On Wednesday, March 19th, Dr. Mathieu Leporini, Science and Technology attaché of the French Consulate in Vancouver visited TRIUMF. He was welcomed by former Associate Director and Science Division Head, Jean-Michel Poutissou, and a group of francophone scientists, along with members of both the AAPS Inc. and TRIUMF leadership team.
Last fall, Dr. Leporini was appointed Science and Technology Attaché at the Consulate General of France in Vancouver, succeeding Mr. Didier Marty-Dessus. In this role, he is responsible for supporting and facilitating collaborations between local Canadian institutions and French organizations. Dr. Leporini reports to the Embassy’s Office for Science and Technology, a national office composed of professors, researchers, and engineers which is led by the Advisor for S&T, under the direct authority of the Ambassador.
Dr. Leporini was especially intrigued by TRIUMF’s priorities in nuclear medicine related to neurodegenerative diseases, as well as the laboratory’s extensive international research collaborations in particle and nuclear physics. On behalf of the Consulate, Dr. Leporini expressed “high interest in developing and assisting new collaborations between both researchers and companies.”
Over the years, TRIUMF has maintained a small yet consistent connection with France. Of the 500 scientific visitors to TRIUMF each year, about 10% visit directly from France to collaborate with researchers and conduct experiments. For example, there is overlap in the major particle physics collaborations, such as ATLAS and T2K. TRUMF also attracts students directly from France, including Claire David whom Dr. Leporini had the opportunity to meet during his visit.
Claire David, graduate student with ATLAS-Canada, shared her cross-border experience with Dr. Leporini. “As a native of France, it was a lucky accident that I found TRIUMF as a place to specialize in particle physics. While I was in my final year at the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées in Toulouse, France, I was required to find a five-month work term. A friend of mine studying in Vancouver suggested TRIUMF – I had never heard of TRIUMF before!” Claire arrived in Canada in 2010 to work with the ATLAS team at TRIUMF and occasionally returns to France to collaborate with researchers at CERN. She adds, “I’m very happy with my research at TRIUMF and continued education in Canada, and I hope more opportunities like this are shared with young people in France.”
Another prominent French connection is with the French “Grand Accelerator National d’Ions Lourds” (GANIL) through Hervé Savajols, a French scientist who initiated the first experiment ever conducted in the ISAC-II hall. About a decade ago. Savajols, the scientific lead at SPIRAL-2, spent a sabbatical year at TRIUMF and brought GANIL’s MAYA detector to ISAC-II. Since then, TRIUMF and GANIL have collaborated on many areas, from elements of precision-magnet engineering to a recent effort on laser-ionization schemes for isotope separation and purification.
As a national laboratory, it’s part of TRIUMF’s mandate to seek collaborations far and wide, leveraging knowledge and resources to work towards common scientific goals. In addition to these direct research connections, there are also several technology-development and commercialization projects in the AAPS Inc. portfolio with direct connections with French companies and customers. Our next steps with the French consulate could include a workshop in 2015 to examine specific opportunities to advance existing partnerships.
We congratulate Dr. Leporini on his new role and look forward to new opportunities that his visit has sparked.
–Melissa Baluk, TRIUMF Communications Coordinator