22 May 2008
Common fund approved by FALC Resource Group
The ILC Global Design Effort (GDE) is made up primarily of in-kind R&D contributions done in the partner countries, mostly at the large laboratories that are developing the technologies and design towards a real ILC machine. Our primary mission in the GDE is to coordinate and guide this programme. This requires financial contributions by the countries who are involved in the project to support a central infrastructure, called the common fund. It was created by the Funding Agencies for Large Colliders (FALC) a couple of years ago, and is monitored and approved by their subcommittee, the FALC Resource Group, chaired by Richard Wade of STFC in the UK. Last week, at a FALC Resource Group meeting at CERN, we went through the annual process of reporting on the expenditures of the common fund and our accomplishments last year, as well as our proposed spending for the next year. The total common fund for this year of a little more than a million dollars was approved at this meeting.
From the outset, we proposed to create a "very light" central infrastructure to support the GDE. This avoided forming a large formal organisation for a project that has not received approval yet. In fact, the centralised support amounts to only a small percentage of the total worldwide resources being spent on ILC-related R&D. It is used primarily to support essential global infrastructure, including the GDE office that is responsible for the administration of the common fund for administration, travel, and project tool development. With the support of the common fund we published the Reference Design Report (RDR) and distributed it internationally to over 1500 collaborating authors and other interested people. It also proved to be invaluable in giving us resilience to the recent pull-back on R&D support by the UK and US.
A very important function of the common fund is to provide support for the project management team that was initiated in 2007. Although the three project managers' salaries are contributed in kind by their countries of origin, the activities of the project management office are supported by the common fund. The project managers are crucial for the project because they provide the central organising structure for most of our technical activities.
One early decision we made was to build a set of universally used ILC project tools for global ILC R&D and design. We have therefore implemented and are providing support for a set of tools for the global community supported through the common fund. Following a careful process of selecting the tools, we have implemented or adopted INDICO, Webex, ILCDoc and Team Center EDMS as our primary project tools. These are the basic tools for communicating and holding meetings, for archiving talks and notes, and are our basic engineering design tools. We are now in the process of adding common costing tools, which will also be supported through the common fund.
Finally, we have a very effective communications team who, like the project managers, receive their salaries locally, while the common fund supports the tools and pays for the communication materials, such as our website, brochures and other printed matter. One noteworthy accomplishment has been the creation of the RDR Companion Document Gateway to the Quantum Universe that tells the story of the ILC to a broad audience, as well as our ongoing weekly edition of ILC NewsLine.
-- Barry Barish