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CERN Council positioned as Europe's strategic body for particle physics

Geneva, 17 June 2005. Speaking at the 133rd session of CERN1 Council today, Council Chair, Enzo Iarocci, declared that the Council has agreed to take on the role of defining the future strategy and direction for European particle physics research. Professor Iarocci went on to remind the meeting that this task was originally foreseen for the CERN Council when the Organization was founded. 

In support of this role, a strategic planning team is to be established consisting of the Chair of the European Committee for Future Accelerators, the Chair of CERN's Scientific Policy Committee, CERN's Director General, one member nominated by each of CERN's Member State Delegations, and representatives of the major European national laboratories. The team will give a status report to Council in Berlin in spring 2006, with a full report to follow later in the year. The Council will then decide on the strategic plan.

The status of the Laboratory's flagship project, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), was among other business discussed at the meeting. Project Leader Lyn Evans reported that all efforts are being made to ensure that the LHC be ready for commissioning in the summer of 2007. Chief Scientific Officer, Jos Engelen, reported on the status of the experiments and computing. All experiments expect to be in a position to take data in 2007, and the LHC computing grid is progressing according to plan.

CERN's Director General, Robert Aymar, applauded the strong progress on the LHC and underlined his seven-point strategy for the Laboratory, which he first unveiled to Council one year ago2. Progress has been made on all seven points. Dr Aymar closed his presentation, however, with a note of caution. While the Laboratory is on course for LHC start-up in 2007, current expenditure profiles indicate that CERN's budget could be entirely committed to paying for the project until into the next decade. This subject has been scheduled for discussion at Council's next meeting in September.

1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, 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, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.
2. (1) Completion of the LHC project on schedule. (2) Consolidation of existing infrastructure at CERN to guarantee reliable operation of the LHC. (3) An examination of a possible future experimental programme apart from the LHC. (4) A role for CERN in the growing coordination of research in Europe. (5) The construction of a linear accelerator injector at CERN to provide more intense beams for the LHC. (6) An accelerated R&D effort towards CLIC, CERN's novel new accelerator technology, which could open the way to much higher energies than are available today. (7) A comprehensive review of CERN's long-term activity to be available by 2010, when results from the LHC will have given a first description of the particle physics landscape for years to come.