Which long-term future for the ESRF?


In a few weeks, the ESRF will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first delivery of X-rays into the Experimental Hall. After two decades of global leadership, including the current Upgrade Programme, time has come for formulating a long term mission and positioning of the ESRF in the European and international context of synchrotron science.

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The Council of the ESRF therefore established a “Working Group for the Scientific Mission of the ESRF” (SME-WG) with the task to reinforce the mission of the ESRF to guide both the users’ programme and the international role of the ESRF up to the year 2030 and beyond.

The members of this Working Group are listed below. Nominated by the ESRF Contracting Party and Scientific Associate countries, they have in common unique broad knowledge of the field and a vision for the future of photon science. Michel van der Rest, Vice-Chairman of the ESRF Council and former Director General of the French national Synchrotron Soleil, chairs the Working Group.

The Working Group will deliver a report to the Council by the end of 2012. This report will address, inter alia, how the ESRF machine could be kept at a world-leading position and whether a major accelerator upgrade could be envisaged; which areas of science should be developed at the ESRF in the longer term, and which new facilities should complement or replace existing ones; and, finally, how the ESRF should position itself with respect to the other synchrotron sources.

The ESRF has developed unique scientific and technical expertise in all areas of synchrotron science. Its staff is at the origin of a dense network of collaborations with international, European and Grenoble-based institutions and laboratories. New synchrotron facilities recently built or under construction or planning in several ESRF Contracting Party or Scientific Associate countries have made strong use of their expertise and experience. Many more high intensity sources of photons for science are under development or consideration in Europe and around the world.

The report of the Working Group will review the international context in which the ESRF operates today and its foreseen evolution, providing answers on how the investments by the Members and Associates of the ESRF could deliver maximum benefits for cutting edge science, for innovation, for competitiveness of European industry in synchrotron based methods and techniques, and for national and European synchrotron user communities.

The Aim of the report of the Working Group is to advise the ESRF Council on how to reinforce the long-term mandate and mission of the ESRF in the global scenario of synchrotron based science in Europe and world-wide.

The members of the SME-WG “Working Group for the Scientific Mission of the ESRF” are:


Robert Donovan (UK)

Helmut Dosch (DE)

Salvador Ferrer (ES)

Jacques Ghijsen (BE/NL)

Nils Mårtensson (DK/NO/SE/SF)

Christoph Quitmann (CH)

Giorgio Rossi (IT)

Charles Simon (FR)

Joel Sussman (ESRF Associates)

Michel Spiro (appointed by Council)

Jochen Schneider (appointed by Council)

Michel van der Rest (Chair)

Top image: The ESRF seen from the neighbouring Vercors mountain range