Minutes of USLUA Executive Committee Meeting, July 16, 2018

Attendees: Darin Acosta , Jahred Adelman, Viviana Cavaliere, Sarah Demers, Julia Gonsky, Corinne Mills, Jane Nachtman, Harvey Newman, GianLuca Sabbi, Sheldon Stone, Anthony Timmins. Partial attendance: Usha Mallik, Verena Martinez, Toyoko Orimoto, Sarah Eno.


  1. Introduction; Quick background on US LUA for Newcomers; Activities and Priority Items; FY19 User Group Letter to Congress requesting the Senate Mark (Harvey)
  2. July 19 Party and other Quality of Life committee Activities (Usha)
  3. Annual Meeting: organization, conference website update, agenda, next steps (Corrinne)
  4. HEP Lab Management liaison to US LUEC (Harvey)
  5. Email list transition (Gordon)
  6. US LUA Web site and content (Viviana)

Minutes (note action items in bold):

  1. Introduction: background on US LUA for Newcomers; activities and priority Items; FY19 User Group Letter to Congress requesting the Senate Mark (Harvey)
  • Brief introduction on USLUA
    • Hosted by URA which helped form the association and achieve non-profit status
    • Main activities: support the US scientists working on LHC: practical information and networking for people who are getting started
    • Liaison to the advisory committee on CERN users that handles important issues of interest such as medical insurance
    • Provide communication channels with funding agencies and Congress: community letters and DC visits
    • Priority items where the committee needs to focus in the next future include:
      • Website (update content, committee members are helping but consider hiring a webmaster like we used to have)
      • Mailing list: need to clean up and transition to Mail Chimp
      • Fundraising: looked in various directions with limited results, also for this area we might consider hiring a dedicated person
    • Strong support by Congress in recent/ongoing budget cycles is in part the result of effective communication and DC visits coordinated by the user groups
      • Latest information indicates 1.01B for HEP for FY19 on both the House and Senate side, well above P5 guidance. A community letter supporting this funding level has been prepared, and was sent to the House and Senate Appropriations leadership
  1. July 19 Party and other Quality of Life committee Activities (Usha)
  • Party is scheduled for July 19, organization is proceeding well with help from Viviana and Corrinne. [ Note from the party: Usha, who has done a great job as Quality of Life committee chair, gives notice that this will be her last year in this role, and is passing the torch].
  • There will be several speakers from the experiments and user support.
  • Also need to make sure to reach out to US community at CERN and make sure everyone is informed. Send reminders through available channels (mailing lists, social media etc.)
    • Harvey: USLUA
    • Sarah Eno: CMS
    • Sarah Demers: ATLAS
    • Sheldon Stone: LHCb
    • Anthony Timmins: ALICE
  • Other updates from the Quality of Life committee:
    • CERN user’s office is still not able to provide information on new visitors arriving from the US. Usha will collect some specific examples and then Harvey and Usha will visit the user’s office to get some clarification on this issue and discuss ways to make improvements
    • Richard Teuscher (Teuscher@cern.ch) from Univ. Toronto is our new representative in the Advisory Committee of CERN Users – ACCU. Harvey will make contact with him to discuss issues of interest for USLUA.
  1. Annual Meeting: Organization, conference website update, agenda, next steps (Corrinne)
  • The meeting will be October 24-26 at Fermilab.
  • Corinne prepared some slides on the current status and next steps which are available on the indico page of the meeting: https://indico.cern.ch/event/744391/
  • Additional details and discussion points:
    • Consider including a description of the purpose of the meeting and what people can expect to get out of it (Harvey will work on this with Corinne)
    • Plan for Wednesday is Executive Committee at 4 pm and reception at 6 pm in the Crossover (worked well last time around)
    • On the first day there will be only one talk for each experiment instead than two and 3 Lightning Round (LR) sessions instead than 4 (survey indicated a preference for fewer presentations and more time for interaction among participants)
      • Harvey asks to allow for up to 20 LR talks. Right now it’s 18 (6/hour for 3 hours) would need another 20 min.
    • Corrinne is asking for initial suggestions regarding specific speakers and chairs for discussion sessions. Some initial names were mentioned but all committee members are asked so send suggestions to Corinne to ensure a strong and well balanced pool.
