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United Kingdom joins European Spallation Source

The United Kingdom has been invited to join the European Spallation Source (ESS) project as a member of the Steering Committee, following a meeting in Bilbao, Spain, of the current 16 Partner Countries. The ESS is planned to be a next generation research facility for materials and life sciences with neutrons, and it will be sited in southern Sweden with operations expected to commence in 2019.

“The UK is home to Europe's largest neutron scattering community and hosts a world-leading short-pulse spallation source, ISIS at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire,” said Professor John Womersley, STFC Director of Science Programmes.

“We have invested heavily to maintain this European capability with the new ISIS target station. There is strong interest and support for the ESS from the UK neutron community, as well as for the continued operation and upgrades of the two major facilities at ISIS and at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France. We are therefore delighted that the UK has been invited to join the ESS Steering Committee, and look forward to working closely with the other partners. The UK has not yet committed funding to the construction or operation phase of the ESS.”

Lars Börjesson, President of the ESS Steering Committee, said today he expected the project to benefit from the established UK technical and scientific expertise developed at ISIS. The invitation to the UK followed correspondence from Science Minister David Willetts to his Swedish counterpart.

For more information, please contact:

Terry O’Connor: +44 (0)7768 006 184


Notes to editors

About ESS

ESS is an intergovernmental research infrastructure project, and it will be built in Lund in southern Scandinavia. At least sixteen European countries will take part in the construction, financing and operation of the ESS. Sweden and Denmark will co-host the ESS and cover 50 percent of the 1.4 B€ investment costs and 20 percent of the operating costs together with the Nordic and Baltic states. The European Spallation Source ESS AB is a public limited company, today owned by the Swedish and the Danish states. ESS AB is planning the future international ESS organisation. Building is expected to start around 2013, the first neutrons to be produced in 2019 and the facility to be fully operational around 2025.

About ISIS

ISIS (link opens in a new window) is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. A suite of neutron and muon instruments allow the properties of materials to be understood at the scale of atoms. ISIS supports a national and international community of more than 2000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology, materials engineering and IT.

About The Institut Laue-Langevin Facility

The Institut Laue-Langevin (link opens in a new window) (ILL) Facility located in Grenoble operates the most intense reactor based neutron source in world. It was established in 1967and the UK became an Associate in 1974. STFC manages the UK membership of ILL.

About STFC

Last updated: 02 November 2017

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