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CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research

CERN was established in 1953 and, according to the Convention signed by the Founding Members, the main objective of this scientific organization was the "promotion of and collaboration between European Countries in fundamental research in the field of High Energy Physics (HEAF) in order to enable Europe to take the lead in this field. Since then, CERN has been the world's largest particle physics laboratory, located in northwestern Geneva on the French-Swiss border.

CERN is funded by twenty-three Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Cyprus and Slovenia are Associate Member States in the pre-accession stage. Also Croatia, India, Lithuania, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine have Associate Member State status.

In addition, six international organizations and countries have observer status on the CERN Board: the European Union, UNESCO, JINR, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Today, it is the daily workplace for approximately 2,500 full-time employees of various cultures and nationalities, plus 12,200 visiting scientists and engineers from around the world.

At CERN, the largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to create the necessary conditions for the detection and study of the basic constituents of matter and antimatter, which will enable the demonstration of the fundamental theories of particle physics, and the discovery of the elementary principles of the creation of the world as we know it. To generate these conditions, CERN has built and operates a number of particle accelerators, including the world's largest particle accelerator, the LHC. The LHC accelerates 2 beams of particles at high energies, which will collide at 4 points inside the accelerator, where colossal-sized particle detectors are installed to record the results of these collisions. From materials science to information technology, from superconductivity to precision geodesy, particle physics demands extreme levels of quality, making CERN an important test bed for various fields of technological innovation.

Portuguese Participation

Portugal's membership in CERN was signed in 1985, beginning on January 1, 1986. As a Member State, Portugal contributes annually to the annual operating costs of the infrastructure (about 1% of the organization's global budget).

During the negotiations for the accession of Portugal, an Administrative Protocol was drawn up which regulates the support of the Portuguese authorities for the development of the SAF and similar areas, namely through the funding of research projects managed by the FCT. The scientific benefit of national participation, taking into account the participation of the national FAE scientific community in CERN activities, is considered excellent. This scientific benefit includes the possibility of access of Portuguese teams to participate in the experiments developed at CERN. In 2018, around 106 researchers were participating in some of CERN's experiments or research programs, such as CMS and ATLAS, installed at the LHC. The researchers in Portugal connected to CERN form teams in the field of particle physics and nuclear physics, and represent various entities at a national level (the Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics - LIP, the Nuclear and Technological Institute and universities such as Aveiro, Coimbra, Lisbon and Porto, among others). The participation of these national teams in the various CERN experiments has generated hundreds of international publications, presentations at international and national conferences, and several MSc and PhD theses. Approximately 58 other Portuguese (with backgrounds in various areas, such as electronic engineering, electrical engineering, materials and chemistry, among others) have permanent employment contracts in technical departments of the organization.