SINE2020 was initiated in October 2015. It is a four-year 12 M€ infrastructure development project under the Horizon2020 Framework Programme federating 18 facilities and academic partners. The main objective of the project is twofold: to prepare the European community for the first neutrons at the ESS (European Spallation Source) in 2020, and to explore the innovation potential of neutron facilities and their scientific partners.
SINE2020 is largely user-oriented. Its so-called ‘Joint Research Activities’ (JRAs) focus accordingly on key techniques for present and future neutron experiments. These activities cover issues of sample preparation, such as novel techniques in deuteration and macromolecular crystallogenesis, sophisticated equipment for sample environment and software development. For example, the project is actively involved in the Mantid project for data reduction, a framework for high-performance computing and the visualisation of materials science data across specialised European facilities. SINE2020 promotes a collective approach to the processing of data generated by a wide range of techniques (SANS, reflectometry, imaging, INS, QENS and atomistic simulations).
A promising, though still under-explored, area is that of research collaborations with industry. SINE2020 is committed to strengthening direct links with industrial users, by demonstrating the potential of neutron techniques and the value of access to the network’s facilities. Thanks to SINE2020 industrial users can now easily perform feasibility studies in eight different European neutron centres, in areas such as failure analysis or materials and component development.
The March 2016 invitation generated 27 applications—half of which came from the engineering and metallurgy sector—which almost tripled the combined annual industrial demand of the centres involved. The campaign effectively highlights the need of industrial partners for strain scanning, imaging and SANS.
A special focus of SINE2020 is the education of future neutron generations. To this end the virtual e-learning platform has been further developed, with SINE2020 supporting introductory and specialised neutron schools all over Europe. The opportunities now cover a wider range of audiences, applications and levels of learning, with demand already expanding the scope of training available.
SINE2020 illustrates the ever-growing commitment of the neutron community in Europe to demonstrate the potential of neutron science. Its collaborators have expanded the capacity of the community to provide tailor-made solutions capable of boosting innovation and addressing the challenges facing our society.