Sweden’s Minister for Education Anna Ekström visits ESS

Helmut Schober Anna Ekström
ESS Director General,  Helmut Schober, chatting with Swedish Minister for Education, Anna Ekström, during the site tour of ESS Photo: Ulrika Hammarlund/ESS

The Swedish Minister for Education, Anna Ekström, visited ESS today, together with other representatives from the Ministry of Education and Research. It is the Minister's first visit to the world-leading research infrastructure under construction in Lund, Sweden.

The Minister for Education Anna Ekström, who assumed the Higher Education and Research portfolio in late November last year, was welcomed to ESS by Director General Helmut Schober, Technical Director Kevin Jones and Head of Host State Relations Pia Kinhult. Helmut Schober explained how cutting-edge neutron research at ESS will contribute to solving some of the main societal challenges of our time. During the guided tour on site, the visitors got to see some of the significant progress in the construction project, as well as a chance to grasp the complexity of the state-of-the-art technology being tested, installed and commissioned in the facility.

Helmut Schober Anna Ekström Kevin Jones

(In the foreground, left to right) Kevin Jones, Techincal Director of ESS, and Helmut Schober, ESS Director General, show Anna Ekström, Swedish Minister for Education, some of the external features of the ESS site.

Photo: Ulrika Hammalund/ESS

“ESS is a strategically important investment for Swedish and European research, and the facility will contribute within climate research, life science, new materials and clean energy, areas where we see several of the world’s major societal challenges. ESS strengthens Sweden's position as a leading research nation,” said Minister for Education Anna Ekström. “The construction delay caused by the pandemic must be addressed, and as host country, the Swedish government takes action with additional funding.”

In December last year, ESS presented a revised project plan for completion of the research facility at the earliest possible date in the most economical way. The 13 member countries of ESS support implementing the adjusted plan, which will enable ESS to be in full operations and open for scientific users in late 2027, instead of late 2025 as previously planned. At her visit to ESS, the Minister presented the government’s decision to include MSEK 300 in funding for ESS in the amending budget to be presented to the Swedish parliament next week. The aim is to ensure completion of the project according to the adjusted plan, without further delays. 

Helmut Schober Anna Ekström

Anna Ekström, Swedish Minister for Education, asks Helmut Schober, ESS Director General, questions during the visitors' stroll through the Campus area

Photo: Ulrika Hammarlund/ESS

ESS has 13 member countries and Sweden, as host country, plays a crucial role in the construction and operation of the research facility.

“Minister Anna Ekström’s visit today, and the additional funding, is yet another sign of Sweden’s strong commitment and support to this world-leading research infrastructure, which will consolidate Europe’s flagship position in neutron scattering,” said Helmut Schober, ESS Director General. “The host country is essential for a Big Science facility such as ESS, and in close collaboration with our European partners, we work hard to make Sweden proud to host this international project.”

Target building

Helmut Schober, ESS Director General, and Anna Ekström, Swedish Minister for Education, in the vast Target Building at ESS.

Photo: Ulrika Hammarlund/ESS