ESS/MAX IV Summit 2022
Pandemic restrictions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have put pressure on the research and innovation system. But is has also made it clear that Big Science, such as the research facilities ESS and MAX IV, are crucial for finding answers to burning scientific questions. New vaccines, solutions for phasing out fossil fuels, new environmentally-friendly materials and processes that work in a circular economy – the needs are growing by the day.
This year’s Summit discussed how the effects of the geopolitical changes in Europe in 2022 impact on the research ecosystem, ESS and MAX IV, and how to secure the future competence that is needed to solve the challenges and to benefit fully from the investments being made in ESS and MAX IV.
The Swedish Research Council finances feasibility studies for future instruments at ESS
One of the areas that the Swedish Research Council has identified as important for Sweden concerning ESS is opportunities for Swedish researchers to participate in a competitive proposal for new instruments.
In recent years, two initiatives, in particular, have excelled. One is SAGA, a GISANS instrument (grazing-incidence small-angle neutron scattering) for structural studies of surfaces, thin films and boundary layers. Such experiments are of interest to both industry and academia in characterising all kinds of complex systems such as food and biological materials. The second is HIBEAM (high-intensity baryon extraction and measurement), an instrument for subatomic physics for studies of the fundamental properties of the neutron, which will be used to look for new physics beyond the so-called standard model.
Following the results of the needs inventory 2020, the Council for Research Infrastructures (RFI) decided to handle the instrumentation at ESS in a particular order, i.e. outside RFI's ordinary application procedures that were deemed not appropriate. As a step in this handling, RFI decided before the summer of 2021 to set up a targeted call for feasibility studies for future instruments at ESS. The SAGA and HIBEAM collaborations were invited to apply.
The applications have been prepared during the autumn. At its council meeting on 27-28 October, RFI decided to finance the SAGA and HIBEAM collaborations with SEK 10 million each during 2021-2023 to carry out the instrument feasibility studies. The feasibility studies will result in competitive proposals that can be submitted to the ESS council when the time is right to appoint the instruments that will constitute the ESS's future instruments.
LoI for Swedish in-kind contribution to ESS 2021
The Council for Research Infrastructures (RFI) decided at its council meeting in September 2021 to add SEK 30 million per year during 2021-2025 for the initial operational phase at ESS and that the money preferably should be used for Swedish in-kind grants.
As possible in-kind for Sweden already in 2021, ESS and the Swedish Research Council have identified the ongoing accelerator testing activity at the FREIA laboratory External link. at Uppsala University as most suitable. The intention is now that the Swedish Research Council will finance this to a value of SEK 24 million.
To receive support from the In-Kind Reference Committee at ESS for this to be credited as an in-kind contribution for Sweden, the Swedish Research Council and ESS have signed a Letter of Intent describing the parties' shared intentions. The Swedish Research Council now hopes that the ESS Council, based on this document, will decide to credit Sweden with the first of its kind contribution to the ESS at the next meeting in December.
What can ESS and MAX IV do for life science?
Stockholm Science City held a webinar 26 May 2021 in collaboration with the Office for ESS/MAX IV. Presentations where made on ESS and MAX IV technologies relevant to life science, how to apply for beamtime, and what kind of results can be obtained.
Selma Maric from MAX IV and Zoë Fisher from ESS told about the facilities and the InfraLife project and gave examples of research that can be carried out. Lionel Trésaugues explained how Sprint Bioscience and the FragMAX team at MAX IV collaborated to develop fragment screening using X-ray crystallography for cancer-related proteins.
The seminar is held in English.