A week after announcing that Flemish Science Policy Minister Jo Brouns is investing six million euros in the development of essential technologies for the Einstein Telescope, he is now also freeing up two million euros to build up a project team and carry out studies to prepare for the arrival of this international research infrastructure.
The coming years should reveal whether we will succeed in bringing the Einstein Telescope to the Euregio Meuse-Rhine – the border region of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. This top scientific infrastructure will be a unique underground observatory where scientists will be able to investigate fundamental questions about the cosmos using gravitational waves for half a century.
The high-tech requirements of the Einstein Telescope will develop a strong innovative knowledge economy, resulting in a significant socio-economic return. Besides the three neighbouring countries, Italy’s Sardinia is also considering a bid to build the facility.
Expanding the project team
‘To substantiate our candidacy as strongly as possible,’ says Hans Plets, project manager for the Einstein telescope in Flanders, ‘we need to do our homework thoroughly. How do we ensure that we can maximally valorise the technological innovations for the Einstein Telescope? What is going on in terms of spatial planning? How do we maximally involve citizens in this fascinating project?’
By releasing two million now, Flanders can bring expertise on board to address these and many other questions in a timely manner, in cooperation with the other partners from the Euregio Meuse-Rhine.
Creation ET Steering Committee Flanders
The government also decided to set up an ET Flanders Steering Group. Hans Plets: ‘In the Steering Group, we bring together representatives from knowledge institutions, the government and industry to build a strong ecosystem around the Einstein Telescope together.’
With this, the Flemish government’s commitment to the Einstein Telescope is taking increasingly firm shape. Together with previously allocated funding and the 6 million euros for the scientific ET consortium in Flanders decided on in early December 2022, the Flemish government has now freed up more than 13 million for the Einstein Telescope.
Brouns: ‘Flanders must dare to be ambitious. My visit to CERN in September made me realise more than ever: the chance to build a world-renowned scientific infrastructure in your backyard really cannot be passed up. This is a train that only stops once. Flanders will not miss them.’