It was a genuine pleasure for all of us to look back with you at the highlights of 2017, and to discuss the challenges that await us in 2018. In a nutshell, 2017 saw great accomplishments, from the outstanding performance of the accelerators to physics results from the experimental programme and excellent progress over the full spectrum of the Organization’s activities.
To summarise a year in a few short lines would be impossible, so we will give just a few highlights. For full information, our slides are available on Indico. In 2017, the accelerator complex operated with unprecedented availability and the LHC achieved peak luminosities of about 2 x 1034 cm-2 s-1, twice the nominal value. The year was also marked by beautiful results and impressive progress in all three strands of our scientific programme: LHC operation and upgrades, the scientific diversity programme, and preparation for future projects and facilities.
The Council approved the Medium Term Plan with strong support. All of the 2017 budget contributions from Member and Associate Member States were received before the end of the year for the first time in about twenty years. We would like to thank all the Council members for their trust and continued support.
In human resources, the new career structure was rolled out, the MERIT exercise was introduced, and a stress-management working group was established. The HSE (occupational Health & Safety and Environmental protection) unit issued recommendations for high-priority measures to further mitigate the impact of CERN on the environment. Enlargement proceeded in a positive and structured direction with India joining as an Associate Member and Slovenia as an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. There was good progress towards the Science Gateway project to enhance our education and outreach activities.
We established a data privacy protection office, and we signed an agreement with the American Physical Society that brought the Physical Review Letters, Physical Review C and Physical Review D journals into the SCOAP3 open access initiative. This is just a snapshot of the myriad activities that were successfully accomplished last year. We would like to thank all of you very warmly for your professional competence, commitment to the Organization, motivation and enthusiasm, without which these and other ambitious objectives would not have been met so successfully.
Looking forward to the year ahead, the top five priorities for 2018 begin with the successful conclusion of LHC Run 2, along with the full scientific programme at all the accelerators, before we go into LS2 at the end of the year. We also need to prepare for the substantial amount of complex work to be accomplished in LS2, including the consolidation of the LHC dipole diodes, and installation of components for the LHC Injectors Upgrade (LIU) and Phase-1 upgrades of the LHC experiments. With the next update to the European Strategy for Particle Physics underway, we will be finalising the input from the CLIC, FCC and the Physics Beyond Colliders studies, to be submitted by the end of the year.
The wellbeing of everyone on site is a top priority, and in 2018, we will be implementing the recommendations of the stress-management working group, reviewing our internal investigation procedures, and we will be improving career development opportunities and services and support for users. Last but not least, this is a crucial year for the Science Gateway initiative as we seek the funding from private and public donations necessary to implement this exciting project that will allow us to share our passion for science even more widely.
We wish you all an excellent New Year, with health and great accomplishments in your professional and personal lives.
For more information, the slides are available on the Indico page of the event.