CERN reacts to increased cost to completion of LHC

The CMS detector under assembly

The CMS detector under assembly

The CERN* Council, where the representatives of the 20 Member States of the Organization decide on scientific programmes and financial resources, held its 120th session on 14 December under the chairmanship of Prof. Maurice Bourquin (CH).

CERN adjusts to the LHC

Director-General, Luciano Maiani, stressed that CERN was now fully engaged in the LHC and outlined the first moves to react to the increased cost to completion of the LHC. The new accelerator is an extremely complex, high-tech project which CERN is building under very severe conditions. However, the technical challenges are solved and industrial production of accelerator elements, and installation are starting.

Professor Maiani said that 2001 had been a very hard but decisive year for CERN. An important milestone had been passed during this meeting with the approval of the LHC dipole magnets contract, the last major contract for the accelerator.

The new costs to completion of the LHC project are now clear. A first proposal of how to adapt the Laboratory's activities to this new situation will be submitted to Council in March and this proposal will evolve into the Medium and the Long Term Plans which will be presented to Council in June 2002. Prof. Maiani confirmed that CERN will find a sizeable part of the extra cost to completion of the project within the Organization's baseline budget.

The Director-General has set up five Task Forces to examine: the cost of different scientific programmes, possible areas of saving across the Laboratory, and re-structuring and improving tools for managing CERN resources. He also announced to Council that Dr K.H. Kissler has been appointed as CERN Programme Controller.

CERN has always provided Member State physicists with first class facilities and scientific programmes including neutrino, heavy ion, CP-violation, low energy nuclear physics and antiproton programmes. It is now time to focus on the LHC whilst maintaining the diversity of the Laboratory in these other areas. 2002 will see a new plan for the LHC and a new phase in the life of the Laboratory.

The Director General also presented an overview of the scientific activities in 2001. (see summary)

Dr Robert A. Eisenstein from the United States' National Science Foundation (NSF) reacted to the Director General's statement saying : "We reaffirm our intellectual and financial commitment to CERN, especially with respect to our contributions to the ATLAS and CMS detectors and to the accelerator. CERN remains the pre-eminent example in the world of fruitful and highly constructive scientific collaborations. Because of this, CERN is greatly admired and emulated the world over. We in the US wish the LHC project every success. In view of the recent difficulties, we are very pleased that strong steps are being taken to remedy problems."

External Review Committee

Council approved the Director General's proposal to establish an External Review Committee (ERC) which will be asked to examine two main areas:

  • LHC accelerator, experimental areas and CERN's share of detector construction.
  • CERN's scientific programme not directly related to the LHC

The ERC will conduct a comprehensive factual analysis in these two areas and will report to the Council. The review will be carried out in parallel with the work of the internal Task Forces which have been recently set up by the Director General.

The ERC will present an interim report to the Committee of Council and other Committees in March 2002, so that it can be taken into consideration for the revised Medium-Term and Long-Term Plans of the activities of the Organisation. The final written report will be presented to the Council and other committees in June 2002.

Dr. R. Aymar (FR)** was appointed Chairman of the ERC and, following nominations from the Member States, he designated the following members of the ERC :

  • Dr Stephan Bieri, ETH (CH),
  • Dr Bjorn Brandt, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SE),
  • Prof Enrique Fernández, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ES),
  • Dr Sigurd Lettow, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (DE),
  • Prof Italo Mannelli, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (IT),
  • Mr Marc Pannier, Ministère des finances, de l'économie et de l'industrie (FR),
  • Prof John Peoples, Fermilab (US),
  • Prof David H. Saxon, University of Glasgow (GB).

The compositon of the Committee is a balance between recognised members of the international scientific research community and senior financial and managerial experts from the Member States.


Council approved a budget of 1060 million CHF for 2002. It was also agreed that 5% of the budget (53 million CHF) would be provisionally frozen in the material budget. In March 2002, Council will decide on the release of this 5% following management proposals for aligning the 2002 budget with the new Medium and Long-term Plans.

