In September last year, CERN1's governing Council asked the Laboratory’s management to develop a budget and schedule for completion of its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) programme with no increase in contributions from CERN's twenty Member States.
First ideas presented to Council by CERN management yesterday focus more of the Laboratory's resources on the LHC with compensatory reductions being made in other scientific programmes. The total amount redirected to the LHC is expected to amount to 500 MCHF. The new plan envisages LHC start-up in 2007 and full payment for the new facility by 2010 with no budget increase.
The Laboratory's Director General, Luciano Maiani, nevertheless urged Council to consider an increase in the Laboratory's budget over the medium term. This would allow the LHC to be financed by 2009 and would enable limited research and development to continue, standing the Laboratory in good stead for the longer term. An initiative by the Swiss delegation to advance a total of 90 MCHF over three years, to be deducted later from Switzerland's contributions, was welcomed by CERN management.
A decision on the these matters will be taken at the next full meeting of Council in June, enabling it to take into account the report of an external review committee set up in October 2001 to help CERN management identify operating efficiencies. To allow normal running of CERN until then, Council agreed to release 20 MCHF from the 5% of the Laboratory's 2002 budget held back pending resolution of LHC funding issues.
Commenting on the management's ideas, Professor Maiani said, "the funding environment for science is increasingly demanding. Our goal is to satisfy our Member States, who primarily finance our activities, that we are operating with maximum efficiency and that our cost base is in line with other comparable institutions and industry. I believe we made good progress in this direction, and look forward to a successful conclusion in June."
"Both CERN management and the governing Council remain fully committed to the LHC programme. It is not only the most important project we have undertaken so far but also the most complex to administer with literally hundreds of suppliers contributing to the infrastructure build up over the next five years. We must have a clear path forward."