Funding innovation

For the first time, six knowledge and technology transfer activities are set to benefit from a dedicated fund made available by the Knowledge Transfer group. This initiative cements CERN’s commitment to sharing its technological knowledge and expertise with society.


GEM detectors for flame detection and early earthquake prediction, radio-frequency absorbers for energy recovery, and exotic radioisotopes for medical applications are among the projects funded by the recently introduced KT Fund. “CERN’s scientific programme generates a considerable amount of intellectual property, a natural driver for innovation,” explains Giovanni Anelli, Head of the Knowledge Transfer Group. “Very often, though, financial support is needed to bring the newly-born technologies a step further and make them ready for transfer to other research institutes or to companies.”

This is where the KT fund comes into play. It provides vital support in the early stages of KT projects, regardless of their field of application, as long as it is of use to society and in line with CERN’s principles. The positive response from CERN inventors confirmed the need for such an initiative. In 2011, projects were submitted from four Departments – Physics, Beams, Engineering, and General Services and Infrastructure. They dealt with technologies with potential applications in a wide range of fields, from education to hadrontherapy, astronomy, homeland security, environmental safety and energy recovery.

In order to qualify for support, the projects were evaluated by the KT Fund Selection Committee, which is chaired by Thierry Lagrange, Head of the Finance, Procurement and Knowledge Transfer Department, and includes all the Heads of Department and representatives of the KT group. “The quality of the projects submitted and their areas of application have been remarkable,” confirms Rolf Heuer, CERN’s Director-General. “In the spirit of maximizing the dissemination of our technologies and their positive impact on society, the Management has decided to increase the fund to fully support the initiatives.”

Applications for the 2012 KT Fund are accepted throughout the year. All details on the KT fund, such as submission and selection procedures, are available on the new KT website.

by Marina Giampietro