During its meeting in Geneva on 17 June, the CERN Council agreed to take on the role of defining the strategy and direction of European particle-physics research, a task already present in the founding convention.
A strategic planning team is to be established in support of this role, 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. In spring 2006, the team will provide the CERN Council with a status report in Berlin, with a full report to follow later that year.
At the same meeting, the Council also heard from project leader of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Lyn Evans, who told attendees that all efforts are currently being made to ensure that the LHC will be ready for commissioning in the summer of 2007. CERN’s chief scientific officer, Jos Engelen, also reported that all the LHC’s experiments expect to be in a position to take data in 2007, and that the LHC computing grid is progressing according to plan.
In his presentation to the Council, CERN’s director-general, Robert Aymar, applauded the progress that is being made towards the LHC. However, 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 right through to the next decade. This subject will be discussed at the Council’s meeting in September.