Progress made and work remains, but bright future ahead

MAX IV has just received the written report from the committee appointed by the Swedish Research Council (VR) to review the Laboratory’s progress on project management on 19 February 2019. The committee recognised the progress made, not only in bringing more beamlines to the commissioning stage and in several cases, close to operation, but also in implementing sustainable processes and a basic structure that enables more effective management of the many accelerator and beamline development projects underway at MAX IV.

The review committee also noted that while good progress has been made, there is still hard work ahead to deliver top-notch instruments for world-class research to the scientific community. The committee made several recommendations for how best to go forward with this effort. In particular, it recommends simplifying the organisational approach MAX IV uses for managing projects.

– I believe that this is not only good advice but if undertaken with care and forethought, will help us to do our jobs better, says interim director Ian McNulty. It is clear from the overwhelmingly positive tone of the report that we have come a long way since last summer and we are on the right track regarding project management. This means we can now work at a better pace and turn our focus to the future.

The closing comments in the review report directly speak to the future of MAX IV as the first of a new generation of synchrotron research facilities providing unprecedented brightness and coherent x-ray beams. It is only the coherent x-rays that can be focused into a very tiny spot to visualise features far smaller than can be seen in an ordinary microscope inside things like biological cells, computer chips, and advanced materials for batteries and solar power. Coherent x-rays also offer unique insight into how the atoms in materials can rearrange when, for example, they are exposed to electrical fields and high or low temperature, and how these changes can be made useful in our everyday lives. Beamlines such as NanoMAX, SoftiMAX, CoSAXS, and MicroMAX were specifically designed to take advantage of coherent x-rays. These and other exciting scientific opportunities that MAX IV enables are outlined in the MAX IV Strategy Report 2016-2026. The review committee emphasised the importance of these opportunities for new science at MAX IV and strongly encouraged MAX IV to think hard about its vision for how to exploit and make available to the research community these unprecedented capabilities.

– MAX IV is not only the brightest source of coherent x-rays in the world; it was expressly built for this purpose, continues Ian McNulty. I look forward to working closely with the entire MAX IV community over the coming year to further the vision of MAX IV as a premier facility for science.

Download the full report here: VR review MAX IV Feb 2019 – final.pdf