In response to pressure from member states, CERN, Europe’s premier high energy physics laboratory located near Geneva, Switzerland, is tightening its belt. CERN’s finance committee today recommended cuts to the budget totalling CHF343 million (US$333 million) over five years—a roughly 7% cut to the lab’s CHF1 billion annual budget.
In a statement to staff, Rolf Heuer, CERN’s Director General, said that the plan would not jeopardize the operation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s premier particle accelerator and the lab’s flagship project. But the lab will delay a plan to increase the LHC’s luminosity by a year to 2016. It will also shutdown the entire accelerator complex during an LHC outage in 2012—a move that will force several smaller experiments to go offline. And it will delay research into CLIC, an advanced accelerator technology that could be used in future machines. The cuts will be finalized at a meeting of CERN’s council next month.
All of this reflects the growing pressure on international treaty organisations to cut budgets, as we report this in this week’s issue.