Council also approved an overal cost variation index of 0.76% and a salary adjustment index of 1.3% for 2002.

Senior Staff Appointments

Mr T. Lagrange (BE) was appointed Leader of the Supplies, Procurement and Logistics Division for a period of three years from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2004.
Mr A. J. Naudi (CH/GB) was re-appointed Leader of the Finance Division for a further period of two years from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2003.


Professor M. Bourquin (CH) was re-elected President of Council for a second period of one year from 1 January 2002.
Professor R. Sosnowski (PL) was re-elected Vice-President of Council for a second period of one year from 1 January 2002.
Mrs B. Sode-Mogensen (DK) was re-elected Chairman of the Finance Committee for a second period of one year from 1 January 2002.
Dr J. Feltesse (FR) was elected Chairman of the Scientific Policy Committee for one year from 1 January 2002.
Professor K.J. Peach (GB) was elected member of the Scientific Policy Committee for three years from 1 January 2002.
Professor F. Wilczek (US) was elected member of the Scientific Policy Committee for three years from 1 January 2002.


Appendix - Director-General's report to Council, 14 December 2001

The Director-General, Luciano Maiani, began his report to Council by saying that two questions have dominated 2001. Firstly; was the decision to switch off LEP the right one scientifically? And secondly, what measures must be taken to overcome the financial difficulties currently being experienced by the LHC project, which remains the most important activity at the Laboratory.

On the question of LEP, the final analyses of the experiments' data still show hints that new physics may have made a first appearance at LEP in the form of a Higgs boson with a mass of 115.6 GeV. With a year of careful study behind them, the experiments have confidence in this figure, although the likelihood that it is indeed due to new physics, and not simply due to a statistical fluctuation, is lower than initially thought. The resolution of this puzzle is now left to Fermilab's Tevatron and the LHC. Professor Maiani underlined LEP's important legacy to our understanding of nature by presenting the results of careful searches for new physics, which have clearly defined the targets for future experiments.

Turning to the rest of CERN's programme, Professor Maiani said that with many experiments reaching their conclusions over the coming years, CERN will soon have just a single large experiment in operation. Known as COMPASS, this experiment took its first data in 2001 with the goal of studying the structure of protons and neutrons. The lower-energy sector of CERN's research programme remains vigorous and supports a diverse user community. Notable achievements this year include a comparison of matter and antimatter to great accuracy by the ASACUSA experiment. Two new nuclear physics facilities, the unstable isotope accelerator, REX-ISOLDE, and the neutron time-of-flight facility, nTOF, both began operation in 2001. These will address a complementary range of questions ranging from basic nuclear physics to the generation of elements in stars. Looking further ahead, Professor Maiani reported that civil engineering work for the beam line that will send neutrinos to Italy's Gran Sasso Laboratory are well advanced.

Construction has begun for all four LHC experiments. ATLAS and CMS have reached the half-way stage in terms of financial commitment, and all four experiments are on track to have detectors in an initial configuration ready for 2006. Turning to the LHC accelerator, Professor Maiani announced the important milestone that Council has approved, at this meeting, the crucial contracts for dipole procurement. These will be awarded in March, as soon as the schedule for delivery of their superconducting cable is known. With LEP dismantling nearing completion, preparation for LHC installation is now underway. Survey work has started and installation will begin in 2002.

In conclusion, the Director-General said that 2001 has been a hard but decisive year for CERN, and that there are hard decisions still to come. However, the first step has been taken with 33.5MCHF being reallocated to LHC activities from the 2002 core budget through cost cutting measures and a reduction of other scientific activity. A series of internal Task Forces has been set up to examine aspects of CERN's functioning. They will make a preliminary report in February 2002 which will contribute to the new Medium and Long-Term Plans for CERN.


* CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.   Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

** Dr R. Aymar is the Director of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). The goal is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes.

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