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European Spallation Source Awarded New Legal Status

27 August 2015

The European Spallation Source ESS is to have its legal status transferred to that of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). The establishment of the consortium, which now bears the official name “European Spallation Source ERIC” was formally approved last week. The decision will come into effect on 28 August.

The new legal status as an ERIC greatly facilitates the joint development and operation of research infrastructures of European interest, for example, through direct management and funding by member countries. The leadership of the ESS Consortium will form an advisory board, made up of representatives of the current group of eleven founding member countries. Up until now, the European Spallation Source was run as a Swedish-Danish private limited company.

“In the future, the ESS will be the most powerful neutron source in the world and will offer unique opportunities for research on new materials and biological processes, which can, for example, be used in the fields of information technology, energy, or medical research”, explained Prof. Sebastian M. Schmidt, member of the Board of Directors at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The ESS is part of a new generation of neutron sources that operate without the use of nuclear fission. Due to its new research potential, as well as the installation and operation of the new facility itself, the whole of Europe is set to benefit from an economic boost from the ESS.

ESSAn impression of the future ESS Campus.
Copyright: ESS/Team Henning Larsen Architects

Since 2010, the involvement of German scientists has been crucial to the planning of the facility. In the present construction phase, they have continued to assume an important role, in particular in the development and design of the instruments. In addition to Forschungszentrum Jülich, as coordinator of the German contribution to the ESS, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht and the Technische Universität München (TUM) are also involved in this major European project. The first neutrons are expected to be produced by 2019, and the first experiments are scheduled for 2023.

The European Union has contributed to the funding of the preparatory stage of the project with € 5 million, and is supporting it in 2015 through HORIZON 2020, the EU framework programme for research and innovation, with a further € 20 million. Germany, through the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, is contributing € 202.5 million to the estimated construction costs of around € 1.8 billion in addition to an annual sum of € 15 million towards operating costs.

Further information:

European Spallation Source ESS (in German)

European Spallation Source ERIC