I've blogged before about the International Linear Collider (ILC), a 'quantum searchlight' needed to answer fundamental questions about the universe likely to be posed by results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Oxford is a key partner in the ILC and its involvement has been threatened by the STFC budget shortfall that has led to the withdrawal of UK funding.
It's nice to finally report some good news: the European Commission has given the green light for a 5m Euro contract to develop the technology and resources needed to construct the ILC.
We should care because, as the ILC website tells us, 'The ILC is our searchlight to illuminate the unknown. We know about some of the things we are looking for: dark matter, the Higgs boson, extra dimensions, and superparticles. And we know where to direct the searchlight to find them - and possibly discover things along the way that we didn't expect. Up until now, our searchlights have not reached far enough. By building the ILC we will have one that does.'
'The collaboration that has already been in place for many years has received a major boost,' commented Oxford's Brian Foster, European Regional Director for the ILC's Global Design Effort. 'With the funding from the European Commission we can secure a leading role for Europe in the technology development for this exciting new project.'
Let's hope Brian and his Oxford colleagues can keep the flag flying for UK particle physics.