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Opening Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - OPEN SESAME (Opening Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

The Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) light source hosted near to Amman in Jordan is the first major international science centre in the Middle East and neighbouring regions.

The three-year programme of OPEN SESAME ( had as its objective support for SESAME and its user community during the final commissioning of the accelerator and first beamlines and the facility’s initial phase of user operation. The support of OPEN SESAME was provided via a comprehensive cooperative programme with European light sources and institutes:
- Training of SESAME’s staff which allowed SESAME to benefit from the pool of European experience through a two-way staff mobility programme.
- Building regional researcher capacity that empowered researchers across the SESAME Members through high-quality training and education activities.
- Integration of SESAME into public and socio-economic landscapes that targeted stakeholders and was designed to build awareness of SESAME as an international science centre in the Middle East and neighbouring regions, thereby helping to assure the Centre’s longer-term stability and sustainability.

Articles published on OPEN SESAME:
- EProject Repository Journal (
- Synchrotron Radiation News (
“SESAME staff training and exchange programme”

This work package addressed the training of SESAME scientific, technical and administrative staff through a comprehensive two-way staff exchange and visit programme between the European institutions and SESAME, with the additional benefit of creating durable networking and collaboration between Europe and SESAME and its Members.

The objective was to provide SESAME staff a more complete overview of the light source techniques, instrumentation or administrative issues concerned, and to increase the knowledge and know-how of SESAME staff at critical periods of SESAME final commissioning and operation. In total 80 visits were achieved during the project, involving 109 people from Europe and SESAME:
- 59 training missions involving 80 people from SESAME were provided at European facilities in the following fields: five different beamlines, machine commissioning, machine operation (diagnostics systems, cooling, vacuum, RF cavities, bunch to bunch system), data analysis, management and policy, electronics, mechanics and detectors, safety and User Office, RI administration and communication.
- 21 visits to SESAME involving 29 experts were made in the following fields: infra-red beamline construction, commissioning and operation, machine commissioning and cooling, vibration measurements and detectors, safety and communication during specific events.

The project initially set out to organise 65 staff exchanges. Finally, some 109 exchanges were arranged, thus helping SESAME to an even greater degree than first thought possible through the three year project.

“Building user capacity in the local science and technology landscape”

This work package supported SESAME in empowering academic and industrial scientists across its Members by providing high quality training and education activities in the Region:
- Four thematic training schools were delivered: i) The Life Science Infrared Micro-spectroscopy thematic school at Amman (SESAME), Jordan; ii) The Ancient Materials thematic school at Cyprus Institute; iii) The Environmental Science thematic school at Amman (SESAME), Jordan; and iv) The CCP4-Diamond MX school at Oxford. About 90 fully funded participants from SESAME Members participated.
- A two-week HERCULES School at SESAME provided a wide scientific overview with hands-on practicals and tutorials for eighteen fully funded attendees.
- Two short-term fellowship calls for eighteen SESAME member young researchers to visit European facilities for periods ranging from a minimum of eight to a maximum of twelve weeks.
- A concise brochure was prepared with SESAME, focussing on industrial and applied science areas relevant to the SESAME beamlines ( Further, the first SESAME Industrial Workshop was held in Jordan.
- Finally, a Training Warehouse ( permanently hosts the talks from the schools and workshops. This site will be maintained by the Cyprus Institute thereby creating a further and durable impact.

“Integration of SESAME into public and socio-economic landscapes”

Work package four of the OPEN SESAME project was designed to build awareness of SESAME in the region and further afield through training and practical support:
- Communications and media training support was provided to SESAME, with production of press releases, photographs, stock video footage and interviews. A film crew from the award-winning company, Bedlam Productions, visited SESAME to produce a short film with a five-minute film delivered to SESAME. Bedlam Productions are using the film to attract support for a full-length documentary about SESAME.
- Throughout the project, CERN organised media visits to SESAME including BBC (UK), RAI (Italy), Deutschlandfunk (Germany), Davidson online (Israel), Al-Rai (Jordan) and Physics Today (USA) amongst many others.
- Outreach for SESAME at public-facing science events included the Public Awareness of Research Infrastructures conference, 2017 and SESAME sessions at the World Conference of Science Journalists 2017 and at EuroScience Open Forum 2018.
- Eight SESAME roadshows, visiting each SESAME member, were foreseen and ten delivered at Alexandria, Egypt; two in Nicosia, Cyprus; Amman, Jordan; Islamabad, Pakistan; Nablus, Palestine; Athens, Greece; Tehran, Iran; Jerusalem, Israel and Bodrum, Turkey.
- The training programme for research administrators provided two week-long workshops held in Cyprus and in Turkey with 25 students taking part. The first module covered themes related to the long-term sustainability of research infrastructures with the second module focussing on project management, human resources, finance and data management.
After three years of work, OPEN SESAME concluded on 31 December 2019. The project has supported:
• over 200 people who have benefitted from the mobility opportunities from the Middle East to Europe or Europe to SESAME provided by OPEN SESAME;
• over 20,000 training hours which have been provided through the mobility and eight training schools, two workshops and eighteen bursaries to visit European facilities;
• ten roadshows held in SESAME Members;
• over 20 journalist visits and seven photoshoots at SESAME, helping its international visibility and impact;
• an electronic “Training Warehouse” ( to distribute the materials used in the training schools, and which has already received over 12,500 visits.
But, perhaps, OPEN SESAME’s enduring legacy and impact will be in the researchers from the Middle East and neighbouring regions and Europe, who have worked together, crossing international and cultural divides and have been inspired by SESAME itself, to help ensure that the SESAME light source gets off to a flying start in its user operations.
A snapshot of the scientists, engineers, techs and administrators involved in OPEN SESAME mobility