What is I.FAST ?

Particle accelerators are well-known as the workhorses of fundamental research in physics. Indeed, some accelerators, such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, are amongst the largest scientific tools on Earth. But beyond major scientific discoveries, tens of thousands of smaller accelerators are in daily use around the world in fields as diverse as industrial quality control, healthcare, the agri-food industry and archaeology.

The EU-funded H2020 project I.FAST (Innovation Fostering in Accelerator Science and Technology) aims to boost innovation in and from the particle accelerator research community. Amongst its objectives is the support of the ongoing transfer of particle accelerator technology into applied science and societal applications, with a view to addressing global challenges, particularly in the fields of medicine and the environment.

ESI is proud to be an associate partner of I.FAST, with responsibility for co-organising and hosting the I.FAST Challenge “Accelerators for Society”. The challenge brings together students from different academic backgrounds to explore ways of using accelerator technology to address some of the major challenges affecting society as a whole.

“As a researcher in the field, raising public awareness of the important role played by particle accelerators in today’s society is very important to me. I have led several projects to raise such awareness and the I.FAST Challenge “Accelerators for Society” is an exciting opportunity to do so in an international multidisciplinary context.”


Nicolas Delerue
IJCLab, CNRS et Université Paris-Saclay,
Team Leader I.FAST Challenge

About the I.FAST Challenge 2022

Accelerators for the Environment is the first of two I.FAST Challenges and will bring together 24 participants from across Europe, selected from a variety of academic backgrounds including physics, engineering, environmental sciences, economics, business and law.

The programme is divided into 3 parts:

  • 5 to 22 July : a series of online seminars about accelerators and their environmental applications.
  • 26 July to 3 August: the challenge itself held at ESI Archamps including a visit of CERN.
  • 4 August: presentation of projects to a panel of experts at CERN.

During the challenge at ESI participants will work in 4 multidisciplinary teams. Within the team, each student will look at the problem from the perspective of their own field. Inspired by I.FAST’s goal to create a broad Open Innovation ecosystem, participants will work in a spirit of collaboration rather than competition, both within each team and between the teams themselves.

Participants will follow a series of on-line seminars on particle accelerators, environmental challenges and innovation with ample opportunity to discuss the issues raised. Participants will then come to ESI where they will have the opportunity to meet with experts from different disciplines related to the challenge and work on their innovative projects under the guidance of team mentors. On the final day they will pitch their solutions at CERN to a jury composed of experts from knowledge transfer, industry, science and international relations.

I.FAST Challenge 2022

Available Soon

How to apply ?

Applications for the 2023 edition of the I.FAST Challenge open in December 2022

Steering Committee

Prof. Philip BURROWS
University of Oxford

Dr. Nicolas DELERUE
IJCLab, CNRS & Paris-Saclay University


Dr. Elias METRAL


Dr. Maurizio VRETENAR