ESRF participates in France's newest excellency projects

21-01-2011

On 20 January, the French government announced 52 projects for new infrastructures of scientific excellency, chosen from 336 proposals received in response to the "Equipex" Call. The ESRF is a partner in two winning projects.

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The 52 projects will obtain in total 340 million Euros funding, of which 4.2 million Euros are earmarked for the EcoX project, and 12 million Euros for the ThomX project.

EcoX, proposed by the University of Grenoble and CNRS, foresees the construction of a completely new beamline at the ESRF to study the behavior of a wide range of metallic elements in biological systems and nanomaterials. The electronic structure and chemical reactivity of metals and metalloids is a major topic of front line research into environmental issues, health and toxicity, chemical engineering, and production of sustainable energy. 

This project will in particular provide data on the presence of toxic heavy metals in the environment, and on their toxicity for humans.

ThomX is a joint project by seven partners from industry and academia which include Synchrotron Soleil and the ESRF. Its objective is to develop a compact X-ray source with a highly brilliant, directional, monochromatic and tunable beam for applications in the medical sciences (imagery and therapy), in cultural heritage and industrial technologies.

After development of a prototype, French company THALES will turn this source into a commercial product for hospitals and museums around the world.

"The jurys' concern with this call for proposals was to select the projects that will enable France to make an important technological step forward", said Valérie Pécresse, French Minister for Research, when she unveiled the 52 winning projects. The ESRF is pleased to have been invited to contribute to this joint effort. 

Top image: The logo of the French excellency initiative