ILC NewsLine
Contracts, Costing and Bid-to-Host – Oh My!

Assembly drawing of a test cryostat for superconducting RF cavities (Image: Clark Reid, Mayling Wong, and Valeri Polubotko)

Contracts, costing estimates and the bid-to-host process were the buzz words at the Linear Collider Forum of America industry meeting, hosted by SLAC earlier this week on 1-2 May. While the majority of the two days was dedicated to presentations about the latest ILC activities, this second meeting of the LCFOA allowed U.S. and Canadian industry members to establish a stronger dialogue with the U.S. laboratories involved in the project. And even though the big questions about how much will it cost and when can proposals for contracts be submitted remain unanswered for the time being, attendees received a clear message that working with industry is essential for building the ILC.

"Vision is really the key element in bringing major scientific discoveries, and the ILC is a visionary project," said SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan in a welcoming address to the industry representatives. "It is a major technological effort and also visionary in the way that it is being put together as a partnership of the labs around the world and of course involving industries around the world. Industry must get involved now, and this meeting is very timely because the interface is crucial. We cannot realise this dream without you, and we look forward to many, many years in this adventure. It’s a fantastic vision and welcome aboard."

From klystrons to civil construction, industry members left with a clearer understanding of the status of the design for various components in the machine. In turn, the industry members provided advice for the laboratories.

"If the civil construction is to be the cornerstone of the U.S. effort in the bid-to-host process, it is essential that there be more support to the very able lab-based conventional facilities staff," said Bob Barnes of M+W Zander, an international construction and engineering firm with its US Operations office located in Chicago, Illinois. "There just aren’t enough resources to handle the work that has to be done to amount a compelling bid-to-host. Consider this a plea to the GDE organisation to help by providing fulltime staff for procurement, contracts and others who can help."

Getting industry involved early not only for producing accurate costing estimates but also for developing an optimal design is a key message that emerged from the meeting. Scientists at the national laboratories recognise this need but also face the hurdle of funding issues.

"Participating in cryomodule assembly is an option, but how do we compensate industry for long periods of time?," said Fermilab’s Harry Carter. "One proposal is to conduct a design review and invite industry to go over the entire process and get their input." Industry members specifically pointed to the design of the 4 th generation cryomodule as an area in which they can provide input. "We need to get industry involved early in the design process in order to benefit from their experience," Carter said. "It will be less effective if industry is not involved until the design is done."

With the FY07 budget request, which would increase the U.S. ILC R&D budget to $60 million, the options for more industrial involvement are increasing. "We have a vigorous R&D program for next year and increased resources will allow us to expand the program and get started on technical R&D, which is more regional specific," said GDE Americas Regional Director Gerry Dugan, who manages the ILC R&D program in the U.S. "The requested resources for this program are bigger than what we have available though. We need to coordinate all of the R&D with other regions. The only way that the ILC is ever going to fly will be as a fully international project."

Ken Olsen
Ken Olsen, LCFOA President

With the formation of the Linear Collider Forum of Japan in 2002 and the Linear Collider Forum of Europe in 2005, similar industrial efforts for the ILC are underway around the globe. In fact, representatives from the Linear Collider Forum of Europe attended the LCFOA meeting at SLAC.

At the end of the two-day meeting, LCFOA President Ken Olsen together with the 15 members in the organisation compiled a list of action items. “We want to be involved in cost estimates, and we want to follow up on industry-lab collaboration,” said Tony Favale, president of Advanced Energy Systems in Medford, NY. Holding a one-day meeting at Jefferson Laboratory in Newport News, Virginia to provide an electropolishing crash-course for industry members is one idea that the LCFOA might pursue. “We are very encouraged by this meeting, especially because of the dialogue between industry representatives and the laboratories,” Favale said. “We have to keep the ball rolling.”

GDE Director Barry Barish concurred. "We need to continue this dialogue, and we all know that it is just the beginning."

-- Elizabeth Clements