EC signs new Cooperation Arrangement with CERN

On 10 October 1994, Professor Antonio RUBERTI, Commissioner for Research, Development, Education and Training, and Professor Christopher LLEWELLYN SMITH, Director-General of CERN1 signed an administrative arrangement opening the way for tighter scientific and technological cooperation between the European Union and CERN. The signing ceremony was followed by the first meeting of the new "Joint EC - CERN Research Committee", which is established by the arrangement in order to promote and supervise the scientific and technological cooperation covered by it.

Expressing his satisfaction with the possibilities the arrangement opens up for strengthening the already excellent cooperation which has existed between CERN and the European Commission for many years, Commissioner RUBERTI stressed that this was the first step along the path of ever-increasing cooperation between the various scientific research programmes operating at a European level, leading ultimately to the existence of an "European Research Area". He added that, in view of the large investment required by research, and given its role in enhancing Europe's competitive position, it was essential to make the best use of available resources, and, to that end, to increase cooperation within the European scientific community. With this in mind, said Commissioner RUBERTI, and in response to the request of the Heads of Government of the Union as expressed at the Corfu summit, the Commission will, by the end of the month, publish its strategy for improving the coordination of research policy between the Union's member states. This theme already forms part of the new 4th Framework Programme, which covers Community research activities for the years 1994 to 1998.

CERN's Director-General, Christopher LLEWELLYN SMITH, stressed the important role of CERN, not only as a highly successful centre of fundamental research, serving more than half of the world's particle physicists, but also as an advanced R&D laboratory in a wide range of supporting technologies, including superconductivity, cryogenics, computing and networking, vacuum technology, geodesy, electronics, radiation sensors, etc. CERN is also in the latter respect an asset for Europe and cooperation between CERN and the EU will lead to a better use of CERN's unique expertise in the interest of Europe's competitivity. He expressed his firm intention to further strengthen the links with the European Union and CERN on such activities, and looked forward to possibilities for joint ventures between the two organizations.

At the inaugural session of the "Joint EC - CERN Research Committee" Commissioner RUBERTI set forth several areas in which cooperation between the Community and CERN could be particularly fruitful. Amongst these were information technology, industrial and materials technology, training and mobility of researchers, and the development of scientific cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, four of which have recently become members of CERN.

Prof. LLEWELLYN SMITH pointed out that CERN is training large numbers of young people in a variety of fellowship and student programmes, thus by itself being a major contributor to the goals of the Human Capital and Mobility Programme of the European Union. He endorsed the idea to expand this role by establishing "Industrial Traineeships" whereby young engineers and applied scientists would spend part of their first job assignments working in Europe's research organizations on projects of mutual interest to the industrial employer and the research laboratory.

After the meeting, Commissioner RUBERTI visited with Prof. LLEWELLYN SMITH some of the experimental installations at CERN. In particular, they saw the fruits of the partnership between CERN and European high technology industry which has resulted in the successful operation of the extremely high-field superconducting magnets to be used in CERN's next accelerator project, the Large Hadron Collider [LHC].

As indicated above, significant cooperation between the Community and CERN has developed over the years, and the new administrative arrangement will add to this both a formal context and a new dimension. In fact, CERN has actively participated in various Community programmes such as SCIENCE [promoting the mobility of researchers], RACE [telecommunications] and ESPRIT [information technology], as well as two recent projects: the CS-2 European Super Computer, and the World Wide Web [WWW].

The CS-2 scalable parallel computer was recently installed in the CERN Computing Centre (PR 10.94) as part of the ESPRIT funded European High Performance Computing initiative. CERN is lead partner and coordinator of this project, bringing in its expertise as a highly sophisticated user and developer of advanced computer technology. The WWW is the World's most powerful network information system, which is a spin-off of CERN's involvement in advanced networking. The World Wide Web, conceived at CERN, will be further developed and maintained with support from the European Union and in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The financial support of 1.5 MECU which the Commission intends to give to this project should be confirmed by an agreement at the end of this month.

Footnote(s)

1. CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Israel, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Yugoslavia (status suspended after UN embargo, June 1992), the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

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