France, Germany and UK Extend Support for Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) International Neutron Research Centre

Agreement between three associate member countries will ensure work at the world-leading neutron research centre will continue for another decade.

France, Germany and the UK have signed an agreement to extend their support for the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) international neutron research centre for a further ten years from 2024 to 2033.

Based in Grenoble, France, the ILL is funded and managed by France, Germany, and the UK (the associate countries) in partnership with 11 European countries (the scientific members). Since 1972, the ILL has operated a high flux reactor, which provides intense beams of neutrons that enable a large and diverse scientific community of visiting academic and industrial researchers to make new scientific advances and discoveries.

Research at the ILL addresses critical challenges across areas ranging from the study of the origin of the universe to the understanding of viral diseases in living organisms. Each year some 1,400 researchers from almost 40 countries visit the ILL to conduct research in a wide variety of areas, leading to some 600 scientific publications each year.

The new agreement will come into force just a year after the completion of a two-decades long series of improvements to the reactor and its suite of 40 high-performance instruments, enabling researchers to conduct new types of experiments, such as developing new cancer therapies, improving climate change modelling, and helping to understand the very early universe.

The sixth protocol was signed by Frédérique Vidal, the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation; Hans-Dieter Lucas, ambassador of Germany to France; and Theo Rycroft, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Paris. Along with ILL’s Scientific Member countries of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, the agreement represents a global investment of around €1 billion.

In 2027, the associates will agree whether to continue reactor operation until 2030 or to 2033, after which the ILL reactor will enter decommissioning.

The announcement can be read in full at the Institut Laue-Langevin website.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)