New priority directions of RSA-JINR cooperation

News, 18 November 2014

A regular session of the Joint Coordination Committee on RSA-JINR cooperation was held on 13-14 November 2014 in Cape Town (RSA) in the National cyclotron laboratory iThemba. A JINR delegation was headed by JINR Chief Scientific Secretary N.A. Russakovich; Coordinator of RSA-JINR cooperation D.V. Kamanin, FLNP Director V.N. Shvetsov, UC Director S.Z. Pakulyak, ICD member A.A. Kotova participated in the work of the session. A delegation of the RSA was headed by Deputy Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology Thomas Auf der Heyde.

One of the features of this session of the Committee was a standing video conference with Dubna. UC Director attended for the whole time the committee’s work on the video screen together with S. Mullins who is one of experts who coordinate the cooperation in the fields of heavy ion physics, and who participate these days in the FLNR experiment in the frames of the joint project “Spectroscopy of super heavy elements”. Usually RSA experts attend the Committee’s sessions, but this time the number of invited experts was especially great. It is related to the fact that the main topic of the committee’s discussion was development of the new priority areas of cooperation which will be the base for coordination of project from 1 October 2015, when a regular three-year cycle of work on current projects will be finished. Involving of a wide range of experts is also related to the fact that the RSA-JINR cooperation is being developed most intensly in the two biggest scientific and educational clusters – in Pretoria/Johannesburg and Cape Town; and strong scientific relations were developed for all joint projects in both clusters.

The scientific results of the current three-year period will be summarized in September 2015 at the traditional Workshop “Models and methods in few-and-many body systems”. The previous workshop was held at the end of 2012 in Cape Town, so the Workshop of 2015 will be held in Dubna. The next, 15th session of the Joint Coordination Committee on RSA-JINR cooperation is planned to be held immediately after the Workshop; the Session will review the structure of current projects and will make decisions on launching new projects. Application of new projects will be officially started on 1 March 2015 after the final approval of all formalities and will continue until 1 June 2015. So the 10th anniversary of the RSA-JINR cooperation, which will be celebrated at the Forum “10 years together” at the end of November 2016 in the RSA, will be met with the first results in the frames of a new and, probably, extended structure of joint projects.

Conversion to the new priority directions was started at the Strategic workshop on 27 March 2014. The current JCC Session approved the proceedings of the March workshop and named the first priority directions: Heavy ion physics, Applied nuclear technology, Accelerating technique, Theory and modeling, Education; coordinators of these directions from the RSA side will be also appointed. The new structure supposes extension for other projects. In particular, the first steps on exploration of opportunities of cooperation of JINR with the RSA flagship project in the fields of radio-astronomy SKA (Square Kilometre Array).

The Committee traditionally focused on the educational programme. This year interest in participation in the summer practice was the highest. It is expected that next year young scientists from the RSA can participate in the Summer student programme of JINR. Possibilities of more active involving of peripheral universities in cooperation were discussed.

The Committee approved funding of joint research projects for the next one-year period 2014/2015. Co-supervising of Master and PhD students from the RSA was the main criterion of assessment of planned funding of the RSA-JINR joint projects. The results of the joint NRF-RFBR competition combined with an educational component were considered this year. In the future it is planned to explicitly take into account other criteria too.

D.V. Kamanin
Photo by Rudzani Nemutudi, iThemba