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CERN council approves the laboratory's medium term plan

Geneva, 17 September 2010. During an intense series of meetings, which concludes today, the CERN1 Council overwhelmingly approved the laboratory's revised Medium Term Plan for the period 2011 to 2015. The plan was originally presented to Council at its June session, at which Council asked CERN management to introduce cost-saving measures. In the revised plan, Member State contributions will be reduced by a total 135MCHF over the five-year period, with measures to consolidate CERN’s social security systems bringing the total reduction to the programme to 343MCHF. The plan protects the flagship LHC programme, achieving cost savings by slowing down the pace of other programmes. CERN management considers this a good result for the Laboratory given the current financial environment.

"The plan we presented to Council is firmly science-driven," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. "It reduces spending on research and consolidation through careful and responsible adjustment of the pace originally foreseen in a way that does not compromise the future research programme unduly. The reductions will be painful, but in the current financial environment, they are fair."

Among the programmes to be affected is the upgrade to the LHC's beam intensity, which will allow the experiments to accumulate data at a faster rate. This will now proceed later than originally planned, with a new linear accelerator being connected in 2016 instead of 2015.

There will be no running of CERN's accelerators in 2012. The decision to not run the LHC in 2012 had already been taken in February for purely technical reasons. The whole CERN accelerator complex will now join the LHC in a year-long shutdown.

Looking further ahead, the plan allows for continuing R&D on the compact linear collider study, CLIC, and high-intensity proton sources, but at a slower pace than originally foreseen. Work on CLIC may provide technology for the development of a new machine to study in depth the discoveries made by the LHC, while high-intensity proton sources will allow CERN to play its part in global developments for neutrino physics.

"Council's decision is an important one for European science," said Council president Michel Spiro. “Although Council acknowledges that the cuts will be painful, we recognise the excellent performance of the LHC and its detectors, and consequently took decisions that minimise the disruption to CERN and its global user community. Council’s decision underlines Europe's commitment to basic research, and is testimony to the robustness of the CERN model of international collaboration in science. Council is grateful for the pragmatism, and the realism of the CERN management in proposing real cost savings in time of crisis."

1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Israel is an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.