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Convenient Access to Light Sources Open to Innovation, Science and to the World

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CALIPSOplus (Convenient Access to Light Sources Open to Innovation, Science and to the World)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-04-30

Synchrotrons and Free-electron lasers (FELs) are large research infrastructures (RIs) operated by national stakeholder, but owing to the huge construction and operation costs, increasingly also be international consortia. For many areas of cutting-edge research and technology access to these facilities is vital and cannot be replaced by the use of smaller and less-expensive laboratory-scale radiation sources, as the key parameters of these latter are orders of magnitude below those offered by the accelerator-based light sources. A Strength of Europe is the unique density of these research infrastructures creating an excellent environment for disruptive research and ground-breaking technological developments. However, the substantial investments required to build these facilities and the continuously high operation costs resulted in their unequal distribution in Europe, with a high concentration in central Europe which is rapidly fading away towards the newer member states. Opening these facilities for all users from academia or industry, and removing all barriers of financial, perceptual, administrative or logistic nature, is a prerequisite for the realisation of the European Research Area. At present, the potential of accelerator-based light sources is still largely underexploited by researchers from the newer EU member states and from research fields in which research infrastructures traditionally have never been used as well as by industry and in particular SMEs.
The aim of CALIPSOplus is to leverage the potential that accelerator-based lights sources represent for Europe. To this end, CALIPSOplus brings together all major synchrotrons and FELs in Europe, reaching out also to neighboring countries by including the TARLA FEL in Turkey and the Synchrotron Facility in the Middle East, SESAME, in Jordan, to offer trans-national access to their facilities free-of-charge and even covering the travel expenses of the users. The provision of trans-national access which is a major mission of CALIPSOplus is complemented by strong activities to create a most favorable user environment at the facilities on the one hand side and by awareness- raising campaigns and support and training measures, tailor-made to the specific target groups, on the other hand. In addition, recent challenges facing Europe such as the management of the exponentially increasing amount of data, boosting innovation to sustain economic competitiveness of Europe and investigating routes to ensure sustainability of the achievements resulting of European-funded projects, are tackled in the framework of CALIPSOplus
Within the first three years of the project of 54 months more than 125 000 hours of access have been provided, exceeding the overall commitment for access provision already now by a factor of 1.9 s. Ultra-fast trans-national access for covid-19 –related research has been implemented at the facility offering access for biological samples to support the fight against this virus.
Major universities and research institutions in the newer EU member states have pro-actively been contacted, offering a visit including of a lecture on accelerator-based light sources, their potential and the portfolio of offers for training and support of unexperienced users in the framework of CALIPSOplus, as well as individual consultations. The feedback was overwhelming and news spread after the first successful visits, resulting in invitations to conferences to present the inclusion program. The interim result after three years are 13 visits at universities in so-called EU-13 countries, 13 invited conference participations, 20 registrations for the twinning program with 17 twinning activities having been carried out, 8 independent beamtime proposal submitted by earlier twinning guests and the faction of supported users from EU-13 countries increased from 13% to 15 %.
Focusing on industry use and more specifically on users from SMEs, a specific access route to light sources has been set-up tailor-made to the needs of SMEs, TamaTA. In parallel, use of analytical facilities by industry has aggressively been promoted by participation in, organization and co-funding of events with substantial industry participation. To increase the critical mass and to make best use of the available resources CALIPSOplus teamed up for this purpose with other networks of research infrastructures striving for outreach to industry. A major achievement of this cooperation has been the development of the European Analytical Research Infrastructures Village (EARIV) as visibility and marketing tool, with own branding, roll-ups, a brochures and an own website. As a result, 23 applications for TamaTA have been received from SME and 16 related projects have been realized or are ongoing.
A large-scale round-robin metrology exercise has been launched with three of the ultra-high quality one-meter large mirrors that are used at the state-of-the art synchrotrons and X-ray FELs. After three years, five to six metrology measurements have been performed at each of the mirrors traveling along mutually different paths. The team also includes representatives of established European mirror suppliers. To cope with the ever increasing amounts of data resulting of the experiments at research infrastructures offering constantly refined detectors at the technological cutting-edge a demonstrator for a software tool for remote data analysis has been developed. Extensive work is ongoing in close collaboration with similar European initiatives aiming harnessing the potential of the European Open Science Cloud for research and innovation.
Covering the costs related to an experimental campaign is an unsurmountable obstacle for many research teams from countries with relatively low expenditures in research, depriving them from access the European world-call research infrastructures. To counteract this situation, sustainable concepts for a joint European travel office supporting trips related to experiments at large research infrastructures, will be developed and suitable financing concepts will be investigated. Complemented by the activities fostering inclusion a strong impact on science and economic divide in Europe can be expected.
Through the activities targeting industry, light sources are strengthening their position within regional innovation eco-systems, building “business within walking distance” with local companies, both large and small. Mediated by the TamaTA program, the innovation-based economy makes use of the skill and instruments available at the European light sources.
A major impact of CALIPSOplus and the previous work of earlier EU projects of the community is the launch of the League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources (LEAPS) in Europe, which comprises almost all members of the CALIPSOplus consortium. LEAPS has establish a photon science roadmap for Europe and fosters close collaboration on technological developments. Results of CALIPSOplus serve as prototype for further developments in LEAPS. Based on regular exchange with the EC, LEAPS focus their activities to the research needs identified by the EU and to the big challenges facing humankind.
Map of Europe indicating the facilities participating in CALIPSOplus