On September 17, 2010, a group of Austrian policy makers, business leaders, and university administrators visited TRIUMF and AAPS, Inc., to better understand science, technology, and innovation in Canada. The group met with the management teams of TRIUMF and AAPS, took a tour of the laboratory facilities, and then shared lunch before continuing on their journey across North America.
The delegation from Austria, organized by the Austrian Embassy’s Office of Science and Technology added the Vancouver stop to get a glimpse of policies and performance north of the 49th parallel. Led by Ms. Gertraud Obserzaucher of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transportation, Innovation, and Technology, the delegation included a newspaper reporter from Vienna, a member of the European Research Council President’s Office, and representatives from the Austrian Institute of technology, Swarovski, and the Austrian Business Agency. Director General Friedrich Faulhammer from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research was also part of the visiting delegation.
TRIUMF director Nigel Lockyer and AAPS, Inc., CEO Jack Scott spent a few minutes introducing the two organizations and outlining the collaborative partnerships in place to move basic science from the bench to the marketplace. On the tour of TRIUMF and AAPS facilities, the delegation met three young researchers from Austria who were studying at TRIUMF because of the laboratory’s unique capabilities. Heads of TRIUMF’s four divisions also participated in the visit to share their views about the role of a national laboratory in the federal portfolio of science and technology.
The Austrians learned about TRIUMF’s programs in particle and nuclear physics and visited the AAPS commercial foil laboratory operated under the name Micromatter. There was much discussion about how emerging technologies worked through intellectual-property protections before moving into the marketplace. They were particularly interested in the nuclear-medicine programs and the efforts to develop novel radiotracers and radiopharmaceuticals for treating and diagnosing disease. One of the visitors was leading efforts to develop novel three-dimensional image patterning and recognition software which has relevance the future of event displays in particle physics. Another visitor was interested in Micromatter and the potential utilization of thin-film coatings for hardening surfaces to alter their chemical bonding with various pollutants.
These types of international visits are important for TRIUMF and AAPS for several reasons. First, it helps make introductions for TRIUMF and AAPS to potential new collaborators and partners in foreign countries. Second, it allows TRIUMF and AAPS to showcase its core competencies to a group of thoughtful individuals who will undoubtedly be in conversation with key patrons and stakeholders of TRIUMF and AAPS across Canada. Third, it’s an opportunity to identify and celebrate the multiple nationalities that make up TRIUMF and AAPS’ unique and highly capable workforce!
A warm thank you to everyone who participated in this visit; it was a great success.