LEAPS join forces with the European Commission to strengthen Europe’s leading role in science

Dr. Caterina Biscari, Director of the ALBA Synchrotron in Spain and Vice Chair of LEAPS, presented the LEAPS Strategy 2030 to Jean-David Malo, Director, Directorate General Research and Innovation, European Commission.

“A world where European science is a catalyst for solving global challenges, a key driver for competitiveness and a compelling force for closer integration and peace through scientific collaboration.” This is the vision of LEAPS, League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources, on which the LEAPS Strategy 2030 is based. Director Jean-David Malo, DG Research and Innovation, received the strategy today at the Bulgarian Presidency Flagship Conference on Research Infrastructures.

The health, prosperity, and security of European citizens depend on new technology, new treatments and a better understanding of the world around us, all of which point to an increased role and reliance on highly sophisticated analytical tools like accelerator-based light sources to provide the most incisive means of measuring and unravelling atomic and molecular structures of the world around us.

Europe hosts 13 synchrotron radiation facilities and six free electron laser facilities which all of them are founding members of LEAPS. The LEAPS Strategy 2030 shows how the members, by joining forces, will be able to deliver even better capacity and capabilities at their research infrastructures. This will be done through smart specialisation, closer co-operation, better engagement with industry and working together with the existing user communities to reach out to scientists, academic and non-academic, that may not yet know of all the tools and skills available at photon sources for solving questions from all fields of science.

Prof. Bernd Rech, acting head of the Helmholtz-Zentrum in Berlin (HZB) explains: “At HZB we operate BESSY II, a synchrotron light source that specialises in producing soft X-rays for scientific research. We intentionally complement other synchrotron sources in Germany and Europe, the majority of which generate hard X-ray emissions.”

Processes involving delicate chemical bonding and those taking place at surfaces and boundary layers in thin-film materials are often disrupted by higher energies, but can be successfully studied using soft X-rays. Minute magnetic features within thin layers can be delineated as well. The research priorities at BESSY II revolve about energy materials and involve a wide range of potential applications – from next-generation solar cells, to catalytic systems, through to magnetic materials for employment in new energy-efficient information technologies.

“The HZB is completely committed to the LEAPS objectives. By working together, including on developing advanced accelerator-based light sources, we will be able to create here in Europe the most productive research environment possible for using light as a probe”, says Rech. In addition, the future projects coming up at HZB for the advanced development of BESSY II, i.e. BESSY-VSR and bERLinPro, are being coordinated within the European research landscape.

"LEAPS fully embrace the European Commission’s “Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World” concept and with the planned activities building on our strategy we hope to make a substantial contribution in making this a reality", concludes Dr. Biscari.

The strategy explains how LEAPS will address key issues of the European Long-Term Sustainability Action Plan, presents roadmaps to optimise national and European resources and also describes the how the path towards FP9 looks with a few carefully selected pilot activities under the Horizon2020 programme.

More Information: www.leaps-initiative.eu

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