The European Nuclear Science network touches base at CERN

ENSAR (European Nuclear Science and Applications Research) is an EU-supported project, which aims at fostering cooperation within the European low-energy nuclear physics community through the active sharing of expertise and best practices. The project also includes a transnational access programme to allow a large community of users to access the participating facilities, which include CERN’s ISOLDE. In the last week of April, CERN hosted the General Assembly and Programme Coordination Committee meetings, about 18 months after the project’s kick-off.


Participants in the ENSAR project.

ENSAR involves 30 partner institutes, which include the seven large nuclear physics facilities in Europe. A large part of the European nuclear physics community is represented in ENSAR, in particular scientists who are performing research related to nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics and applications of nuclear science. In 2010, the project was awarded 8 million euros from the European Union to be used over four years.

“ENSAR includes networking and research activities for the development of state-of-the-art technologies needed for the next generation large-scale facilities for nuclear physics as well as to improve the performance of the presently running facilities,” says project co-ordinator Muhsin Harakeh (KVI/GSI/GANIL). “The core aim is to facilitate access to the seven world-class infrastructures that are participating in the project: ALTO and GANIL in France, GSI in Germany, LNL-LNS in Italy, JYFL in Finland, KVI in the Netherlands, and ISOLDE at CERN. Together, these facilities provide stable and radioactive ion beams of excellent quality ranging in energy from tens of keV/u to a few GeV/u.”

Almost halfway through the four-year period, the ENSAR project recently held its annual general meeting at CERN. This was an opportunity for all the partners to touch base on the work already done and on the issues that remain to be addressed. “We have put a great deal of effort into the dissemination of our activities but we think that we could still improve this essential aspect of the project, for example by improving the website. This is a main objective as the multidisciplinary applications and some of the work packages have direct benefit to society,” says Ketel Turzó, the project’s manager. “We will also need to optimize the schedule for transnational access to the facilities as some of them will be shut down for major upgrades during the duration of the programme.”

CERN is participating in the project as ISOLDE is one of the facilities involved in the translational access activities. In addition, CERN’s Thierry Stora is the coordinator of ActILab, a research activity within ENSAR that aims at developing new target technologies which will exploit actinides to produce new isotopes. CERN also leads the EURISOL Network aimed at promoting R&D and updating the scientific case for the future EURISOL facility.

Pooling the available resources including human capital where possible, developing new technologies, stimulating complementarity and ensuring broad dissemination of results is the job that ENSAR is doing for the nuclear physics community in Europe: a valuable investment for the future!

by Antonella Del Rosso