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European XFEL-Wissenschafter bereiten das FXE-Instrument auf ein Experiment vor © European XFEL / Jan Hosan

Britain joins European XFEL

Hamburg welcomes Britain as twelfth partner

Britain has joined the European XFEL research project as the twelfth member state, according to a press release Monday (March 19, 2018). During a ceremony at the British Embassy in Berlin, representatives of both the British and German governments as well as the other contract parties signed documents sealing British membership of the European XFEL Convention.

British representation

Britain will contribute EUR 26 million or about 2 per cent of the total construction budget of EUR 1.22 billion (2005 prices) and an annual contribution of around 2 per cent to the operation budget. Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research and the states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein fund 58 per cent of the costs, Russia 27 per cent while the other partner countries pay 1 to 3 per cent of the costs. Eleven countries take part in European XFEL.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as shareholder will represent the UK in European XFEL. Speaking during the ceremony, Prof. Martin Meedom Nielsen, Chair of the European XFEL Council, said: “All member states are very happy that the United Kingdom now officially joins the European XFEL. The UK science community has been very active in the project since the very beginning, and their contribution of ideas and know-how has been always highly appreciated. Together, we will maintain and develop the European XFEL as a world leading facility for X-ray science.”

Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l, European XFEL Managing Director, added: “International collaboration is vital for science and for European XFEL. The UK has always played an important role in shaping the future of our facility and we are very glad that they are now officially a member state so we can work even closer together.”

Important signal

Commenting on Britain’s accession to XFEL, Katharina Fegebank, Senator for Science, Research and Equality, said the move sends an important scientific and European political signal. She added: “Against the backdrop of Brexit, it’s important to strengthen scientific links between our countries and generally in Europe. British research has great innovative power and we wish to work closely with the country in future. The co-operation between universities, colleges and research centres in Hamburg with their British partners will benefit the entire scientific, innovative location of Hamburg.”

The world’s largest X-ray laser, the European XFEL generates extremely bright, short X-ray flashes. Research into tiny, incredibly swift atoms in the nanocosmos is now possible. The X-ray laser is 3.4 in length and one of Europe’s most ambitious research projects.

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