A delegation from the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science participated in a study visit to Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and European Synchrotron Research Facility (ESRF) to learn about scientific possibilities in neutron and X-ray research, and the variety of aspects of international collaboration related to large-scale facilities.
The visit took place on 30 January 2017 in Grenoble and started with a brief overview of the 50-year history of ILL. Director Helmut Schober together with Associate Director – Head of Science Division Mark Johnson presented the user program and pointed out specific examples of neutron research which has been carried out at ILL in a variety of science fields. The Latvian delegation also had the opportunity to visit user laboratories and learn more about different types of instruments during a guided tour of ILL and the neighboring ESRF.
“It was very impressive to visit both facilities and see first-hand where scientific excellence is being born. The discussions we have had here today will support our daily work on science policy in Latvia,” said Inga Jekabsone, Deputy Director of the Higher Education, Science and Innovation Department at the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science. Ms. Jekabsone was accompanied by Senior Expert Dmitrijs Stepanovs from the same department and Senior Scientist Anatoli Popov from the Institute of Solid State Physics. The Head of Scientific Activities at European Spallation Source (ESS), Arno Hiess, also participated in the meeting and had the opportunity to discuss with the delegation neutron research in science fields, which are of interest to Latvia.
In November 2015, the Ministry together with the State Education Development Agency published the Smart Specialization Strategy, which aims to increase knowledge capacity in Latvia through investments in research and innovation, focusing on smart materials, technologies and engineering systems. The program of the study visit to Grenoble therefore specifically focused on exploring possibilities presented by big science and neutron techniques in areas of Latvia’s smart specialization.
Photograph: Courtesy of Serge Claisse, ILL