TWO-HUNDRED-AND-NINTH SESSION OF THE COUNCIL
29-30 September 2022
The President expressed satisfaction that, for the first time in over two years, the Council was able to meet face-to-face once again, albeit during a period of profound geopolitical and economic instability, in which it was faced with many difficult decisions. Since the June Session, he had attended various meetings of CERN’s statutory bodies and had given talks, firstly, at the ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of the Higgs boson discovery on 4 July and, secondly, at the “Snowmass” meeting in Seattle, where the United States particle physics community had gathered to provide input to the next update of the US strategy for particle physics (the so-called “P5 process”). He had also travelled to Riga and then to Vienna where he had met with government officials and representatives of the particle physics communities of Latvia and Austria respectively, and he wished to extend his warm thanks to everyone who had facilitated those highly successful and instructive visits.
The Director-General gave an oral report on the following:
- CERN in a few key numbers
- Higgs@10 and start of Run 3
- Protocol visits and events since January 2022
- Progress on Science Gateway
MEDIUM-TERM PLAN FOR THE PERIOD 2023-2027 AND DRAFT BUDGET OF THE ORGANIZATION FOR THE SIXTY-NINTH FINANCIAL YEAR 2023
The Council heard a presentation by the Director-General outlining the main changes to the Medium-Term (MTP) and the draft Budget for 2023 with the respect to the versions presented in June, together with preliminary information regarding a comprehensive, multi-pronged package of measures, involving efforts by all stakeholders, being developed with a view to mitigating the impact of the dramatic increase in energy prices on the cumulative budget deficit. The Council took note that the Scientific Policy Committee supported the MTP, which it considered to be well aligned with the European Strategy for Particle Physics, but was concerned about the impact of inflation and rising energy costs on the cumulative budget deficit, and underlined that efforts should be made to reduce the deficit on a timescale compatible with the start of investments in a new large-scale project in the early 2030s. The Council further took note of similar views expressed by the Finance Committee, which had made a positive recommendation on the Budget for 2023 and decided to postpone its recommendation concerning the overall strategy for the reference period to a later meeting once the package of measures is finalised. On that basis, the Council unanimously decided to approve the 2023 Draft Budget in 2022 prices.
POSSIBLE MEASURES TO MITIGATE THE IMPACT OF THE ENERGY PRICES ON THE CERN BUDGET
The Council heard a first presentation by the Director for Accelerators and Technology, Dr Lamont, outlining the plans to reduce the operation of the accelerator complex by 20% in 2023 as a mark of social responsibility. It then heard a second presentation by the Director for Finance and Human Resources, Mr Bello, on scenarios for the indexation of the Member and Associate Member States’ contributions, which could form another component of the afore-mentioned package of measures. The Council agreed that a multi-pronged package, including measures to reduce personnel costs, should be discussed further and finalised at the December Session.
The Council heard a further presentation by Mr Bello highlighting strategies currently being elaborated for purchasing electricity in the future.
FINANCE COMMITTEE TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Council heard a presentation by the Finance Committee Chair, Dr Dosselli, and, on the recommendation of the Finance Committee, unanimously decided to approve the Terms of Reference of the Finance Committee, as set out in the annex to document CERN/FC/6525/Rev.2-CERN/3655/Rev., for entry into force on 1 October 2022.
REPORT BY THE CHAIR OF THE PENSION FUND GOVERNING BOARD
The Council heard a report by Mr Malmberg, in his capacity as Chair of the Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB), on the key matters discussed at the Board’s meeting on 16 September 2022, with particular reference to the impact of the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic on inflation, market volatility and the Fund’s year-to-date investment performance, which stood at -5.96% at the end of August. The Council took note of the PFGB’s advice that the long-term funding plan remained viable at present, despite the impact of the current global financial crisis on the Fund’s investment performance and hence the funding ratio.
ACCELERATORS, EXPERIMENTS AND COMPUTING
The Council heard presentations by the Director for Accelerators and Technology, Dr Lamont, and by the Director for Research and Computing, Professor Mnich, on:
- adjustments to the 2022 machine operation schedule following a request by the electricity supplier, EDF, that the 2022 year-end technical stop start two weeks earlier than planned; the various additional measures being implemented to save energy across the CERN sites; the status of the accelerator complex and upgrades, including details of the availability of the LHC machine and injector chain; the LHC intensity ramp-up following the first stable beams at a record energy of 13.6 TeV on 5 July; the impact on the LHC schedule of the technical incident on 23 August involving the controls of the cooling tower at Point 4; the status of luminosity production in 2022; and the measures being taken to address unidentified falling objects and electron cloud issues;
- the progress of the LHC experiments’ Run 3 data taking, and highlights of their latest LHC physics results;
- the status of construction of the Data Centre in Prévessin and news from the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid;
- the progress of the Phase-2 upgrades of the ATLAS and CMS detectors, highlighting the most critical activities for each experiment and previewing the main issues to be addressed at the upcoming Resources Review Board meetings in mid-October;
- the status of the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) project, covering the twelfth collaboration meeting held in Uppsala from 19 to 22 September 2022, the encouraging results of the recent quadrupole magnet tests and the progress made on the various work packages;
- the activities under way at ISOLDE, n_TOF, and at the North Area, including the NA61/SHINE and COMPASS experiments; the progress made at the CERN Neutrino Platform on the development of two cryostats for the DUNE experiment for the LBNF project in the United States; activities related to the quantum technology initiative; and the roll-out of CERN’s Open Science Policy.
The Council congratulated all the teams involved in the work on the accelerator complex, the experiments and the computing on the progress achieved.
FUTURE CIRCULAR COLLIDER (FCC) FEASIBILITY STUDY: PLANS AND DELIVERABLES FOR THE 2023 MID-TERM REVIEW
The Council heard a presentation by the FCC Feasibility Study Leader, Dr Benedikt, covering the proposed plans, organisation and deliverables for the 2023 mid-term review of the FCC Feasibility Study and, on the recommendation of the Scientific Policy Committee, decided, by consensus, to approve the plans and deliverables set out in document CERN/SPC/1183/Rev.2-CERN/3654/Rev.2.
IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR THE DETECTOR R&D ROADMAP
The Council heard a presentation by the Chair of the European Committee for Future Accelerators (ECFA), Professor Jakobs, outlining the main changes made to the detector R&D roadmap implementation plan, document CERN/SPC/1190-CERN/3679, since the June Session.
The Council expressed its appreciation to ECFA for having organised the roadmap development process, warmly welcomed the implementation plan and encouraged all parties to move forward with the implementation phase.
* * *
1) Review of the first five years of Associate Membership of CERN of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan - Report by the Fact-Finding Task Force
The Council heard a presentation by the Director for International Relations, Ms Warakaulle, summarising the report by the fact-finding Task Force on the five-year review of Associate Membership of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and in particular of its conclusion that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan continues to fulfil the criteria and obligations for Associate Membership, and invited the Director-General to communicate the successful outcome of the review to the Pakistan authorities.
2) Update on ongoing and future task forces
The Council then heard an oral report by Ms Warakaulle relating to the ongoing and forthcoming task-force processes for Cyprus, Estonia, India, Lithuania, Slovenia and Ukraine.
ELECTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS
- elected Professor Hugh Montgomery as Chair of the Scientific Policy Committee for a first period of one year as of 1 January 2023;
- elected Professor Jochen Schieck (Austria) as a member of the Audit Committee for a period of three years, from 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2025;
- appointed the Court of Auditors of Portugal as the External Auditors of the Organization for the period 2023 to 2025.
* * *