Representatives of CERN and the Republic of Latvia gathered in a virtual ceremony today to sign an Agreement admitting Latvia into the Organization as an Associate Member State. The Associate Membership will enter into force once CERN has been informed that all the necessary accession and ratification processes have been completed by Latvia. Latvia is the third of the Baltic States to join the CERN family after agreements were signed with Lithuania and Estonia in recent years.
“We are delighted to welcome Latvia as a new Associate Member State,” said Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director-General, at the signing ceremony. “The present Agreement contributes to strengthening the ties between CERN and Latvia, thereby offering opportunities for the further growth of particle physics in Latvia through partnership in research, technological development and education.”
“As we become CERN’s newest Associate Member State, we look forward to enhancing our contribution to the Organization’s major scientific endeavours, as well as to investing the unparalleled scientific and technological excellence gained by this membership in further building the economy and well-being of our societies,” said Krišjānis Kariņš, Latvia’s Prime Minister. “Over the last years, the Latvian scientific community has already participated in various CERN projects, and now the status of CERN Associate Member State will allow us to cooperate closer on advancing the scientific excellence of Europe.”
Latvia became involved in CERN activities in the early 1990s and has participated, through its leading research institutions, in activities spanning accelerator and detector technology, power electronics, robotics, data processing and other domains. In 1996, this involvement led to a contribution, through the country’s Institute of Electronics and Computer Science, to the Hadron Calorimeter of the CMS detector, one of the four main experiments at CERN’s flagship accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
A series of agreements in the 2010s, including a Framework Collaboration Agreement in 2012 and a Cooperation Agreement in 2016, intensified and formalised the relations between CERN and Latvia. Riga Technical University (RTU) joined the study group for the Future Circular Collider in 2015 and a consortium of the University of Latvia and RTU then joined the CMS collaboration in 2017. This framework also provided opportunities for Latvian researchers to participate in CERN’s activities through PhD theses and project associateships.
As an Associate Member State, Latvia will be entitled to appoint representatives to attend meetings of the CERN Council and Finance Committee. Its nationals will be eligible for limited-duration staff positions and fellowships, and its industry will be entitled to bid for CERN contracts, increasing opportunities for industrial collaboration in advanced technologies.