Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology Theory (PACT)
The tasks and objectives of the PACT Programme are the following:
- Coordination within the astroparticle physics theory community
- Stimulation of synergies between the experimental and theoretical astroparticle physics communities
- Organisation and support of EU schools, workshops etc
- Organisation and support of a postdoctoral programme.
Steps are currently being taken towards the concrete establishment of such a PACT programme. Its initial phase will take the form of a virtual European Centre for Theoretical Astroparticle Physics, which will be in charge of coordination of existing and promotion of new theoretical astroparticle physics activities in Europe. This centre will create and keep up to date a database containing the activities in theoretical astroparticle physics in Europe, in this way stimulating indirectly such activities.
Linking the Theoretical Community in the Context of APPEC
The PACT programme is organised by the INFN Functional Centre based at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory. Picking up on the idea for PACT originally developed within the frame of ASPERA, the first task has been to verify the need and possible goals of such an initiative within the EU astroparticle theory community, through face-to-face meetings at CERN. Two realistic goals were put forward:
a) Contribution to the organisation of medium- and long- term workshops, schools and summer institutes,
b) Coordination and support of a postdoctoral program in astroparticle theory among various EU countries.
The first PACT activity was the contribution to the organisation of a long-term workshop at the recently born IFT (Instituto de Fisica Teorica) of the UAM/CSIC in Madrid during October 2013. In 2014, PACT and APPEC were among the sponsors of the LNGS 2014 Summer Institute. Another PACT activity was participation in the organisation of a two-week workshop at CERN on the Planck data in early January 2015.
PACT has succeeded in putting together many EU institutions to formulate a project for a shared postdoctoral fellowship program in astroparticle theory, which has been submitted in the 2014 Horizon 2020 COFUND call.
PACT in ASPERA
A first meeting was organised in Oxford, UK, in the context of ASPERA-1 to determine the scale and nature of astroparticle physics theory activities in Europe (17 March 2008). The meeting included short presentations by representatives of national funding agencies participating in ASPERA-1 as well as scientists involved in the field.
In the context of ASPERA-2, the theorist members of the ASPERA Scientific Advisory Committee formed a working group, chaired by Antonio Masiero (INFN-Italy), with members from the astroparticle theory communities of Italy, France, CERN, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, Denmark, Belgium, Finland UK, and Estonia. The purpose of the working group was to formulate a concrete proposal for PACT.
The Working Group has held two meetings, the first in Paris, at the CNRS headquarters in April 2012 and the second at CERN in March 2013. The main points emerging from these meetings were that the added value of such a programme lies in the improved communication of research carried out in the various European theoretical astroparticle physics groups and the more efficient use of European potentialities on topical subjects (e.g. sharing codes). In addition, such a programme will facilitate interaction of these groups with the experimental astroparticle physics community, by becoming the reference body for consultations (with junior and senior experts), meetings, workshops etc.