Cooperation agreement despite corona crisis — European XFEL and FAIR sign contract in video conference


A cooperation agreement, a so-called "Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)", was recently signed by the international free-electron X-ray laser European XFEL and the international accelerator center FAIR. Due to the corona crisis, the signing took place in a joint video conference of the involved parties. This was preceded by a virtual seminar talk by Professor Paolo Giubellino, Scientific Director of GSI and FAIR, and Jörg Blaurock, Technical Director of GSI and FAIR, on the status and prospects of the FAIR project. Talk and ceremony were attended by more than 60 video conference participants. European XFEL and FAIR have a lot in common, being both accelerator-based research laboratories serving a broad international community. Both are owned by international shareholders, with a primary role, after Germany, of the Russian Federation. They are both landmarks in the roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).

Within the framework of the cooperation, FAIR and European XFEL intend to share and promote their best practices, knowledge and results, for example by organizing joint scientific and technical events such as workshops or seminars. An exchange is planned both in administrative and organizational areas such as the cost structure or dealing with scientific users, and in the scientific environment through joint research and development projects or the secondment of personnel.

In the MoU, both partners acknowledge the importance of cooperation between Big Science projects in administration and technology as a key factor increasing competitiveness in the development of both social and economic systems and for the improvement of living standards in them. By strengthening cooperation, the MoU aims to exploit synergies in industrial cooperation and to support the achievement of scientific and technological results that promote technological innovation and socio-economic developments.

"With the Memorandum of Understanding, we are opening up new opportunities for fruitful cooperation between European XFEL and FAIR on many different levels. We look forward to joint activities and a lively exchange of ideas among colleagues," Professor Paolo Giubellino explained. Jörg Blaurock added: "In addition to the administrative and scientific collaboration, at FAIR, the promotion of the technological side through technology transfer and industrial cooperation is a major concern. Here we want to identify synergies with European XFEL and exploit our joint potential."

European XFEL Managing Director Professor Robert Feidenhans’l said: “European XFEL and FAIR are both international state-of-the-art research facilities serving a broad scientific community. We have a lot of common experiences and research interests and we are very much looking forward to collaborating more closely with our colleagues at FAIR to explore how we can combine our knowledge to advance and enrich international science.”

The agreement will be valid for a period of five years, with the option of an extension for further five years. GSI and FAIR already have a long-standing connection with European XFEL as well as with its founding laboratory and German shareholder, the Deutsches Elektronensynchrotron DESY, which, like GSI, belongs to the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren. (CP)

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