This morning, the president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, reaffirmed the Catalan government’s commitment to the ALBA Synchrotron and announced that the executive will invest €20 million in the project in 2020. “The ALBA Synchrotron is a continuing priority for us because it’s a leading facility in Europe,” said the president, describing it as a “key facility that puts us at the forefront, where we want to be, leading the scientific revolution from Catalonia”.
After visiting the Parc de l’Alba (Barcelona Synchrotron Park) and the synchrotron, Torra said the new investment would fund “the expansion of the facility and the installation of four additional beamlines, which will start operating between 2020 and 2023”. He also announced an investment of €5 million to create an advanced microscopy centre – to be located in the same building as the synchrotron – that will enhance the capabilities of the existing facility.
“Now is our time to lead the knowledge revolution,” said the president. “Knowledge is one of the key foundation stones as we seek to build a better nation – one that’s freer and more prosperous.”
“I’m making this visit in a week when we will also set up the Advisory Council for the National Agreement on Knowledge. We want society, research institutions and centres, and universities to come together to lay the groundwork for a scientific revolution in which Catalonia must play as important a role as it did in the Industrial Revolution.”
During his tour of the Parc de l’Alba, Torra also met with the management team, which presented the future plans for the Barcelona Synchrotron Park. The session was led by the director of the facility, Pere Solà, with the participation of the mayor of Cerdanyola, Carlos Cordón; the Director-General for Research, Joan Gómez; the Director-General of Planning for Universities and Research, Mercè Chacón; and the director of Incasol, Albert Civit.
As part of the new advanced microscopy centre, two advanced electronic microscopes will be installed at the ALBA Synchrotron. The first, a specialised instrument for use in materials science and chemical catalysis, will be employed to perform high-precision measurements with industrial applications. The other, a cryomicroscope, will be used to resolve biological structures with a high degree of resolution.
The fact that the microscopes will be located within the synchrotron facility means researchers will be able to study various scientific problems much more smoothly and efficiently because they can easily move samples between microscopes and beamlines.
The experience that the ALBA Synchrotron has gained since 2012 in serving the scientific community and its users, together with its multidisciplinary and international character, make it the ideal location for the new centre. At the same time, the advanced microscopy centre will make ALBA one of the most attractive synchrotrons in the world, because it will be one of a select group of facilities where it is possible to combine research using advanced microscopy and work involving the use of beamlines in a single space.