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Greetings and welcome to the Australian Synchrotron! We’ve hosted quite a few visitors in recent months, with several major synchrotron-related conferences offering their delegates the opportunity to tour our facilities, and around 700 high school physics students undertaking laboratory experiments in our education centre. We’re also looking forward to some stimulating discussions when the annual User Meeting and New User Symposium are held here in November.

It’s always a pleasure to talk to researchers about how they’re using the Synchrotron’s capabilities to maximum effect. I’m proud to say that our new Australian Synchrotron Annual Report 2014 contains many stories that demonstrate how the unique properties of synchrotron light are catalysing the best in research and innovation: supporting Australian health and wellbeing, and linking with Australian industry.

This edition of Lightspeed contains several articles about our contributions to some exciting outcomes with real world benefits, such as a leukaemia drug on trial in Melbourne, and an Australian-international discovery that is bringing a sustainable and affordable energy supply a step closer to commercial reality. It also includes details of our first Speakers Series event: “There’s SCIENCE in your food!”.

Many researchers and potential users also have great ideas about new or extended capabilities they’d like to see here. Given the Synchrotron’s clearly demonstrated ability to boost research and industrial development outcomes, we’re rekindling discussions with our stakeholders and investors about which new capabilities and upgrades would be of most practical value to Australia. A “Town Hall” discussion at the end of the user meeting will focus on this topic.

For example, making high-energy x-rays available for investigating materials under a wider range of extreme environments would strengthen Australia’s advanced materials and heavy engineering capabilities.  Similarly, expanding our capabilities in biotechnology is a good match with research needs in the region.

This refinement of the case for new beamlines and upgrades developed in Science Case II is an important part of being ready to engage with investors as our work with ANSTO to secure the future of the facility evolves. That future is firmly based on the outcomes of excellent research continuing to lead to major economic impacts and community benefits in areas as diverse as medicine, cultural studies and agriculture.

Andrew Peele
Director, Australian Synchrotron