The Board of the University of Groningen has approved a plan regarding the future of KVI put forward by the interim director of this institute. A reorganization will now be set in motion, whereby all jobs will probably be retained.
As part of the plan, some of the academic staff and the majority of the technicians (and their workshops) will be transferred to a new unit: the Centre for Advanced Radiation Technology (CART). This centre will continue to operate from within the current KVI premises, initially as an independent service directly accountable to the Board of the University.
The main focus of CART will be on scientific research with a strong instrumentation component. CART will therefore be staffed by research groups with a strong affiliation to the workshops, technology development, the particle accelerator, imaging (medical and non-medical) and the work for the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
The proposed activities at CART can be divided into the main areas: Accelerator physics and detector development, Medical accelerator physics, Medical imaging and other activities (radiation hardness testing in electronics, building sensors, applying vacuum and cooling techniques, etc.)
One of the basic premises behind this reorganization is that the particle accelerator AGOR will remain in production for approximately two-and-a-half years after 2013. Keeping AGOR in commission will ensure a smooth transition to the activities involving proton therapy and medical imaging at the UMCG.
The academic staff not being transferred to CART will be given good opportunities to join the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FWN). The Faculty is looking into creating a new institute in the area of Astrophysics and Subatomic Physics, which will bring together staff from the current Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, the current Centre for Theoretical Physics and the KVI. Some time ago, researchers from these three institutes plotted a new joint direction for the Master’s programme in Physics and Astronomy; Quantum Universe. This new field combines the latest knowledge of elementary particles and interactions with the latest findings on the structure and history of the universe, the formation of stellar systems, etc. It is expected to be one of the cornerstones of the new institute at FWN.
In addition, there will be opportunities for setting up an educational line together with the UMCG and FWN with subjects such as Medical Radiation Physics and Medical Imaging.
The future of KVI became uncertain as the particle accelerator AGOR approached the end of its lifespan, causing an end to the funding from the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM). As a new accelerator facility turned out to be unfeasible, last year, the Board of the University commissioned an external investigation into the future of KVI. The person carrying out the investigation (R.J. van Duinen) advised the Board to look into the opportunities and possibilities of setting up a new centre for developing advanced scientific instrumentation. An internal University of Groningen committee was then asked to draw up a business plan. Encouraged by the business plan, the Board of the University went on to give the recently appointed interim director Prof. C.G.M. Sterks a broader assignment with a slightly different set of conditions. Together with his management team, Prof. C.G.M. Sterks devised the abovementioned plan for the future of KVI and submitted it to the Board of the University.
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