Access to these facilities is important to the groups, the PIs of these groups but also to the individual researchers. Here are some of their quotes from both PIs, PostDoctoral researchers (PDs) and from junior researchers.

During my PhD, I attended two muon beamtimes at the Paul Scherrer Institute in 2012 and 2013, for investigation of d0 (defect) magnetism in MB6 (M = Ca, Sr, Ba) thin films and CeO2 nanopowders. Muon spectroscopy, a microscopic magnetic local probe with unique ability to probe in zero applied magnetic field helped to elucidate the nature of d0 magnetism in these materials in a way inaccessible to other experimental techniques, and provided novel and original experimental data for my PhD thesis. – Karl Ackland (TCD)

The exceptional tools available at SR facilities allows one to get a fundamental understanding of how nanoscale materials are formed. Unraveling the key stages in nanocrystal nucleation emphasizes the requirement of a technique, sensitive to the temporal evolution around an atomic species, to overcome the limitation of conventional characterization techniques and this sensitively can only be provided by high energy X-rays available at SR facilities. – Claudia Coughlan (UL)

Tight integration with the leading facilities in Europe and the leading research teams in the EU is key to the development of technologies, which will directly impact the Irish economy. It is unlikely that x-ray synchrotron source (or free electron laser) facilities will be built in Ireland so it is a an absolute necessity for the scientific community to travel to interact with these communities. In many ways, this is a distinct advantage, as it allows the Irish research community (without the Irish Exchequer having to carry the burden of the costs of running such large-scale, and expensive, facilities) to have access to world leading facilities, exchange and develop ideas with world leading researchers, and integrate those ideas into the Irish scientific community with the consequent positive knock-on impact on Irish economic development. – Patrick McNally – PI (DCU)

Our interaction with synchrotrons is in bringing techniques that are created there into wider laboratory/industrial use. The synchrotrons do the basic research and the development, and funding Irish scientists to work there gives us access to a cutting edge that is very important for a vast range of science and future applications. – Fergal O’Reilly – PI (UCD)

Universities are in essence not businesses, and more funding emphasis needs to be put on longer term fundamental research, i.e. a more far-sighted approach versus short term economic gains. – Mike Coey – PI (TCD)

Increased difficulties in accessing European synchrotron facilities will severely limit our competiveness in terms of quality of research and quality of expertise. Many of the techniques available at synchrotrons enable us to understand issues arising within our research. These information are crucial to understand local, laboratory based, measurements and are integral part of professional and qualified research. Limitation in travel funds will effectively cut us off from access to these information, rendering local facilities less productive and informative, reducing our competitive research output and quality of our service to industrial partners. All of these are in stark contrast to any goals set out by SFI and other local research funding bodies. As there are no national synchrotron facilities it also severely limits our competiveness compared to other European research institutions. – Karsten Fleischer – PD (TCD)

The work we do is closely linked to addressing technological challenges in semiconductor device manufacture. This involves interacting with Intel’s fabrication facility in Ireland. Access to specialised spectroscopies at synchrotron radiation facilities is essential to delivering on our research goals in this respect. – Greg Hughes – PI (DCU)

“Access to Diamond light sources for my PhD enabled me to understand the mechanism of structure formation in polymer thin films. I also learned to collaborate with a multinational research team with different expertise.” – Cian Cummins – PhD (UCC)

“Access to the ANKA beamline has enabled my group to significant advances in the characterisation of uranium minerals from a chemistry perspective and enhance my students’ skillset to include something quite unique.” – Robert Baker – PI (TCD)