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News Alert

EU Commission and CERN
agree on a closer scientific partnership

Brussels, 17 July 2009

Today, the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CERN. The MoU aims to enhance the long-standing partnership between the two organisations. It will provide a structured framework for cooperation across a broad range of issues of common interest, with emphasis on consolidating and further developing the European Research Area and facilitating the implementation of the European Strategy for Particle Physics, as defined by the CERN Council.

EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik welcomed the signing of the MoU: “Since its founding 55 years ago, CERN has been a shining example of international collaboration of excellence in particle physics. It contributes to realising the European Research Area, this single market for research and knowledge that we strive to build. At a time when the EU needs to step up investment and cooperation in research, closely engaging organisations of the calibre of CERN in the process will be a strong asset.”

The President of the CERN Council, Professor Torsten Åkesson said: “The CERN Member States have given the Organization the responsibility to operate laboratories for research on high energy particles and the organization of international co-operation in this domain. To do this, CERN operates its world-leading laboratory and the CERN Council ensures a coherent European Strategy for Particle Physics. The EU is promoting cooperation in research between Member States with the aim of creating the European Research Area. We recognize each other's roles and look forward to working together for the benefit of European research.”

CERN’s Director-General, Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer said: “Links between CERN and the EU have strengthened as Europe has pursued the goal of creating a European Research Area. This has allowed CERN to benefit from European support for projects as varied as Grid computing and future accelerator R&D, as well as numerous Marie Curie fellows whose careers have received a boost thanks to European funds. This MoU allows CERN and the EU to drive forward the collaboration for the benefit of European science and ultimately for all of us.”


The MoU provides for the European Commission and CERN to:

  • Cooperate in order to consolidate and further develop the European Research Area in all its important dimensions, as well as in the following up and implementation of the European Strategy for Particle Physics as defined by the CERN Council.
  • Consult and exchange information on issues of mutual interest.

Cooperation between the two sides will be based on areas of common interest, with due regard to their respective competences, institutional settings and operational frameworks.

The two sides agree that there exists an enormous potential for cooperation in a remarkably broad range of areas, such as: research programming, training and mobility of researchers, science education, open publishing, technology transfer, innovation, building next generation infrastructures (including e-infrastructures) and global scientific cooperation.


Text of the MoU in the Official Journal: (PDF 710 kB)

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, operates the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status. (

The European Strategy for Particle Physics was adopted by CERN Council on 14 July 2006. The European Strategy Session of Council provides the organizational structure to implement and update the strategy as defined in the Strategy Statement approved by Council. (, "European Strategy Sessions")

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is CERN's new flagship research facility, which brings together some 9000 researchers from around the world. Scientists will use the LHC to recreate conditions like those just after the Big Bang, by colliding two beams of protons travelling in opposite directions at close to the speed of light. The experimental collaborations running the LHC's detectors, ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, LHCb and TOTEM, are poised to bring new and profound insights into the workings of our Universe. The collider is scheduled to start up again late 2009.


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