EIB lends EUR 300 million for CERN's major collider

January 9, 2003

Luxembourg, 08 Jan 2003

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 300 million to finance the final phase of construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The EIB loan will also help to finance the instrumentation to record and analyse the high-energy particle collisions at the LHC. A loan to enable construction of this major project was foreseen by CERN's governing Council when it approved the LHC in 1996.

The EIB, the European Union's long term financing institution, is supporting the project as it promotes EU policies for European Research & Development (R&D) and the dissemination of innovation. The EIB, as the EU's policy driven bank, is committed to supporting European R&D with innovative financing. Recently, the EIB widened its scope for R&D financing to include large research infrastructure projects such as the CERN LHC project. In conjunction with the European Commission, the EIB is ready to finance the development of EU Advanced Technological Research and to implement the Sixth Research Framework Programme on R&D, which was launched last month in Brussels. The European Commission is in charge of implementing this EUR 17.5 billion Programme.

CERN's Large Hadron Collider provides physicists with an unrivalled high-tech tool to study fundamental physics. It will enable the European Union to maintain its leading role in fundamental research in the field of particle physics. Although its raison d'être is essentially scientific, there are also important knock-on benefits for European high-tech industries. With the largest set of interconnected accelerators in the world, CERN is contributing to the "knowledge society" by providing a competitive working environment for direct research and the training of hundreds of top scientists and engineers each year.

CERN, the world's leading particle physics research laboratory, is an international organization founded in 1954 by 12 European countries. It is a non-profit-making institution dedicated purely to fundamental research. In CERN today, 20 European states collaborate together with its observers (including Japan, the USA, the Russian Federation, Israel, UNESCO and the European Commission) as well as with numerous scientific institutions and industries worldwide in research into the fundamental laws of nature.

Mr Philippe Maystadt, EIB president, said: "With this loan, the EIB is helping to build a unique European research programme that is crucial to ensuring that Europe keeps the lead in fundamental and particle physics research. CERN provides the means to exploit new ideas and discoveries leading to important new applications. The added value of EIB's support for the CERN project fits into the long term involvement of the Bank to mobilise collaborative funding streams in support of scientific excellence and international research cooperation."

Prof. Luciano Maiani, Director General of CERN said: "The LHC is an extremely advanced facility that will keep Europe at the forefront of Particle Physics in the decades to come. It will produce new knowledge and is already stimulating important developments in technology transfer. The loan from the EIB underlines the European Union's confidence in CERN, and is a powerful endorsement of Europe's commitment to fundamental research at the highest level. "

European Research Commissioner Mr Philippe Busquin said: "I welcome this initiative. The research institution the EU is helping, contributes to Europe's efforts to become a world-class leader in research and particle physics research. This funding method helps us to maintain this position, whilst at the same time providing valuable lessons in other fields. European science policy needs to go beyond the Framework Programme to successfully and efficiently mobilise various financial resources for science and technology."

For further information, please contact the CERN Press Office (Dr Christine Sutton, tel.: + 41 22 767 4101, E-mail: Christine.Sutton@cern.ch)

EIB's Information and Communications Department (EIB Brussels: Mr Léon Vivier, tel. + 322 235 0070, E-mail: l.vivier@eib.org

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