Looking into the future

11-03-2004

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The ESRF Users’ Meeting, on 10 and 11 February 2004, focused mainly on the future of the facility, discussing a Long Term Strategy for 10 to 20 years.

The ESRF Management asked the Users to consider a number of propositions for the renewal of the ESRF’s facilities, in order to preserve the ESRF’s status as a world-leader in X-ray research. These ideas had previously been discussed with the Science Advisory Committee (SAC) who had expressed their enthusiasm at the ideas proposed by the Management.

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Different moments of the Users' Meeting 2004.

The Users’ Meeting plenary session started with a description by the Directors of their ambitious projects, based on a document submitted to the SAC and Users. The Users were asked to give their opinion about the different proposals, first in the plenary session, and then in the parallel sections organised by each scientific group at the ESRF. Major changes to the ESRF’s x-ray source were suggested, such as a significantly increased electron current and an order of magnitude increase of the brilliance; another proposal was to increase the number of beamlines.

A second major area of discussion concerned emerging collaborations and centres of research excellence. The Users’ response about partnerships between specialised institutions in different fields, such as partnerships in Materials Science and Soft Condensed Matter was very favourable.

When considering the new synchrotron sources around Europe the keyword is complementarity. The SR community and the ESRF will surely benefit from these new sources. “We should work together with the new synchrotrons”, explained Bill Stirling, Director General of the ESRF.

These ambitious projects for the future of the ESRF will not be left in a drawer until the next Users’ Meeting. Based on the discussion at the Users’ Meeting of February 2004, Management will work on a document to be presented to future SAC and Council meetings for discussion.

The meeting featured also an inspiring plenary talk by H. Dosch on the benefits of a coordinated use of modern synchrotron and neutron sources in nanoscience. Recent scientific highlights and technical advances at the ESRF were also part of the dense scientific programme of seven topical parallel sessions.