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The Economics of Big Science

Essays by Leading Scientists and Policymakers

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2021

You have full access to this open access Book


  • Presents a novel combination of essays with contributors from big research organizations, funding agencies and experts in economics
  • Short and easy-reading essays offer an understanding even for non-experts while including links for more in-depth further reading
  • Points the way to a global understanding of the challenges of measuring and maximizing the impact of research infrastructures based on academic literature and previous efforts

Part of the book series: Science Policy Reports (SCIPOLICY)

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Table of contents (19 chapters)


About this book

The essays in this open access volume identify the key ingredients for success in capitalizing on public investments in scientific projects and the development of large-scale research infrastructures.

Investment in science – whether in education and training or through public funding for developing new research tools and technologies – is a crucial priority. Authors from big research laboratories/organizations, funding agencies and academia discuss how investing in science can produce societal benefits as well as identifying future challenges for scientists and policy makers. The volume cites different ways to assess the socio-economic impact of Research Infrastructures and their role as hubs of global collaboration, creativity and innovation. It highlights the different benefits stemming from fundamental research at the local, national and global level, while also inviting us to rethink the notion of “benefit” in the 21st century.

Public investment is required to maintain the pace of technological and scientific advancements over the next decades. Far from advocating a radical transformation and massive expansion in funding, the authors suggest ways for maintaining a strong foundation of science and research to ensure that we continue to benefit from the outputs. The volume draws inspiration from the first “Economics of Big Science” workshop, held in Brussels in 2019 with the aim of creating a new space for dialogue and interaction between representatives of Big Science organizations, policy makers and academia. It aspires to provide useful reading for policy makers, scientists and students of science, who are increasingly called upon to explain the value of fundamental research and adopt the language and logic of economics when engaging in policy discussions.

Editors and Affiliations

  • Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics, Laboratory of High Energy Physics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

    Hans Peter Beck

  • Department of Experimental Physics, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland

    Panagiotis Charitos

About the editors

Hans Peter Beck is a reader at the Physics Department of University of Bern, visiting professor at University Fribourg, and president of the Swiss Physical Society. He teaches particle physics courses to undergrad and graduate students and basic physics courses to medical students. He received his PhD from the University of Zurich on electron-proton collisions with the H1 experiment at the HERA accelerator at DESY in Hamburg, Germany. Hans Peter joined University of Bern and the ATLAS collaboration at CERN's LHC in 1997, where he became involved in the architectural design of and prototyping of the trigger and data acquisition system for the ATLAS experiment. He was editor of the Technical Proposal and was elected chair of the ATLAS Trigger and Data acquisition institutes board. His main interest is in the physics of the Standard Model at highest energies, with a focus on Higgs and multi-boson production at the LHC. In the intense years before and after the Higgs discovery, he was deeply involved in the Higgs to four leptons analysis and chair of its editorial board. In parallel, Hans Peter is known for the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG), an international collaboration engaging in informal science education and outreaching for particle physics world wide. During his chairmanship (2013-19), Hans Peter transformed IPPOG into a scientific collaboration, following the model on how experimental, large-scale collaborations are built, ensuring new resources and improving the visibility and effectiveness of IPPOG.

Panos Charitos holds a bachelor in Physics and a master degree in Astrophysics from Imperial College London and a MSc in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics. His studies in media and sociology led him to study for a MA and a PhD in Social Sciences. He joined CERN in 2011 as member of the ALICE experiment Since 2013 he serves as co-editor of CERN's Physics Department. In 2015, Panos was appointed Chairperson of the Future Circular Collider communication network and Chief-Editor for Accelerating News. Previously, Panos had worked for major media outlets in Greece and the UK. In parallel his extensive experience in the publishing industry led to the foundation of ROPI Publications, a niche publishing house specializing in the history and philosophy of science. Since 2009 he contributed to the development of new e-learning programmes of the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens and for the YouGo Culture platform. In 2020 he was appointed member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change. 

Bibliographic Information

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