Published: Fri, 20 December 2013
Ireland’s science and research sector would benefit enormously from membership of the European particle physics centre at CERN, according to Sean Kelly, MEP of the Year for Research & Innovation.
“From speaking to many scientists and academics this year, it is clear that Ireland is missing out on opportunities to lead R&D projects because it is not yet a member of CERN.
“Membership would bring financial benefits in terms of more research projects, employment opportunities, give a boost to science education and the promotion of Irish research bodies,” Mr Kelly said.
The Institute of Physics in Ireland has previously stated that the physics based industry has a value to the Irish economy of – €15 billion annually (2008 report). Particle physics is an essential element of the discipline and CERN is by far the world’s leading laboratory in this area. Without membership, Ireland is unable to participate in the most fundamental and far-reaching aspects of research physics with its attendant benefits of spin-off industrial outcomes according to the institute.
“Importantly, CERN membership leads to valuable research contracts. Some leading scientists estimate that Ireland could win a share of the €500 million a year in contracts that CERN gives to industry,” Mr Kelly said.
“It is vital that Ireland is at the forefront of research and innovation as we look towards the future and increase employment prospects.”
CERN made global news last year when the Large Hadron Collider at CERN discovered the elusive Higgs Boson particle.
“If I had my Christmas wish for Ireland this year – it would be that our country joins CERN in 2014,” the MEP added.