The new 3.69M€ EuPRAXIA Preparatory Phase project started with a kick-off meeting on 24/25 November 2022 in Frascati, near Rome, that brought together 115 representatives from all 34 participating institutes, from Italy, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA and CERN as International Organization.
EuPRAXIA-PP is a project designed to develop the organizational, legal, financial and technological aspects of the EuPRAXIA facility –an innovative laser- and electron-beam-driven plasma wakefield accelerator– following the recommendations of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).
This Preparatory Phase project will give the consortium a unique chance to prepare over the next four years the full implementation and realisation of EuPRAXIA as a new, distributed ESFRI Research Infrastructure for Europe.
The meeting was hosted by Massimo Ferrario and Ralph Assmann, who coordinates the network at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics – INFN in Frascati. Fabio Bossi, director of Laboratorio Nazionale di Frascati (LNF) welcomed the participants, giving an overview of the LNF facilities and their role in the EuPRAXIA project. All work package leaders had the opportunity to introduce and discuss the plans for their respective areas of responsibility, from the organizational to the technical tasks, finalizing with a round-table discussion.
On the following day, the management team explained the administrative aspects of the project; Carsten Welsch and Massimo Ferrario presented the EuPRAXIA Doctoral Network and the EuPRAXIA Advanced Photon Sources respectively, and the first meetings of the EuPRAXIA-PP and EuPRAXIA-ESFRI Collaboration Boards took place.
The participants were offered a tour of SPARC_LAB and the EuPRAXIA@SPARC_LAB site, which will host the beam-driven accelerator of EuPRAXIA.
The kick-off meeting was a testament to the growing international interest in plasma accelerators in general and EuPRAXIA in particular, as the world-first facility implementing this technology. The EuPRAXIA project started with a Design Study, which was funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, and culminated at the end of 2019 with the publication of the Conceptual Design Report.
The coordinator of the EuPRAXIA consortium, Dr Ralph Assmann, says: “This additional success for our accelerator field has been achieved thanks to the excellence, ingenuity and hard work of several hundreds of physicists, engineers, students and support staff, who worked on EuPRAXIA since 2015, connecting 50 institutes and industries from 15 countries in Europe, Asia and the United States.”