Covid-19 and ISIS Operations
31 Dec 2020



And we're back! ISIS has successfully restarted operations with Covid-19 precautions in place.




23 November 2020

​We have just started our second run cycle following the Covid shutdown.  We are largely still running with users sending samples in, but user visits are possibe where they are essential.​

In our September-October run cycle we ran around 275 experiments and delivered 930 experiment-days for science.  We had around 20 users visiting physically.  All of this is a huge achievement for ISIS staff and the user community, as we've got used to running with the new Covid working practices enabling us to deliver science as safely as possible.

​8 September 2020

​​​After many weeks of preparing our buildings and labs and restarting our systems and equipment ISIS started our first cycle since lockdown as planned. We still don't have users coming in person, but samples can be sent in to be run by our team of beamline scientists.​

21 August 2020

You may be aware that the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source ended its March run cycle early and cancelled the planned April / May run cycle due to the Covid-19 situation.

Nearly all ISIS staff have been working from home since March with only staff essential for the safe operation of equipment that was left running coming on site.  Over recent of weeks, some project work has begun, and ISIS, along with STFC more generally, increasing activities whilst following government guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff.

The next ISIS run cycle is planned to start on 8 September 2020.  ISIS is currently aiming to run the accelerator for this cycle, with the anticipation of a limited experimental programme being possible as we get used to Covid-19 precautions. For this cycle we anticipate that there will be no visiting external users on site, at least for the first weeks of the cycle​. Science groups are currently drawing up schedules, in discussion with users, for running during this period, and science and technical groups are working out how we can operate safely during this period.

​Following this, ISIS is currently planning another run cycle in November and December this year - we hope we may be able to have limited numbers of visiting users for this cycle. The delays caused by Covid-19 also mean we will not be in a position to start the long shutdown in January 2021. We have therefore introduced a new cycle in early 2021, running up to Easter, and aim to start the shutdown after Easter 2021. Exact dates will be confirmed later. ​

All of these plans are subject to change in the light of experience over coming weeks in attempting to run the ISIS accelerator and dealing with issues that arise during operation whilst observing social distancing. ​We will continue to keep the user community informed of ISIS operating patterns as these develop, through emails through the ISIS website.

In the meantime – we are very pleased to see high-quality publications continuing to come from the ISIS community over recent weeks – the ISIS website has a continuous stream of science highlights. We have just held a webinar on Functional Materials Science with six talks from ISIS and ILL users, attended by over 160 people, and a webinar on Soft Matter and Bioscience at ISIS and ILL was held afternoon of 20 July which attracted a similar number of​ participants.  A webinar on Chemistry and Catalysis is currently being planned for early October - details to follow.​ We hope to see you virtually, if not in person, in the near future.

​Details of ISIS running will be kept up-to-date on the ISIS ​​Beam Status page and the Apply for Beamtime page​.

Contact: de Laune, Rosie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)