Poland joins the ESRF

26-04-2004

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Two weeks before becoming part of the European Union, Poland joined the ESRF as a Scientific Associate, at a level of 0.6% as regards financial contributions and scientific use. Professor Jacek Kossut, Director of the  Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who signed the agreement, announced that he was “very enthusiastic” about this official relationship and hoped that it was “ the beginning of a larger activity at the ESRF”.  From the ESRF side, the agreement was signed by Bill Stirling, the Director General, and Helmut Krech, the Director of the Administration.

“Mission accomplished!” Those were the words of Professor Jacek Kossut, Director of the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, when asked for his impressions about Poland joining the ESRF. “This is the happy ending to ten years of discussions between Polish scientists and administrators and the ESRF.” In fact, Poland was interested in being involved in the ESRF almost from the beginning of operations. At that time, however, the option of arrangements with Scientific Associates had not yet been developed; only scientists from countries represented by Members, contributing a minimum of 4% to the ESRF budget, had regular access to the facility.

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From left to right: The Director General of the ESRF, Bill Stirling; the two Polish scientists at the ESRF, Maciej Lorenc and Johanna Hoszowska; and Prof. Krystyna Jablonska-Lawniczak, Prof. Bogdan Kowalski and Prof. Jacek Kossut, from the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Nevertheless, even before Poland became part of the ESRF family, the country was already present at the facility with two Polish staff members and quite a number of studies carried out in collaboration with scientists from Member countries. Among the proposals for the second half of 2004, 1.3% were received from Poland, which shows the remarkable activity of the Polish scientific community. Scientists from 15 different Polish institutions have applied for beam time, not only on ESRF beamlines but also on Collaboration Research Group beamlines. “The synchrotron community in Poland is even bigger than I thought”, explained Professor Kossut.

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Helmut Krech, Prof. Jacek Kossut and Bill Stirling signing the agreement.

The ESRF’s agreement with Poland will last for two years (July 2004 – June 2006). After that, “and depending on the demand”, says Kossut, it is even envisaged that they join forces with the Czech Republic and Hungary to form the CENTRALSYNC consortium. In this way, the three countries would participate at more than 1% in the ESRF. This would allow them to have an observer on the Council, the body that makes decisions about important issues of company policy.