Big Science is a potential which cannot be described in a few words. It is a multidimensional, multi-faceted term that is impossible to define clearly. It results from the fact that it comprises a multitude of different entities, industries, domains of science, and that its implications are extensive – from everyday life, our pockets in which we have our mobile phones, through inventions changing the face of global economy, to scientific discoveries reaching the stars.
Big Science is an international market based on business partnership of organisations such as CERN, ESS, ESO or Fusion For Energy with companies – smaller and larger ones, operating in various market sectors. A supplier of specialised installations or components of scientific equipment and a construction company may win a contract with CERN. For entrepreneurs, Big Science may therefore be a sound investment, an opportunity for development that cannot be missed.
Big Science drives the development of industry directly by transferring millions assigned to the pursuit of their objectives to different types of market subcontractors, and indirectly by generating and commercialising technologies creating an innovative, high-tech economy. Big Science is also a force creating an immense number of workplaces, not only as a result of the operations of international organisations, but also by the expansion of a new sector of economy, combining science and business.
TThis slogan, used by NASA JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), perfectly reflects people’s fascination with space. A fascination which, thanks to Big Science, is within reach. NASA, ESA or ESO are Big Science institutions that focus on space exploration. Other centres are, however, also related to space – they study physics of the universe or sources of energy opening entirely new perspectives to humans. Their operations can make every bold entrepreneur’s or scientist’s dream about space come true. Although Big Science centres operate on an immense international scale, they create a market that is open also to innovative small- and medium-sized companies.
The market of Big Science, and the related market of new technologies, often relies on ideas for improving a specific area of our lives, not on a business plan. Big Science market and the entire infrastructure supporting scientists and businesspeople focused around it (e.g. incubators of entrepreneurship such as ESA BIC, activity of business environment institutions, R&D facilities of universities or scientific institutions) allows transforming these ideas into revolutionary (in commercial or scientific terms) products.
Big Science is also a great flow of information and access to technologies that enable their paticipants operating on a small scale to create products of worldwide impact.
Big Science changes the face of global economies, industry and our daily lives. It is not about the results of tests carried out in advanced accelerators or observatories, but about products and technologies that are developed as a side-effect of scientific projects executed in Big Science centres, created to carry out a specific experiment or to optimise the work of research infrastructure. Their commercialisation has led to the digital revolution and to the creation of information-based civilisation.
Everyone may interpret Big Science in their own way – it all depends on which opportunity you take advantage of.