In June, CERN Finance Committee postponed its proposals for the 2011 budget and the Director-General’s medium-term plan (2012–2015). The Member State delegations asked for a significant reduction in these budgets. The Staff Association condemns this request for new budget cuts which shows a short-term political vision. It is therefore organizing a demonstration on 25th August to defend basic research in Europe. On this day your presence is indispensable.

Enough of simply getting by !

We know that budget cuts and the reduction of deficits are topical in several countries. The areas of research and training are also affected. However, in the case of CERN, severe budgetary constraints have been imposed for several years now, in particular since 1996 when the Organization’s budget was reduced by around 10%, just when the construction of the LHC was due to start. Since then, 100 million Swiss francs have been lost each year, reducing CERN’s resources to a minimum. All efforts were concentrated on the LHC project and investment in other areas was neglected, or even abandoned. The infrastructure of the technical installations and buildings has greatly suffered. Today, a general consolidation is vital to ensure reliability, health, and safety. New budget cuts would dangerously compromise the running of the Organization and, therefore, its future.

Research without a budget = Europe without a future

Gathered in Lisbon in 2000, the Member States of the European Union agreed to make Europe “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy” by 2010. To avoid widening the gap with the United States in the area of Research and Development (R&D) and to better build the future in the face of globalization of the economy, they decided in Barcelona in 2003 to invest 3% of their GDP in R&D by 2010. We know what has happened since then: this goal was abandoned even before the 2008 financial crisis. Today, they can barely manage an investment of 1.85% of GDP. There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.

Basic research attracts tomorrow’s innovators to science

A long-term investment in basic research is essential. By lending 300 million euros to CERN (in 2003) to help finance the construction of the LHC, the European Investment Bank (EIB), financial body of the European Union, showed the importance it attaches to basic science. Through this choice, the EIB indicated that the largest project for basic physics in the world is worth investing in, in particular since basic research opens the way to future innovations. To favour economic recovery in Europe, we must not curb investment today. Quite the opposite, we should consolidate Europe’s position as world leader in particle physics.

Founded in 1954, our Laboratory has become one of the jewels of Europe, a model of international collaboration, symbolized today by a fully-functioning LHC. Let us not spoil all of this.

Through its policy of knowledge transfer, CERN has, since its beginning, helped train hundreds of students, PhD students, and teachers of the scientific community. Through its own developments and policy of technology transfer, CERN has given the economic and industrial world some of the most important advanced technologies. For example, the development of acceleration and particle detection techniques which have been used in the medical world (radiobiology, production of radionuclides, PET and MRI scanners). The World Wide Web has revolutionized the way we communicate and do business across the world. On the cutting edge of information technology, the computing grids have already found a use in the observation of the Earth, climate forecasts, the search for oil, and pharmaceutical research.

Giving CERN the means for its ambitions

Basic research plays a vital role in our competitive world, as it lays down lasting foundations for innovation, the main driving force for development and prosperity. In particular, technological progress achieved by CERN enables European industry to create employment and generate growth. How can CERN fulfil its mission if our Member States do not give it all the necessary means? Basic research cannot progress with budget cuts. On the contrary, it needs the financial stability to carry out its projects which often last several decades.

For strong basic research.

Users, associates, fellows, students, retirees, and staff members

With the representatives of several European scientific organizations (ESA, ESO, ILL, GSI, ESRF, EMBL, ITER) invited on this occasion, let us show our Member State representatives our determination to support basic research.

Gathering on Wednesday 25th August from 10.30 to 11.30 in front of the Main Building.