New researchers join HIE-ISOLDE

The HIE-ISOLDE team is expecting a few new faces around the lab, as the new EU-funded project CATHI (Cryogenics, Accelerators and Targets for HIE-ISOLDE) gets into full swing as part of the Seventh Framework Programme. The project will recruit researchers from around the world to be trained at CERN and will hold its kick-off meeting here on 23 May.


CATHI is a 4-year Marie Curie-funded Initial Training Network aimed at preparing researchers in the application of advanced accelerator technology. The €4.97 million initiative provides support for 20 researchers: 16 Early Stage Researchers and 4 Experienced Researchers (positions are similar to CERN’s junior and senior fellowships).

The main objective of the CATHI project is to give researchers the highest level of specialist training. Researchers will develop expert, technical R&D skills by working on HIE-ISOLDE, the ongoing upgrade of the ISOLDE facility, one of Europe’s leading radioactive ion beam facilities. In addition to their work at CERN, they will also be provided with the resources to carry out their training in other participating institutes. These “associate partners” will host the researchers for on-site training sessions. The young researchers will also attend relevant summer school courses and conferences.

The project has involved industry at an early stage, with the industrial sector making up 5 of the 13 associate partners. “With multi-billion euro projects on the horizon – the European Spallation Source and CERN's own SPL, to name but a few – industry will need to improve upon their current expertise,” says Yorick Blumenfeld, spokesperson of the ISOLDE Collaboration. “By providing researchers with greater experience and training, CATHI will enhance European manpower in highly technical areas.”

Yacine Kadi, HIE-ISOLDE project leader, led the development of the CATHI proposal, with support from the Marie Curie Steering Group, the EU Office in DG, and the Fellows and Associates Service in HR. “To make a successful application for Marie Curie funding, a group needs more than just a good idea,” says Kadi. “Although project experts will be the only ones capable of completing the technical part of an application, there are also administrative and social issues that will have to be addressed. The Marie Curie support network at CERN helped us excel in that part of the application.”

CATHI ranked first out of the hundreds of Marie Curie proposals submitted to Brussels in late 2009, scoring an impressive 97%. The project was one of the few proposals that received its requested funding in full – a rarity demonstrative of the quality of the training that CATHI will provide to the recruited Fellows.

The new blood has already made its way into the ISOLDE facility, with 4 early-stage researchers selected and more on the way. We can no doubt expect to hear more from HIE-ISOLDE before its 2014 completion. 

by Katarina Anthony