On January 25 President of the Republic of Lithuania J.E Dalia Grybauskaitė attended the World Economic Forum, where she met with dr. Fabiola Gianotti, Director General of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). During the meeting it was announced that Lithuania is going to host two CERN business incubation centers: one in Vilnius and another – in Kaunas.
Cooperation between CERN and Lithuania, counting already a quarter of the century was facilitated on January, 2018, when Lithuania became associate member state of CERN and set new goals of establishing business incubators. It is planned that an agreement on this will be signed in February. This would make Lithuania the eleventh country hosting CERN‘s business incubator, herewith integrating into the CERN‘s network of knowledge and technology transfer and fostering the commercialization of research.
Vilnius University researchers first involvement in CERN activities started in 1994, when prof. Juozas Vidmantis Vaitkus‘ team joined prof. Kenway Smith‘s (a spokesperson of RD8) team at the Glasgow university (Scotland) to investigate radiation induced defects in GaAs. The collaboration continues in CERN RD50 program ,,Radiation hard semiconductor devices for very high luminosity colliders“. VU participation in CERN expanded, when Lithuania took part in the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment, where the researchers in theoretical physics (dr. A.Juodagalvis‘ team) and the researchers in computer science (prof. A.Juozapavičius‘ team) joined it. The EU projects coordinated by CERN - AIDA and AIDA2020 were also implemented together with prof. E.Gaubas‘, G.Tamulaitis‘ and J.Vaitkus‘ teams. While Lithuania was aiming to become an associate member state of CERN, Experimental nuclear and particle physics center was founded in the Faculty of Physics of Vilnius University. This allowed the development of high energy physics in Lithuania. The main activities of this Center consists, but are not limited to the raising of public awareness for fundamental physics, coordination of research activities in the research fields relevant to CERN, involvement of the researchers at Vilnius University into the programmes and experiments conducted at CERN, organization of teaching and training of students and young researchers in particle physics, particle detector techniques, data processing and related fields. At present there are eight teams of researchers participating in the activities of this Center: they are from the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy and the Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnology at the Faculty of Physics, as well as the Institute of Computer Science at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics.
In January, 2018 Lithuania, the first from the Baltic States, became the associate member state of CERN. Therefore the researchers from Vilnius University Faculty of Physics - prof. Jūras Banys, prof. Leonas Valkūnas ir dr. Andrius Juodagalvis joined one of the CERN‘s governing body - the CERN Council. Hereby the opportunity to contribute to the formation of the CERN‘s strategy on elementary particle physics opened up. At the same time possibilities for the development of Lithuania‘s industry, including supply of goods and services to CERN, emerge .
CERN business incubators established in Vilnius and Kaunas will be the only ones in the Central and Eastern Europe with the potential to impact the development of science and business activities in this region.