July 30, 2020

The beam is on and science resumes

Thanks to the diligent work of our staff under our new safety guidelines, the CLS COVID-19 research program commenced on July 21. Scientists across the country are using our beamlines, remotely or through mail-in samples, to help fight the pandemic. The CLS has done a remarkable job to get to this stage so quickly. Thank you all for your patience as we worked to safely and carefully reopen our facility during these unusual times.
 
The CLS has also just been awarded $76.9 million by the Canada Foundation for Innovation—a third of the total $230 million announced by Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains for 14 research facilities across Canada. We’re very grateful to the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Government of Canada for this major investment that will allow the over 1,000 scientists who use the CLS annually to continue to conduct world-leading research in health, agriculture, environment and advanced materials.
 
Stay safe and healthy.

Rob Lamb


 

June 30, 2020

Operations Update

Since May 14, as Saskatchewan began reopening, CLS has been steadily transitioning out of Warm Standby mode. With the current limit of 50 staff within the facility, the goal is to have beam back in the ring on July 21.

COVID-19 Research

The CLS has approved 13 projects to conduct experiments once the beam is available. These range from visualising molecular structures of key proteins in this novel coronavirus, to understanding how potential drugs and vaccines work against it, as well as looking at ways to improve face respirators leading to efficient decontamination of these. The research will be conducted on a mail-in and/or remote access basis, initially on three beamlines. In addition, a limited number of non-COVID-related experiments might also be carried out during this period. Beamline staff is reviewing active projects to assess the feasibility of mail-in and remote work, and will contact project spokespersons accordingly.

What happens after these research projects are completed?

In September, CLS will review the prevailing circumstances within Canada (e.g. permitted staff numbers) and decide on the next course of action. This may result in an extension of the research program or a return to the planned outage that was cut short in late March. At this stage the planned maintenance, severely disrupted in March by the global pandemic, would be a priority. Outage work has been long-planned and includes replacing linear accelerator sections, installing the hardware necessary to implement top-up operations on all beamlines, as well as upgrading our storage ring orbit feedback and commissioning the CMCF ID. However, demands for further critical COVID-19 research might affect these plans.

Lastly, CLS anticipates the next Call for Proposals will take place in July, followed by the regular allocation of beamtime for the next user beamtime run. All proposals submitted in February 2020 will retain their scores.

It has been an extraordinarily challenging year for all of us. We are grateful that we have been able to work safely, remotely, and to a very limited extent onsite, and that we will be back to operations soon.
 
Thank you all for your patience and support.

Stay healthy and safe.

Rob Lamb
 


 

May 7, 2020 

Special COVID-19 Rapid Access Call for Proposals

Seven weeks ago Saskatchewan imposed a State of Emergency to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in CLS going into a warm-standby mode to protect our staff, clients and visitors. Premier Scott Moe recently announced a 5-phase plan to re-open Saskatchewan and emphasised that it is going to be a very gradual and methodical process. While current pandemic-related safety protocols prevent us from starting-up immediately, we want to prepare for when we are able to do so.

Therefore, in an effort to help fight this global pandemic, we are announcing a special call for proposals for any work that will actively contribute to finding COVID-related treatments or vaccines, or improve conditions for frontline workers, including developing sensors and diagnostic tools or special surfaces with antiviral properties.

The call is open to researchers from any institution, in any location. Priority will be given to proposals for the macromolecular crystallography (CMCF-BM) beamline, but proposals for other beamlines will also be considered. The call is limited to work that can be performed remotely, or by mail-in – external users will not be permitted on site. Please discuss the feasibility of your proposal with the appropriate beamline staff before submission.

When we obtain permission to operate again, we will undergo critical maintenance with a limited staff complement. We cannot yet anticipate when we will have beamtime available, but it is unlikely to be before July. Due to ongoing safety restrictions, we are planning to operate for the remainder of that month for COVID-19 research only, and will consider extending this into August if there is sufficient demand.

All proposals should be submitted through the COVID-19 proposal type in the CLS User Portal. The deadline for proposals is Thursday, May 21, and we will respond within two weeks. [UPDATE: The deadline has been extended and the call is open.]

All proposals will be subject to technical review by our beamline staff, safety review by our Health, Safety and Environment team, and ethics review if required. In addition, proposals will be evaluated by a committee consisting of CLS Science Managers, chaired by the Science Director, and external experts as needed.

For proprietary COVID-19 research, please contact Erika Bergen, Industrial Science Operations Coordinator, 306-657-3867, erika.bergen@lightsource.ca

For up-to-date COVID-19 CLS measures information please visit https://www.lightsource.ca/covid19.html


 

March 24, 2020

Dear users of the Canadian Light Source,

The CLS is on Warm Standby mode as of 2 pm today. This measure is in response to the Saskatchewan State of Emergency and the Canadian government’s recommendations regarding COVID-19, and aims to protect the health and safety of our staff, clients and visitors.

Warm Standby mode means that we will maintain critical systems to ensure that the CLS is ready to return to operations in a timely manner. Access to this facility is now being granted only to staff deemed critical to maintain essential beamlines and machine components, fire protection, safety and security systems, critical financial services, and a 24/7 security presence. Non-critical staff will support our operations by working from home.

We understand and regret that this will impact our planned maintenance, our operations schedule and, inevitably, your research programs. We will continue to update this page as the situation warrants.

I am confident that together we will successfully navigate through these difficult times.

Wishing you all good health.

Rob Lamb

Chief Executive Officer


 

March 17, 2020

Dear users,

Because the health and safety of our staff, users, and visitors is of the utmost importance, we regret to inform you that the Canadian Light Source is closed to all users and visitors until June 9, 2020:

Our Annual Users’ Meeting and associated workshops, scheduled for May 2020, are now postponed until later this year.

Our scheduled shutdown began yesterday and we hope it will proceed as planned until June 9, 2020, barring any impediments related to ensuring the wellbeing of our staff and supply chain availability. We will revisit the situation and communicate any changes regarding experimental time, including beamtime rescheduling options, as the situation develops. 

The situation is evolving rapidly and I will keep you updated throughout. We are also listing all updates at https://www.lightsource.ca/covid19.html

Lastly, thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times. Together we are doing everything we can to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Rob lamb

Chief Executive Officer


March 13, 2020

Dear local CLS users,

The province’s first presumptive case of COVID-19 has been announced. While the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health indicates that the risk of acquiring COVID-19 in our province remains low, the Canadian Light Source is committed to the health and safety of all our staff, clients, and visitors. To mitigate the spread of this virus, precautionary measures have been implemented, including cancelling all public tours, holding meetings virtually when possible, encouraging staff to stay home when sick, prohibiting access to CLS to anyone exhibiting symptoms, and cancelling work-related travel to countries or regions with active COVID-19 health notices.

Similarly, given the importance of socially distancing, in order to minimize the spread of the disease we are asking all local users to not enter CLS during the upcoming shutdown (March 16 to May 1) unless they have scheduled experimental time. Since there will be no beamtime during this period, we trust that this will not present an undue burden on your research program.

The situation is evolving and we are committed to updating you on a regular basis.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the relevant CLS Science Managers if you have any questions or concerns.

We appreciate your understanding during these unusual times.

Gianluigi Botton

Science Director

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