityUG2019
Fabrice RetièreTRIUMFMSc2020
Jason HoltTRIUMFMSc2020
Jason HoltTRIUMFMSc2020
Stéphane CourteauAaron VincentQueen's UniversityMSc2020
Nassim BozorgniaYork UniversityMSc2020
Kenneth RaganMcGill UniversityPhD2020
John P DavisUniversity of AlbertaMSc2020
Simon VielCarleton UniversityUG2020
Peng WangQueen's UniversityUG2020
Marie-Cécile PiroUniversity of AlbertaPhD2020
Thomas BrunnerMcGill UniversityUG2021
Ziqing HongUniversity of TorontoUG2021
Annika LennarzAlan ChenMcMaster University, TRIUMFUG2021
Ryan MartinQueen's UniversityUG2021
Niayesh AfshordiUniversity of Waterloo, Perimeter InstitutePhD2021
Ken ClarkQueen's UniversityPhD2021
William EastUniversity of Waterloo, Perimeter InstitutePhD2021
Ryan MartinGuillaume GirouxQueen's UniversityMSc2021
Sean TulinYork UniversityMSc2021
Juan Pablo Yáñez GarzaUniversity of AlbertaPhD2021

Proof of Concept Seed Fund

Description: The McDonald Institute Proof of Concept Seed Fund provides early-stage support for technology innovation supervised by an awardee. Funding is 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.

Eligibility: Any researcher focused on astroparticle physics and already eligible to hold funds from Tri-Council granting agencies (or currently in receipt of CFREF funding through the McDonald Institute) may apply if they are eligible to manage an institutional research account. Any researcher working under the direct supervision of a researcher meeting the above criterion may act as the application lead (proponent), but all funds must flow through a Tri-Council eligible researcher’s account (awardee).

Principal Investigator(s)Home InstitutionProject TitleYear Awarded
Ken Clark, Fabrice Retière, Steve Rogak, Andrew TilstonQueen’s University, TRIUMFSingle Photon Air Analyzer (SPAA), Research and Development2021

Exchanges and Linkages


Graduate Student Exchange (formerly Ph.D. Exchange)

Description: This 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 opportunity is limited to applicants studying astroparticle physics or a related field being applied to the advancement of astroparticle physics. Funding will only cover pre-approved costs for travel and accommodations during the exchange. Application for partnership-development visits (of no less than two weeks duration) that could potentially lead to an exchange may also be granted.

Eligibility: Open to all graduate students studying astroparticle physics or a related field who are either enrolled at a Canadian academic institution and/or wish to visit a Canadian academic institution as part of the program. There is no restriction on citizenship.

PhD CandidateHome InstitutionHost InstitutionProject titleYear Awarded
Yan LiuQueen’s UniversityLaboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas2018/2019
Stefan-Alexandru NaeLaboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de PartículasQueen’s UniversityCreate a database for storing Canadian nuclear reactor powers and refuelling information, in real-time.2018/2019
Takumio SuzukiKamioka Observatory, Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, the University of Tokyo, and funding support through Honda exchangeSNOLABDevelopment of hardware in PICO and the analysis of data in DEAP-36002019
Richard GermondQueen’s UniversityNEEL InstitutInvestigate Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector (MKID) sensor technology, optimize the absorbing material that the MKIDs will be instrumented on, and the sensitivity of the detectors to various dark matter particle models. Design a system to implement the detectors and their readout in the Cryogenic Underground Test Facility (CUTE at SNOLAB) cryostat.2019
Nikhil AroraQueen’s UniversityNew York University, Abu DhabiFormation and assembly of the dwarf galaxies in the Local Group2020
Emilse Cabrera CaperaUniversidade Federal de Campina GrandeLaurentian UniversityConstraints in Neutrino Mass Generation Models from the nEXO experiment.2020
Islam KhanWashington State UniversityQueen’s UniversityPossible Connections between Inflation and the Dark Sector.2020
Carlos Iván Ortega HernándezInstituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoTRIUMF, University of British ColumbiaPIENU Data Analysis2020
Laura SammonUniversity of MarylandQueen’s UniversityDeep Crustal Geology of SNO+ Geoneutrino Detection2020
Benjamin TamQueen’s UniversityOxford UniversitySNO+ Neutrionless Double Beta Decay Search2020
Ariel Zuñiga ReyesInstitute of Physics, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoSNOLABHardware upgrades and background reduction strategies in DEAP-36002020

