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Reversing the Brain Drain: Major investment for EU scientific research hub in Hungary gets the go ahead

(08 May 2014)

Reversing the Brain Drain: Major investment for EU scientific research hub in Hungary gets the go ahead

Today the European Commission has approved an investment of € 111 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the building of the third part of the cutting edge pan-European Laser research hub "Extreme Light Infrastructure"(ELI).

The project will provide a major boost to Europe's research capacity: attracting hundreds of scientists to Hungary and forging valuable links between business and the scientific world.

The project, which uses super-short laser pulses, involves the installation of state-of-the art technology at the facility to be built near the University of Szeged in Hungary. The two first facilities of this pioneering European research consortium are currently being built in the Czech Republic and Romania and are expected to be completed at the end of 2015.

The research centre will enhance Hungary's competitive edge, putting it on track for smart growth and helping it to meet its European research and development (R&D) targets. The project approved today is known as "Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ALPS) of the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI)", ELI-ALPS. It will focus on the generation and application of super-short (“attosecond-range”) laser pulses with very high repetition rates. This highly innovative technology, with applications in research and development will also have a huge impact on the industry in the field of biology/biophysics, chemistry, material science, energy research and medical science. It's expected 250 scientists will be involved in the project by 2020.

Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, who signed the decision, said “This third pillar of ELI - the pan-European laser research hub –is fully in line with EU Regional Policy's main objective to invest in sectors with great growth potential like research and innovation. We have very high hopes for Hungary's ELI-ALPS project. Through it, Hungary, like Romania and the Czech Republic, has a chance to put itself firmly on the map of European research, to retain highly-specialised workers - reversing the 'brain drain', attracting new companies to the region and giving Hungary's young and more established scientists alike new and exciting opportunities."

Press release