May 12, 2020

Big Science Virtual Workshop • 15 European countries represented

On 11 May 2020, 186 participants from 15 European countries connected to the Big Science Virtual Workshop. High-tech suppliers from all over Europe listened to representatives from three research facilities – CERN, ESS, and Fusion for Energy/ITER.

Some comments from the evaluation:

“Thank you for this very well-organised workshop. Even though the arrangement is ’virtual’, the Big Science Sweden team has arranged a high-quality event for us.”

“This new platform has exceeded my expectations. Good support if needed.”

“Presentations: Very informative and practical info.”

The virtual workshop not only gave information and new knowledge. At least as important was the unique opportunity to broaden networks by booking 1-to-1 meetings. The 186 participants booked a total of 227 meetings with representatives from research facilities and companies, or with representatives from universities, institutes and other organisations that also took part in the event. The comments were testimony to the quality of the meetings:

“Productive networking. Follow-up sessions to be organised.”

“Very interesting. I will contact them again to start some R&D.”

Anna Hall, Programme Director for Big Science Sweden, gave a welcoming address in which she stressed the importance of collaboration in the Big Science community.

Anna Hall, Programme Director for Big Science Sweden, gave a welcoming address in which she stressed the importance of collaboration in the Big Science community.

Anna Hall, Programme Director for Big Science Sweden:

“In 2023, when ESS starts to welcome researchers, although we are a small country, we will have two leading research facilities in operation, MAX IV and ESS. This is a paradigm shift for Sweden, and a new situation for us to be a significant player in the international Big Science community.”

The research facilities provided information on such issues as: What is happening right now? What are the needs of the research facilities, and what new procurements are in process or in the pipeline? Are there any new guidelines regarding the procurement process?

In his presentation, Anders Unnevik, procurement officer at CERN, emphasised the strength generated by being a supplier to the big research facilities:

“Submitting a tender in a procurement process often involves a lot of development and innovation work that raises the capacity levels of a company. The number of applications for patents is increasing, and in the long term a successful procurement also leads to financial strength and a prestigious reference.”

From ESS, procurement officer Mirko Meninga reported on upcoming procurements and about the new procurement rules that will make it easier for supplier companies to take part. Mirko also commented on the consequences of the current situation caused by the Corona pandemic. Despite virtually everybody working from home, the facility continues to operate without, so far, any significant disruption. And the same seems to apply for other research facilities.

Also speaking at today’s workshop were representatives from VDL Science Technology and Eurostars/EUREKA. Hans Priem from VDL described how they help to build consortiums, and emphasised the importance of building long-term sustainable networks and collaborating throughout the value chain.

Peter Lindberg, Vinnova, participated as representative from Eurostars/EUREKA, an inter-state network. Eurostars is a programme that works with industry-driven innovation projects, and is aimed at industrial enterprises in the EU that are interested in Big Science technology. Peter Lindberg talked about how they work to facilitate international collaboration.

 

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