Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


INVISIBLES Report Summary

Project ID: 289442
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Spain

Final Report Summary - INVISIBLES (INVISIBLES)

Invisibles is a European ITN project (FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN), which focuses on Neutrino and Dark Matter phenomenology and their connection. Experimental and theoretical aspects are also encompassed. The network involves nodes in seven European countries and its associated partners extend to seven non-European countries.

Neutrinos and dark matter are the most abundant particles in the universe and yet they remained unnoticed -invisible- for a long time, due to their tenuous couplings to the ordinary matter we are composed of. Neutrino masses inferred from neutrino oscillations and the existence of dark matter constitute the first evidence ever of particle physics beyond the Standard Model. A wide experimental program focused on the properties of both type of particles is on-going and major breakthroughs are taking place. The road to build the New Standard Model of particle physics is open: the theory must encompass the nature and properties of neutrinos and dark matter, besides those of ordinary matter. The mission of Invisibles ITN is to form the new generation of young researchers which will accomplish this task.

The scientific work and training activities of the network target neutrino and dark matter phenomenology and their connection, with the indispensable link to experiment and a deep understanding of theoretical and astroparticle issues, taking in the context of recent ground-breaking results in particle physics and in cosmology. This is the first transnational ITN program on these topics, exploiting the capital investment in new experimental facilities and overcoming the fragmentation of the research effort.

Invisibles ITN is uniquely placed to achieve its goal: i) World-leadership in all relevant scientific areas; ii) A novel multidisciplinary approach fostering the neutrino-dark matter synergy; iii) In addition to theorists, inclusion of key experimentalists; theory-experiment cross training is a unique characteristic of this ITN; iv) Outstanding training record; v) CERN, Fermilab, XENON and SuperKamiokande -four major experimental players- as partners; vi) Partnership with the world-leader research-related industry and cutting-edge technology transfer; vii) Strong outreach and communication program, with two dedicated companies; viii) Top-quality expertise from emergent countries; ix) Optimal in gender balance and role models, with over 60% female and mostly junior international leaders as coordinators.

Invisibles ITN counts by now 276 scientists, including both senior scientists and young scientists (PhDs or postdoctoral fellows). The overall progress is in line with the envisaged timescales and deliverables, and within budget.

The recruitment of ESRs went as planned, with all positions filled and contracts finalized by now, with only minor modifications in the timeline. The number of months attributed to each node corresponds to the DoW. The recruitment strategy was very effective and successful. It followed strictly the DoW protocol, and involved a strong coordination between all full partners. In the first year 17 ESRs were recruited, following three public calls. The total number of applications received was 268, 445 and 283 respectively; for each individual node and position the number of applicants varied in the range 47-78. 1 additional ESR was recruited in the second year out of 28 applicants. There is a good gender balance with 40% of female ESRs.

Scientifically the network is thriving and the recruited ESRs keep actively collaborating throughout the network and publishing articles focused on the ITN themes. All ESRs contracts finished as scheduled, but many of them keep collaborating actively with the network from their new academic positions. The ITN members are making world leading contributions in several of the latest theoretical and experimental developments. A recent recount of the number of publications resulted in 553, 86 of them involving two nodes and 35 more than two nodes. The ESRs have published 80 scientific papers, 10 of which being multinode collaborations. Publications are uploaded to the ITN webpage.

The number of scientific talks given at international events is around thousand out of which a relevant number were given by Invisibles ESRs, who also presented high quality posters

The training was kept well in line with the DoW. The ESRs and other young YS profited from high-level training, tutored directly by world leaders in the field. Secondments are playing an outstanding and very fruitful training and networking role and were extended to no-ESR young scientist. At the end of their contracts all ESRs have secured excellent academic positions in top academic institutions. and continue doing frontier research.

Outreach activities were raised including public and school lectures according to the DoW. The network web page is a superb dissemination and management tool (the intranet developed by our industrial partner being a major asset), with heavy ESR involvement; it counts by now 73.000 visits, with an average time/visit over 5'. Twitter and Facebook accounts further add to outreach.

Among other conferences, the annual ITN schools and workshops were being held according to the DoW, with over 130 participants at each edition and around 200 in the final conference and associated outreach events. An innovative and fruitful networking activity is the Invisibles Journal Club: internet biweekly seminars typically involving more than 60 scientists from all over the network, interacting directly around a hot scientific topic and also later available via the website and the social network accounts. In addition, the bi-monthly ”Invisibles Newsbrief" informs via email of awards received, new publications, scientific highlights, ESRs location, events and job offers.

Management meetings and decision making protocols were implemented along the lines in the DoW. The associated partner composition was slightly modified. The network team in Egypt moved from their initial BUE institute to the present one in Zewail City of Science and Technology, and consequently the Associated partnership moved from the former to the latter. In addition, in July 2012 Stony Brook University became earlier an Associated Partner. The University of Stockholm has been accepted as a new Associated Partner in March 2014, following the moving of the previous MPG scientist in charge to that center. Furthermore, to accommodate the many external participation requests, the “Friends of Invisibles" group was created -see the ITN web page- with 15 world-leading institutions which are now involved in all networking activities.

An indicator of the recognition of the network achievements and its impact and prospects is the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Takaaki Kajita (Super-Kamiokande Collaboration, University of Tokyo, Japan),the scientist in charge of the University of Tokyo node, in addition to several other prizes to network members.

A nomination to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2012
Prize to the best 2013 undergraduate student to several of our PhD students
Two ERC grants in 2013 on neutrino physics, one theoretical, one experimental
The 2013 Bruno Pontecorvo Prize
The 2013 ICTP prize
The 2013 Occhialini prize
The 2013 Andrew Gemant prize of the American Physical Society
One of 3 best thesis in 2013 in physics by Brazilian Physics Society
The 2014 Royal Astronomical Society gold medal in Astronomy
A nomination to the CERN SPC (Scientific Policiy Committee) in 2014
An appointment to the “search committee” for the next CERN Director General
2015 Young Scientist Award of the Physical Society of Japan
2015 Nobel Prize in Physic
2015 APS Fellow Award
2015 Appointment to editor in chief for EPJ-Cs
2015 new Horizon 2020 RISE project: “InvisiblesPlus”, which started Feb 1st 2016
2015 new Horizon 2020 ITN “Elusives”, which started April 1st2016

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Coordinator: Dr. Belen Gavela, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid,


Mª CARMEN PUERTA, (Head of Research Service)
Tel.: +34914978775
Record Number: 189771 / Last updated on: 2016-10-11