The European Neutron User Community, both academic and industrial, is large, accomplished and self-renewing, producing 50% of neutron scattering publications world-wide. Users are scientists from disciplines like physics, chemistry, biology, geology, medicine, archaeology, material science and engineering. The science they develop and the questions addressed span all societal challenges, promoting innovation and curiosity thanks to the extraordinary properties of the neutron.
These researchers have access to a vibrant ecosystem of world leading facilities, national and international and small, medium or large in size. Performance and value-for-money is achieved by supporting the facilities that co-operatively allow each to exploit their particular strengths, in particular via European Union programs. Scientists are currently preparing themselves to exploit the most intense neutron source in the world, the European Spallation Source, ESS, that started construction last year. However, the scientific success and return-on-investment of ESS is seriously threatened by an imminent reduction of 25 to 50% in capacity in the provision of neutrons in Europe in the next 15 years. It is therefore timely for the European Neutron Scattering Association to highlight the power of neutrons in the context of the impending threats and opportunities.
Christiane Alba-Simionesco
Chair of the European Neutron Scattering Association