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On your marks, get set, go!


The ESRF presents its Upgrade programme to the scientific community. The event marked another milestone on the long road to upgrade the ESRF. The European light source is today a world leader in synchrotron science and its Upgrade Programme intends to keep it at the forefront for the next ten to twenty years.

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On 24 October, the ESRF officially launched its “Purple Book”, the Science and technology Programme 2008-2017, at a special Information and Discussion Meeting with its users. Almost 400 scientists from 17 countries participated in the meeting, which aimed to inform them about the Upgrade and collect their feedback.


Coffee breaks took place in a marquee next to the central building due to the big number of participants.

In order to discuss the different proposals, after a plenary session, each participant moved to one of seven different afternoon parallel sessions, according to his/her research focus. Committees of external scientists had put together a set of high quality scientific sessions with many invited speakers bringing in expertise from around the world.

At the end of the day, the chairs of each session presented impressions on the different projects of the Upgrade. “The early comments from the participants are positive and very supportive of the Upgrade, strongly encouraging the ESRF to push on with the planning”, explains Ed Mitchell, one of the coordinators of the Purple Book.

The day was not only productive and successful scientifically, but also of interest to the local media. Journalists from newspaper, TV and radio came to the ESRF to find out more about the future projects of one of the largest international research centres in the Rhone-Alpes area of France.



One of the parallel sessions, where the different proposals from the Purple Book were discussed.

The upgrade “race” has only just started. It will reach a decisive moment when the ESRF Council will decide on the Programme next year. Management, staff and ESRF users are confident that a decade of development and innovation will follow to keep the ESRF as a world leader in synchrotron science. “We are expecting very exciting times to come”, says Mitchell.