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CERN and ATTRACT featured at Falling Walls 2020



The Falling Walls conference featured CERN during its online 2020 event, hosting a debate entitled “Does CERN need another supercollider?” and giving a prize to the European-funded ATTRACT project.

Falling Walls, an organisation based in Berlin, is known for its highly produced and well-attended annual conference, which covers “the next walls to fall in science and society”.

During the 2020 conference, which was held online, journalist Zulfikar Abbany discussed with panellists Ursula Bassler (CERN), Nigel Lockyer (Fermilab), Jeremy Farrar (Wellcome Trust) and Beate Heinemann (DESY) the need for a supercollider for particle physics, questioning if other avenues to new knowledge could be installed.

In response to the question “Is CERN being greedy?”, Bassler said: “If we want to make progress in particle physics, we will need higher energy and therefore a bigger machine.” Farrar complemented the statement by saying that “CERN is a truly international collaboration that welcomes people from all over the world. As an open, transparent and welcoming centre, it sets a standard in science. We, in the health sector, have a lot to learn from how CERN collaborates.”

In addition to featuring a CERN-focused debate, Falling Walls bestowed a prize on the ATTRACT project. “The ATTRACT project proposes a change in mindset on how new technologies can be funded. It aims to streamline the pathway of innovation from fundamental research to society”, said Pablo Garcia Tello, coordinator for European-funded projects at CERN, in the video submitted for the prize.

During Phase l, ATTRACT was granted €17 million to fund 170 breakthrough projects for 12 months, enabling them to implement and develop their research idea before presenting their work at the Final ATTRACT Conference in September 2020. ATTRACT has just received its second-round grant from the European Commission, as a continuation of ATTRACT Phase l. The grant consolidates the recognition of European research infrastructures as innovation drivers. The online kick-off meeting for this second phase will take place on 1 February from 9 a.m. CET and is open to the public.