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  • LEAPS launch in Brussels. Credit Diamond Light Source

Super-Microscopes to Play Vital Role in Integrating European Science

Jan 18 2018 Read 449 Times

Representatives of organisations from 19 light source facilities across Europe gathered in Brussels during November for the launch of LEAPS, an initiative aiming to offer a step change in European cooperation, through a common vision of enabling scientific excellence to help solve global challenges, while boosting European competitiveness and integration.

Signing an agreement to strengthen their collaboration, witnessed by Robert-Jan Smits, Director General for Research and Innovation (RTD) at the European Commission and Giorgio Rossi, Chair of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), the League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources, (LEAPS) aims to develop a common sustainable strategy with all stakeholders, including national policy makers, user communities and the European Commission.

The light sources that form LEAPS are all accelerators-based, producing exceptionally intense beams of X-rays, ultra-violet and infrared light and involve the participation of 24 000 direct user scientists and an extended network of 35 000 researchers, including five Nobel Prizes.

These ‘super-microscopes’ enable research on samples in the tiniest detail, helping make invisible information strikingly visible. Used for both basic and applied research, virtually all fields of science can be covered ranging from chemistry, biology and physics, to energy, medicine, cultural heritage and engineering.

Prof Helmut Dosch, Chair of LEAPS and Director of DESY, Hamburg in Germany said: “National facilities have so far mostly been developed and operated independently of each other, yet they have much in common, because most of their scientific objectives are very similar. Ensuring that this exceptional science network and infrastructure is used effectively is core to the work of LEAPS, which is bringing together 16 organisations representing 19 facilities across Europe. This official new collaboration will become a catalyst for impact on these global challenges, a key driver for competiveness and a compelling force for closer integration and peace through scientific collaboration.”

Professor Andrew Harrison, CEO of Diamond Light Source, the UK's national Synchrotron said: "Diamond Light Source is delighted to be part of this major new initiative to strengthen the role of light sources in science across Europe. Diamond is one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world and its pioneering capabilities are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of scientific research and now our work will have even wider reach as part of LEAPS.”

Prof Harrison concludes: "This major collaboration comes at a time when we have also just committed to the 'Together Science Can' declaration - a global campaign to unite researchers and institutes around the world to protect vital international scientific collaboration. For Diamond, LEAPS is a tangible way of contributing to that aspiration."

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