Author:
Maximilien Brice

Estonia’s full CERN membership expands University of Tartu’s research collaboration opportunities

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has admitted Estonia as its full member. For the University of Tartu, this means expanding its existing research, education and business collaboration opportunities. 

Full membership of CERN will bring Estonia voting rights on the CERN Council, Finance Committee, and Scientific Policy Committee. Participation in the Council gives Estonia the scope to have a say in CERN’s decision-making processes and governance, including in planning new scientific programmes and experiments. 


Estonia’s representative on the CERN Scientific Policy Committee, Professor of Materials Technology at the University of Tartu Institute of Technology Veronika Zadin, said that the participation of Estonian researchers, students and companies in the collaboration offers an excellent opportunity for knowledge transfer and innovation. “For example, work on the proposed new particle accelerator – the Future Circular Collider – will start at CERN in the 2040s, according to current plans. Many solutions inevitable for the accelerator to work, such as new superconducting magnets, detectors, robotic solutions or data processing technologies, do not exist yet. Our scientists and companies can play a part in developing all this. These are long-term processes – full membership of CERN gives us a strategic vision and a guarantee for all these efforts,” Zadin explained. 

Many solutions inevitable for the accelerator to work, such as new superconducting magnets, detectors, robotic solutions or data processing technologies, do not exist yet. Our scientists and companies can play a part in developing all this. 

Veronika Zadin

Heikki Junninen, Professor in Environmental Physics and head of the working group at the University of Tartu Institute of Physics that is involved in the CLOUD atmospheric and climate experiment at CERN said that one advantage of the full membership is the increased stability in public funding for research cooperation with CERN. “Ensuring a sustainable funding model is one of the conditions for the full membership,” he explained. 


For Estonian companies, full membership means the possibility to participate in international industrial procurement procedures without former limits, which allowed them to provide services and products to CERN only within the amount of the annual membership fee. The limits will also be removed now for Estonian citizens applying for jobs and traineeship placements. 


While CERN’s main focus is experimental particle physics, the organisation’s research and development activities are linked to a wide range of other fields, such as materials science, development of distributed computing systems and information technology, environmental research and health technology. 


CERN membership has been one of the objectives of the Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap. Estonia has been an associated member of CERN since 2021. The university has previously signed Memoranda of Understanding with CERN to collaborate on CLOUD, the Future Circular Collider, and to participate in CCC and CLIC experiments. Last year, a CERN summer school was held in Tartu. Estonia’s full member status will enter into force after CERN’s decision has been officially approved by the Estonian government and the Riigikogu.  

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