The CMS collaboration, in partnership with the Geneva-based Sharing Knowledge Foundation, has launched a fundraising initiative to support the Lebanese scientific community during an especially difficult period. Lebanon signed an international cooperation agreement with CERN in 2016, which triggered a strong development of the country’s contributions to CERN projects, particularly to the CMS experiment through the affiliation of four of its top universities. Yet the country is dealing with an unprecedented economic crisis, food shortages, Syrian refugees and the COVID-19 pandemic, all in the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion in August 2020.
“Even the most resilient higher-education institutions in Lebanon are struggling to survive,” says CMS collaborator Martin Gastal of CERN, who initiated the fundraising activity in March. “Despite these challenges, the Lebanese scientific community has reaffirmed its commitment to CERN and CMS, but it needs support.”
One project, High-Performance Computing for Lebanon (HPC4L), which was initiated to build Lebanon’s research capacity while contributing as a Tier-2 centre to the analysis of CMS data, is particularly at risk. HPC4L was due to benefit from servers donated by CERN to Lebanon, and from the transfer of CERN and CMS knowledge and expertise to train a dedicated support team that will run a high-performance computing facility there. But the hardware has been unable to be shipped from CERN because of a lack of available funding. CMS and the Sharing Knowledge Foundation are therefore fundraising to cover the shipping costs of the donated hardware, to purchase hardware to allow its installation, and to support Lebanese experts while they are trained at CERN by the CMS offline computing team.
“At this pivotal moment, every effort to help Lebanon counts,” says Gastal. “CMS is reaching out for donations to support this initiative, to help both the Lebanese research community and the country itself.”
More information, including how to get involved, can be found at: cern.ch/fundraiser-lebanon.