With its main research facility in Lund, Sweden, and a data management and software centre in Copenhagen, Denmark, the ESS is a multidisciplinary, pan-European research project. Its focal point is the world's most powerful neutron source, the beams of which can reach intensities up to 100 times higher than those of existing facilities.
The source acts like a large microscope, making it possible to monitor material structures and motions at molecular level. This should lead to advances in fields as varied as life sciences, environmental technology, energy, transport, engineering, physics, chemistry and archaeology.
ESS is a key element in Europe’s efforts to further develop its research infrastructure and retain its leading position in activities requiring neutron scattering methods. The EU investment comes at a crucial phase of its construction.
“This financing agreement is very important, because it will help us maintain an aggressive schedule and deliver this high-priority science project on time,” says ESS Director General John Womersley. “Any delays would have big cost implications, and so the EIB financing helps us to deliver world-leading science with the best value for European taxpayers’ money.”
Set to become operational by the end of the decade, from 2023 the ESS will welcome up to 3000 guest researchers a year from universities, institutes and industry. They will use its instruments to find answers to their scientific questions.
“The EU has been supporting ESS through grants from Horizon 2020, our research and innovation programme, and granted its legal status of European research infrastructure last year,” says European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas. “This loan, backed by Horizon 2020, will help to push the boundaries of knowledge in a range of disciplines with concrete impact on people's lives, from the construction of industrial motors to developing proteins for medical applications."