CERN-EU relationship provides various opportunities

The relationship between the EU and CERN continues to grow stronger, as the Director-General and the President of Council recently visited Brussels to discuss the progress made since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in July 2009. With financial cuts and budget reductions plaguing research programmes across the world, the MoU is a solid basis for enhancing existing or developing new synergies between the two parties. 


Rolf Heuer, Michel Spiro and other members of the CERN delegation photographed with Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, during the 2010 Annual CERN-EC meeting.
Credits: © European Union, 2010

In recent times, due to the global economic downturn and reductions in national research budgets, the competition for funding from the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013) has become extremely tough. However, given the large number of CERN proposals accepted by the EC since the start of FP7, one can definitely say that CERN has good chances of further success in the future. “Indeed, the MoU has significantly improved the collaboration between CERN and the European Commission, creating a unique line of communication between the two sides”, confirms Svetlomir Stavrev, Head of the EU Projects Office.

On 6 September 2010, a delegation from CERN met three Directors-General from the European Commission along with the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science to assess the implementation of the MoU and discuss future cooperation in areas that cover activities related to particle physics (e.g. accelerator and detector R&D) but also other fields of wide benefit for the citizens of Europe, such as health, e-infrastructures, research careers, technology transfer and open access to scientific results. “Several high-level meetings in one day show the Commission's commitment to the implementation of the MoU work plan, and in general, the respect it has for CERN,” says Stavrev.

Collaboration with the European Commission is not solely based on participation in the Framework Programme. “There are a number of areas where the MoU has facilitated the input of CERN as regards the content of the FP7 work programmes, which in fact define the scientific topics that will be funded by the EC in the years to come” says Stavrev. “CERN has also conveyed to the EC opinions and recommendations concerning the ongoing FP7 interim evaluation, and is in the process of providing input as to the programme orientations of the next Framework Programme. In addition, CERN and the EC inform each other of their priorities and plans for the future, with a view to coordination of the developments in particle physics in Europe and the relevant EU programmes and initiatives. ”

If you have ideas for new projects that you think could have a chance of being funded by the EC, the EU Projects Office can provide you with all the relevant information and professional advice.

CERN-EU: A history of collaboration

CERN has been collaborating with the European institutions since the signature of an Administrative Agreement for Cooperation in Science and Technology in 1994. Over the past decade, the EU has extended its support to European science by developing and implementing the European Research Area. In this context CERN decided to further strengthen its links with the EU for the benefit of European science, which led to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2009, with the aim of enhancing cooperation between the two parties.

In order to facilitate the implementation of the MoU, a work plan was developed between the EU and CERN. This plan defined a number of priority areas where the two sides intend to cooperate. These include: Joint Programming, Research Infrastructures, E-Infrastructures, Knowledge Transfer and Intellectual Property, Researchers’ Careers and Mobility, Open Access, Science Communication, Technologies for Health, Energy and Environment, and International Cooperation.

by Katarina Anthony-Kittelsen