Andres Tennus

CERN task force explores Estonia’s scientific excellence and fundamental research achievements at the University of Tartu today

During their visit to Estonia, the task force of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) meets with the University of Tartu’s Rector Toomas Asser, and pays a visit to the university’s Institute of Physics, the Institute of Technology and the Delta centre today. The purpose of the visit is to evaluate Estonia’s readiness to become a full member of CERN.

CERN is Europe’s centre of excellence for research and development and one of the world’s most influential scientific organisations, where answers are sought to the most fundamental questions of the universe. The CERN membership will open up new collaboration opportunities for Estonian scientists in high-level research and international business.

According to one of the promoters of the cooperation, Veronika Zadin, Professor of Materials Technology at the University of Tartu, full membership gives valuable additional rights to Estonia, and removes obstacles from our companies to participate in CERN procurements. “It is like a readiness test for Estonia in which we demonstrate our willingness to be equal to other European countries. The right to vote and the opportunity to participate in CERN’s decision-making processes as a full member gives us a chance to have a say in the substantive activities and policy-making of one of the world’s most significant research and development centres. As all the technology created at CERN belongs to its members, we can bring it to Estonia,” said Zadin.

The evaluators aim to identify the situation of research related to CERN’s fields of activity in Estonia: the sustainability of our cutting-edge and basic research, the involvement of local companies and the future generation of Estonian researchers. Based on the task force’s report, the member states are expected to vote in the CERN Council on Estonia’s full membership this autumn.

Rector Toomas Asser of the University of Tartu will receive the task force members at the university. According to him, full membership opens new perspectives for us, and enables our young people to do world-class research directly from Estonia. “CERN has been a longstanding and important partner for Estonia and the University of Tartu. We are ready to bear the responsibility of a full member and participate in CERN’s top-level development work,” Asser said.

In Tartu, the CERN evaluators visit the laboratories of the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Technology and the High Performance Computing Centre in the Delta centre. Professor in Experimental Physics Marco Kirm, Associate Professor in Theoretical Physics Stefan Groote, Professor in Environmental Physics Heikki Junninen, and Professor of Materials Technology Veronika Zadin will give an overview of the university’s research in CERN’s fields of activity at the Delta centre. Junior research fellows in physics and materials technology of the University of Tartu will deliver scientific presentations.

The visit of the task force today starts with a tour of the factory of the Estonian deep tech company GScan OÜ, set up with the participation of researchers of the University of Tartu, and the Tartu Science Park. Tomorrow, 24 May, the evaluators will meet the President of Estonia Alar Karis, the Minister of Economy and Information Technology Tiit Riisalo, and the Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas, in Tallinn.

Estonia has been cooperating with CERN since the 1990s and became an associate member at the beginning of 2021. In mid-2022, Estonia submitted a self-evaluation report to the organisation to achieve full membership.

CERN activities in Estonia are coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

On the photo from the left: Robert Aare (EIS), Kairi Otto (MKM), Emmanuel Tsesmelis (Senior Physicist and Deputy Head of International Relations at CERN), Marco Kirm (University of Tartu), Stefan Groote (University of Tartu), Veronika Zadin (University of Tartu), Charlotte Lindberg Warakaulle (CERN Director for International Relations), Toomas Asser (Rector of the University of Tartu), Martti Raidal (KBFI), Florin Buzatu (CERN Council delegate); Heikki Junninen (University of Tartu); Reet Kurg (University of Tartu); Andrzej Charkiewicz (CMS Resource Manager, secretary of CERN Task Force group). Author: Saima Tiirmaa-Oras

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