Director's Corner

New tasks for the International Development Team

| 17 August 2022

After its creation in August 2020 by the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), the ILC International Development Team (IDT) produced a proposal for the ILC Preparatory Laboratory (Pre-lab), organised the ILC Workshop on Potential Experiments and has been holding regular meetings of the working groups for the accelerator, and physics and detector. 

In the meantime, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) have expressed its position that it could not support the Pre-lab without having a prospect for the international contribution to the funding of the ILC itself. A recently released report by the MEXT Advisory Panel for the ILC also concluded that proceeding towards the Pre-lab would be premature given the status of the ILC project and the cost required.  On the other hand, the MEXT Advisory Panel recommended to continue R&D efforts on the accelerator and to revisit the roadmap of the ILC in the international context by taking the worldwide progress of the field into account.  

In the most recent ICFA meeting in March 2022, after extensive review of the situation, it was decided that ICFA commits to continuing efforts within the International Development Team (IDT) over the next year to coordinate the global research community’s activities toward further developing and realizing the ILC in Japan.  With this statement, the IDT’s work has entered a new phase, with two major tasks: 

The first task is setting up an “ILC Technology Network” to further advance ILC-related technology in selected areas towards engineering design and also for exploration of opportunities for other accelerator applications. The work programme was developed by IDT Working Group 2 based on the work packages described in the Pre-lab Proposal, focusing on technically critical items and time-consuming developments. The Network will be built upon collaboration agreements between KEK and interested laboratories worldwide. For this purpose, KEK is requesting a substantial increase of funding from MEXT starting in the Japanese Fiscal Year 2023 which will start in April. The IDT is now helping to set up the collaboration agreements by matching the deliverables of the work programme with the interests and expertise of laboratories worldwide. While the actual work will be executed in the framework of the collaboration agreements, the IDT will provide central coordination of the Network.

The second task is to help advance international discussion. The IDT finds that the lack of progress in achieving a prospect for international contribution to the ILC project is primarily due to differences among the potential partners in understanding on how a global project should proceed. It is worth noting that no large accelerator infrastructure built to date was a global project; that the ILC is the first one to aim to be a global project from the beginning. To address these different understandings, the IDT has formed an International Expert Panel composed of senior physicists from the worldwide particle physics community who have close connections to both government authorities and the community. As its first step, the Panel will discuss a complete process for a global accelerator project, applicable to the ILC and possibly to other future global accelerator infrastructure projects, and the Panel will share its conclusion with government authorities through extended meetings. Once a common understanding is reached on the process for establishing a global accelerator project, the Panel will proceed to discussion of adapting the process to the ILC. The IDT hopes that constructive intergovernmental discussion of the ILC will be triggered through this work. 

In addition, the work on ILC physics and detectors will continue to be supported through Working Group 3 by facilitating collaboration of laboratory and university groups sharing common interests. ICFA expects clear progress on the two tasks by spring next year and together with ILC-Japan and KEK, the IDT and the international community need to strive for carrying out this mission. There will be, yet again, another busy and exciting year ahead of us. 

Tatsuya Nakada

Tatsuya Nakada (EPFL) is the Chair of Executive Board in the ILC International Development Team.
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