International group of experts presents final report on the FAIR project
The shareholders of FAIR GmbH had decided in 2015 to have the project re-evaluated in the spring of 2019. The international committee of experts charged of the evaluation has now presented its final report to the shareholders of FAIR GmbH. In addition to scientific and technical aspects, the experts also analyzed the currently foreseeable increase in the cost of the project as well as time delays and in-kind services provided by international partners and other risks.
The team of high-level external experts was headed by the British physicist Lyndon Evans, who is an expert in the field of particle accelerators and was the project leader for the construction of the large particle accelerator LHC at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The committee, which consisted of particle accelerator experts, scientists, and construction project managers, has been assessing the project since November 2018 by means of accurate detail work, partly in subgroups focusing on specific aspects.
The report of the committee of experts has confirmed that the scientific program of FAIR is outstanding at the global level. The group of experts rated the FAIR project as a top international science project for decades, offering world class opportunities and outstanding potential for groundbreaking discoveries.
The experts’ report attests the effective and efficient organizational structures and processes of the project and the campus which have been established and implemented by the management over the recent years. The committee of experts is convinced of the reliable management and the successful realization of FAIR.
The report also includes an assessment of additional costs which confirm the estimates provided by the Management. According to this, the cost estimates are around € 850 million (equivalent to € 530 million based on price level of 2005) higher than planned for in 2015 if the project is to be fully realized. With € 550 million, a large part of the additional costs is attributable to civil construction, with the experts seeing cost drivers in the currently strong civil construction market. For the accelerator components, a working group of the FAIR Council has identified an additional requirement of € 215 million. Another € 85 million will be needed for personnel and administrative costs of FAIR GmbH by 2025. In addition, the experts concluded that it would be wise to foresee a contingency of at least 10% for the total construction cost.
The experts also confirm that first cutting-edge experiments can be performed at the novel FAIR facility before the end of 2025.
The shareholders have agreed at their latest meeting that until the next Council meeting in July they will set in motion a political decision on how to handle the additional requirements necessary to realize FAIR in its scientific uniqueness.
At their recent meeting, the shareholders expressed the wish to make a political decision at the next Council meeting (General Assembly) in July. The shareholders in the nine partner countries are now invited to discuss with their governments the further steps of the FAIR project and to decide how FAIR will be implemented. (FAIR news kindly hosted by GSI)