EU-backed SESAME synchrotron becomes operational in Jordan
The European Commission has announced that the SESAME synchrotron, the first major international research infrastructure in the Middle East, started operating on 16 May 2017 in Allan, Jordan. The synchrotron has received substantial EU funding, with over €15 million for its construction, mainly through Horizon 2020 and the European Neighbourhood Instrument. Another €3.5 million of EU funding is currently supporting the construction of a photovoltaic solar power plant, which will make SESAME the first "green synchrotron" in the world.
At the inauguration event, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: "SESAME is the best evidence that science diplomacy is a driver of scientific and technological excellence and a powerful tool for improving relations across countries, regions and cultures promoting peace and stability in the region. As a universal language, science opens channels of communication and builds trust. I'm proud to see that the EU is supporting this important flagship of science diplomacy."
SESAME is a large machine with a circumference of around 130 meters that accelerates electrons to almost the speed of light. As the electrons are deflected through magnetic fields, they create extremely bright light, which is used to study different properties of matter. Experiments at SESAME will enable cutting edge research in fields including medicine, biology, materials science, physics, chemistry, healthcare, the environment, agriculture and archaeology.
Science diplomacy is part of the Open to the World priority set by Commissioner Moedas for EU's research and innovation policy, and refers to the use of science to prevent conflicts and crises, underpin policy making, and improve international relations in conflict areas.
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Photo: by European Commission