CERN: Basic research and business
15 May 2012
Now researchers are to help business and industry to be competitive on the international market, in view of the comprehensive procurement for the construction of ESS. A number of selected companies in Sweden, Denmark and Norway are to learn about accelerator technology thanks to the CATE project, which is run via Lund University.Among other things, the entrepreneurs will get to travel to CERN to find out how to build a particle accelerator.
Physics professor Claes Fahlander observes that the CATE project is an investment which pays off for all parties. Not least, as a researcher he thinks it is fun that his area of work elicits such interest.
“Through the project, we connect our basic nuclear physics research with the accelerators, which is a hot topic here in Lund just now”, he says.
Up to 80 companies within the Öresund-Skagerrak-Kattegatt region have registered their interest on the project’s website. After the project’s first year, the discussions with the companies have resulted in a more in-depth dialogue with around 30 of them. These are to be offered professional training in accelerator technology. The courses are provided free of charge as a part of the project’s budget and are organised via the University’s division for commissioned education, LUCE.
“The course participants will also have access to CERN’s expertise”, says Mirka Fahlander from LUCE.
The courses are to be combined with yet another ingredient in the project, namely that the companies are to practise building a real accelerator. The actual construction of the various components of an accelerator will take place out in the companies, but the composition of the parts into a functioning unit will be done on site at CERN with access to cleanrooms, for example. The companies will be offered a study visit to CERN, but will also have the opportunity to take part in the actual composition of the accelerator on site. Both CERN and the future ESS facility are based on the acceleration of protons with superconducting technology, which is why the issues are basically the same. The accelerator which the companies are to construct in the CATE project will then be used by the Lund researchers in their own nuclear physics research at CERN (see article on this).
“We need to upgrade our existing accelerator, so this is perfect”, says Claes Fahlander.
Fahlander is managing the CATE project together with Caroline Hansson at the unit for Öresund region and network projects at Lund University. Caroline Hansson works with the company contacts within the project. She thinks that this project can help the region’s industry to find more business opportunities besides the actual construction of the ESS facility.
“The whole of the ESS facility will require technical maintenance for many years to come. In addition there are actually many more accelerator facilities around the world”, she says.
Lena Björk Blixt
CATE is an EU funded Interreg project, which Lund University has been entrusted to lead. The project runs over three years and was launched in 2011. Its budget is approximately SEK 18 million.
Read more about CERN in themed articles first published in the Lund University Magazine - LUM.