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


Students on the Beamlines (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 6 months 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 Teachers' 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 half 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 Teachers' Workshop
*** Next Teachers' Workshop August 17-19, 2022 (In person, tentative)

Teachers are required to have training before applying to participate in SotB. This training is typically delivered through the annual Canadian Light Source Teachers’ 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 teachers' workshop).

Submit an Educational Proposal
*** Next submission date is Tuesday March 15, 2022 for groups hoping to come in 2022/2023 or 2023/2024 school years

The Educational Proposal, written by the teacher, focuses on the expected education outcomes of the SotB experience, with an accompanying science idea (optional to add). 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. 

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 Guide

  • The guide 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.
The CLS Education Students on the Beamline Information Package (image of first page) helps guide teachers.

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.
The Students of the Beamline Education Proposal Application Form (image of first page).


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

Islamabad, Pakistan

Despite its popularity, locally produced creams are highly unregulated, contain potentially harmful compounds, and unfortunately a part of society in Pakistan. A group of female students from across Pakistan used the IDEAS beamline to investigate the metals in most commonly used skin lightening products, specifically looking at traces of mercury, lead, and bismuth.

Check out their seminar here

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

Various types of pests are known to decimate the honey bee population and cause hive colonies to collapse. As a result, beekeepers treat their hives with various types of pesticides and these high school students were interested in the impact these pesticides have on the crystalline structure and elemental composition of beeswax. They used the Brockhouse X-ray Diffraction and Scattering Beamline (BXDS), a first for the CLS Education Team, as well as the IDEAS beamline.

Check out their seminar here.

Brampton, ON / Traditional Territories of Mississaugas of the Credit, Anishinabek, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee, Erie, the Neutral Nation, and the Huronwendat Peoples

The motivation behind this research is to gauge the processes of wastewater treatment plants around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and compare results to Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards. Due to infrastructure changes and the plants being situated in industrial areas, these students were interested in looking at what elements can be found in GTA water and the impact they potentially have, by 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, typically held in Spring, 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!