"We will help in­dus­try build new prod­ucts"

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE - For full in­ter­view, log on to www.down­toearth.org.in

About five years ago, CERN open ed­its mem­ber­ship to non-Euro­pean coun­tries. This May, In­dia too be­gan the process of be­com­ing an as­so­ciate mem­ber. R DIGER VOSS, head of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, talks about the emerg­ing part­ner­ship Why is In­dia's ap­pli­ca­tion to be­come an as­so­ciate mem­ber of CERN sig­nif­i­cant? We are a Euro­pean re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion and be­gan tak­ing in as­so­ciate mem­bers very re­cently. We per­ceive In­dia as a nat­u­ral can­di­date for part­ner­ship as we have had a long-stand­ing tra­di­tion of sci­en­tific col­lab­o­ra­tion with the coun­try. A to­tal of 13 in­sti­tutes from In­dia are par­tic­i­pat­ing in var­i­ous projects at CERN. We have 180 vis­it­ing re­searchers and sci­en­tists from In­dia and this num­ber is sec­ond high­est in Asia, next only to Ja­pan. In­dia even con­trib­uted in the con­struc­tion of our flag­ship pro­ject, the Large Hadron Col­lider (LHC), which is the world's most pow­er­ful par­ti­cle ac­cel­er­a­tor, and pro­vided in­dige­nous tech­nolo­gies and tech­ni­cal sup­port. How will In­dia ben­e­fit by be­com­ing an as­so­ciate mem­ber? As a mem­ber, sci­en­tists from In­dia would be el­i­gi­ble to take up full-time po­si­tions at CERN. Stu­dents would be el­i­gi­ble for post­doc­toral po­si­tions and fel­low­ship pro­grammes. In­di­ans would also be el­i­gi­ble for non­sci­en­tific and ad­min­is­tra­tive jobs. The big­gest ben­e­fit would be for the In­dian in­dus­try. About 50 per cent of our bud­get is spent on pro­cure­ment of goods and ser­vices. Our or­ders come with built-in tech­nol­ogy trans­fer, which helps the in­dus­try build new prod­ucts and de­velop new knowhow. We find for each Swiss franc we spend, the in­dus­try can make as much as three Swiss francs on an av­er­age.

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