This September is Spanish time for the ILC. Three weeks before the linear collider workshop in Granada, the worldwide accelerator community gathered at San Sebastián for the second International Particle Accelerator Conference. The main purpose of what is becoming the annual rendez-vous of the world’s accelerator scientists and engineers is for them to meet and exchange ideas about particle accelerator projects. But it is also a very good opportunity for them to meet with the industry.
Particle accelerators conferences used to be organised at the regional level. Since last year’s conference in Kyoto, Japan, it is now an international appointment for the whole community – about 1200 participants joined this second edition. Among them, more than a hundred were members of industry. Industrial participants followed most of the scientific sessions, eager to know the new areas of accelerator R&D and projects, to understand the needs of scientists and to discover new challenges to take up. Besides purely scientific talks, some talks were more focused on accelerator applications, technology transfer and industrial relations. A dedicated special session, open to all participants, covered Spanish industrial R&D. During the session, some of the 18 technical contributions to the book Spanish Science Industry – Your Reliable Partner were presented by highly specialised firms.
“Industries were very interested to participate, and actually, more than forty managers from Spanish companies attended the conference,” said Paloma Dorado, liaison for the Spanish accelerator industry at the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), a Spanish public organisation under the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Her role during IPAC11 was to promote the participation of Spanish industry in accelerator projects and to organise the special session on Spanish industrial R&D. “Industrials understood that this conference was a unique occasion to meet all the people in charge of designing the accelerators to come.”
A dedicated industry exhibition was installed during IPAC11, where more than 70 companies – including nine Spanish ones – presented their areas of expertise and what they could offer to the scientific projects. “Well situated in the coffee break area, the exhibition was a great success for both scientists and industrials, who had many opportunities to discuss and exchange information,” said Dorado.
For industrials, these encounters are motivating. “You have to understand that for them it’s more than preparing responses to invitation to tender and getting new contracts,” said Dorado, who as the Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO) for CERN in Spain, knows very well the interest of industry for particle physics. “Research projects are new challenges for them and very good occasions to push their own boundaries. Each new project needs dedicated designs.” A few industries even participated in the traditional scientific poster sessions to present their latest developments.
On the scientists’ side, this encounter was not only about meeting new faces. Marc Ross, project manager for the ILC Global Design Effort, enjoyed meeting in the same place many industry representatives he already knew and have been working with for some time. “Our discussions were very useful and I appreciated that the venue made possible a relaxed, extended interaction which we would normally never be able to have,” said Ross.
On the organisers’ side, Francis Pérez, chair of the local organising committee, is very satisfied. “The number of scientific and industry delegates has surpassed our expectations. We made the effort, which we believe delegates appreciated, to make their time in San Sebastián enjoyable, not only at the venue but also with many social events. We think that helped to create a personal link between the scientific projects and industry, which in the end is very important for the success of both,” said Pérez.
The next IPAC meeting will take place on May 2012 in New Orleans, USA.