ITN, Marie Curie Initial Training Network "UNILHC" PITN-GA-2009-237920  (Oct. 2009 - Sept. 2013)

Unification in the LHC era

Project overview:

The main research theme of the network is the theoretical interpretation of results coming from LHC (Large Hadron Collider) and other experimental and observational sources. The aim is to identify the physics Beyond the Standard Model of strong, weak and electromagnetic forces and ultimately to provide a fully unified description of the fundamental states of matter and their interactions. Basic topics of investigation are the nature of electroweak symmetry breaking, the origin of masses and their hierarchies and the quantization of the gravitational interaction. The methodology is based on three main ingredients: Symmetry, including supersymmetry and symmetries related to flavor, string unification and new space dimensions.

The research objectives are: (a) Probing the origin of mass at the LHC; (b) search for supersymmetry; (c) the physics of flavor in the LHC era; (d) exploring extra dimensions; (e) cosmological and astrophysical challenges for physics beyond the Standard Model; (f) string theory, string phenomenology and quantum gravity. The network will enhance the current collaboration amongst the participating European institutions, playing a leading role across the whole spectrum of the physics involved, from theoretical aspects of string theory to the phenomenological analysis of experimental data, and it will stimulate interdisciplinary interactions.

The main network goal is to offer excellent initial training to young researchers. It will appoint 456 person-months of Early-Stage Researchers (often Ph. D. students) and 108 person-months of Experienced Researchers (often postdocs), and develop a training program both at the individual and at the network-wide level. The network is structured to develop the research and complementary skills of the young researchers, to ensure their mobility and to widen their career prospects. In this way, it is hoped to increase the pool of European researchers at the highest level of scientific excellence, and to make a significant contribution to the development of European fundamental research.

Description of partnership:

All research teams in the network have been already involved in joint research in the past and their members have co-authored a large number of publications. They have participated to the FP6 European Program (contract no. MRTN-CT-2004-503369) on "The Quest For Unification: Theory Confronts Experiment". Some of them have also collaborated in the previous SCIENCE EU programme (contract no. SC1*-CT92-0792) on string phenomenology, and the Human Capital and Mobility network (contract no. CHRX-CT93-0132) on flavour dynamics. The majority of the teams participated also in the FP4 Training and Mobility of Researchers network (contract no. ERBFMRX-CT96-0090) on Physics Beyond the Standard Model, and in the FP5 Improving Human Potential network (contract no. HPRN-CT-2000-00148) on Physics Across the Present Energy Frontier. Finally, members of the network started an annual international conference circulated among locations of the participating nodes on "Physics from Planck to Electroweak Scale" (Warsaw 98, Bonn 99, Il Ciocco 00, La Londe 01, Kazimierz 02, Madrid 03, Bad Honnef 04, Trieste 05, Paris 06, Warsaw 07, Barcelona 08, Padova 09).

Associated industrial partner:



Theory Division,
CERN, 1211 Geneva 23, SWITZERLAND,
Tel 41-22 767 3201
Fax 41-22 767 3800,


Centre de Physique Théorique,
Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau cedex, FRANCE,

Scientists in charge in the participating institutes:

Industrial partner:

The industrial associated partner Medialab will be part of the management board and provide complementary training to the Ph. D. students and postdocs at both local and network-wide level. Topics include communication, management, research policy, exploitation of scientific results, advanced informatics and visual techniques.
Contact person for Medialab : E. Balli.

Ph. D. and postdoctoral positions:

The partition of the 456 person-months of Early-Stage Researchers (ESR are often Ph. D. students) and 108 person-month of Experienced Researchers (ER are often postdocs) among the nodes is as follows: Polytechnique (36 ESR, 12 ER), CEA (36 ESR, 12 ER), Bonn (36 ESR, 24 ER), Thessaloniki (36 ESR), INFN (36 ESR, 24 ER), ICTP (36 ESR), Lisbon (36 ESR), Madrid (24 ESR, 24 ER), Valencia (36 ESR), Oxford (36 ESR, 12 ER), Warsaw (36 ESR) and CERN (72 ESR).

An ER position to start in fall 2012 is offered in the node of Oxford.

The rules for recruitment of ESR's and ER's are (see p. 11-13 of this document):

Visiting scientists:

Each node will have two weeks of visiting scientist during the contract duration. Thus, each visiting scientist who is expected to spend at least one month within the network (in several visits), will have to visit at least two different nodes. Such pairs of nodes are expected to be Polytechnique-CEA, Bonn-Warsaw, INFN-ICTP, Lisbon-Valencia, Madrid-Oxford and CERN-Thessaloniki.

Network schools and meetings:


12076 visitors