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UK-European Spallation Source (UK-ESS)

UK-ESS is the UK’s contribution to the ESS project.

The UK contribution has two parts – a cash contribution and an in-kind contribution. The in-kind part consists of a variety of deliverables which are matched to the UK’s research and industrial capabilities. The cash part goes towards ensuring that the team in Lund is fully staffed and that the infrastructure is provided so that when the various national in-kind contributions arrive they can be assembled into a working ESS.

The task of managing the overall £165M programme is being undertaken by the UK-ESS Project Office, under the watchful eye of the UK-ESS Project Board whose job is to ensure that the UK neutron community and associated industry get maximum value from the UK’s significant investment.

The first task for the team has been to establish which elements of the ESS should be provided by the UK. This required a careful balance to be struck balancing the needs of ESS against the capabilities and interests of the UK Neutron community. While many of the projects are being led by STFC, they will in practice largely be carried out in industry through STFC’s standard procurement routes.

At its meeting in February 2016, the UK-ESS Project Board (link) formally endorsed the following list of contributions to the ESS to be funded from the UK contribution budget. All of the work will rely heavily on procurements, much of it with local industries. Once plans for this initial set of contributions are firmed up and costs become better known, there is the potential for further contributions to be added.

Contributions to ESS accelerator:

  • RF distribution hardware, being led by Huddersfield University
  • RF cavities, being led by the UK’s Accelerator Technology Centre, ASTeC
  • Vacuum hardware already delivered by STFC’s Technology Department
  • Beam delivery vacuum hardware, being led by STFC’s Technology Department

Contributions to ESS Neutron Scattering Systems:

  • The Loki instrument, being led by STFC’s ISIS department
  • The Freija instrument, being led by STFC’s ISIS department
  • Detector electronics development, being led by STFC’s Technology Department
  • Data streaming and reduction software, being led by STFC’s ISIS department
  • Support laboratory guidance being given by STFC’s ISIS department

Contributions to ESS Target systems

  • Active Cells for handling radioactive materials, being led by UKAEA at Culham, potentially including casks for containment of radioactive materials (subject to budget)

The job of the small team in the UK-ESS Project Office, part funded by EU Horizon 2020 project BrightnESS, is to co-ordinate the overall programme of work in the UK, worth around £115M over several years.

The team is still being formed but will include programme management, financial, and procurement expertise and support.

The UK has been a significant player for many years in the ESS collaboration, especially via staff from STFC’s ISIS facility. The list below shows UK membership on various ESS bodies.

Committee UK delegate
ESS Council Andrew Taylor, Neil Pratt
Science Advisory Committee (SAC) Sylvia McLain (co-chair), Toby Perring
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Tim Broome, Mark Herron
Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) Neil Pratt, Maggie Collick
Instrument collaboration Board (ICB) Robert McGreevy
Target Collaboration Board (TCB) Justin Greenhalgh
Target technical Board (TTB) Martin Townsend
Accelerator Collaboration Board (ACB) Peter McIntosh
Accelerator Technical Board (ATB) Peter McIntosh invited
In-Kind Review Committee (IKRC) Uschi Steigenberger
Environment, Safety and Health Advisory Committee (ESHAC) Marek Jura

We are keen for UK industry to play a major role in building the 1.8 B€ ESS project. There are three routes for industrial involvement in ESS:

  1. By directly bidding to ESS for work. This will be funded by ESS. Invitations to bid competitively are announced on the procurement section of the ESS website. ESS also advertises tenders to UK companies through the STFC tender opportunities service. Please register here if you wish to receive these tender notifications. Support for UK companies wishing to bid is available from the business opportunities team. You may find it helpful to look at the The ESS cost book, which outlines areas of work for construction. As an ERIC, the ESS may adopt its own procurement rules based on transparency, non-discrimination and competition; the ESS procurement rules can be found here.
  2. By winning contracts to supply elements of the UK’s in-kind contributions. The contributions are listed here – STFC will use its normal procurement procedures including the use of approved local suppliers and OJEU announcements where appropriate.
  3. By winning contracts to supply parts of other nations’ national contributions. This is likely to happen mostly though existing collaborative links. A list of signed In-Kind Contribution (IKC) agreements can be found here.

An event was held on 22 November 2016 focused on how UK industry can engage with the ESS. All presentations from the event can be found here.

The business opportunities team can help you participate in this opportunity; please contact:

For further information on the opportunities available for UK industry at international facilities, please see the tender opportunities website.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000