The virtual 17th General Assembly and virtual meeting on May 16th 2022 saw the participation of delegates from 25 (out of 30) member countries. In total 35 ESUO delegates joined the meeting.
The topics of the meeting are listed here.
ESUO Activities: The meeting began with a summary or recap of ESUO activities since the previous General Assembly of October 2021. This gave a brief overview of the Executive Board activities and interactions with LEAPS, the European Commission and ENSA in the immediate run up to the 17th General Assembly.
Welcome to Romania: ESUO was able celebrate that a national delegate to represent ROMANIA, Ovidiu Crisan was admitted to ESUO, bringing the total to 31 nations that have representation within ESUO. The national delegates present voted in favour until a majority of all member nations had been reached with there being no dissenting votes. Bine ati venit!
Summary of the results of the ESUO User Survey on the absence of Trans National Access funding:
A summary of the ESUO User Survey results was presented with a statistical analysis of the questions, accompanied by selected individual responses to the key first question as to whether a user could come to a synchrotron/FEL in the absence of trans-national access (TNA) funding. The total response was 596 submissions, mainly from older established researchers, comparing well with the 2630 recipients of TNA under CALIPSOplus over the 4.5 yr duration. The results of the survey and selected comments had been presented to representative s of the European Commission and ESFRI in a meeting on March 21st 2022 as facilitated by LEAPS.
Mandates: A reminder was given to the assembled delegates that mandates are required of all national delegates as per the ESUO Statutes (as noted in presentation). A template of a mandate and several examples of a mandating authority were noted as being acceptable if the national user organisation were not a formal entity capable of issuing a mandate themselves.
ESUO-LEAPS Strategic Partnership: The ESUO-LEAPS partnership which has been in place for a year was discussed and delegates were informed both on the overall internal structure of LEAPS, but also where the representatives of ESUO are and would continue to be active in providing user voices within that organisational structure of strategy groups, work groups and task forces. The key aspects of the LEAPS commitment to ESUO and the ESUO commitment to LEAPS were discussed, together with the previously agreed medium term activities of ESUO as of April 2021. A discussion of the previous 4th LEAPS plenary, and LEAPS responses to Challenge Driven topics in Horizon Europe leading to new challenge driven access modalities. These were discussed with LEAPS in various interactions and in preparation for the LEAPS European Strategy on Accelerator Based Photon Sources 2022 (ESAPS 2022) were discussed. [Note the LEAPS ESAPS 2022 stategy was formally launched on May 31st in Brussels. ESUO participated and supported LEAPS in this launch event.] The ESAPS strategy may be discussed in full at the next ESUO GA in August.
Vacancy on the ESUO Executive Board: There will be a vacancy at the ESUO Executive Board from 1st July 2022. This will be the date that Federico Boscherini takes up a new role as chair of the Eu.XFEL Council. It was agreed that the election of the new EB member will be done during the upcoming ESUO GA meeting on the 29th of August. By ESUO Statutes, the replacement should be representative of the FEL user community. Further, ESUO Statutes also restrict the nationality to be of a nationality other than that represented Please contact the President of ESUO if you would be available for this position.
Horizon Europe call: HORIZON-INsFRA-2023-SERV-01-03: The opportunities associated with the draft topic named “Research infrastructures services advancing frontier knowledge: co-fund pilots with pan-European RIs and/or national RIs”, in the draft Horizon Europe Research Infrastructures Work Programme 2023-2024 was discussed in full where the topic is intended as a Co-Funded pilot programme which would primarily deliver trans-national access support for curiosity driven research to consortia of large scale research infrastructures. The details of the scope, language, funding, expected outcomes and eligibility criteria were outlined during this talk. The national delegates had been tasked in the weeks before the GA with supporting a joint lobbying by ESUO+ENSA national delegates in each nation with a letter to the National Contact Points on the Research Infrastructures committee in relation to the topic and the intended response to it of the LEAPS+LENS+ESUO+ENSA photon and neutron communities to this call when it would be published later in the autumn of 2022. The thinking behind the ESUO President and EBs thinking in calling for a joint photon and neutron response to this topic was outlined, linking the CALIPSOplus final meeting, the LEAPS 4th plenary meeting, the interaction with the Commission in March 2022 and in meetings with ENSA in April 2022. The president of ENSA, Henrik Rønnow attended for this section of the meeting. Note that on the day following the GA meeting, the RI committee meeting in Brussels retained the language of this topic in the draft work programme. Follow up meetings with ENSA and with LEAPS and LENS are to still occur.
Internal organisation and scope of ESUO activities: It remains a challenge for ESUO to both sustain itself into the future, in the potential absence of any programmatic funding as in the past, and also to define the role that ESUO could and should play as these all depend upon human resources, time and finances. This topic introduced delegates to the need for input to the ESUO EB in advance of developing final proposals regarding funding, membership fees, preferred and priority activities and internal organisation of ESUO to be clarified and voted upon in the next General Assembly in August 2022. (See presentation).
Next General Assembly August 29th /30th 2022 @SOLEIL: The dates and location of the next in-person ESUO General Assembly were discussed, with likely topics. The details will follow in due time but please book the dates in your agendas.
The meeting then ended but with a number of requests for delegates to prepare in advance of the next General Assembly.