The main aim of the SA – CERN programme is to make the facilities at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland available to South African researchers, engineers, technicians and students. These facilities include ISOLDE (Isotope Separator On Line Device) and the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), the latter being a particle accelerator with a circumference of 27 kilometres, the largest and most powerful of its kind in the world. These facilities have been built to make new discoveries. The SA-CERN programme gives scientists and research students in South Africa access to the data obtained at CERN and allows them to take part in the running of experiments in Geneva. The outcomes are world class research, participation in global science, high level capacity development, innovation and technology transfer leading to competitive industry and infrastructure, the attraction of high quality young South Africans into the Science and Technology system and the development of the public understanding of science.
The SA-CERN programme collects together several research thrusts in a collaborative and coherent way, building the network of science linkages within the country, and connecting them internationally. The following four sub-programmes of the SA-CERN programme are established: