On Friday, 25 September, the CERN Council concluded an extremely productive week, which brought together delegates both online and on the CERN site. I would like to update you on the key outcomes of this session.
Firstly, the Council and its subordinate bodies, the Scientific Policy Committee and the Finance Committee, commended CERN on the way that the Organization as a whole has handled the COVID-19 crisis. The commitment of the personnel, their rapid adjustment to remote working and to the gradual return to site and the forbearance they demonstrated in working under the challenging COVID-19-related conditions in the tunnel and in the experimental halls to allow LS2 to proceed were all much appreciated by the committees.
The agendas were very rich and included presentations on progress at CERN, ranging from physics results from the experiments to LS2 work, detector and accelerator upgrade activities and other scientific and technical projects, as well as reports on education and outreach and CERN’s very successful participation in the Horizon2020 programme of the European Commission. The Council was greatly impressed by the excellent progress that we’ve made together across the full spectrum of CERN’s activities, despite the difficulties associated with COVID-19.
The key deliberations were about the future. The Medium-Term Plan for 2021 to 2025 was approved and strongly supported. Always an important milestone, it is particularly so this time since it includes the first concrete steps in implementing the recommendations of the updated European Strategy for Particle Physics. The Council also appointed the new directors for the period 2021-2025: Raphaël Bello as Director for Finance and Human Resources, Mike Lamont as Director for Accelerators and Technology, Joachim Mnich as Director for Research and Computing and Charlotte Warakaulle as Director for International Relations.
Another demonstration that life goes on despite COVID-19 was the Finance Committee’s approval of seven contract adjudication proposals. These included one for the construction of the Science Gateway building complex, which will allow work to begin on schedule this year, keeping the planned opening to the public in 2022 on track.
We thanked CERN’s Member States and Associate Member States, on behalf of the personnel, for their continued strong support, which is also demonstrated by the fact that 98% of the financial contributions to the 2020 budget have been received, despite the current difficult economic situation in the various countries.
I would like to invite you to our next meeting, which will take place on 8 October at 13:30. It will be an entirely online meeting, but you will be able to ask questions, as usual. As well as providing more details on the outcome of this Council week, we will update you on the status of and planning for the ramp-up of activities at CERN. We will also outline how CERN is adapting to the constantly evolving situation in the Host States and beyond, and on how we will continue to keep the CERN community informed. Full details of how to join the meeting will be communicated closer to the time. I look forward to welcoming you to the meeting.
By Fabiola Gianotti, on behalf of the CERN Directorate
(This message was originally sent to CERN personnel on 25 September 2020)