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Strong Support for Super Research Facility in the Øresund Region

May 29, 2009
There is wide European support for the Øresund Region hosting a new European research facility – the world's largest microscope – worth DKK 11 billion.
– We have moved a significant step further to ensure that a world-class research facility will be located in the Øresund Region. A decision of great importance to business, research and education environments, both in Denmark and Sweden, says Helge Sander, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation.

A close Danish-Swedish joint effort lies behind the strong backing last night at a meeting in Brussels between the research ministers of the interested European countries.

– So far, there is no formal decision on the location. But at the meeting, ESS Scandinavia got support from France, Germany, Poland, Norway, Estonia and Latvia. So we are in a very favourable position as to the question of where the research facility should be located, says Helge Sander.

The research facility, known as ESS (European Spallation Source), will be the world's largest microscope.

– A research centre like this will attract the most talented researchers and students and tip the scales of knowledge in favour of both Sweden and Denmark, says Helge Sander.
– Besides promoting the education and research environment throughout the Øresund Region, ESS will also attract innovative knowledge enterprises and have a significant and positive impact on industrial developments.

The European countries backing up ESS may choose between a location in the Øresund Region, Spain or Hungary, which have all offered to host the ESS facility. Following yesterday's meeting, the interested countries are now expected to confirm and indicate which location they support, so as to enable more specific preparations and analyses to be initiated.

The Danish-Swedish joint effort to secure a site for the ESS in the Øresund Region has been intensified during the last few months since Science Minister Helge Sander and Sweden's Minister of Higher Education and Research, Lars Leijonborg, signed an agreement in early April on extensive research collaboration.

The agreement states that Denmark and Sweden will work to ensure support from the other Nordic countries and the Baltics for placing the ESS in the Øresund Region. According to the agreement, the Danish contribution towards co-hosting ESS will amount to 12.5 per cent of the construction costs, equal to about DKK 1.4 billion.

ESS is planned to be ready by 2020 and will then be the world's strongest neutron source – it could also be called the world's largest microscope. Its technology can be compared to that of x-rays, which makes it possible to take pictures of bones even if they are covered by tissue and muscles.

For further comments by Science Minister Helge Sander, please contact Information Manager Allan Boldt, tel.: +45 33 92 97 39, abo@vtu.dk.

For further information about ESS and the Danish-Swedish agreement, please contact the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, Special Consultant Morten Scharff, tel.: +45 72 26 55 30, msc@fi.dk.

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