Summary of the evaluation of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

March 2017

About the evaluation

  • This evaluation builds upon the results of Perimeter’s third-party evaluation which was completed in June 2016.
  • It assessed the relevance and performance of ISED’s contribution to Perimeter, with a focus on the expected results of ISED funding.
  • The evaluation covered the period from April 2012 to December 2016.

What the evaluation found

Program description

  • Located in Waterloo, Ontario, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics was founded in 1999 through significant private philanthropic investments and subsequent public-private partnerships with the federal and Ontario governments.
  • Perimeter is an independent, resident-based research centre that supports scientific research, training and educational outreach in foundational theoretical physics.
  • The Institute’s mission is to advance the understanding of the universe at the most fundamental level, stimulating breakthroughs that could transform our future.
  • There is a continued need for the foundational research conducted by Perimeter. Perimeter contributes to Canada’s overall strength and competitiveness in scientific knowledge generation internationally and supports broader societal objectives to develop science literacy and skills to advance innovation in Canada.
  • The federal government has a role in funding foundational or basic research. Without such public-sector intervention, the private market would likely not adequately support this type of research.
  • Perimeter’s objectives align with federal government priorities to invest in research and world-class institutions, as well as highly-skilled people, to drive innovation.
  • Perimeter has significantly added to Canadian capability in foundational theoretical physics through its many scientific achievements, attraction of a high caliber of researchers and deep linkages to experimental and observational research centres. This is successfully positioning Canada as a world leader.
  • Perimeter is having a positive effect on recruitment, within and to Canada, of top quality research trainees through unique programming and student exposure to top researchers across many fields.
  • Perimeter’s education and outreach program is highly regarded and demonstrates considerable effectiveness in promoting science and physics.
  • Perimeter has been able to implement a model supporting the efficient delivery of its programming through high ratios of private/public funding, maintenance of uniform administrative costs and the implementation of initiatives targeted to improve operating efficiency.

Recommendations

Overall, the evaluation results demonstrated Perimeter’s effectiveness in achieving performance results and its ongoing relevance. No recommendations resulted from this evaluation.

Complete version of the evaluation report

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