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Expanding Potential in Particle and Radiation Detectors, Sensors and Electronics in Croatia

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PaRaDeSEC (Expanding Potential in Particle and Radiation Detectors, Sensors and Electronics in Croatia)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-09-30

The project Expanding Potential in Particle and Radiation Detectors, Sensors and Electronics in Croatia – PaRaDeSEC belongs to Horizon2020 program part Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation, topic ERA Chairs. The Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation aims to improve research and innovation performance, strengthen participation in Horizon 2020 and enhance expertise and excellence of the low-performing Member States and regions. In particular, ERA Chairs brings outstanding researchers to universities and other research organizations that have high potential for research excellence. ERA Chairs actions address the specific challenge to create the appropriate conditions and opportunities for high quality researchers and research managers to move and engage with willing institutions to improve the excellence of their research and thereby modify their research and innovation landscape.
Project PaRaDeSEC is based on R&D on detectors, sensors and electronics for research in nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics and interdisciplinary research using accelerated ion beams. Contemporary experiments in astrophysics, nuclear and particle physics depend on specialized, expensive and complex detector systems. These experiments are performed in international collaborations composed of up to thousands of researchers, and share the large costs and effort required to expand the current understanding of the fundamental laws of nature and the origin of matter. Development and testing of such unique instrumentation, essential for breakthrough research, requires expertise from a broad range of topics in physics, electronics and computing. Research institutions able to make significant contributions in this field have a high reputation in the scientific community and increased odds to engage in related large collaborative projects.
RBI researchers collaborate with top European research centers, and have an excellent knowledge of the experimental techniques involved. However, RBI as an institution insufficiently contributes to instrumentation development, and, more importantly lacks outstanding researchers and research managers who can significantly improve the excellence of its research and innovation landscape. An important step to correct this weakness, and to increase related technological potential of Croatia, including material science, electronics and ICT, was successfully executed by the recently implemented REGPOT FP7 project Particle Detectors. Further actions will be taken through the proposed European Structural and Investment Funds project O-ZIP, through acquisition of state of the art research equipment and upgrade of laboratory space, designed in line with the national Smart Specialization strategy.
PaRaDeSEC provides funding for the required top staff to consolidate all available resources into the new Center for Detectors, Sensors & Electronics, an independent RBI unit which will strictly implement all conditions to foster state of the art research. The ERA Chair as the Center head will be involved in the RBI management structure and will be an integral component of ongoing structural changes at RBI, based on the best practices of the top EU research centers and ERA priorities.
The Center focuses on nuclear, particle and astro-physics, and is expected to also impact the broader research community and national economy. This expectation is based on experience of similar facilities in developed countries that research and development of advanced research instrumentation often leads to emergent technological progress and potential for technology transfer, positively influencing the local high-tech economy. Advances in instrumentation for such experiments can realistically result in new types of sensors and detectors for applications in medicine, dosimetry, materials’ characterization, security, robotics, energetics, as well as in faster and smaller analog and digital electronics for many industrial and home dev
Activities at the very start of the project were related to the project management: contacts with the project officer, submission of list of published papers in period before the project start and deliverable D1.1 reporting on it, organization of the kick-off event, open call for the project administrative officer and open call for the ERA Chair. There were also activities on dissemination and communication: creation of the project web site, preparation of presentations for kick-off event and for other events where Project Manager was invited to present the project. The PR Office helped in creation of the project web site paradesec.irb.hr and also provides assistance in keeping web site updated.
One of the first activities in the project was organization of the kick-off event, the task of the WP1 Project Management. As the project started on July 1st 2015, just before the summer break, PMB agreed in July to organize kick-off event in middle of September, to maximize its impact and outcomes. The project kick-off event has been organized on Sep 14th 2015. The event started with presentations given by dr. Antičić RBI director, dr. Soić project manager and RBI deputy director for science and education, and dr. Fazinić RBI deputy director for international cooperation and projects, followed with conference for media and tour of the RBI accelerator facility. It continued with networking and discussion session with refreshments. Meeting of the Project Management Board was at the end of this event. Event was attended by representatives of all targeted stakeholders: our partner research institutions in Croatia, national science policy makers, potential new partners from academic institutions and industry, public media. Media coverage was excellent with reports on the event on all main national TV and radio stations, daily newspapers and web portals. The messages conveyed by the press release successfully reached media and targeted public. In conclusion, the kick-off event has been successfully organized with help of the RBI Public Relations Office.
The most important project activity at its start was hiring of the ERA Chair. Call for the ERA Chair position was opened in July by publication on Euraxess web service and official web page of the RBI with deadline for applications on October 10th. The position was widely announced and advertisements were paid in main web and printed jobs services in physics (Institute of Physics UK and American Institute of Physics USA). Activities on hiring, including public advertisement of the open position, started as planned in the first month of the project. But as project started on the 1st July 2015., due to holiday season the advertisement visibility was reduced. The advertisement was resend in September and October 2015 to all relevant mailing lists and all existing collaborators to increase its visibility. From the beginning of the project intensive headhunting was done in attempt to attract applications from the world recognized experts. Seven applications were received for the ERA Chair position. Received applications were evaluated by the selection panel consisting of 3 international experts and 7 RBI senior scientists. All members of the selection panel have reviewed the applications independently. International members sent their opinions by email. The RBI members had a panel meeting and after discussion, and taking into account comments and recommendations of the international members of the panel, selected three most qualified candidates who were invited to interview at the RBI. Process of negotiation with the candidates ended in final selection of the ERA Chair. Selected applicant, Dr. Jaakko Härkönen, signed work contract with the RBI and start work at the RBI on the 1st April 2016. Inconvenient start date of the project for hiring activities resulted in some delay of the ERA Chair appointment. In addition, because of obligations of selected applicant at his previous work position
Through the ERA Chair project RBI intends to create a Centre for Detectors, Sensors and Electronics (CDSE). CDSE will acquire top people in the relevant area of expertise. The Centre will focus on the development and testing of detector, sensor, and electronics research equipment relevant for nuclear, particle, and astroparticle physics experiments as well as for potential related interdisciplinary and industrial applications. Through this project the current RBI research and development regarding detectors, sensors and electronics research will become much more influential on a world wide scale. In particular, the impacts of the ERA Chair will be:
• Considerably enhanced roles RBI has in large international collaborative projects in nuclear, particle and astroparticle physics research, in particular through larger RBI active participation in detector, sensor and electronics development and testing.
• Substantially increased capacities of RBI for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary applications and technology transfer related to the development, testing and construction of detectors, sensors, and electronics. Promising new applications, prototypes, and potential commercial products are expected already during the last year of the project implementation.
• Institutional changes implemented with the leading role of the ERA Chair, and considerable achievements in implementation of Croatian Smart Specialization Strategy in the domain of the ERA Chair.
• Increased attractiveness of RBI and Croatia for internationally excellent and mobile researchers.
• Increased research excellence of RBI related to detectors, sensors, and electronics.
• Improved performance of the newly formed Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials and Sensing Devices (CEMS).
• Contributing to the objectives of the Croatian Smart Specialisation strategies, including increased interactions with economic and social actions, and complementing support provided under the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The ERA Chair is expected to also impact the broader research community and national economy, all of which should contribute to an increased attractiveness of RBI and Croatia in general to top researchers.
RBI Tandem accelerator facility
Silicon sensors, designed and developed by RBI and HIP, intended to be installed st CMS LHC CERN