The ESRF’s Upgrade Programme features in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap


PRESS RELEASE: On 19 October 2006 the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures presented the first ever European Roadmap for Research infrastructures. The document presents 35 large-scale research infrastructure projects, identified as being of key importance for the development of European science and innovation. One of these projects is the ESRF upgrade programme, planned for the next five to ten years.

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The ESFRI roadmap will allow a common European approach to the development of such facilities, support the definition of priorities and aid the pooling of the significant financial resources required for their realisation. At the ESRF, the Long-Term Strategy upgrade is an ambitious renewal programme that aims to ensure the leading scientific position of the facility over the next two decades. “Naturally, we are very pleased that the ESRF Upgrade Programme is part of the ESFRI roadmap. The upgrade is a very real challenge for us, but is essential if the ESRF is to continue to provide the European scientific community with the very best experimental tools”, says Professor Bill Stirling, Director General of the ESRF.

New and refurbished beamlines are proposed to answer new scientific needs, underpinned by a programme to maintain and refurbish the accelerator complex which is at the heart of the ESRF’s activities. The project includes highly specialised nano-focus beamlines, with even brighter “hard” X-ray beams, and the renewal of beamline components such as detectors, optics, sample environment and sample positioning.

The upgrade will involve the reconstruction of about one third of the beamlines for significantly improved performance. Some will be extended to about 120 meters to provide nanometer focus capabilities. In addition, the accelerator complex will be upgraded, and science-driven partnerships with both industry and academia will be developed, all underpinned by an ambitious instrument development programme.

This project is the result of three years of consultation and work between the ESRF and the scientific user community. This renewal programme will be submitted to the Council in 2007 and, if approved, would start in 2008. The down-time for the facility would be as short as possible in order to minimise disruption of the users’ scientific programmes.

The importance of large scale facilities for European science is demonstrated by the words of the European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik, when congratulating ESFRI: “Research infrastructures are a critical element of building research excellence in Europe. Not only can they support the work of European scientists, but world-class facilities attract the best scientific minds from around the world.”

Artist's impression of a section of the future extended and upgraded ESRF Experimental Hall.

Caption: Artist's impression of a section of the future extended and upgraded ESRF Experimental Hall. This upgrade will enable longer beamlines to take advantage of the ESRF's fine X-ray source properties and allow scientific centres to be build around beamline villages. Credits: ASSA.

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For further information, please contact Montserrat Capellas, ESRF Press Officer, tel. +33 476 88 26 63.