MEXT’s Panel of Experts decides to create a new working group – Deliberations to start on research and operations structure of the ILC

The original article was published in the Iwate Nichinichi (February 2nd edition). Read the original here.

The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, Sports and Culture (MEXT)’s Panel of Experts for deliberations on the International Linear Collider (chief: Shinichi Hirano, honorary professor at Nagoya University) met on February 1st for their 6th meeting. The Panel decided to create a new internal working group* that would verify and deliberate on how to create the structure, management, and operations of an international research organization. They will start work in March.

*called the Working Group for the Verification of Methods of Structure and Management

There will 9 members in the working group, and this will be the 4th internal working group created by the Panel. In September 2013, the Science Council of Japan stated that one of the crucial challenges was determining what structure/mechanisms would be put in place in Japan for the ILC researchers, and what its operation and management should look like. The Panel had positioned this as a point of discussion but hadn’t yet held deeper deliberations on the topic. Therefore, the Council office suggested they conduct such deliberations from an expert’s point of view, with which the Panel agreed.

The new working group will deliberate on four topics, including:

▽Types of structures and management styles for an international research organization

▽Creating an environment surrounding the international research organization that will take into account its structure and management

▽Creating a domestic implementation structure should the international research organization be placed in Japan

The working group will deepen the discussion on what the international organization (leading the ILC) should look like, including how it will be established, related laws and ordinances, its powers/authority, and mechanisms for decision making.

Chief Hirano selected Shoken Miyama (specially-appointed professor within Hiroshima University’s President’s Office) as head of the working group. They plan to start their deliberations at their first meeting scheduled for next month.

There were also presentations on the current progress of the ILC project. KEK Director-General Masanori Yamauchi spoke about Japan-US joint research into reducing costs, and Sachio Komamiya, Director of the International Center for Particle Physics at the University of Tokyo, reported on the Linear Collider Workshop held in Morioka in December 2016.

Director Komamiya introduced the “staging” strategy talked about at LCWS, which would take an incremental approach in increasing the ILC’s capabilities. He said, “We can reduce construction costs to under 70% of the almost 1 trillion yen required by lowering the energy level of particle smashing experiments, and concentrating on precisely measuring of the Higgs particle.” He showed a draft of a more minimalist ILC that would reduce the 31 kilometer accelerator found in the base plan to a compact 20 kilometers. “During the LCWS, we confirmed that we would get international consensus on this line. We are thinking about reducing the costs by close to half, and suggesting the project as a Higgs factory. I feel like we’ve gotten closer to the realization of the ILC.”

There was also a comment from the panel that “even at half the cost, there are high hurdles in getting the people of Japan to understand and be satisfied with the project.”