JINR Science and Technology Council: plans for next seven-year period

News, 21 February 2022

The first public presentation of the concept of the Seven-Year Plan for the Development of JINR for 2024-2030 was the key topic at a meeting of the JINR Science and Technology Council. The meeting was held online on 17 February. Participants of the meeting considered the development of objects of the JINR scientific infrastructure such as the NICA collider, the Baikal-GVD neutrino telescope, and the Govorun supercomputer. Plans on the modernisation of the IBR-2 reactor, the IREN facility, and U400M cyclotron, as well as the creation of a new Neptune neutron source, were also the topics of the discussion.

Chairman of the meeting, JINR Scientific Leader RAS Academician Victor Matveev said that the JINR Directorate together with the management and leading scientists of all the laboratories performed a great deal of preparatory work before the consideration of the first edition of the Plan.

“When we think about the concept of the Seven-Year Plan, we must, first of all, take into account the scientific basis of all our plans. And at this point, it is important not only to implement the tasks of the current Seven-Year Plan for the Development of JINR but also to present them to the scientific community of the JINR Member States,” Victor Matveev marked.

JINR Director RAS Academician Grigory Trubnikov presented the Seven-Year Plan for the Development of JINR for 2024-2030 to participants of the meeting. He started the presentation with a review of the preliminary results of the current Seven-Year Plan. International experts will analyse its results at the next session of the JINR Scientific Council.

Grigory Trubnikov identified the list of sites for the new JINR Seven-Year Plan elaboration. Thus, the first hearings of the concept of the Seven-Year Plan for the Development of JINR will be held at the 131st session of the Scientific Council. In late February – early March, the material will be sent to the International Working Group that includes eight subgroups on each JINR’s flagship project. Further consideration of the document will take place at meetings of the JINR Governing Bodies (PAC, SC, CP). In September 2023, the final edition of the Seven-Year Plan with amendments obtained during a year and a half will be formed. Finally, in November 2023, the consideration of the final edition of the Seven-Year Plan for the Development of JINR will take place at the CP session in terms of both the scientific programme and the budget items.

The JINR Director identified six basic research directions of JINR, including relativistic heavy-ion and spin physics, low-energy nuclear physics, condensed matter and neutron physics, neutrino physics and astroparticle physics, information technologies and high performance computing, life sciences and applied research.

“The Seven-Year Plan for 2024-2030 is a reliable, open, and globally demanded research infrastructure: NICA, the Superheavy Element (SHE) Factory, the modernised IBR-2 reactor, the neutrino facility, the computing cluster, and the information centre. The reliable operation of all these facilities that have been constructed for 10-15 years will serve as the result and success of the next Seven-Year Plan,” Grigory Trubnikov highlighted establishing the future goals of the Institute.

He also noted that human capital is an Institute’s priority in the JINR Strategic Development Plan. “The Institute should hire about 1,500 new employees by 2030, so a reliable working infrastructure is the most effective tool for attracting talented scientists and engineers to JINR,” said Grigory Trubnikov.

Moreover, the Director highlighted that it is expected to evaluate and select new large-scale projects during the next seven-year period. Implementation of these new projects could be initiated either at the end of the seven-year period or after, starting from 2030.

The NICA project should start working in 2023. It is planned to complete the construction of the BM@N, MPD, and SPD detectors by 2030. The full-scale MPD configuration should start operating and the first SPD configuration should be also completed by the end of the Seven-Year Plan. A possible extension of the NICA project is under consideration. The NICA collider could be used as an electron-proton collider and as a source of an intense proton beam. A complete reconstruction of the Nuclotron should be carried out. Moreover, a grid architecture should be created for the NICA project, the same as for the LHC.

The “Govorun” supercomputer should be developed ahead of schedule and its speed should be increased by an order of magnitude up to several terabits per second. Moreover, the staff of the Meshcheryakov Laboratory of Information Technologies will develop robots that can operate under extreme conditions.

Specialists of the Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics should replace fuel in the IBR-2 reactor and upgrade neutron guides in 2025. It is planned to increase the intensity of the neutron flux at the IREN facility. Specialists will continue the construction of the Neptune neutron source.

The Superheavy Element Factory in the FLNR JINR will operate in cruise mode. The modernisation of the U400M cyclotron will be completed by the end of 2022. The facility will continue operating in 2023-2030.

The largest neutrino telescope in the northern hemisphere Baikal-GVD will continue collecting data. the task has been set to increase its effective volume up to 1.0 km3 within 2-3 years.

Participants of the STC meeting actively discussed the prioritisation of JINR’s internal and external experiments. It was noted that JINR would continue participating in advanced external experiments on physics of relativistic heavy-ion collisions, particle physics, and neutrino physics as long as the discovery potential of these experiments would be high and JINR’s researchers would be able to play a leading role in them. At the same time, it was noted that not only external projects need prioritization but also internal ones. At this point, the research direction should be chosen based on those studies that have passed the expertise of the international committees.

“We should demonstrate in the next seven years that all resources and funds spent have resulted in new opportunities for the JINR Member States. Thus, in my opinion, the focus should be on research infrastructure and modern attractive projects in Dubna,” Grigory Trubnikov emphasised.