CFI funding to support SNOLAB research, including COVID-19 initatives

July 21, 2020 — Facility Updates

Sudbury, ON – SNOLAB is one of 14 institutions across Canada to receive funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Major Science Initiatives (MSI) program supporting world-class science facilities across the country. The MSI Fund supports the unique operating and maintenance needs of Canada’s large, complex research facilities so that they can stay on the cutting edge and continue to serve research communities in Canada and around the world. Thanks to the ongoing investments in these facilities, researchers are well equipped to tackle big questions and pressing issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

SNOLAB Executive Director, Nigel Smith, thanks the CFI for the support, “SNOLAB is delighted to receive continued support from the federal government through the CFI. The $40.9M secured over the next three years, with co-funding from the Province of Ontario and support from Vale, will allow SNOLAB to continue to maintain and develop a world-leading deep underground research facility and investigate some of the fundamental questions in contemporary science. These funds will allow us to continue to attract world class experiments to Sudbury, providing great opportunities for Canadian researchers and industry.”

“Sustained investment in SNOLAB has developed our infrastructure and highly skilled staff. These capabilities have allowed us to direct our research strengths to address the immediate challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in collaboration with other Canadian national research facilities.”

Researchers at SNOLAB have been able to pivot quickly and use their expertise to help overcome challenges created by COVID-19. SNOLAB scientists, alongside an international collaboration and Canadian institutions, worked to develop the Canadian prototype of the Mechanical Ventilator Milano, a mechanical ventilator to support patients with COVID-19. SNOLAB scientists are analyzing data from lung simulator devices to ensure the proper functioning of the ventilator controls for air pressure and gas flow.

SNOLAB technologists have 3D printed over 400 face shields to donate to frontline workers to help ensure they have the PPE needed to do their jobs safely. SNOLAB’s scientific support team is developing a new UV light technology to sterilize personal protective equipment. Says Smith, “SNOLAB is pleased it can contribute locally through the production of PPE and services to our front-line health care workers.”

“Our national research facilities allow for Canada’s outstanding researchers and their students to address some of our most pressing national and international challenges. The CFI’s investments in research infrastructure through the MSI Fund meant that these facilities were ready to tackle an urgent challenge like COVID-19”, said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, CFI. “In a world filled with serious risks and great possibilities, we need to support our researchers with top-notch equipment and the spaces necessary to foster their ingenuity and relentless passion for the knowledge that will reap rewards today and for the future”, she continued.

Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre said the community is proud of SNOLAB’s contributions. “Not only does SNOLAB make it possible for cutting-edge research to take place in Sudbury, it positions us as a top destination to attract world-class researchers and drive economic growth,” Lefebvre said. “Our government is committed to supporting Canadian research because we know that science is at the heart of innovation.”

Read the full story and learn about all of Canada’s national research facilities HERE.


SNOLAB is an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. Located 2 km below the surface in the Vale Creighton Mine located near Sudbury Ontario Canada. One of the deepest, cleanest underground laboratories in the world, with an experienced and skilled support staff, SNOLAB is an expansion of the existing facilities constructed for the Nobel Prize-winning Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) solar neutrino experiment. While particle astrophysics is the principle focus for SNOLAB, there is a growing interest in other scientific fields to exploit the deep underground space and associated infrastructure. The facility is operated by the SNOLAB Institute whose member institutions are Carleton University, Laurentian University, Queen’s University, University of Alberta and Université de Montréal. For more information on SNOLAB visit the website at and follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @SNOLABscience.

About CFI:

For more than 20 years, the CFI has been giving researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. Fostering a robust innovation system in Canada translates into jobs and new enterprises, better health, cleaner environments and, ultimately, vibrant communities. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI also helps to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers and to support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians. Learn more about CFI funded projects facilities online at and follow them on Twitter @InnovationCA.

Media Contact:

Blaire Flynn
Education and Outreach Coordinator