The ESRF is one of the world's largest synchrotron science centres. Every year, 9000 scientists from 21 partner countries and from around the world travel to Grenoble to use its extremely brilliant X-rays for leading-edge research. This fundamental and applied research often addresses how to better use resources, develop more sustainable materials or improve our daily lives. The ESRF Upgrade Programme 2009-2018 maintains our world-leading role through a continuous quest for higher performance figures, meeting the needs of returning users, and attracting scientists from new disciplines.


Life at the ESRF is structured around the following principles:

Scientific excellence. Access to experiment time is competitive, and selection of experiments is guided by external review.

Productivity. Among synchrotrons worldwide, ESRF has the most external users and refereed publications.

Performance. The ESRF leads synchrotrons worldwide on reliability and quality of service to users.

Accessibility. The use of the ESRF is free of charge for all academic research. Close to a quarter of the academic research at the ESRF involves industrial partners. Industrial use of our facilities and expertise, including full intellectual property protection, is possible.

Openness. The results of academic research at the ESRF are always published, and the knowledge, skills and technologies developed at the ESRF are shared with the member countries and associates. Within the organisation, hierarchies are flat and bureaucracy is kept to a strict minimum.

Cultural richness. The staff of the ESRF represents more than 40 nationalities. Using English as the working language, these 600 highly qualified people mutually benefit from their rich and diverse backgrounds, cultures and languages.

Awareness of safety, health and environment. These are important aspects of daily life at the ESRF, to ensure that users and staff enjoy a high-quality workplace.