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New management team at Institut Laue-Langevin see European collaboration as key to scientific advance

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New management team at Institut Laue-Langevin see European collaboration as key to scientific advance

The Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble has just appointed a new senior management team as it prepares to mark 40 years of experiments at the cutting edge of neutron science.

Prof. Andrew Harrison, formerly Science Director has been appointed Director General, with Helmut Schober taking the role of Science Director and Jose-Luis Martinez continuing as Director of Projects and Techniques.

“I feel very privileged to become Director General of the world’s flagship centre for neutron science,” says Andrew Harrison “we have been given a huge boost over the past decade through our instrument renewal plan, and we have many of the world’s best neutron scientists and engineers. We’re poised for real progress in key problems such as high-temperature super conductors and membranes in biological systems and we will continue to find creative ways of enabling this progression.  However we will make the most progress in developing new techniques and instrumentation by working with other neutron institutes on the challenges that face us all.”  

The ILL received over 700 proposals for beam time in the last round and serves a community of over 4500 European scientists. New Science Director Helmut Schober believes that the number can grow still more “We will work hard to widen the use of neutron scattering by engaging with communities in biology, earth and environmental science who might not fully exploit the technique. “We have to strike a balance between maintaining dominance in areas such as the magnetic properties of materials whilst at the same time introducing our techniques to casual users who may not be hardcore physicists.”

Jose Luis Martinez, who remains as the Director of Projects and Technique Division believes that ILL will also increase its community in the applied sciences. “Fundamental research will always be the cornerstone of what we do at ILL but as we grow our user base, there is likely to be greater use of our techniques for industrial use.”

Dr Andrew Taylor, Director of the UK’s STFC ISIS Neutron Source welcomes the appointments.

“I’ve known Andrew Harrison for a long time and believe he is the perfect candidate to take the ILL forward. The neutron user community is growing all the time and we are still discovering new ways of using neutrons and new ways to solve problems associated with the grand challenges we face. I believe Andrew, Helmut and Jose Luis are the right team for the community and look forward to working with them in their new roles.”

The new team are in post as of 1st October.

About Andrew Harrison
Andrew Harrison grew up in Keele, UK and graduated from Oxford University with a degree and DPhil in Chemistry. He then worked as a Royal Society University Research Fellow before joining Edinburgh University in 1992, becoming Professor of Solid State Chemistry in 2000.
Andrew was Founding Director of the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions in 2001. He joined ILL as Science Director in 2006.

About Helmut Schober
Helmut grew up in Wernberg, Bavaria, Germany before attending Regensburg University. He has been at the ILL since 1994 and is also the lead of the integrated infrastructure initiative project NMI3-FP7-II within framework program 7 of the European Commission. He is currently Associate Professor at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, previously serving at TU Munich.

About Jose-Luis Martinez
Jose Luis grew up in Madrid and attended the University Autonoma and Nagoya Institut of Technology. He has since been:
o    A Research Associate in Brookhaven Nat. Lab. (New York USA), Assistant Professor Univ. Autonoma of Madrid.
o    Full Research Professor at Higher Research Council of Spain.
o    Deputy Director General for Research at Spanish Ministry of Research. Assistant Director of Inst. Laue-Langevin
Further biographical details are available on request.


Mr Jim Sutton  +44 8456801867

About ILL

ILL is an internationally-financed neutron source in Grenoble, France. During fission the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts, producing free neutrons, it is the same process as used in nuclear power generation but at a lower temperature. Neutron moderators cool the neutrons to useful wavelengths, which are then directed at a suite of instruments and used to probe the structure and behaviour of matter.

The institute was founded by France and Germany in 1967 with the United Kingdom becoming the third major partner in 1973.Ten more countries have since become partners.

A modernisation programme was launched in 2000, through the design of new neutron infrastructure and the introduction of new instruments. A second phase of development began in 2008 to build five new instruments and upgrade four others.

Scientists of institutions in the member states may apply to use the ILL facilities, and may invite scientists from other countries to participate. Experimental time is allocated by a scientific council of ILL users. The use of the facility and travel costs for researchers are paid for by the institute. Commercial use, for which a fee is charged, is not subject to the scientific council review process.

Over 750 experiments are completed every year, in areas including:
•    Magnetism
•    Superconductivity
•    Materials engineering
•    Liquids and colloids
•    Biological substances