Director's Corner

Decision to host: the ILC chicken or egg story

| 29 September 2023

As an organisation set up by the International Committees for Future Accelerator (ICFA), the International Development Team (IDT) makes a regular status report at the ICFA meeting, taking place twice a year. The last report was given at the ICFA meeting in Melbourne, Australia, on 17 July. The meeting was held at the University of Melbourne in hybrid mode. The IDT laid the focus of the report on the ILC Technology Network (ITN), which was jointly launched by KEK and IDT, and the International Expert Committee (IEP), a subcommittee of IDT. It also mentioned the IDT’s role in facilitating the community activities in physics and detectors for the ILC as well as for Higgs factories in general.   

For the ILC Technology Network (ITN), the outline of the framework document endorsed by the KEK Board of Directors was presented. The network is based on agreements between KEK and laboratories worldwide, and has a role as an independent body to execute technical development identified as time critical by the IDT Working Group 2. ICFA also learned that CERN and KEK recently signed an agreement for the participation of CERN to ITN. CERN is the first laboratory to join ITN and is expected to play a coordination role for the European ITN activities facilitating the exchange of resources between KEK and participating laboratories in Europe.  

The International Expert Panel (IEP) presented its analysis on the current situation of the ILC project implementation. While the Technical Design Report was completed and ILC is ready to start development work to prepare for engineering studies on the technical side, the proposal of the Japanese High Energy Physics community to host ILC in Japan as a global project has made less progress. International partners have been waiting for the Japanese government to express its interest to host ILC and invite them for discussion to join the project. The Japanese government, on the other hand, considers it premature to make such a move. One of the reasons for this is not having a clear prospect for international contribution. The panel concludes that it is the lack of discussion among government authorities on how to proceed toward the realisation of the ILC, in parallel with the technical work, that caused this situation: i.e., the Japanese government considers ILC as a global project where all the decisions, including for the host and site, should be made through discussion among the partner countries, while the foreign partners think that Japan needs to move first. To make progress, the concept of ILC as a global project should be commonly understood, the panel says. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that a leadership role is also required, even for a global project. The panel reports that would seek ways to address those points with the relevant bodies. 

It is worth noting that a global project requires global coordination, where ICFA should continue to play an important initiating role. 

Tatsuya Nakada

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