09 Dec 2021

ELI ERIC ISTAC endorses ELI Facilities’ User Readiness for mid 2022

The ELI ERIC International Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (ISTAC) met for the second time 1-2 December 2021. The session took two half-days to recommendations on the readiness for offering users access by ELI ERIC in mid 2022. The ISTAC reviewed scientific and technical developments at the ELI ERIC facilities, ELI ALPS and ELI Beamlines. The meeting resulted in a positive, but qualified, endorsement of the readiness to begin the official user programme. Enabling User Access is the main mission for ELI and a critical milestone for the ELI facilities.

“The management at ELI ERIC and the ELI facilities demonstrated that they are on track to welcome Users by mid 2022,” says Prof. John Collier, Director of the Central Laser Facility (CLF) at RAL in the United Kingdom and Chair of the ISTAC. “They already evaluate proposals, receive users and do experiments separately at each facility for some time – but coordinating the programme together is an important signal to the user community.”

While both ELI facilities presented the planning for users in 2022, they also presented flagship experiments that emphasise the capabilities and possibilities for advanced experiments at the ELI facilities. They also serve a pilot programme for the joint user programme Access while also establishing standards and practices in all areas related to the user experience.

Both the User Access plans and flagship experiments were evaluated positively, with recommendations on prioritising and carefully planning these complex projects. The ISTAC considered the flagship experiments have the potential to establish ELI within the European research landscape.

The second half-day programme was addressed to discussions of the ELI ERIC Statutory Policies for User Access and Scientific Data. Those policies provide a framework for how access is offered and scientific data is handled, while defining the necessary processes and workflows to enable this.

The ISTAC was particularly favorable relative to the data policy and the challenge of establishing a data management infrastructure which can evolve in parallel to the growing capabilities of the facilities. The ELI ERIC Data Management is based on the principles of FAIR Data and Open Access and is developed in close cooperation with the scientific community.

“We are fortunate to have a very broad range of experts advising us on our ISTAC,” says ELI ERIC Director General Allen Weeks. “The combined knowledge of such leading scientists in the laser field and beyond is an asset and will shape the development of ELI ERIC in a fundamental way.”

The charge of the ELI ERIC ISTAC is to offer independent advice and make recommendations on all strategic issues, scientific and technical activities, specific projects, and future upgrades to the ELI ERIC management and General Assembly. The ISTAC meets three times a year and is made up of 14 leading experts in the field of laser science from Europe and the United States.