European partners
(as of Jan. 2008)

Contact in France, at Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot : Etienne Parizot

Contact in Germany, at Universität Karlsruhe: Johannes Bluemer,

Contact in Italy, at Universita di Roma-Sapienza : Paolo De Bernardis, Fernando Ferroni

Synopsis: A group of leading European Universities and Research Institutions commit to set up a joint higher education action, by proposing a common Master programme in the field of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, within the European LMD framework. The CAP Master will provide students with broad, high-level academic education and training in close contact with researchers and engineers of the partner institutions with internationally recognized expertise in the field, resulting in a Joint European Master Degree.
NB: Programme, framework and implementation in construction, to be discussed and finalized with the partner institutions!


The field of astroparticle physics and cosmology has been growing dramatically during the last decade. Major theoretical and phenomenological progress resulted from the joint work of formerly distinct scientific communities (notably particle physicists, high-energy astrophysicists, cosmologists). Further progress and potential breakthrough are expected in the next decades, following the varied, intense and ongoing experimental efforts. Important investments are being consented by the European Union and the relevant national institutions for ground-based experiments, space missions and diverse R&D programmes in relation with this field. Research and R&D are now efficiently structured and organised at the European level, through various networks and programmes (APPEC, ASPERA, HEAP-NET, ILIAS...).

It appears important to complement these actions with a similar effort on the side of higher education. The CAP Master is intended to help with the emergence of an integrated European community of students in this field of research and the associated technology. It will dedicate to the formation of high-level scientists and engineers, favouring student's contacts with international working environments and facilitating academic and professional mobility.

Aims and strategy

Some aims of the CAP Master (unordered and non-exhaustive):

The global strategy will be decided through discussions between the different partners, matching our collective goals with local technical and administrative constraints. The pedagogical strategy will include:

The above points will be discussed among the CAP partners and adapted or changed whenever appropriate.

NB: the intention is to set up both the programme (see below) and the framework (see above) for this joint European Master degree through a common reflexion, as a common answer to the general problem of providing a genuine European formation in Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, to make the most of the richness, diversity and complementarity of scientific cultures, research approaches, expertise and know-hows in the participating universities and institutes.

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Implementation and agenda

The CAP Master will be starting in Fall 2009, welcoming its first students both at the M1 and M2 level [or possibly only at the M1 level on the first year... to be discussed with partners].

Students will be encouraged to take classes along the 2 years of the CAP Master, but it will be possible to leave or join at the M2 level (thanks to the usual system of ECTS – European Credit Transfer System).

French agenda:

[NB: Amendments, or even substantial revision of the terms of the Letter of Intent can be proposed and adopted afterwards. The first CAP Master class will not be given until Fall 2009, so that there will be much more time to finalize the programme and the modalities of its technical and administrative implementation. But we should indeed aim at meeting this deadline, not to miss this one-in-four-years opportunity...]

German agenda: any specific constraint? ...

Italian agenda: any specific constraint? ...

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Funding and support

Since mobility will be encouraged all along the Master curriculum (for both classes and research training), financial aspects must be considered as an important part of the project.

Each partner will seek financial and/or technical support from its local institution(s). As an example, the Paris 7 University is setting up programmes for student accomodation, with priority to foreign students participating in European masters. The city of Paris will also provide special grants for European students. In general, a joint European project likely to increase the international visibility of the participating universities and the attractivity of the associated research laboratories should receive strong political support from the local Institutions (at least, this is the case in France/Paris 7).

A number of European programmes exist to support such initiatives and facilitate individual's mobility in a training and education framework. National programmes (such as ANR contracts as well as P2I grants in France) can also be solicited.

Direct European funding will be sought.

The new call for the Erasmus Mundus programme for academic year 2008-2009 can be seen here. It is set up to improve cooperation between higher education institutions and promote exchanges of students and researchers between member countries of the European Union and third party countries. See the official announcement here and the actual call for proposal. The deadline for this call is 15th of February 2008!

There is also a call for proposal within the Lifelong Learning Program (LLP), where we can apply for a support (for mobility): see the details here. The Erasmus programme within LLP is the one that could apply to us, with a deadline of 14th of March 2008.

The European Astroparticle network (of agencies) ASPERA is also naturally interested by the proposed joint higher education action. Substantial involvement should be expected. [NB: "ASPERA is a network of national government agencies responsible for coordinating and funding national research efforts in Astroparticle Physics"]


Managment of global funds and individual commitments of the participating institutions to be discussed...

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The detail of the formation offer will be fixed through joint reflexions with the European partners, and the distribution of the different classes among the different universities will depend on local expertise and involvement.

Some (rather basic) classes will be available at every node of the network of CAP universities. Others will be “site-specific”. The detailed implementation of the curriculum will be adjusted as a function of the number of students following the CAP Master, which may be somewhat limited in the first years of activity (co-location of all the students at any time can be envisaged in that case, say with 6 months spent all together on each site, one after the other).

As a tentative overview, the two-year formation could be based on the following items (unordered list), distributed within three categories: “theoretical foundations” (common to many disciplines related to theoretical physics), “core disciplines” (specifically associated with the main objectives of the CAP Master), and “techniques and know-how” (useful for many scientific activities inside or outside academic research). NB: not all these items may be proposed, and some may be proposed as options (to be chosen among a several ones).

Theoretical foundations:

Core disciplines:

Techniques and know-how:

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