The Russian Federation has taken the decisive step in becoming a full Member of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble (France). On 17 December, the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a governmental act authorizing the accession of the Russian Federation as a new Contracting Party of the ESRF Inter-governmental Convention. The Ministries of Science and Education and of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation - with the support of the National Research Center Kurchatov Institute - will now finalize the Protocol of Accession with the current ESRF Contracting Parties to complete the accession process in early 2014. The envisaged participation in the ESRF of the Russian Federation is 6%.
"This is wonderful news which underlines more then ever the long-standing scientific and technical collaboration existing among scientists and engineers from Russia and from the 20 ESRF Partner Countries", said ESRF Director General Francesco Sette. "Exactly 25 years after the signature of the ESRF Convention, the reach of the ESRF expands on a global scale, with profound positive effects in ensuring a successful continuation of its leadership in synchrotron science and applications for many years to come."
"This announcement is very good news for the future of the ESRF, for France and for the Europe of science and innovation. We need more than ever to strengthen large research infrastructures such as the ESRF", says Geneviève Fioraso, French Minister of Research and Universities, in a statement.
"Russia's accession to the ESRF Convention will provide guaranteed access for Russian scientists to a unique scientific infrastructure, it will increase the effectiveness of their participation in topical research and help organize a modern platform for training of students and scientists", the Russian government said in a statement to the news agency ITER-TASS.
Russian scientists have from the early days of the ESRF, more than 20 years ago, made important contributions to the development of the ESRF. Negotiations on the accession of the Russian Federation to the ESRF started in 2011 with discussions between the National Research Center Kurchatov Institute and the ESRF - upon the initiative of their respective Directors, Mikhail Kovalchuk and Francesco Sette. Since 2012 Russian scientists access the ESRF peer review research programme under the same conditions of those from the Partner Countries. Today, they contribute some 3% to scientific research at the ESRF, a figure that is bound to grow rapidly over the coming years.