ESS Host to be Decided in December

“I’m sure it will happen by December”, says Colin Carlile, Director of ESS Scandinavia, to Research Europe. Three locations are currently competing to become host for the research infrastructure European Spallation Source (ESS): Lund in Sweden (with support from Denmark), Bilbao in Spain and Debrecen in Hungary. Final decision is expected to be made at a meeting in Versailles in December 2008.
 ESS Host to be Decided in December
All three sites have submitted a 50-page document setting out the details of their plans to the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure (ESFRI). The plans will now be evaluated by a group of up to five independent experts who will visit the sites and report back to ESFRI at the forum’s meeting in September.

Lund’s advantage and big innovation is in the energy management, Carlile says: “We aim to cut the ESS’s energy consummation by 20 %.” Moreover ESSS will carry out a complete energy inventory, investing in their own renewable energy system and a green building design. The site will also sell the hot water generated by the ESS to Lund’s heating and cooling systems.

EU member states and the Commission will meet to discuss research infrastructures in Versailles in early December 2008. “There is a consensus that this is the natural endpoint”, says Carlile. Whether the one-billion-euro machine will actually get built may take longer to determine, however.

ESS Scandinavia is currently building up a Nordic-Baltic and wider cooperation platform. In April 2008 Denmark was the first country to formally declare its support to Lund’s bid for ESS. The announcement was enthusiastically welcomed in Sweden, and Carlile says he’s confident that more Nordic and Baltic countries will follow suit soon.

Support in Danish research circles has been muted, according to ResearchEurope. – The project must not lead to Danish funding being used to finance the ESS, says Jens Oddershede, rector of University of Southern Denmark and spokesman for the universities’ interest group, Universities Denmark.

(Michael de Laine/ Brian Owens, ResearchEurope)

The ESSS report for the ESFRI and the Working Group on ESS (EWESS) is available here.

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