Switzerland: CHF 250m credit facility for the High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC) – CERN – Geneva
19 September 2016
With fostering innovation to support research of scientific excellence and innovation as one of its top priorities, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has decided to provide a CHF 250m credit facility for the High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC) which is the CERN’s central project for the decade. This is the second EIB financing with CERN, following the successful loan (300 M€) signed in 2002 to finance the building of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
This new EIB operation falls under InnovFin Large Projects, a financial product developed under Horizon 2020, the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The finance contract was signed on Monday 19 September 2016 in Geneva by Fabiola Gianotti, Director General of CERN and Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President responsible for innovation, in the presence of his Excellency M. Peter Sørensen, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva.
This large-scale financing will provide an important share of the resources required to implement the upgrade of the LHC, enabling the exploitation of the facility’s full capacity, and opening new scientific possibilities in the new high-energy frontier explored by the LHC since 2009 and attracting a global user-community of more than 7,000 scientists. The HL-LHC project aims to crank up the performance of the LHC in order to increase the potential for discoveries after 2025. It will provide more accurate measurements of fundamental particles and enable observation of rare processes that occur below the current sensitivity level. The objective is to increase the integrated luminosity by a factor of 10 beyond the LHC’s design value.
The High-Luminosity LHC project was announced as the top priority of the European Strategy for Particle Physics in 2013 and its funding is enshrined in CERN’s Medium-Term Plan.
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "This loan under Horizon 2020, the EU's research funding programme, will help keep CERN and Europe at the forefront of particle physics research. It's an example of how EU funding helps extend frontiers of human knowledge."
“The EIB is very proud to finance such prestigious project in its pioneering scientific role and international influence. This new financing confirms our commitment to research and innovation which are in the top priorities of the European Union's bank commented the Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle during the signing ceremony. Thanks to the Large Hadron Collider, Europe has regained world leadership in High Energy Physics, a key sector of knowledge and technology. And with the project, it will remain the most powerful accelerator in the world for at least the next two decades.”
The project has been approved by the CERN’s Council of Member States in the Medium Term Plan for the period 2016-2020. It is part of the European Strategic Forum of Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), and as such a Strategic Research Infrastructure under the “Excellent Science” programme of Europe’s Horizon 2020. It realization will involve some 2 600 person years from 2015 until 2026.
The EIB loan is in line with the Horizon 2020 initiative and in particular the "InnovFin - EU Finance for Innovators" programme which provides customised products for financing the research and innovation (R&I) projects of small, medium-sized and large enterprises and promoters of research infrastructure.
General information on InnovFin financial products
Under Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Over the next seven years, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will offer a range of tailored products which will make available more than EUR 24bn of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and promoters of research infrastructure. Overall, this finance is expected to mobilise up to EUR 48bn of investment in research and innovation.
Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products will be used to support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries.
InnovFin Large Projects aims to improve access to risk finance for R&I projects emanating from larger firms, universities and public research organisations, R&I infrastructure (including innovation-enabling infrastructure), public-private partnerships, and special-purpose vehicles or projects (including those promoting first-of-a-kind, commercial-scale industrial demonstration projects). Loans and guarantees from EUR 25m to EUR 300m will be provided directly by the EIB.
The EIB has signed a EUR 50m loan with Ferrer, a Spanish pharmaceutical company, aimed at supporting its research activities. The EIB loan to Ferrer will finance the company’s research activities in the fields of inflammatory diseases, diagnostics, orphan diseases, biotherapeutics and development in cardiovascular, respiratory and other therapeutic areas such as central nervous systems.