Ten more years for the ILL

Extension of the Intergovernmental Convention to 2033

On the 15th of September 2021, the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom signed a protocol that will extend their support of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) for another  period from 2024 to 2033.

The ILL is an international research centre based in Grenoble, funded and managed by France, Germany, and the UK (the associate countries), in partnership with 11 other European countries (the scientific members). Since 1972, the ILL has operated a high flux reactor as the flagship centre for leading edge neutron science and technology. The reactor 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. By 2023, a two-decade campaign of improvements to the reactor and instruments will be complete, positioning researchers to carry out wholly new types of experiments. 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. The ILL devotes a large part of its activity to new energies and the environment.

By signing the sixth protocol, Frédérique Vidal, the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Mr Hans-Dieter Lucas, ambassador of Germany to France and Mr Theo Rycroft, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Paris, confirm their countries’ continuing support for the ILL. The protocol extends the original governmental agreement from 1971 for the period 2024 to 2033 and represents a global investment of about €1B. In partnership with ILL’s Scientific Member countries that comprise Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, the commitment expressed in the protocol will ensure that European researchers have access to world-leading neutron scattering capabilities in their continued quest for break-through discoveries. By enabling these discoveries, the protocol is an important contribution to Europe’s competitiveness in areas of innovation addressing the most challenging questions facing our societies.

After 50 years of successful cooperation the signature not only reflects the strong belief of ILL’s Associate countries in the importance of neutron science but equally recognizes ILL’s ongoing efforts into the modernization of its source and instruments. These efforts ensure that ILL is at any moment complying with the latest safety standards while at the same time continuously improving its performance and thus its scientific attractiveness. This 6th protocol will allow the development and completion of excellent research programs using this world class facility as a cornerstone of the ongoing strategic development of the European neutron research landscape over the next decade.