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Message from Director July 2021

The COVID-19 Pandemic has not only introduced the need to be flexible and adaptable, but also the need for HOPE: an expression of something to look forward to. Something that moves us to action and inspires us to show up day after day.

In 2018 we introduced the Long-Range Plan as our overarching strategy to forge the way into the future. We identified FOUR pillars, namely SAINTS (Southern African Institute for Nuclear Technology and Sciences), SAIF (South African Isotope Facility), G-IRI (Gateway to International Research Infrastructure), and TIP (Technology Innovation Platform) whilst locating our research and support activities in departments.

The year 2022 is the year in which we realize phase 1 of SAIF. Not only will we be able to increase the production and provision of Radiopharmaceuticals through the availability of a dedicated 70-MeV cyclotron, but we will also be able to dedicate ALL the available beam time from the Separated Sector Cyclotron (SSC) to research. This will enable us to link our research activities to a specific accelerator, which will make them more inclusive of new ideas and new research fields.  The Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences is actually a collection of THREE laboratories, namely

  • The Separated Sectors Cyclotron (SSC) Laboratory that provides ion beams to advance our understanding of the heart of matter and the fuel of stars, as well as the interaction of radiation with biological systems
  • The Tandetron Laboratory offering Ion-Beam Analysis techniques such as PIXE, ERDA and RBS for application in Materials Research, Material Engineering and Nano-science
  • The Tandem and Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (TAMS) Laboratory offering another and complementary tool for Ion-beam Analysis technique and Accelerator Mass Spectrometry as a multidisciplinary research tool

Apart from linking the research to accelerators and therefore “laboratories”, we have also rebranded our technical support activities. The idea is to think of technical support as technical competence that is either of a general nature, linked to accelerator operation and maintenance or support to research and development activities. Our intention is to regroup our technical competence to more accurately reflect the primary roles, namely:

  • Accelerator Operation and Technical Support which focuses on the provision of ion beams to all the laboratories and the maintenance of the accelerator infrastructure;
  • Research and Development Technical Support which provides support to the research laboratories and the innovation projects;
  • General Technical Support which provides support to the whole organization and oversees all projects related to infrastructure development.

Read more about the Strategic Pillars of iThemba LABS Long Range Plan

Director’s 2020 Year End Message