Francesco Sette


Dear reader

I am proud to present to you the 2015 issue of the ESRF Highlights.

2015 has been a very special year for the ESRF.

The ESRF launched its new and final development phase of the Upgrade Programme: the ESRF Extremely Brilliant Source Programme, or ESRF-EBS. This new phase is supported enthusiastically by the ESRF’s 21 partner nations and by the European Commission, notably through a contract signed recently with the European Investment Bank. This new programme is revolutionary, and is centred on the construction of a new storage ring that will adopt an all-new hybrid multi-bend achromat lattice design. It will have a normalised horizontal emittance at least a factor of 10 better than any other synchrotron source constructed or presently under construction, and its performances will be a factor of 40 better than the present ESRF storage ring. This new X-ray source is expected to deliver X-ray beams to ESRF beamlines with an increase of approximately 100 times in brilliance and coherence. The EBS programme also includes the construction of new state-of-the-art beamlines, a scientific instrumentation programme with ambitious detector projects and a data management and analysis strategy. An instrumentation upgrade is also planned for several beamlines, including the “national beamlines” operated by Collaborating Research Groups.

During this last year, the ESRF has made tremendous progress in the EBS programme by finalising the engineering of the new storage ring, reviewing the project costs and spending profile, preparing and launching the pre-procurement and procurement phases, defining the master plan, scheduling the work during the assembly and commissioning phases, and establishing the procedures and planning for the restart of the beamlines.

The EBS accelerator project schedule includes a long shutdown period, required for the dismantling of the existing storage ring, for the assembly and commissioning of the new one, and for the adaptation of the ESRF beamline portfolio to the new source. The present plan foresees normal User Operation until end 2018, a long shutdown in 2019 and 2020, and restart of User Operation at the end of August 2020 with a maximum number of operational beamlines. Adaptation of the beamlines, their refurbishment and construction schedule are key items on the agenda of the new ESRF Science Advisory Committee (SAC), and the Management is presently working on the beamline implementation master plan.

In 2015, the ESRF also completed the Upgrade Programme Phase I, on time and within budget. The ESRF Council, at its last plenary meeting, on 30 November and 1 December 2015, praised the delivery of Phase I through the following message: “The Council celebrates the delivery of the ESRF Upgrade Programme Phase I, which has been completed on time, within budget and with minimal impact on the operation of the facility and the ongoing user programme. It recognises that the skills, competence and dedication of the ESRF staff have been the key to this successful delivery. The Council warmly thanks and congratulates all the staff for their outstanding work and for their efforts over the last few years, which consolidates the ESRF’s pioneering role in the development of cutting-edge synchrotron X-ray science and techniques.” I wish to echo the Council’s words, and thank and congratulate ESRF staff and users who, during these last seven years, have contributed with dedication and enthusiasm to this outstanding accomplishment!

The launch of ESRF-EBS and the delivery of ESRF UP Phase I, two critical steps for the ESRF’s future, have been carried out while maintaining optimum conditions for user operation: excellent operation of the accelerator complex and outstanding beamline performances with record values in terms of submitted proposals and operation statistics. This is presented within this latest issue of the Highlights, where the quality and breadth of the scientific research carried out at the ESRF, and the relevance of the knowledge being generated by our users is clearly evident.

Of significance for the user programme, in 2015, the ESRF completed a long, multiannual process which led to the drafting of the ESRF “Data Policy”. For the first time since construction, the ESRF has finally adopted a comprehensive “Data Policy” document that deals with key aspects of the ESRF’s core activity such as data ownership, long-term storage, access, curation, documentation, etc. This document was endorsed by the Council at its last meeting in December 2015.

In terms of daily operation of the facility, we have seen our site logistics improving steadily during 2015, with the completion of the relocation of staff offices, the new contract for the management of our restaurant and guest house, and the availability of green spaces for all on the EPN Science Campus.

Over the year, the ESRF has also continued to strengthen its international visibility and attractiveness with outreach activities that are increasingly gaining recognition. Notable examples include supporting the HERCULES school in close collaboration with the Université Joseph Fourier (now part of the Université Grenoble Alpes) and the ILL, organising the second edition of the ESRF-ILL International Undergraduate Student Programme, supporting the Synchrotron@school programme in partnership with the Académie de Grenoble, hosting the First Conference and Workshop for an African Light Source in the context of the International Year of Light, participating in numerous H2020 programmes, actively contributing to renowned science fairs, and welcoming an increasing number of visitors from academia and from the general public.

All this has been possible thanks to the engagement of ESRF staff, to the enthusiastic support of our partner nations and to the trust of our science community, allowing us to imagine and construct the ESRF’s future for the benefit of all, for new generations of researchers as well as for society in general.

I am convinced that now, more so than ever before, the ESRF is not only an excellent place to carry out science, but it is also a prime example of international collaboration and cooperation. Therefore, we have the duty and responsibility to share our passion for science and technology with the widest possible community, to contribute to the advancement of knowledge across borders, and to inspire the new generations to perpetuate the ESRF’s legacy for many years to come. Science is an inescapable driver to peaceful relations among cultures and nations, a force for sustainability and a necessity in confronting the major challenges facing our world today. This vision should guide us daily and in our long-term activities and initiatives.

I wish to end by thanking the ESRF users, to whom this new issue of the ESRF Highlights is dedicated, for their support and congratulating them for the excellent science that they carry out at the ESRF.

Francesco Sette
Director General,