STFC’s ISIS facility signs up to continued collaboration with Italy
05 Mar 2014



The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR, the Italian National Research Council) have signed an agreement today (4 March 2014) worth €15M.

ISIS Director Robert McGreevy signs the agreement, with Cristina Messa, Vice President of CNR

The agreement is to to further develop collaboration between the two countries in the field of neutron scattering using the STFC ISIS facility, the UK's pulsed neutron and muon source.​

Italy is one of ISIS’s longest standing international partners, with this agreement building on nearly 30 years of collaboration. Professor Cristina Messa, Vice President of CNR and responsible for research infrastructures visited ISIS in connection with the signing of the agreement today (4 March). She said,

“The collaboration between ISIS and CNR has been a long and fruitful one that has benefited scientists in both countries. With this new agreement we can look forward to a range of exciting developments, including new instruments and capabilities and ensuring the excellent facilities at ISIS are fully exploited by the Italian scientific community.”

In the last five years Italian involvement with ISIS has included over 300 Italian scientists having produced 200 publications based on research undertaken at the facility. Italian science at ISIS spans a wide range of areas from fundamental studies through to biomaterials, materials for energy and cultural heritage studies. Future collaboration is aimed at ensuring  the mutually beneficial development of instrumentation and techniques.

Recent examples of collaboration have included:

  • the operation of the INES instrument at ISIS. INES is a powder diffractometer, built in 2005 by the CNR and used for a wide range of materials characterisation and cultural heritage applications.
  • the commissioning and exploitation of two new instruments on the ISIS Second Target Station, ChipIR and Imat. ChipIR will be used by the electronics industry to test their devices against the effects of cosmic ray neutrons, and Imat is an engineering strain and imaging beamline due to come into operation in 2015. 

There is also potential partnership in a wide variety of other instrument and technique developments. This includes developing TOSCA, a vibrational spectroscopy instrument that has recently been used in a project to manufacture carbon based fuels from more freely available sources at a time when the depletion of natural fuel resources presents a major global challenge, and Engin-x, an engineering strain instrument that has been used to study a wide range of engineering materials from train wheels to offshore pipelines.

Robert McGreevy, Director of ISIS says, “We have an excellent track record of nearly 30 years close collaboration with Italy, with notable achievements including the development of INES, VESUVIO and TOSCA. I’m delighted that the signing of this agreement provides a framework for continued success and the expansion of the partnership into new and exciting areas.”

The agreement comes into effect on 8 March 2014 and will continue for 6 years.