The EU-funded project OPAC (Optimization of particle accelerators: A Marie Curie Initial Training Network) formed a new network to provide the necessary cross-sector environment for advanced research into accelerator design and optimisation. Bringing together 22 universities, research centres and industry partners, OPAC extended well beyond the established core accelerator community. oPAC hired and successfully trained no less than 22 early-stage researchers to investigate, among other topics, charged particle beam dynamics, beam diagnostics and accelerator control systems. By enhancing the understanding of how accelerators and light sources work, their research helped improve the performance of machines that from the backbone of many of the most advanced research facilities. Training and education was particularly active with two hands-on training days for Fellows hosted by industry partners, five Topical Workshops in different countries that attracted researchers from around the world, and several international Schools. The project’s first School trained all Fellows in complementary skills such as project management and presentation skills. The format was commended by the European Commission as best practice for providing future generations of scientists and engineers with the skills to produce world-class research. Other international Schools organised by oPAC focused on expert training in the design and optimisation of accelerator, joining leading experts with early career researchers from around the world. Further events are still being organised by the consortium, although the network has now formally ended. The network was also the focus of numerous articles in a variety of research and education forums. By investing in researcher training, oPAC responded to a growing demand for experts in particle accelerator science and technology. Building on core European expertise in accelerator applications, partners and Fellows have helped strengthen the European Research Area (ERA). The results from the oPAC project are expected to provide numerous benefits for an ever-growing user community and for EU citizens.
Particle accelerators, particle physics, oPAC, Initial Training Network, particle beams, diagnostics, control systems, light sources