Instrumentation and the associated enabling technologies underpin every aspect of the scientific activity of the ESRF. The overall performance of our beamlines depends critically on innovative and successful X-ray instrumentation R&D programmes. A typical example is given in this section with the development of an original strategy for an extreme energy resolution monochromator. R&D on the sample environment is of particular importance as emphasised by two articles focussed respectively on the controlled dehydration of macromolecular crystals and on the development of customised microfurnaces.

The way scientists interact with beamline components depends on the software controlling these components; the ensuing data processing depends on the capacity and versatility of the available computing environment. With the Upgrade Programme on its way, it was recognised early on that our organisational structure was not optimal for facing the many challenges inherent to our aim of modernising the ESRF. This led to the creation of the Instrumentation Services and Development Division (ISDD) early in 2009, and will lead to the creation of the Technical Infrastructure Division (TID) in 2010. Both divisions bring together all in-house experts to create the necessary synergies in the various technical specialities needed to design and manufacture state-of-the-art X-ray instrumentation and to provide the best possible technical infrastructure for our visiting and in-house scientists.

The work on the Upgrade Programme is advancing well. Several of the work packages financed from the FP7 project ESRFUP, are now coming to an end. The results will have a direct impact on the direction of future developments. In this section, we present the outcome of the Grid feasibility study, one of the 13 work packages of the preparatory phase of the Upgrade.

Instrumentation development for the Upgrade is of European significance. It is very important that much of this work is carried out in close collaboration and as a common effort with our colleagues in Europe. In this section of the Highlights we present an account of the MAXIPIX detector developments. Other noteworthy collaborations are currently being set up; they will soon produce important results (HIZPAD, NanoFOX, VEDAC, PANData, etc.). Another example of a successful collaboration at the European level is given by the BigDFT project, which aims at proving enhanced computing and calculation capabilities for electronics structure calculations.

Last, but not least, works have started on the extension of the data centre in the Central Building. The new data centre, essentially three times bigger than the current one, will provide the electrical power and associated cooling for the computing infrastructure to store and analyse the data generated by the ESRF in the decade(s) to come.

J. Susini and R. Dimper