The representatives of CERN and of the Government of Estonia signed an Agreement admitting Estonia as an Associate Member in the Pre-Stage to Membership of CERN. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the signing ceremony took place via a live feed between Geneva and Tallinn, a first in the 66-year history of CERN. The Agreement will enter into force once CERN has been informed by the Estonian authorities that all the necessary approval processes have been finalised.

“We are very pleased to welcome Estonia as a new Associate Member State in the Pre-Stage to Membership. Over the years, Estonian scientists have contributed significantly to CERN’s scientific activities and have actively participated in CERN’s educational programmes” said Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director-General. “With Estonia becoming an Associate Member, Estonia and CERN will have the opportunity to expand their collaboration in, and increase their mutual benefit from, scientific and technological development as well as education and training activities. We are looking forward to strengthening our ties further.”

Mutually beneficial cooperation with CERN is important for Estonia. Becoming an associate member is the next big step for Estonia to deepen its co-operation with CERN before becoming a full member. As an associate member, many important opportunities open up for Estonian entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers to work together on innovation and R&D, which will greatly benefit Estonia’s business sector and the economy as a whole and, vice versa, we can also share our experiences and I am convinced that CERN will become a valued partner for Estonia and Estonia a valued partner for CERN, said Jüri Ratas, Estonia’s Prime Minister, at the signing ceremony.

Estonia’s co-operation with CERN was established in 1996. After joining the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider – CERN’s flagship accelerator – in 1997, Estonia became an active member of the CERN community. Between 2004 and 2016, new collaboration frameworks gradually boosted scientific and technical co-operation between Estonia and CERN and further strengthened the participation of the Estonian particle physics community in the high-energy physics experiments at CERN. In September 2018 Estonia applied for CERN Membership.

Today, Estonia is represented by 25 scientists at CERN, namely an active group of theorists, researchers involved in R&D for the CLIC project and a CMS team involved in data analysis and the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG), with Estonia operating one of the Tier-2 centres in Tallinn; another team is taking part in the TOTEM experiment. All these scientists represent the following institutes: the Estonian National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics, the University of Tartu and its Institute of Physics, the Technical University of Tallinn (TalTech) and the Observatory of Tartu.

Estonia also benefits from CERN’s educational activities through the regular participation of its students and high-school teachers in the Summer Student and High-School Teacher programmes.

CERN’s Associate Member States are entitled to participate in the meetings of the CERN Council, Finance Committee and Scientific Policy Committee. Their nationals are eligible for limited-duration staff positions and fellowships and their industry is entitled to bid for CERN contracts, increasing opportunities for industrial collaboration in advanced technologies.


About CERN
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s leading laboratories for particle physics. The Organization is located on the French-Swiss border, with its headquarters in Geneva. Its Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Cyprus and Slovenia are Associate Member States in the pre-stage to Membership. Croatia, India, Lithuania, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine are Associate Member States. The European Union, Japan, JINR, the Russian Federation, UNESCO and the United States of America currently have Observer status.