Memorandum of understanding between NCBJ and the ILL

On January 30 this year the ILL Director Helmut Schober had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Krzysztof Kurek, the Director General of Poland’s National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) in Warsaw, for an official visit to the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble.


In a short general presentation Prof. Schober introduced the Institute’s governance and business model and highlighted the involvement of Polish researchers in the ILL. He illustrated the broad range of science covered by ILL with a selection of recent scientific highlights - ranging from Li-ion rechargeable batteries to HIV drug design or delamination prediction during the manufacture of electronic devices.

The discussions went on to cover the ILL’s scientific user programme, and this was illustrated with visits to instruments FIPPS, IN16B and PF2 amongst others. There was clear agreement on the ambition of bringing the entire Polish neutron community together, with the possibility, at the ILL’s suggestion, of a neutron user workshop in Poland. Collaboration with local institutions in Poland and the Polish scientific community would strengthen this community and provide it with an excellent opportunity to express its requirements.

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[left] Michelagnoli and K. Kurek visiting FIPPS. [right] B. Frick, H. Schober, K. Kurek and M. Appel, at IN16B.
Credits Serge Claisse


The visit of the reactor building with Hervé Guyon, Head of the ILL Reactor Division, provided an opportunity for discussions on the operation of research reactors, and these were later extended to more general technical questions with the head of ILL’s Projects and Techniques Division, Jérôme Estrade.

A guided tour of the ILL detector laboratory provided Prof. Kurek with a glimpse of ILL’s neutron technology. Poland is currently working with the ILL on the development of boron-coated neutron detectors and a three-year PhD position is being funded as part of Poland’s ILL Scientific Membership. Both parties expressed confidence that this collaboration would help extend neutron technology of this sort beyond the confines of neutron research into the commercial sphere.

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[left] K. Kurek, H. Guyon and H. Schober over the reactor pool. [right] B. Guerard, H. Schober and K. Kurek at the detectors laboratory.
Credits Serge Claisse


The afternoon session started with a presentation by Dr Ulli Köster on the production of radioisotopes for medical applications at the ILL. Prof. Kurek explained that the NCBJ could be interested in a collaboration to assess the efficiency of radioisotopes such as terbium or scandium. It was agreed that experts from the NCBJ and the ILL should get in touch to discuss the next steps.

The second afternoon presentation was given by Charles Dewhurst. He provided details on the ILL instrument upgrade programmes, and Endurance in particular. This was the chance to discuss other possibilities for collaboration, including the reactivation of thermal neutron spectrometer activity at the Maria reactor. The secondment of staff, for instance, was identified as a possibility of interest to both parties.

The two directors concluded their meeting with the decision to sign a Memorandum of understanding between NCBJ and the ILL, creating the formal framework required for the future alliance of their respective institutions. The MoU provides another strong argument for the extension of Poland’s Scientific Membership of the ILL and lays the foundations for promising collaboration between NCBJ and ILL.