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1st July 2013. France, UK and Germany to extend support for ILL until 2023

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Towards 2023, and beyond

France, UK and Germany to extend support for ILL until 2023

Agreement strengthens the Institut Laue-Langevin’s position as the world’s flagship centre for neutron science

Paris, 1st July 2013. Today the governments of France, Germany and the UK agreed to continue their support for the Institut Laue-Langevin, the world’s leading neutron research centre, for at least the next 10 years.

A Protocol confirming this support was signed this afternoon in Paris by Geneviève Fioraso, the French Minister for Higher Education and Research, Hermione Gough, a Ministerial Counsellor at the British Embassy in France, and Peter Reuss, Director of Economic Affairs at the German Embassy in France. It extends the original 1971 intergovernmental Convention for a further ten years and guarantees the continued use of neutrons at ILL for pioneering research in both applied and fundamental fields across scientific disciplines.

The Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) is an international research centre based in Grenoble, France. It has led the world in neutron-scattering science and technology for over 40 years, since shortly after experiments began in 1972. ILL operates one of the most intense neutron sources in the world, feeding beams of neutrons to a suite of 40 high-performance instruments that are constantly upgraded. Each year some 1,200 researchers from over 40 countries visit ILL to conduct research in areas as varied as condensed matter physics, chemistry, biology, nuclear physics, and materials science. The UK, along with France and Germany, are the Associate Members and major funders of ILL, in partnership with a group of Scientific Member countries that comprises Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, India, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.    

The Protocol signed today acts as recognition of forty successful years of cooperation between the Associate countries in maintaining ILL’s enduring position as a leader in neutron science. It also reflects the growing application of this technique across scientific disciplines.

Prior to the signature of the Protocol, Mrs Fioraso, French minister for Research, said: "In a world undergoing profound and rapid change in which balance is constantly shifting due to technological innovation, I firmly believe that Europe's development can only be achieved by strengthening European research. Today more than ever before, in the face of major scientific, technological, economic and societal challenges, we must provide a collective international response. European large-scale research facilities such as ILL play a key role in pushing back the frontiers of science and rejuvenating our industry and services; they are therefore vital for progress and employment."

Professor Andrew Harrison, Director of the Institut Laue-Langevin, stressed: “In a period of economic difficulty, this renewed commitment by the governments of our Associate countries sends a very strong message of confidence in both ILL and the neutron science community to deliver world-leading science which also impacts more generally on society. We at ILL have an ambitious decade ahead of us in terms of instrument upgrades and new research partnerships, all driven by a hungry scientific community who increasingly recognise the unique benefits of neutrons to their research. With this support from our Associate countries, we can now push forward with our plans to improve our offering to these scientific communities through upgrade programmes which since 2001 have already increased the effective brightness of our instruments by more than a factor of 25.”