First contacts between CERN and the Government of the Republic of Korea were established more than a decade ago with a view to formal Co-operation, but did not reach a conclusion. In 1997, the Korea University (Seoul) joined the CMS Collaboration with substantial funding. Many more Korean universities then followed in 1998, though without government funding, and subsequently the Universities of Gangneung and Pohang joined the ALICE Collaboration.

In 2002 the newly-created Centre for High-Energy Physics (CHEP) at Kyungpook National University (Daegu) pledged to provide additional funding for the computer farm of CMS. The government stepped in to coordinate the relations between CERN and Korea by signing a formal Agreement in 2006 followed by an implementation protocol regulating the relations between ALICE and CMS and Korean institutes in November 2007. The early declaration of interest regarding the establishing of computing centers for both ALICE and CMS became concrete with the signing of formal MoUs establishing a Tier-2 centre for ALICE at KISTI (2007) and a Tier-2 centre for CMS in Kyungpook National in 2008. Korea also operates one of the Tier-1 Centres and participates in the NA61 and OPERA experiments.

The funding to support the CMS and ALICE operations has been increasing steadily recently. During a visit in August 2008 the highest levels of the ministry expressed favorable opinions on extending the cooperation between CERN and Korea. Subsequently, a theoretical exchange program has been approved, and it is hoped that there will soon be a real commitment to the CERN accelerator programme.

CERN contact(s): E. Tsesmelis

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