"We will help industry build new products"
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.