CERN Council adopts European strategy for particle physics

Lisbon, 14 July 2006. At a special meeting in Lisbon today, the CERN Council unanimously adopted a European strategy for particle physics. This is an important step for the field, outlining a leading role for Europe in this increasingly globalised endeavour.

The strategy adopted by the Council today provides for European engagement and leadership in the field. It builds on European strengths at Universities, in national laboratories – frequently of international standing – and at the CERN laboratory.

The President of the Council, Professor Enzo Iarocci, will brief media on the strategy at 12.00 on Monday 17 July at the EIROforum stand in the exhibition area of ESOF 2006, the Euroscience Open Forum being held in Munich.

Professor Gago, Minister of Science and Technology of Portugal, highlighted in his opening address the importance of CERN and of particle physics research for Europe. Professor Gago stated that CERN was a model for scientific cooperation and has achieved a unique success in attracting to Europe scientists and resources from the world at large. CERN is therefore an essential asset for the future strengthening of European scientific and technological impact at the global level.

Created along with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1954, the Council has been responsible for one of the world's leading centres for fundamental physics for over 50 years. The CERN laboratory near Geneva, which has evolved into a leading example of successful collaboration among nations, is host to a scientific community of over 6700 users representing 85 nationalities. It has made significant contributions to our understanding of the Universe, brought major contributions to technological innovation in fields as diverse as medical imaging and information technology, and given us the World Wide Web.

Today, the world's particle physicists are embarking on a new adventure, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project, scheduled to start up at the Geneva laboratory in 2007. It will provide a focus for particle physics for many years to come, addressing questions such as what gives matter its mass, what the invisible 96% of the Universe is made of, why nature prefers matter to antimatter and how matter evolved from the first instants of the Universe's existence.

The LHC is a discovery machine at the high-energy frontier. A full understanding of the Universe's mysteries, and of the discoveries that will be made, requires a multi-stranded approach, with global coordination. Major new facilities and other frontier projects, such as the International Linear Collider, will require such coordination.

The Council took the initiative to launch the strategy process in 2005, recognising that the LHC is a unique facility for the world's particle physicists, and considering that this was the right time to address the issue of how European particle physics will engage with other regions of the world to develop the next generation of particle physics facilities.

The Council appointed a representative group of European physicists to define the role that Europe should play in the unfolding adventure of understanding our Universe. This group engaged in a broad consultative process, hearing the voices of European physicists, as well as representatives from the Americas and Asia. Its conclusions were discussed in Council today and unanimously approved.


Notes for Editors:

The CERN Council is Europe's strategic body for particle physics research. It was established along with the European Organization for Nuclear research (CERN) in 1954 by a convention signed between 11 Member States. Today, CERN has 20 Member States, each of which appoints delegates to the Council. The Council is ultimately responsible for all important decisions relating to CERN; it determines the Organization's policy in scientific, technical and administrative matters, approves the programmes of activities and adopts the budgets. Each Member State has two official delegates, one representing the state's government administration and the other national scientific interests. Each Member State has a single vote and most decisions require a simple majority, although in practice the Council aims for a consensus as close as possible to unanimity. The Council is advised by a Scientific Policy Committee and a Finance Committee.

Full details of the process leading to the strategy are available at:

The Strategy Statement is available at:

For the full Strategy brochure see:

The following are available for comment :

Enzo Iarocci, President of the CERN Council:
Fixed line: +39 06 49766884
Mobile: +39 335 240530

Ken Peach, Chair of the CERN Scientific Policy Committee:
Fixed line: +44 01865 273312
Mobile +44 7770 652548

Torsten Åkesson, Chair of the European Committee for Future Accelerators
Mobile: +46 708 102873

Prof. W. Majerotto:
+43 1 5447328/21

Prof. R. Gastmans
+32 16 327244

Prof. J. Stamenov
+359 2 9743761

Prof. J. Niederle
+420 266052610

Prof. H. Bøggild
+4520 497177

Prof. D.O. Riska
+358 50 3365007

Prof. M. Spiro
+33 6 74095425

Dr H. Diehl
+49 1888 572317

Prof. D. Nanopoulos
+30 69 44767921

Prof. G. Vesztergombi
+36 1 392 27 50

Prof. R. Petronzio
+39 06 684 00 31

Prof. F.A. Bais
+31 20 52 55 770

Prof. E. Osnes
+47 45027898

Prof. J. Nassalski
+48 22 6219444

Ms C. Santos
+351 961694384

Prof. B. Sitar
+421 2 65426648

Prof. M. Aguilar-Benitez
+34 913466589

Dr M. Johnsson
+46 70 3731927

Prof. R. Eichler
+41 79 2922272

Prof. J. Thomas
+44 79 41247596

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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