Accelerators for the environment: Announcing I.FAST Challenge-Based Innovation programme 2022

In summer 2022, the EU-funded I.FAST project will challenge students to find new and innovative societal applications for accelerators.



In summer 2022, the EU-funded I.FAST project will challenge students to find new and innovative societal applications for accelerators.

Sometimes taking a fresh look at an issue can help find new solutions. With this in mind, the EU-funded I.FAST project announces the first edition of its Challenge-Based Innovation (CBI) programme.

For nine days, I.FAST will bring together Master-level students to explore innovative ways in which accelerators and related technologies could be used to meet societal challenges related to Horizon Europe’s missions. The topic of the 2022 edition will be “Accelerators for the environment”.

This year, I.FAST will select about 24 students from different backgrounds and from different European universities. Coming from economics, law, environmental studies and, of course, physics and engineering, these students will form three strong multidisciplinary teams composed of six to eight persons and able to tackle complex challenges.

The programme will take place at the European Scientific Institute (ESI), located in Archamps, near Geneva. There, participants will have the opportunity to meet experts in accelerators as well as from disciplines related to the challenge, thanks to proximity with Geneva and the many international organisations located there. Within the team, each student will look at the problem from the point of view of their specialty. Although prizes may be a motivation the challenge will be organized on the model of the accelerator community, encouraging collaborative work, both within each team and between the teams themselves.

At the end of the nine days, students will be invited to spend a day at CERN and present their work in front of a jury. The jury will comprise experts from knowledge transfer, industry, science and non-governmental organisations and international organisations related to the challenge. Each jury member will assess the participants work from their own perspective.

This initiative is put forward by the I.FAST project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and organised by its work package 2. It stems from the historic collaboration between the ESI, CERN and others partners to run the Joint Universities Accelerator School. This new collaboration has been inspired by the success of CERN IdeaSquare’s Challenge-Based Innovation programme but with a much shorter duration.

Who can apply?

Applications are welcome from all applicants. Preference will be given to students in the second cycle of university studies (typically between the 3rd and 5th year of university) and priority will be given to those studying in universities located in countries members of I.FAST (see list at


All activities will be held in English.

How to apply?

To apply fill the form at

Application deadline:

The application form has to be submitted before February 14th 23:59, Geneva time.


  • 14th February: Application deadline
  • 31st March: Successful applicants are notified.
  • 5th July: Online meeting, “Getting to know each other”.
  • 5th-22nd July: Series of online seminar to learn about accelerators and their environmental applications.
  • Tuesday 26th July to Thursday 4th August (morning): Stay at the European Scientific Institute in Archamps.
  • Thursday 4th August: Presentation at CERN, award ceremony and visit of CERN.

(*)Travel expenses in economy class will be reimbursed within a limit of €250.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement No 101004730.