$26M donation to propel space research at McGill and U de M

The Trottier Family Foundation gift coincides with a renewed public interest in research fueled in part by the James Webb Space Telescope.

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A $26-million donation to the McGill Space Institute and the Université de Montréal’s Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) will allow both institutions to “continue their ground breaking research into extrasolar planets, fast radio bursts, the dark universe, and other extraterrestrial mysteries ,” the universities announced on Monday.

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The donation comes from the Trottier Family Foundation and coincides with a renewed public interest in deep space research fueled in part by the striking images provided by the James Webb Space Telescope, a project in which the Université de Montréal’s iRex continues to play a pivotal role.

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The McGill Space Institute will receive $16 million, of which half will go toward the construction of an annex to the institute’s building on University St. The other portion of the gift will be used to fund graduate and post-doctoral fellowships, as well as to expand on existing programmatic and research support.

In recognition of the donation, the McGill Space Institute will be renamed the Trottier Space Institute at McGill.

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As the Université de Montréal, iREx will receive $10 million to ensure the sustainability of its activities. Led by astrophysicist and physics professor René Doyon, the Canadian principal investigator of the James Webb mission, iREx has developed major scientific instruments, including an infrared camera that has captured remarkable and previously unseen images of space.

In recognition of the donation and the support of Lorne Trottier and the Trottier Family Foundation since its inception, iREx will be renamed the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets.

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