Who Are We?

ICAR, a not-for-profit organization, is a consortium of five Illinois institutions of higher learning: Illinois Institute of Technology, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The organization was formed in 1999 and funded by a grant from the Higher Education Cooperative Act under the aegis of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Its purpose is to help ensure that Fermilab continues to be a vital force in the forefront of international high-energy physics and an engine for scientific, economic and educational progress in Illinois.

ICAR works to ensure that the best proposal for a new high-energy physics accelerator project will be developed for construction in Illinois, thereby maintaining Fermilab's preeminence in the search to unlock the secrets of the universe. Fermilab is the largest lab in the U.S. for particle physics and currently has the world's highest-energy particle accelerator. That profile will fade in a just a few short years when a new machine in Switzerland -- CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) -- takes center stage. Fermilab must position itself to take the lead in whatever unfolds for the future in the post-LHC era or risk being marginalized. The loss to Illinois could be much of the existing $300 million in direct federal subsidies; 2,200 jobs; the economic benefits of the 2,300 visiting scientists annually; and, in the longer term, a major income deficit to the area as the lab's scientists and engineers would have to move away from Kane and DuPage counties to seek employment.

ICAR envisions Fermilab as a catalyst for innovation and growth in northeastern Illinois, an area with vast educational, research and commercial resources that, consolidated, could provide a bright economic future for the region. This vision situates Fermilab as an international focal point for scientific inquiry reaching out into the very frontiers of knowledge. The five Illinois universities, each with strong groups in accelerator and particle physics and engineering, would continue to work with Fermilab to form a unique talent pool of physicists and engineers and enhance the intellectual economy of the region. The benefits would include: immense value being added to the scientific education of children and youth in Illinois; direct economic benefits from DOE funding and from the visiting scientists flowing into Fermilab; and major financial stimulus from spin-off industries associated with accelerator-based research and the exceptional constellation of scientific and technical expertise.

Fermilab must be the obvious choice for the next big accelerator to follow the CERN accelerator. The discoveries in the 21st century have the potential to change our notions of space, time, energy and matter, and Fermilab and Illinois could be at the center of this explosion of knowledge. In addition, accelerator-based research, as a result of the attendant technological advances and discoveries, has had profound benefits in such fields as medical imaging, cancer treatment, new materials development and drug development and manufacture. The Kane and DuPage county area would be perfect for a research park complex where spin-off and ancillary industries could be incubated. ICAR is motivated by the knowledge that Illinois can grow and flourish economically, educationally and intellectually with a vibrant Fermilab on the frontier of fundamental physics research.