    • Harvey: on Friday, consider combining lunch with cross-experiment discussion groups rather than discussion with HEPAP and Agency reps. This would allow longer time for these discussion groups (say 90 min instead than 60 min) and free up some time in the main agenda for more LR talks. No decision on this, but for the time being we do not attach a specific discussion to the Friday lunch.
    • Another suggestion from Harvey is to attach an update on the European Strategy as part of the “physics at future colliders” presentation
    • Local participation and meeting room. It is not possible to reserve 1 West as we had hoped, in part to increase local participation. Current proposal is for IARC lecture hall. The only option in Wilson Hall would be Curia 2 which holds only 50-70 people. Sheldon thinks Curia II would still be a better option and sufficient based on last year’s attendance, but we would like to increase attendance. Corinne will confirm on Curia 2 size and ask about possibly holding both rooms for some time while we make a decision.
      • There is also request that the meeting organizers make an appointment with IT one week in advance of the meeting for A/V training, this does not work well for external people. We would like to book it for Wednesday.
    • Other suggestions:
      • The career panel is usually focused on industry but could we add one to discuss careers in academia. This could be scheduled earlier in the day (as panelists could be chosen among people participating in the meeting) and could include moving from HEP to a different research field.
      • There was also a suggestion for a presentation/discussion on how funding works in the US. There is consensus on asking some of the assistant professors to talk about their experience with the funding process. This presentation could also touch on the issue of balance of research vs project funding.
      • For a CERN management presentation, Fabiola Gianotti would clearly be the best choice. Harvey will ask if she would be willing to give a remote presentation.
      • Cost was mentioned as an issue in the survey. There was some discussion regarding the fee for local vs external people. No change is foreseen at the moment.
  1. HEP Lab Management liaison to US LUEC (Harvey)
  • We have discussed in previous meetings having Lab management representative in the executive committee. This person would bring the view from the Labs and their suggestions on USLUA activities. JoAnn Hewitt of SLAC was mentioned as a possible candidate for the first term. She recently became the head of HEPAP in addition to being an associate Lab director at SLAC Harvey will follow up with JoAnn to confirm if she would be willing to serve in this role.
  1. Email list (Gordon)
  • Gordon was not able to attend the meeting. Harvey will follow up with him on the status of the email list and its transition to MailChimp.
  1. US LUA Web site and content (Viviana)
  • Viviana has started to update the web site documents but she does not have administrator rights and this limits her ability to implement changes. Gordon may be able to help with this
  • Current focus is on the relocation guide to CERN:
    • Working on updated procedures for registration, etc.
    • In some case, better to delete old information, e.g. banking
    • Harvey: a useful piece of information Credit card which do not charge international fees
    • For Visas, CERN has a good page that we can simply link to that
  • Also updating some of the older pictures with more recent ones. There is an issue with the logo picture, the one on the web site is old and for the new one Viviana has a version that shows an underline from the spell checker
    • Harvey circulated a picture after the meeting that does not show the underline
    • Also working with Yangyang and David on pictures from the DC trip and the US Science and Engineering festival.
  • Web site discussion and suggestions
    • Harvey: Add link to AIP federal budget tracker page and link to information on how to contact your congressman; increase the font size
    • Regarding the GDPR: Harvey will prepare a short statement for the web site. If/when CERN completes their GSPR policy document we can link to that too. An initial statement on CERN data privacy protection has been published at. https://home.cern/data-privacy-protection-statement But in general, it looks like implementation is going smoothly without any particular issues or disruptions.
    • It would be useful to include an article on the importance of communicating with congress and advocating for government support, we will ask Yangyang if she could help with that
    • Harvey: we could also ask people to write articles based on presentations made at the annual meeting [Note: Yangyang has agreed to prepare one such article by end August].