Multimillion pound accelerator research network launched


The University of Liverpool is co-ordinating a multimillion pound international research network and is looking for the “best scientists and engineers available”, to fill 22 early-stage researcher posts.

Professor Carsten P Welsch, from the Department of Physics and affiliated Cockcroft Institute, has won a £5m EU grant to further research into the Optimisation of Particle Accelerators (oPAC).

oPAC brings together 22 institutions from across the world, including CERN in Switzerland, the University of Seville and France’s Soleil synchrotron light facility, alongside a large number of industry partners, to investigate particle beam dynamics, accelerator instrumentation and numerical simulation tools, to improve the performance of present and future accelerators.

Professor Welsch said: “Essentially the project will cover any accelerator, from those used in medical facilities to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. It would serve even small handheld devices, for example those used to determine the age of historical artefacts. Anything that uses an accelerator, this network will look to optimise that performance.”

The project is intrinsically linked with industry and will involve partners throughout the four year process, to ensure the results delivered have practical uses.

Professor Welsch said: “If we optimise performance in a medical sphere it will benefit both patients and clinicians through improved treatment. Fundamental scientists doing research will be able to maximise their experimental output, which will also benefit industry. Some users like to have the smallest possible beam size for their work whereas others prefer broader beams. There are various degrees of optimisation possible. We will try to bring all these users in to collaborate more closely.”

The link with industry will also form a crucial part of the selection process for the 22 early stage researchers, three of whom will be based at the University with the rest spread across Europe.

Professor Welsch said: “We want the best scientists and engineers available. We will provide them with very good conditions, excellent facilities and an intensive training package, delivered by both their host institution and the network as a whole. We want to enable them to have a fantastic career afterwards so we really need to make sure they have many international links and get experience of working in different environments. They will be given a lot and for that, we expect the best possible background.”

oPAC officially launched at the University this month and the application period for early-stage researchers is open until 9 March.


Professor Carsten P Welsch (fourth from right) launches the oPAC network

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