Visiting Scientist (Discontinued)

Description:  A travel bursary for scientists to visit a host institution for collaborative work, similar to a research sabbatical, ranging from 3 to 12 months. The goal is to advance areas of research that align with the objectives of the McDonald Institute and have a scientific impact on the hosting and home institution, thus mobilizing research talent in Canada to international research institutions and bringing international researchers to Canada. Funding will only cover pre-approved costs for travel and accommodations during the exchange.

Eligibility: Applicants must have completed a Ph.D. and be an established researcher working in the area of astroparticle physics. The proposed research program must also be aligned with the objectives of the McDonald Institute and should not be financially supported through other sources of funding.

RecipientHome InstitutionHost InstitutionResearch AreaYear Awarded
Elaine FortesUniversidade Federal do PampaQueen’s UniversityDark Matter Detection through Secondary Radiation & Dark Matter Nearby Massive Gravitating Systems2019
Diego Alejandro Cogollo AponteUniversidade Federal de Campina GrandeLaurentian UniversityConstraints in Neutrino Mass Generation in Left-Right Symmetric Models from nEXO and Other Next Generation Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay Experiments2020
Philippe Di StefanoQueen’s UniversityCERNArgon detectors at CERN2020


Cross Disciplinary Internship

Description:The CDI Program provides a salary reimbursement for full- or part-time students registered in non-physics majors to participate in astroparticle physics research. This program is open to students to work with leading astroparticle physics researchers in.

Eligibility: Prospective students must have enrolled in a post-secondary program outside of physics, be eligible to work in Canada, have a strong record of academic achievement, enthusiasm for discovery-based research and intellectual curiosity, and an open mind to cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing and learning about astroparticle physics.

Prospective faculty supervisors must be affiliated with the McDonald Institute, or have astroparticle physics research based in Canada,  be available for hands-on, discovery-based learning over the course of the program, eligible to hold an institutional account for grants or awards, and able to provide office space, lab materials, and a minimum of $500 CAN towards student opportunities.

Find more information on completed CDI projects and recipients here.

Student NameHome InstitutionHost InstitutionFaculty SupervisorStudent MajorProject TitleYear of Internship
Georges KanaanUniversity of TorontoUniversity of TorontoMiriam DiamondComputer ScienceApplying Machine Learning to Event Reconstruction for the SuperCDMS SNOLAB Experiment2020
Lucas Fenaux University of TorontoUniversity of TorontoMiriam DiamondComputer ScienceApplying Machine Learning to Event Reconstruction for the SuperCDMS SNOLAB Experiment2020
Sidney Leggett, Wápiskisiw Pinésiw IskwéwThe University of WinnipegQueen's UniversityMatthew LeybourneComputer ScienceDevelopment of novel isotopic techniques in neutrinoless double beta decay and low-background in support of Astroparticle Physics2020
Emily DarlingQueen's UniversityCarleton UniversitySimon VielGeological SciencesMuon flux characterization in the DEAP-3600 water Cherenkov muon veto2020
Kaelan RenaultLaurentian UniversityLaurentian UniversityClarence VirtueComputational SciencesModelling of the Neutron Detector Characterization Facility for Supernova Physics2020
Ian DoktorUniversity of AlbertaUniversity of AlbertaMarie-Cécile PiroSecondary EducationDevelopment of Teaching Tools for High School Particle Physics Projects2021
Abhisha RathodUniversity of AlbertaQueen's UniversityMatthew LeybourneNeuroscience HonorsDevelopment of novel techniques in analyzing airborne particulates and low-background in support of Astroparticle physics2021
Raveen SidhuUniversity of British ColumbiaCarleton UniversitySimon VielMicrobiology and Immunology; Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric SciencesArtificial Intelligence applied to improving the search for dark matter with the upgraded DEAP-3600 experiment2021

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