ESS names members of new Industry Advisory Board

Science sphere

Working through the EU Horizon 2020 project BrightnESS2, the European Spallation Source (ESS) has established a new board designed to support the neutron science facility’s interaction with users working within or on the behalf of industry.

As a part of the larger ESS innovation strategy, the ESS Industry Advisory Board (IAB) will serve to establish a beachhead for direct engagement with industry leaders and researchers once the facility begins its scientific user programme. The inaugural IAB consists of six external experts from large-scale user facilities and academia. The diverse group of scientists was selected both for their hands-on experience with neutron scattering techniques relevant to industrial users, as well as for their experience acting as a bridge between private industry and publicly-funded research facilities.

“For this first iteration we have taken the ‘learning from the best’ approach, and have worked together with the ESS Science Directorate to identify individuals who can bring a variety of relevant experience to the table,” said ESS Director for Strategy, Sharon Cosgrove. “Later, as the concept evolves, key industries will be approached and invited to participate. By determining best practices on the current scene, we hope to have the best possible foundation to develop a bespoke ESS user concept.”

ESS Industry Advisory Board 2020-21

Caroline Boudou

Institut Laue-Langevin, France

Industry Liaison Officer

David Christian Mannes

SINQ at the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland  


Elizabeth Shotton

Diamond Light Source, UK

Head of Department

Grethe Vestergaard Jensen   

Danish Technological Institute, Denmark

Senior Specialist

Michael Preuss

University of Manchester, UK

Deputy Director

Pavel Strunz

Nuclear Physics Institute (UJF), Czechia

Head of Department

Tomas Lundqvist

RISE, Sweden

Senior Area Coordinator

The use of European neutron facilities by industry is well established in certain areas - particularly in the assessment of engineering materials - and, according to the 2018 BrightnESS survey, about 15% of the European user base is tied to industry. It has long been understood, however, that there is significant potential for growth in the industrial user base for neutrons, and ESS represents a new frontier in this area. When the facility comes online with its initial suite of 15 world-leading neutron instruments, the relevance of neutron scattering to industrial R&D will be enhanced through new capabilities, new modes of access and next-generation user support.

Current awareness of the advantages neutron scattering can bring to innovation, however, remains low, while the barriers to entry can be high. The use of synchrotron x-ray facilities by industry is significantly more mature, and serves as a role model to be emulated by neutron sources. There are notable differences in how industry can benefit from the two analytical methods, though, and the neutron approach will necessarily be unique.

“There is a great spirit among European facilities to help and support each other in this area,” noted Jimmy Binderup Andersen, the ESS Senior Strategy Officer leading BrightnESS2’s Innovation and Industry work package. “We need to work together to enlarge and engage the industrial user community, so the idea is to get the flavours from the different facilities. The board is quite keen both to give and to get something back, because most facilities have not cracked the best way to engage with industry.”

Along with helping to identify and reach out to industrial users, the IAB will help ESS to address issues around legal and IP agreements, safeguarding scientific excellence as the facility’s top priority, and the development of professional services to a level that will meet industry expectations and needs.