George Borg, Acting Director, Australian SynchrotronIt has been a busy and interesting time at the Australian Synchrotron as our activities really accelerate for 2010. Our work on the Australian Synchrotron Development Plan will help to ensure that we can support and enable world-class research well into the future. The Development Plan or ‘Science Case 2’ includes a plan for capital expansion of the Australian Synchrotron to include 10 new beamlines. This has been peer-reviewed with the help of national and international experts including the Australian Synchrotron Science Advisory Committee. Science Case 2 will be complemented by a business case, which provides a rationale and justification for existing and projected expenditure. Both documents are nearing completion and will be submitted to the state and federal governments for consideration in the near future.

We are continuing to build the Australian Synchrotron’s local and international standing, including hosting recent visits from the Honourable Alan Griffin, our local Member of Parliament, and Professor Eric Isaacs, the Director of Argonne National Laboratory in the US. Minister Griffin was highly impressed with the calibre of the facilities and science undertaken here. Professor Isaacs was in Australia to discuss the contribution of synchrotron science to the field of clean technology, and held several discussions with Australian Synchrotron staff.

We are also actively participating in events such as Science Meets Parliament, organised annually by the Federation of Australian Science and Technology Societies (FASTS) to bring politicians and scientists together to help shape the future of research policy in Australia.

The Australian Synchrotron has an important role in helping to inspire Australia about science and research, particularly the youngest members of our community, encouraging them to consider science-related careers. In addition to our usual educational tours and laboratory sessions, we are jointly hosting the ANZAAS – Australian Synchrotron Winter School in July, and supporting students to attend similar events at overseas facilities, such as the Cheiron School in Japan.

This year, the Australian Synchrotron’s annual Open Day will happen on 15 August as part of National Science Week. More information will be made available on our website shortly. Our work continues to attract public attention and has recently featured in the Sunday Herald Sun, on Catalyst and on Maori Television.

We are also reviewing some of our communications activities – including this newsletter and our dealings with stakeholders. Many of you will have received an email inviting you to complete a short online survey about Lightspeed; I would encourage you to spend a few minutes providing us with feedback to help us improve and refine this publication to better meet your needs.

Image: George Borg, Acting Director, Australian Synchrotron