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Media Corner
06 March 2018

F4E participates in the first Big Science Business Forum (BSBF2018) alongside Europe’s largest Big Science organisations


Nine of Europe’s largest Big Science organisations – CERN, EMBL, ESA, ESO, ESRF, ESS, European XFEL, F4E, and ILL – have come together to create the Big Science Business Forum 2018 (BSBF2018). They want to contribute to a stronger, more transparent and consolidated Big Science market in Europe for the benefit of both Big Science and businesses. BSBF2018 has become Europe’s new one-stop-shop on the Big Science market and industry were presented with business opportunities worth more than € 12 billion for the next 5 years.

Representatives from some of the world’s largest high-tech research facilities gathered for the first time to offer insights into procurement opportuniti­es and orders spanning from advisory engineering work and architectural tasks, to advanced technical equipment, concrete building projects and radiation-resistant materials. The conference took place in the Tivoli Congress Centre in Copenhagen during 26-28 February 2018, hosted by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science and  More than 1000 delegates from more than 500 companies and organisations from approximately 30 countries participated to this first edition.

F4E is one of the founding organisations of the initiative, together with CERN, EMBL, ESA, ESO, ESRF, ESS, European XFEL, F4E and ILL. A further nine Big Science organisations joined the conference programme – ALBA, DESY, ELI-NP, ENEA, FAIR, MAX IV, SCK•CEN – MYRRHA, PSI and SKA – thereby gathering 18 of the world’s most advanced Big Science organisations under one roof. “In terms of reputation and image, the participation of F4E alongside renowned science institutions, is a clear sign of the maturity that F4E has reached 10 years after its creation”, underlined Leonardo Biagioni, F4E’s Head of Contracts and Procurement and one of the F4E members of the International Organising Committee of the event.

In the open exhibition space, participants met more than 200 companies and organisations and in 19 conference sessi­ons, they listened to leaders and experts from the Big Science organisations. More than 800 “1-to-1” business meetings were arranged between delegates. The key speakers opening the conference were high-level representatives from the nine organising Big Science organisations, together with the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science Søren Pind.

F4E was represented by Richard Cobben (keynote speaker) and a number of colleagues who presented the business opportunities arising from the construction of ITER and the manufacturing of the European components. Companies who had previously worked for other Big Science organisations showed a lot of interest in the work of F4E, many technical explanations were offered and many more business cards were exchanged. Apart from attracting new companies and providing a stable market for industry, some other – more unexpected – benefits of the Big Science market became apparent. Carlo Damiani, F4E Project Team Manager for Remote Handling: “I was glad to find that there are possible synergies with some of the other Big Science organisations and that the technical work in remote handling and maintenance bears many similarities. I will be contacting my colleagues in the respective Big Science organisations for further discussions. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel every single time.”

Following on from this very successful first Big Science Business Forum, the founding organisations are already looking at the next edition planned to take place in the Spring of 2020.