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The ESRF Council appoints next Director General


The ESRF Council has appointed Jean Daillant as the next Director General of the ESRF, the European Synchrotron.

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A soft matter physicist, Jean Daillant has been Director General of the SOLEIL synchrotron since 2011. Under his guidance, SOLEIL has become a leading facility among the medium-energy synchrotron radiation sources. He is the current Chair of LEAPS, the League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources, which aims to promote scientific excellence and strengthen the cooperation between synchrotron and X-ray free electron laser facilities to support an innovative and sustainable European Research Area. He also holds the role of Spokesperson of the Analytical Research Infrastructures in Europe (ARIE).

Jean Daillant will take over on 1 September 2024 from Francesco Sette, who, during a close to sixteen-year mandate, has overseen the implementation of the entire Upgrade Programme of the ESRF to become the world’s first and leading fourth-generation high-energy synchrotron radiation source.

"The Council extends a heartfelt welcome to Jean in his new role as Director General, and is looking forward to collaborating with him to steer the ESRF towards a bright future amidst challenging circumstances," states Prof. Helmut Dosch, Chair of the ESRF Council.

Francesco Sette says: "I congratulate Jean on his appointment and welcome him on board on behalf of all of us at the ESRF. I wish him a lot of success in leading the ESRF in the years to come, keeping the facility at the forefront of X-ray science."

Jean Daillant says: "I feel deeply honoured to be joining the ESRF to serve as Director General. Succeeding Francesco, who has so successfully lead the facility for many years, is a challenge I am taking on with humility. EBS provides extraordinary opportunities for scientific creativity that I will be most excited to develop further, together with the ESRF staff and the wider scientific community."

Jean Daillant is a widely recognised expert on synchrotron radiation. His expertise focuses on soft matter physics and liquid interface dynamics, delving into their intermolecular interactions and surface phenomena. Utilising advanced techniques like synchrotron X-ray and atomic force microscopy, he has analysed these systems at the nanoscale. His interest also extends to practical applications, particularly in nanomaterials synthesis through self-assembly.

He was a member of the ESRF Science Advisory Committee over the period 2003-2009 and headed SOLEIL’s Scientific Council between 2006 and 2010. After graduating in Physics at the École Normale Supérieure de St-Cloud, he joined the CEA in 1989, where he subsequently became Head of the Soft Matter and Interfaces Group before becoming joint director of LURE, the French national synchrotron light source in Orsay, from 1999 to 2003. In 2004, he became Head of the CEA-CNRS Laboratory LIONS for Interdisciplinary Research on Nanometric and Supramolecular Organisation, until 2011, at which time he took up his current role as SOLEIL Director General.