More than 170 participants from all Europe met up virtually for the third League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources (LEAPS) Plenary meeting. The event was been hosted by the ALBA Synchrotron, whose director, Caterina Biscari, will continue as Chair of LEAPS in 2021.
The LEAPS Plenary meeting was held on 24–25 November. The first-day session was attended only by LEAPS members, associate and partners, all reporting on on-going activities and discussing plans for the future. On the second day of the plenary, LEAPS received also guests and stakeholders.
The Plenary started with a welcome by Caterina Biscari, Chair of LEAPS, who gave an update on the LEAPS status and an overview of its perspectives. Then, Michele Svandrlik from Elettra introduced DIGITAL LEAPS, the program being developed in response to the pandemic crisis. It is based on learning from present challenges, aiming at the evolution of those digitalization and automatization tools proven to be essential during the particular difficulties of this year towards key instruments for a resilient, digital and green RI operation, well within the scope of the European Green Deal and missions of Horizon Europe.
Next, all LEAPS Strategy and Working Groups during parallel sessions wrapped-up the activities done since the last plenary meeting and especially planning the future ones. The last part of the first day was devoted to discussions on the activities planned for 2021, presented by the group leaders in plenum, guided and summed up by Helmut Dosch, director of DESY and vice-chair of LEAPS.
On the second day, LEAPS received guests and stakeholders, including representatives from EC and from national funding agencies as well as representatives from European countries not hosting a LEAPS member facility but using it for their research and innovation activities.
The day began with a presentation on the LEAPS status focused on COVID19 times by Caterina Biscari. Next, Antje Vollmer, HZB, introduced IDEA – LEAPS for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-discrimination.
Michele Svandrlik explained the project DIGITAL LEAPS and Rudolf Dimper, ESRF, talked about the LEAPS connection to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Following him, Elke Plönjes presented LEAPS-INNOV, an H2020 pilot project just granted by the EC, focusing on the implementation of new strategies and activities for long-term partnerships between industry and the European light sources.
Finally, Jan Lüning, HZB, and Ullrich Pietsch, University of Siegen, presented how the European Synchrotron and FEL User Organization (ESUO) has recently been approved as Strategic LEAPS Partner.
After this session led by Helmut Dosch, Caterina Biscari chaired the second one devoted to introducing the new network ARIE (Analytical Research Infrastructures in Europe). ARIE includes more than one hundred user facilities performing research using electrons, magnetic fields, protons, lasers, neutrons, photon sources and ion beams. ARIE inception on a LEAPS initiative is meant to tackle pressing societal challenges, as described in the recently published position papers on Horizon Europe Missions and on Viral and Microbial Threats. ARIE represents the widest and most mature set of analytical research infrastructures in the world. Mirjam van Daalen, PSI, and Harald Reichert, ESRF, talked about the ARIE position papers and ARIE European Green Deal proposal, respectively.
The following session was devoted to the future of LEAPS and was chaired by Lenny Rivkin, PSI and vice-chair of LEAPS. After an overview on LEAPS under Horizon Europe by Johannes Klumpers, European Commission DG R&I, a panel discussion moderated by Gastón García, CMAM/ALBA, was held. Participating in this was Christiaan Zonnevylle, RAITH, Industry supplier, Helmut Schober, ILL and Chair of LENS, Jan Hrušák, ESFRI, Johannes Klumpers, EC DG R&I, Lenny Rivkin, PSI, and Ullrich Pietsch, University of Siegen/ESUO. They made clear that while LEAPS’s plans for the future are well aligned with the EC objectives on RIs, further interchange between LEAPS, EC and all LEAPS stakeholders will be key to help define these plans as their successful developments strongly rely on budget availability.
The meeting ended with an open discussion with all the attendees, also lead by Gastón García, and finally, conclusions were summed up by Caterina Biscari who, thanking all participants for their contribution to the successful event, highlighted how LEAPS voice is now strongly heard in Europe and beyond and how LEAPS facilities have really started to work together under LEAPS umbrella.