The Einstein Telescope is a European investment in an observatory that will offer new insights into the origins of the universe, black holes and stars – all with the help of gravitational waves. The triangular telescope, whose sides are 10 kilometres long, will be built some 200 to 300 metres underground to capture as little of Earth’s surface noise as possible. The observatory is unique of its kind and is sometimes compared to CERN in Geneva, which is known for having the largest particle accelerator in the world.
The final decision on the future location of this telescope will be made in 2024 – either the Meuse-Rhine region or Sardinia. The project will yield about EUR 2 billion in investment and create 500 direct jobs and 1,150 indirect jobs. That is why Limburg, and by extension the Meuse-Rhine region, is doing all it can to strengthen its candidate profile. One of the initiatives is the ET2SMEs project.
The ET2SMEs project
ET2SMEs stands for Einstein Telescope To Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. The objective of this project: to strengthen interregional collaboration between SMEs in the Meuse-Rhine region and encourage technological and economic developments as a result.
POM Limburg acts as matchmaker and does so in several ways:
- Organising company visits and workshops.
- Organising network events and participating in events set up by socioeconomic organisations.
- Bringing companies from the Meuse-Rhine region together, across borders, and accelerating technological innovations as a result.
The resulting collaborations not only demonstrate that this region is a highly technological knowledge region – they will also play an important role in the development phase of the Einstein telescope.
Why is this so important?
The Meuse-Rhine region currently makes a strong case for the Einstein telescope already; the only thing missing is a direct link with businesses. This project fosters innovations and creates a strong ecosystem.
If we bring the Einstein telescope here, it will bring many advantages with it, such as major investments and high-quality jobs. Limburg-based companies will be able to offer their services and products to the observatory. The effective start-up is not forecast until 2032, but will be already issued now. Not only for high-tech companies, but also for companies in the planning and construction sectors, for example.
ET2SMEs is a collaboration between seven organisations that work in the area of economic development and innovation in the Meuse-Rhine region:
- POM Limburg (BE)
- Universiteit van Luik (BE)
- Waalse luchtvaartcluster SKYWIN (BE)
- Technologiebureau Sowalfin (BE)
- AGIT (DUI): bureau voor economische ontwikkeling in de regio Aken
- NRMWP.NRW (DUI): organisatie die de ontwikkeling van Noordrijn-Westfalen op gebied van technologie stimuleert
- LIOF (NL): de regionale ontwikkelingsmaatschappij van Nederlands-Limburg
The collaboration as part of the ET2SMEs project commenced on 1 March 2021 and will run until 21 August 2023. A budget of EUR 2 million supports the project. Funding is provided by the European Interreg programme, the provincial government of Limburg, and the Flemish government.