From EuCARD to EuCARD-2

The one word that best describes the spirit of the EuCARD ’13 event (see here) that took place from 10 to 14 June at CERN is "collaboration". The event brought together more than 180 accelerator specialists from all over the world to celebrate the conclusion of the EuCARD project and to kick off its successor, EuCARD-2.


EuCARD-2 brings a global view to particle accelerator research in order to address challenges for future generations of accelerators. The project officially began on 1 May 2013 and will run for four years. With a total budget of €23.4 million, including an €8 million EU contribution, it will build upon the success of EuCARD and push it into an even more innovative regime. EuCARD-2 aims to significantly enhance multidisciplinary R&D for European accelerators and will actively contribute to the development of a European Research Area in accelerator science. This will be accomplished by promoting complementary expertise, cross-disciplinary fertilisation and a wider sharing of knowledge and technologies throughout academia and with industry.

It is worth noting that the objectives of EuCARD-2 differ somewhat from those of EuCARD. First of all, EuCARD-2 focuses more on network activities and will have four additional work packages dedicated to them*. Secondly, the European Commission has drawn attention to the importance of close collaboration with industry. The aim is to open up new opportunities for applications in the fields of medicine, industry, security and energy that could benefit society as a whole. EuCARD-2 introduces two application-oriented networks – "Innovation" and "Accelerator Applications" - in order to support this knowledge transfer.

Last but not least, EuCARD-2 further extends the scope of the EuCARD consortium. The consortium has attracted a large variety of partners, conscious of the beneficial contributions made by small labs and universities to EuCARD. Among the 40 participants representing 14 countries, the largest number are universities, followed by accelerator laboratories, scientific research institutes and industry. While the initial involvement of industry remains small (only one partner), project coordinator Maurizio Vretenar has already voiced his intention to attract more industrial partners via events such as “Academia meets Industry”.

Regarding transnational access, EuCARD-2 includes two activities aimed at opening three advanced accelerator test facilities to new European partners: the Ionisation Cooling Test Facility at STFC, HiRadMat at the SPS at CERN, and the Magnet Test Facility at CERN. Four further hardware-oriented Joint Research Activities (JRA) complete the EuCARD-2 project. At this crucial time for particle accelerators, the activities will address the technological limits of current machines with regard to magnetic fields, RF gradient and technologies, and collimator materials. One JRA will focus on plasma-wakefield acceleration as an alternative to the present approaches.

However, there are a few challenges ahead. Although the number of work packages has increased, the budget has followed the opposite trend. Moreover, in a context of economic gloom, accelerator R&D tends to be a second priority for large laboratories. Collaboration has therefore been defined as a key element for the success of EuCARD-2. It will be promoted between different work packages in order to create synergies, and also between scientists and industry, universities and non-EU partners. 

“And now it’s time to set sail for a new adventure!” said Maurizio Vretenar, concluding the EuCARD ’13 annual meeting and wishing all the participants success in their research.

* Six EuCARD-2 work packages will focus on network activities: Innovation, Energy efficiency, Accelerator applications, Extreme beams, Low-emittance rings, Novel accelerators.

by Mathilde Chaudron, CERN, on behalf of the EuCARD-2 consortium