Contact Telephone Mail
CRG Liaison Office
Working hours: 08:00-17:00
+33 (0)4 76 88 25 02 mail
Michael Hahn
CRG Liaison Group Head
+33 (0)4 76 88 40 25 mail
Fatou Bigué Ndiaye
Administrative Assistant
+33 (0)4 76 88 25 02 mail
Valerie Clement
Administrative Assistant
+33 (0)4 76 88 20 73 mail
Vicky Herbuveaux
Administrative Assistant
+33 (0)4 76 88 24 59 mail
Eric Dettona
Technical project manager
+33 (0)4 76 88 23 02 mail


What is a CRG?

Several so-called bending-magnet beamlines at the ESRF are operated independently by Collaborating Research Groups (CRGs). Each CRG maintains a research program independent of the ESRF, and most serve specific national communities. Currently (2021) there are 11 CRGs, operating with continuous success 13 end-stations.

For legal purposes, CRGs are established at the ESRF as third-party contractors. They operate on a non-profit basis and reimburse ESRF for all costs incurred. In return for the photons they receive from the ESRF storage ring, CRGs make beam time available through ESRF’s public user program. They have access to services ESRF provides to its insertion-device beamlines, and they follow ESRF safety procedures and, wherever feasible, ESRF technical standards. More is explained below about the history of CRGs.

How is CRG beamtime accessed?

There are two routes to access beamtime on a CRG:

  • One-third of the scheduled beamtime on CRG beamlines is managed through the ESRF public user program, with proposals being submitted twice a year.
  • The remaining two-thirds of the scheduled beamtime is “private” and allocated by each CRG’s own beamtime allocation procedures.

Both routes are handled through the ESRF User Portal. While all efforts are made to make proposal submission as consistent as possible, by the nature of CRGs, the procedures to apply for private beamtime may differ slightly from beamline to beamline. The CRG Liaison Office can advise on proposal submission for CRGs.

How does the CRG Liaison Office help?

As third-party contractors, CRGs do not necessarily have in-depth knowledge of ESRF structures, and vice versa. Hence, the CRG Liaison Office was created as a central contact service which

  • Provides administrative assistance to the CRGs with respect to both user administration and follow-up of CRG purchases and budget lines
  • Participates in the maintenance and development of IT-based user administration procedures
  • Provides general secretarial assistance to CRGs
  • Supports CRGs with technical assistance (from day-to-day troubleshooting to large beamline infrastructure projects) and establishes the necessary communication links between CRGs and the ESRF service divisions.

Who constitutes the CRG Liaison Office?

Michael Hahn (CRG Liaison Engineer) and Eric Dettona (CRG engineer) advise the CRGs on all technical matters relating to the installation, construction and operation of these beamlines.

To ensure proper administration of the CRG user program and finances, the CRG office employs up to three part-time secretaries: Valerie Clement, Vicky Herbuveaux and Fatou Bigué Ndiaye (CRG secretaries)  responsible for user program, CRG staff administration, CRG finances  and tasks like site entry administration.

What is the history of CRGs?

The ESRF originally was designed and funded as a third-generation synchrotron radiation facility which would provide insertion-device (ID) X-ray sources. However, it became clear in the early stages of development of the facility, that the member countries’ scientific communities could as well benefit from the use of the radiation generated by ESRF’s bending magnets (BM). These sources, although less intense than the ID sources can, with appropriate focusing optics, produce x-ray beams with intensity at sample position which exceeded that found in many national facilities at that time.

It was therefore agreed in 1990 that scientists from the ESRF’s member countries could form groups to exploit these BM sources, provided that this use diverts neither manpower nor funds from the main ESRF program. These groups, which design, construct and operate their own beamlines, came to be called Collaborating Research Groups (CRGs).