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Call for input to the European Strategy update

The European Strategy for Particle Physics, which is due to be updated by May 2020, will guide the direction of the field to the mid-2020s and beyond


The European Strategy for Particle Physics, which is due to be updated by May 2020, will guide the direction of the field to the mid-2020s and beyond. To inform this vital process, the secretariat of the European Strategy Group (ESG) is calling upon the particle-physics community across universities, laboratories and national institutes to submit written input by 18 December 2018.

The update of the European Strategy got under way in September when the CERN Council established a strategy secretariat. Chaired by Halina Abramowicz, the secretariat includes Keith Ellis (the Chair of CERN’s Scientific Policy Committee), Jorgen D’Hondt (the current ECFA Chair) and Lenny Rivkin (the Chair of the European Laboratory Directors group).

The ESG secretariat, which has been assigned the task of organising the update process, proposes broadly following the steps of the previous two strategy processes, concluded in 2006 and 2013. An open symposium, which on the two previous occasions took place in Orsay (France) and Kraków (Poland), will take place in May 2019, during which the community will be invited to debate scientific input into the Strategy update. With the event expected to attract around 500 participants, the secretariat proposes holding it over a period of four days.

To prepare for the open symposium, the location of which is expected to be decided by the summer, the ESG will be calling for written contributions towards the end of the year. Input should be submitted via a portal on the Strategy update website, which will be available from the beginning of October, once the update has been formally launched by the CERN Council. The link will appear on the CERN Council’s web pages and will be widely communicated closer to the time.

A “briefing book” based on the discussions will then be prepared by a Physics Preparatory Group and submitted to the ESG for consideration during a five-day-long drafting session in the second half of January 2020. A special ECFA session on 14 July 2019, during the European Physical Society conference on high-energy physics in Ghent, Belgium, will provide another important opportunity for the community to feed into the ESG’s drafting session.

Global perspective

The European Strategy update will take into account the worldwide particle-physics landscape and developments in related fields, and was initiated to coordinate activities across a large, international and fast-moving community.

Understanding the properties of the Higgs boson (which was discovered at CERN just before the previous Strategy update) will remain a key focus of analysis at the LHC and future colliders, as will precision measurements of other Standard Model (SM) parameters and searches for new physics beyond the SM.

Neutrino physics is another key area of interest, with much experimental activity having taken place since the last update. A Physics Beyond Colliders programme has also been established by CERN to explore projects complementary to high-energy colliders. The European astroparticle and nuclear-physics communities, meanwhile, recently launched their own strategies, which will also feed into the ESG update.

“After the discovery of the Higgs boson, the field is presented with a number of challenges and opportunities,” says Abramowicz. “Guided by the input from the community, the European Strategy will determine which of these opportunities will be pursued.”    


This article is based on the article published in the April issue of the CERN Courier.