MacLean exits CSA for new, unnamed quantum research institute in Waterloo

Guest Contributor
January 21, 2013

Dr Steve MacLean is leaving the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) February 1st to take a leadership role in a new quantum physics venture being established by Mike Lazaridis, vice chair of the board for Research in Motion and founder of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. McLean, who has a PhD in physics, announced his departure just days after the federal government approved long-awaited funding for the Radarsat Constellation Mission (see cover story).

Maclean will join the new Waterloo ON-based venture focused on scientific R&D in quantum physics, augmenting the Perimeter Institute and the Institute for Quantum Computing. Both are financially supported by Lazaridis and are collectively being branded as Quantum Valley. Perimeter spokesperson John Matlock says the new institute "is distinct from Perimeter, but will naturally enhance the hub of research taking place throughout Waterloo Region". He offered no other details.

MacLean exits CSA nine months prior to the end of his five-year term without completing a new Long-Term Space Plan —an exercise that was touted as a major and early priority upon his appointment as CSA president in 2008 (R$, September 19/08). A completed plan was reportedly submitted to Industry Canada and rejected several years ago but work has recently resumed on another version.

The government's support for the space sector and the CSA was criticized in a report by a high-level advisory council chaired by David Emerson which recommended that the government establish short-, medium- and long-term priorities for its space program (R$, December 6/12).


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