6 July 2005
Early this morning, I participated in a teleconference of the FALC Resources Group. Today, I will share some information about that meeting and group, as well as my own personal thoughts on the importance of FALC.
So, what is FALC? FALC stands for "Funding Agencies for the Linear Collider." It is a group of representatives of funding agencies from countries involved in R&D for the ILC. It presents a forum for them to meet informally and discuss issues involved in funding this effort and in working together toward a new international project. FALC, which has been in existence for a couple of years, was initially chaired by Ian Halliday of PPARC until his recent retirement this past spring. Roberto Petronzio, President of INFN, has now taken over as head of FALC and will chair the group for the next three years. I will discuss FALC itself more in the future, perhaps at the time of their next meeting in November. Today, I want to discuss FALC's newly created subgroup, the FALC Resources Group.
In order for FALC to be more actively involved as the GDE and ILC develop over the next few years, they decided to create a subgroup, the FALC Resources Group, that will be able to keep more closely and frequently in touch with the rapid developments of the GDE and ILC R&D. They will in turn keep FALC informed, especially regarding resource issues. The Resources Group is chaired by Richard Wade, Chief Executive of PPARC; it held its first meeting last February 23 in London.
At that first meeting, the members discussed the role and functions of the FALC Resources Group. The group's purpose is to confirm the availability of funding, identify funding gaps and highlight areas or activities for future funding or further investment in ILC R&D. It will not make decisions about how funds should be used nationally, but will gather funding information and provide a mechanism to share it widely as background information. In time, the group will need to develop an understanding of how the present R&D activity can make the transition to a full ILC capital project. Finally, I should emphasize that a very important function of this group is to provide a forum for the different agencies to learn from each other about their different systems. This will clearly be very helpful in finding the best ways to work together on our ambitious international project.
The FALC Resources Group held its second meeting today, July 6. The main business on the agenda was a report by me, as GDE director, on the status of the GDE. I discussed the present status of staffing of the GDE, plans for Snowmass, and a specific question regarding the need for "common funds" for the GDE activity. Our present model is that the GDE/ILC activity will primarily be carried out through the traditional distribution of resources nationally and regionally, and that the GDE itself will require only resources to cover certain common activities not supported directly in the regions. Creating such a fund, in addition to filling our immediate need, will provide mechanisms to begin to develop shared international arrangements for the use of resources for the ILC. Various mechanisms for creating this common fund were discussed at today's meeting, but no decisions were made. This Resources Group will discuss this issue further at the next meeting, which will be held in conjunction with the ICFA workshop in Korea at the end of September.
As a final comment, let me emphasize how positive it is for the ILC that FALC exists and is working toward our common goals. Interactions with the funding agencies at such an early stage can only work strongly in our favour as the ILC evolves toward becoming a real project.