At the meeting, the council approved the contract for the magnets for the Large Hadron Collider – the components that pushed the project over budget. Among measures agreed to help pay for them was the establishment of five task forces, which will identify potential savings and restructure the management of the lab’s resources.

The directors also agreed that an External Review Committee should be established to analyse the finances of both the LHC and the rest of CERN’s scientific programme. The committee’s first report will contribute to the lab’s medium- and long-term financial plans, which will be drawn up at the council’s next meeting in March 2002.

The LHC is the next-generation replacement for the Large Electron-Positron Collider, in which hints of the elusive Higgs boson were seen just before it was decommissioned last year. It will collide protons together with a centre-of-mass energy of 14 TeV.