ISLAMABAD: The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, has formally conferred its associate membership on Pakistan, following the completion of required internal ratification process by it.
Pakistan has thus become the first member of the CERN among Asian countries, said a press statement issued by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) on Friday.
The associate membership will open a new era of cooperation that will strengthen the long-term partnership between CERN and the Pakistani scientific community. It will allow Pakistan to participate in the governance of CERN, through attending the meetings of the CERN Council.
The membership will also allow Pakistani scientists to become members of the CERN staff and to participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes.
It will also allow Pakistani industry to bid for CERN contracts, thus opening up opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advance technology. Cooperation between Pakistan and CERN rooted back to signing of a cooperation agreement in 1994.
The signature of several protocols followed this agreement and Pakistan contributed to building the CMS and ATLAS experiments. Pakistan today contributes to the ALIC and CMS experiments.
It is also involved in accelerator development, making it an important partner to CERN. After Pakistan sought membership back in 2013, CERN had sent its Task Force to evaluate Pakistan’s science and technology base and industrial capabilities in early 2014.
The Task Force was mandated to evaluate membership application on three fronts: existence of solid basis in elementary particle physics, sufficiently developed industries and the will of national authority to support basic research.
The CERN task force on all three accounts concluded that Pakistan fulfills the criteria and on September 18, 2014 CERN Council in its meeting had unanimously approved the application of Pakistan.
An agreement to this end was signed between the Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission on behalf of Government of Pakistan in the presence of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Director General, CERN Dr Rolf Heuer during the latter’s visit to Pakistan in December last year, subject to ratification by the government.
Pakistan informed the CERN Council through diplomatic channel that it had completed the internal ratification process required for the purpose which resulted in official announcement of Associate Membership for Pakistan by the CERN on its website.