"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember.
I do and I understand." - Confucius


Students on the Beamline (SotB) is an opportunity for high school students to “DO” science. As they go through the scientific process, the students themselves make the decisions and create a novel research project. Each group is paired with mentor or expert who provides advice to help students develop their research, but ultimately the students are the scientists. They conduct the experiment, make sense of the data, and present their own research. Check out the Projects section to see just how far reaching SotB is!

High School (students aged 14+)

From 1 to 2 years

Virtual and/or On-site

In order to participate in SotB, teachers must receive training, which is usually tied into our annual CLS Educators' Workshop. Check out that web page to see when the next workshop/training is or feel free to email the Education Team if you have questions.


NSERC (logo in image) supports Student Programs and travel with the CLS Education Team.The Canadian Light Source is proud to offer SotB, an innovative and award-winning program, and we acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences
and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience to make
this possible.

Important Things to Consider

  • A research project can take anywhere from a year to two years to complete. Each group is unique.
  • The research project is a team effort. The group should be made up of diverse students that bring with them various skills and talents.
  • Students must be 14 years of age or older.
  • The research project is for any student – we do not look at grades as a criteria or requirement to be part of the program.
  • This is not only a great science research experience for the students, but also provides teachers an immersive inquiry teaching experience.
  • You can check out our SotB Corner for a table with previous group examples, along with additional helpful info!

Getting Started

Attend the Canadian Light Source Educators' Workshop
*** Next Educators' Workshop is tentatively December 2023 (In Person)

Teachers are required to have training before applying to participate in SotB. This training is typically delivered through the annual Canadian Light Source Educators’ Workshop. This workshop ensures that you understand what the Canadian Light Source is, how the atmosphere and environment at the Canadian Light Source may impact your students, understanding our guiding philosophies, and you have an opportunity to connect with the Education staff.

We also sometimes offer one-day training to those teachers that are eligible (have connected with Education programs in the past or attended a virtual Educators' Workshop) and are looking to schedule that in early 2023. Subscribe to our mailing list to stay in the loop.

Submit an Educational Proposal
*** Submission date is April 30th 2023, for groups hoping to come in 2023/2024 or 2024/2025 school years. This reflects changes we have made to our Form (see Guides).

The Educational Proposal, written by the teacher, focuses on the expected education outcomes of the SotB experience, with an accompanying science idea. New this year, is additional sections on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Reconcilation, to reflect the current changing landscape of science and science education. These new sections are not marked as part of the proposal score at this time. As always, part of our goal is to ensure that the selected mentors and Canadian Light Source staff support the uniqueness of the student group by providing guidance, as well as advice on the scientific process as students develop their research project. Take a look at our guides for additional support and examples to view.

Please note, there is a limited amount of beamtime, science mentorship support, and funding, which results in participating in SotB as a competitive process. Be sure to take a look at the operations schedule to see when CLS has beam available (you will be looking for green day shifts). We cannot guarantee you will receive the time you ask if your proposal is accepted but having a sense of the time frames that would work best for your student group will help us in scheduling. 

*** The Education Team has updated the SotB Application and proposal intake date (see previous step). Please take a look at the Information Guide which helps outline these new changes. 

To better understand the criteria we are looking for, we encourage you to take a look at our Educational Proposal Guide and the Educational Proposal Exemplar before filling out the application form and e-mailing it to the Education Team.

Educational Proposal Information

  • The document provides information on how to fill out the application form. 
  • There is a rubric at the end of the guide which is used to score the submissions and determines which applications are accepted.

Education Proposal Exemplar

  • This exemplar demonstrates what an application with a score of 2 looks like.
  • A score of 2 is average and is accepted to be reviewed.
The CLS Education Students on the Beamline Proposal Exemplar (image of first page) helps show teachers what the proposal is like.

Educational Proposal Application Form

  • Only this form will be considered as a submission. If you have technical issues or questions, please contact the Education Team as soon as possible.
  • If a completed form is submitted prior to the deadline, feedback can be provided.


From All Across Canada, and Globally!

Since 2006, more than 110 student groups have been immersed within the scientific community and have partaken in SotB with the CLS. These groups have come from all across Canada, including British Columbia, Treaty 6 and the Homeland of the Métis, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon. Since 2021, we have now expanded SotB internationally! Below we highlight the more recent student projects and encourage you to take a look at their seminars as well as explore the complete SotB project database.


Recent Project Highlights

Halifax, NS / Unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq

Students from Halifax Grammar School are interested in how dandelions absorb heavy metals such as lead, since dandelions are used in sustainable diets. They hand-picked dandelions from popular urban play spaces, repotted the dandelions, and treated the dandelions with various concentrations of lead. With the help of Dr. Joyce McBeth, University of Regina Assistant Professor in Geology and David Lewis a PhD student at St. Mary’s University, these students are using the IDEAS beamline to look at how treatment of the dandelions with lead impacted lead and other metal absorption.

Check out their seminar here.

Maple Ridge, BC / Unceded Territory of the Katzie, the Kwantlen, and the Stó:lō First Nation

Crystallography uses synchrotron X-rays to examine high resolution structural studies of proteins and other macromolecules which have been formed into crystals. In these studies, often liquid nitrogen is used to help prevent damage from the incoming X-rays. Students from Meadowridge School were interested in studying this phenomenon further and the impact it has on protein stability. With the help of Kurt Nienaber, CLS Industrial Support Scientist, these students are using the CMCF-BM beamline to look at the variation of bond distances at cryogenic and room temperatures and the effect of accumulated radiation exposure on the bovine insulin protein zinc metal-binding site.

Check out their seminar here

Burnaby, BC / Unceded Homelands of the hən̓ q ̓əmin̓ əm ̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Speaking Peoples

In our world, lithium-ion batteries are used on a daily basis by millions. However, these batteries have been proven to degrade in response to continuous use. These students were interested in determining the potential response of batteries being cycled at various temperatures and the connection to batteries’ rate of degradation. Collaborating with researchers from Tesla Inc. and Nano One Materials, students received pouch cells, a type of battery that is made in a soft plastic pouch instead of a hard metal case, and looked to investigate what happens with cycling, temperature variations, and nickel speciation in their experiment using the IDEAS Beamline. 

Check out their seminar here.

Looking for More Projects?

These are just a few examples of the more recent projects with our Students on the Beamline groups. There are more projects, media communications, and even videos on the various previous projects completed this year and through out the years. Take a look!

Poster Competition

Our Students on the Beamlines program gives an authentic and immersive science research experience for students, which includes communicating experimental findings with a scientific poster. We host an annual Students on the Beamline Scientific Poster Competition, either in the spring or fall, for student groups who have conducted research at the Canadian Light Source within the last year. There are four competitions: Judges' Vote, Peer-Review, Staff Pick, and Public Vote. The winner of the Judges' Vote receives a trophy that they can display at their school and the winner of the Peer-Review receives a plaque they get to keep. 

Looking for ways to enhance the design of your scientific poster?
Click below to find resources that can help you out!