Participants to the ARIES 1st Annual Meeting met at RTU in Riga (Image: CERN)

From the 22nd to 25th of May, 2018, 112 participants joined the first Annual Meeting of the ARIES project hosted by Riga Technical University (RTU) in Riga, Latvia. 41 Beneficiaries from 18 EU Countries were represented to celebrate the first year of the project, which coincided with the 100 years of the creation of the State of Latvia at the end of World War I.

Professor Tālis Juhna, as Vice-Rector for Research at RTU, welcomed the participants and expressed his happiness to see the first Annual Meeting taking place in Riga, the first gathering of this kind for the project, after the Kick-Off held at CERN in 2017. He noted that, from the Project’s Governing Board he attended just before the opening session, more milestones than scheduled had already been reached, setting a promising pace for ARIES. He also touched upon the added-value for RTU to be part of the ARIES cooperation and the expertise that RTU, as an engineering powerhouse, can bring to the project and beyond.

Professor Toms Torims, Director of RTU Center of High Energy Physics and Accelerator Technologies, took the floor and shared, in an emotional stance: “It is difficult to talk when your dreams come true. Thank you for being here and for celebrating, beyond science, the 100 years of Latvia. If you like Latvia, we will like you!” Latvia is actively promoting the opportunities offered by its ecosystem to create great value for investments, in particular in the field of Research and Innovation (R&I). It took on board the challenge to position itself at a cross-road, in order to link its activities with major European R&I powerhouses.

Maurizio Vretenar, as ARIES Project Coordinator, welcomed the participants as well, and thanked RTU for hosting the event. He placed this Annual Meeting under the auspices of science, inviting all the attendees to focus on delivering value beyond generating deliverables. He reminded the audience of the level of ambition of the project:

  • 4 Pillars: Excellence, Access, Innovation and Sustainability
  • 18 Work Packages
  • 8 Networks
  • 5 Transnational Access facilities
  • 5 Joint Research Activities

2018 is an important year for particle physics as the deadline for the Call for input to the European Strategy Update is set for December. “This represents a great opportunity for creativity and vision development for particle accelerator science,” says Maurizio. “And ARIES has a particular role to play in exploring new ideas, besides the major programmes of FCC, ILC and CLIC. We can do it through disruptive thinking more than just extrapolation.” This is also why part of the programme was dedicated to novel ideas such as the gamma factory, the muon collider and innovative colliders based on laser and plasma technologies.

Already in EuCARD-2, a strong focus was put on accelerators’ applications. This is at the heart of ARIES, with initiatives such as the workshop on co-innovation held with industry in February 2018, to find new ways to work closer together. A Proof of Concept Fund is also available for small projects, in order to test the commercial viability of a research concept. 10 very good proposals were received and the evaluation process was just completed with the selection of four extremely promising innovative ideas. Read more about the winners of the ARIES Proof-of-Concept fund...

The project has gained visibility with the ARIES presentation video posted in February 2018, reaching more than 10 000 views on social media.

A tribute was also paid to Professor Enzo Palmieri of INFN Legnaro, who passed away this year and whose contributions were recognised by the community.

The Project Coordinator closed his introductory speech by highlighting that the most frequent word in the ARIES Description of Work is the verb WILL. And before the Annual Meeting went on with presentations from the Work Packages engaging the community all together, he invited the participants to reflect on how their work will open to the future of accelerators.