ECFA Terms of Reference

23 July 2021



(As agreed at the 19th Plenary ECFA Meeting held on 29 March 1976)

(As amended at the 29th Plenary ECFA Meeting held on 19 June 1981

and at the 61st Plenary ECFA Meeting held on 6 June 1997

and at the 83rd Plenary ECFA Meeting held on 18 July 2008

and at the 101st Plenary ECFA Meeting held on 16 November 2017

and at the 108th Plenary ECFA Meeting held on 23 July 2021)




Long-range planning of European high-energy facilities - accelerators, large-scale facilities and equipment - adequate for the conduct of a valid high-energy research programme by the community of physicists in the participating countries and matched to the size of this community and to the resources which can be put at the disposal of high-energy physics by society. Duplication of similar accelerators should be avoided and international collaboration for the creation of these facilities should be encouraged if essential and efficient for attaining the purpose.

Equilibrium between the roles of international and national laboratories and university institutes in this research, and a close relation between research and education in high-energy physics and other fields.

Adequate conditions for research and a just and equitable sharing of facilities between physicists, irrespective of nationality and origin, as conducive to a successful collaborative effort.



To achieve these aims ECFA can engage in - among others - the following activities:

  1. regular meetings of Restricted and Plenary ECFA;
  2. ad hoc symposia and conferences sponsored or organized by ECFA;
  3. study groups, set up by ECFA, or jointly with other organizations, for special problems;
  4. demographic studies of the high-energy physics community and resources in the ECFA participating countries, repeated at regular intervals, by means of visits to the participating countries by Restricted ECFA;
  5. monitoring of the ongoing implementation of the European Strategy for Particle Physics in the CERN Member States under activity (d), presentation of corresponding status reports to the European Strategy Session of Council.



ECFA is advisory to CERN Management, CERN Council and its Committees, and to other organizations, national or international.



Traditionally, physicists from the European countries which are Member States of CERN participate in ECFA. CERN is also considered as a "participating country". Plenary ECFA may on request extend participation to physicists from other European countries associated to CERN. Any participating country is free to leave ECFA on six month's notice given at a Plenary ECFA meeting. Admission of a new participating country is decided by Plenary ECFA.



The ECFA Early-Career Researcher (ECR) Panel discusses all aspects that contribute in a broad sense to the future of the research field of particle physics. It has an advisory role to ECFA.

Members are, in general, PhD students and postdocs, either with a non-permanent contract or with up to eight years after obtaining the PhD. Up to three members, among them at least one PhD student and one postdoc, can be nominated by each ECFA country and each major laboratory represented in ECFA for a mandate of two years, extendable for another two years. Nominations are to be endorsed by Plenary ECFA. Members act as individuals, but should be able to represent the views of early-career researchers in particle physics in the nominating country.



Plenary ECFA may accord observer status to countries which wish to follow the work of ECFA or contribute their views on ECFA's activities. Observer status can also be granted to national or international laboratories or organizations which are of importance for ECFA's activities. It is also granted for up to five members, nominated from and by the ECFA ECR Panel.

Observers participate in the discussions of Plenary ECFA unless otherwise decided for particular questions. They do not participate in decisions. On request, Restricted ECFA may decide to invite delegates from observer countries to the plenary session of country visits. On invitation by an observer country, Restricted ECFA may decide to visit that country. One member of the Plenary ECFA ECR delegates, nominated by the ECFA ECR Panel, is invited as observer to Restricted ECFA. Observer status to Restricted ECFA may also be granted to organizations which are of importance for ECFA’s activities.



ECFA consists of Plenary ECFA, Restricted ECFA, Chairperson and Secretary and permanent or ad hoc working groups. Where possible, decisions of ECFA are taken by  consensus. If a vote is required, it is taken at Restricted ECFA, and the recommendation is then presented for endorsement at Plenary ECFA.


Plenary ECFA decides on all ECFA activities, appoints the Chairperson and Secretary, approves the final reports of the working groups and terminates their activities, decides on admission of new participating countries and observers, and makes recommendations to outside organizations.

Plenary ECFA appoints members for a total maximum period of six years after nomination by their country. While the members so chosen should be able to represent the views of the high-energy physics community of their country, they are members of Plenary ECFA as individuals. 

Representatives of major ECFA-related laboratories, represented in the Lab Directors Group (LDG), are invited to Plenary ECFA meetings to enhance communication between laboratories and the community.

Plenary ECFA normally holds two meetings per year Meetings are public unless otherwise decided.


Restricted ECFA is composed of one member per participating country, confirmed every three years and generally appointed for at most two three-year periods . The Director General of CERN is an ex-officio member. Major laboratories are represented in regular Restricted ECFA meetings by the Chair of the Lab Directors Group (LDG) as an ex-officio member. The CERN Director of Research and Computing is invited. Representatives of the major laboratories in LDG are invited to dedicated Restricted ECFA meetings organized in general at the occasion of Plenary ECFA meetings, i.e. typically twice per year.

Restricted ECFA assists and advises the Chairperson and the Secretary in the current  running of ECFA, and acts as the communication channel to each participating country, its physics community and national institutes and authorities.


The Chairperson and Secretary are responsible for the day-to-day running of ECFA. The Secretary is elected for a three-year term. The Chairperson is elected for one term  of three years which is not, normally, extendible.

Nominations for Chairperson shall be invited at the second meeting of Plenary ECFA  in the Chairperson's second year of office and election shall take place at the first meeting the following year. The term of office shall normally start on 1st January.

The Chairperson can set up ad hoc working groups and delegate to them part of his or  her responsibility. The Chairperson acts as or appoints an ECFA observer in the committees and other organizations where ECFA is granted observer status. The Chairperson, the Secretary and the chairpersons of working groups participate ex officio in the meetings of Restricted and Plenary ECFA.