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ISSN: 1600-5775

Poland joins European synchrotron (ESRF)

Two weeks before becoming part of the European Union, Poland joined the ESRF as a Scientific Associate, at a level of 0.6% as regards financial contributions and scientific use. The category of Associate Member is a recent innovation. The original participation into ESRF was restricted to members contributing a minimum of 4% to the ESRF budget. Spain, Switzerland and Nordsync (a consortium of Nordic countries, namely Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) contribute this minimum. The ESRF's agreement with Poland will last for two years (from July 2004 to June 2006). After that, it is likely that Poland may act as a catalyst in forming a Centralsync consortium with the Czech Republic and Hungary. In this way they could participate at a higher level so that they can become an observer on the Council, the body that makes decisions about important issues of ESRF policy. The Czech Republic and Hungary currently contribute 0.41% and 0.2%, respectively, to the ESRF budget.

The synchrotron community in Poland is already significant and its formal participation in the ESRF is bound to start a growth in the synchrotron radiation activities in Poland. They have already attempted to establish a national synchrotron radiation facility based on the 800 MeV Super-ACO. As we have seen, in countries such as Australia, Canada and Switzerland, participation in facilities abroad has led in due course to countries building their own sources; it is only a matter of time before Centralsync could form the seed for another facility.

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