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CERN Council takes important steps forward

Geneva, 21 June 2002. The CERN1 Council, where the representatives of the 20 Member States of the Organization decide on scientific programmes and financial resources, held its 122nd session today under the chairmanship of Professor Maurice Bourquin (CH). Following the meeting Council issued this statement.

Confidence in CERN – in its management, in its ability to deliver, and in its future – was the key theme of the meeting. Confidence in CERN's technical ability was underlined in the report of the External Review Committee (ERC) presented to Council, although the report was critical of past management practices. The ERC observed the Laboratory to be "justifiably proud of its past success and of its worldwide reputation" - success that "speaks loudly for its permanent best asset: a competent and dedicated staff".

Council members agreed to accept the ERC's recommendations over a wide range of issues, considering them a well-balanced set of measures for the future of CERN. Council was also pleased to note the coherence between the ERC's recommendations and the elements of the Medium Term Plan for the Laboratory presented by Director-General Luciano Maiani. The plan addresses changes in management practices needed to shape the Laboratory for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) era and also reallocates important resources to the LHC.

Says Prof Maiani, "The plan reflects the determination of the Organization to carry out the LHC whilst remaining within the 1996 budgetary conditions as far as possible."

Council concluded that the ERC report and the Management proposals, including the reallocation of 500 MCHF to the LHC, are an important step towards solving the problems identified and re-establishing an atmosphere of trust.

External Review Committee report
The External Review Committee, chaired by Dr Robert Aymar (FR), director of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), was set up in December 2001 in response to the increased cost to completion of the LHC, which became apparent during 2001. Its remit was to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the LHC accelerator, its experimental areas, CERN's share of detector construction, and CERN's non-LHC activities. The final report - the result of five months of consultations, enquiries and interviews with CERN management and staff - was presented to Council today.

In the report, the ERC states that it "believes that the design of the LHC is excellent and that it will reach design specifications" and it affirmed that the LHC is "the worldwide priority in high energy physics: the support to CERN for this objective will not fade out". However, the ERC did find that the crisis that became apparent last year arose from "serious weaknesses … in cost awareness and control, as well as in contract management and financial reporting."

The report makes various recommendations on Human Resources Policy, improved financial procedures at CERN, including a transition to "earned value" reporting and to fully integrated personnel and materials accounting, currently treated separately. Other recommendations concerned Human Resources policy. The ERC also looked at non-LHC related scientific activities at CERN and recommended a prolonged shut-down for the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), and significant transfer of staff from the Proton Synchrotron (PS) to the LHC, in order to focus resources on the LHC.

Prof. Maiani welcomed the ERC’s report and committed CERN to preparing, for September 2002, an Action Plan and time-table aimed at the detailed implementation of the ERC’s recommendations in a short time-frame. The Management will also prepare, for December 2002, a proposal for the revision of the 1996 financial framework for the LHC, with the completion of the LHC as the all-out priority until its start up in 2007. This revision will include the Cost-to-Completion for the LHC project, the resources for the non-LHC programme, and a new long-term financial framework and staff plan for the Organization.

Medium Term Plan and Budget for 2003
Prof. Maiani presented the CERN Management's Medium Term Plan to Council. This was based on consultations particularly with five internal Task Forces, which were set up to examine the cost of different scientific programmes and possible areas of saving across the Laboratory, and to recommend ways of re-structuring and improving tools for managing CERN resources. There was recognisable common ground between the conclusions of the ERC and recommendations of the Task Forces, so that the Medium Term Plan already addresses many of the points raised by the ERC. In particular, the PS and SPS will be shut down for all of 2005; the accelerator sector will be restructured as from January 2003, allowing redeployment of staff to the LHC, which has already begun; an earned value management system, which includes manpower, is already under implementation for the LHC project.

Prof. Maiani points out that "The plan under-uses the research potential of CERN's infrastructure and the capability of CERN to disseminate know-how and technology in physics". However, the ERC believes that "this is the price to pay for the future possession of this powerful tool [the LHC]".

Council approved an expenditure figure of 1217 MCHF for 2003, so that a detailed 2003 budget could be prepared for September 2002. It also agreed to unblock the remaining 33 MCHF from the 2002 budget which had been held back pending clarification of LHC funding issues.

Senior Staff Appointments
Mr André Naudi (CH/GB) was appointed as Director of Finance from 1 July 2002 to 31 December 2003.
Dr Stephen Myers (GB) was appointed Leader of the Accelerator and Beams Division from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2004.
Mr Philippe Lebrun (FR) was appointed Leader of the Accelerator Technology Division from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2004.
Dr Paolo Ciriani (IT) was appointed Leader of the Engineering Support and Technologies Division from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2004.
Dr Wolfgang Weingarten (DE) was appointed Leader of the Technical Inspection and Safety Division from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2004.
Dr Wolfgang von Rüden (DE) was appointed Leader of the Information Technology Division from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2004.
Dr Alberto Scaramelli (IT) was re-appointed Leader of the Technical Support Division from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2003.
Dr Juan Antonio Rubio (ES) was re-appointed Leader of the Education and Technology Transfer Division from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2004.

Professor M. Cavalli-Sforza (ES), Professor T. Kondo (JP), Professor M. Spiro (FR) and Professor B. Webber (GB) were elected as members of the Scientific Policy Committee for three years from 1 July 2002.
Dr H. Schunk (DE) was re-elected as Vice-President of Council for a period of one year from 1 July 2002.
Dr J. Bezemer (NL) was re-elected as Chairman of TREF for a period of one year from 1 July 2002.
Mr F. Gruber (CH) was re-elected as Vice-Chairman of TREF for a period of one year from 1 July 2002.

The Austrian Court of Audit was appointed as External Auditors for a period of three years from 1 January 2003.

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, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.