Director's Corner

Final countdown to the decision-making process

| 27 June 2019

Artist image of the ILC image: Rey. Hori

Artist image of the ILC image: Rey. Hori

The decision-making process of hosting the International Linear Collider in Japan is now approaching a critical point. The Japanese government has decided that the ILC should be re-evaluated by the Science Council of Japan (SCJ), together with other big science projects, as part of its roadmap for the future. This evaluation, called the “Japanese Master Plan of Large Research Projects,” aims to show the direction of Japanese science.

The first Master Plan report was published in 2010,  with minor modifications in 2011. Since then, the SCJ has published its Master Plan every three years. The ILC was selected to be on the list in the 2010 and 2011 reports. However, for the 2014 and 2017 updates, the ILC was not included in the high-priority project list of the Master Plan because the ILC was being discussed in a special committee within the SCJ. On 7 March, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) expressed an interest in the ILC project, and suggested that the project should be discussed in the context of the Master Plan process as part of Japan’s proper process to make decisions on science policy.

The first step in this process is the creation of a list of projects for further evaluation, which should be completed by the end of July.  If the ILC is on this list, it will be a significant step forward. The selected proposals will proceed to the hearing process in September, and the final report will be published early next year.

In the meantime, preparations are underway for the next Linear Collider Workshop led by Hitoshi Yamamoto of Tohoku University, to be held in Sendai from 26 October to 1 November. As well as the usual scientific sessions, there will be an industrial session in the middle of the week with more than 70 attendees, stressing the strong support of industry for the ILC. A recent press conference in Sendai announcing the Workshop attracted a lot of attention and was covered in the Japanese national press.

On the physics front, further evaluation is underway on the performance of the ILC at the Z-pole and WW threshold, where the luminosity cannot beat the circular colliders but will nevertheless be considerably higher than achieved at LEP, with the additional possibility of beam polarisation. However, it should not be forgotten that the strong attraction of the ILC is its ability to go to high energy.

We now await the decision of the SCJ on the list of projects to be taken forward. We all keep our fingers crossed.

Lyn Evans

Lyn Evans (CERN) is the Linear Collider Director.
Recent Comments

Comments are closed.