30 November 2022

Productive discussions about optimal utilisation of ESS and MAX IV

The ESS/MAX IV Summit focused on the role of Sweden’s world-leading Big Science research facilities and how to maximise the benefit they generate for industry and society. Many exciting ideas included greater collaboration and a strong Big Science ecosystem.

The ESS/MAX IV Summit is arranged by the Office for ESS and MAX IV. The office is operated with the mandate to maximise the benefit to Sweden of the research facilities ESS and MAX IV.

This hybrid event, held both in physical form in Stockholm and online, was led by the moderator Maria Borelius. Speakers included Darja Isaksson (Vinnova), Katarina Bjelke (Swedish Research Council), Olof Karis (MAX IV), Helmut Schober (ESS), Tom Erixon (Alfa Laval), Martin Sahlberg (SwedNess, Uppsala University), and Pia Kinhult (ESS).

Catarina Sahlberg, Adam Wikström and Ekaterina Osipova from Big Science Sweden attended the event in person.

“Swedish parties with an interest in ESS and MAX IV can benefit from meeting up every year for discussions and to exchange ideas,” says Catarina Sahlberg. “Getting together helps to clarify common ambitions, but also challenges, not least those that concern ways of encouraging and enabling industry to use the facilities.”

In the introduction of ESS/MAX IV Summit 2022, Katarina Bjelke from the Swedish Research Council directed attention to some of the main issues for discussion during the day: How do we ensure optimal utilisation of ESS and MAX IV? What are the challenges?

She encouraged participants to “Make use of the opportunities afforded by ESS and MAX IV, not just for Big Science, but for the whole of society.”

Darja Isaksson from Vinnova emphasised Sweden’s importance as a research nation, and pointed out that industry is often at the forefront in various research fields.

Panels and participants

Some other comments from the panel and participants during the day:

  • More long-term funding is needed, and a wider ecosystem around Big Science that can connect all the expertise from academia and industry
  • Money is always an issue but, although the research facilities are expensive, they generate more return than Sweden invests.
  • Big Science research facilities need a more explicit user perspective, and industry is calling for more support.

New report on improving accessibility to ESS was presented

How should access to research infrastructures be designed to enable both the very best research and Sweden’s and Europe’s opportunities to help tackle the global societal challenges and improve competitiveness? This issue was examined in the report, “Diversity in use broadens the benefits of ESS”. The report is written by a working group within the Council of the Office for ESS and MAX IV.

Jan-Eric Sundgren, Association of Swedish Engineering Industries, presented the report at ESS/MAX IV Summit, which provides concrete and useful advice and a number of recommendations for improving non-academic accessibility to research facilities. The report can be downloaded here.