Interview 2017

Interview with the KFS chair Prof. Stefan Eisbitt and his deputy, Dr. Bridget Murphy


Herr Eisebitt, what has the KFS achieved during the 30 years of its existence and where was the focus during the last three years, the time you chaired the KFS?

The German Committee Research with Synchrotron Radiation acts in the interest of scientists who work with synchrotron radiation. The KFS not only represents these interests in discussions with the facilities who run the sources, but it is also a point of contact for the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The KFS has been quite successful in this role. Looking at the recommendations of the KFS in the past, it is apparent that most of them have convinced decision makers in politics, and many developments were carried out as recommended by the KFS. Important topics in our work during the last three years were, amongst others, the situation of ANKA users and the future of the funding instrument “BMBF Verbundforschung” itself, in addition to the discussion of specific calls.

Frau Murphy, what are the most important tasks for the coming years? What are the current needs of the users?

It is important that we ensure that the synchrotrons we use remain world leading so that we can all do the best science possible. To do this the KFS represents the user community and presents their requirements to the funding agencies. The synchrotron community is very active and our role in KFS is to ensure that the decision makers are informed of our success along with the current and future needs of the community.

Currently synchrotron and X-ray free electron lasers users require a wide range of different methods requiring a range of energies from soft X-ray to hard X-rays and time scales ranging from femtoseconds to hours. This means that we require many different dedicated sources to fulfil our needs and enable excellent science. Exciting new developments such as diffraction limited sources will deliver up to 100 times more intensity and strongly coherent light into small sample spots - this means that we can all increase the parameter space for our experiments moving to in-situ and in-operando studies. The first user experiments at European X-FEL in autumn this year will open up access to shorter time scales for a large community.

Herr Eisebitt, how does the KFS work?

The KFS meets several times per year, it keeps informed about recent developments and discusses topics that have to be dealt with. Not only the elected members, but also representatives of the sources, of the BMBF and the managing agency PT-DESY and invited guests take part in the meetings. For example, there is close contact to the European Synchrotron Radiation Users Organization. This format allows a direct and intense exchange about strategic questions. We represent the interest of synchrotron radiation users at storage rings and FELs in working groups of the BMBF – e.g. currently in a working group on the digital agenda, computing and research data management. Our job is to contribute the user perspective, so it can be balanced with the interests of other parties involved, such as the Helmholtz centers.

Frau Murphy, what is your personal motivation for engaging in the KFS?

I grew up in the synchrotron community and have seen many developments over the years as both a synchrotron scientist and as a researcher so I can understand the needs of the user community and communicate them efficiently to both the facilities and the BMBF. In these exciting times it is important to voice the needs of the community.

Herr Eisebitt, why is it important to vote?

The KFS claims to represent the interest of the users. Being an elected body gives us the legitimation towards this end. This is not just a phrase – this legitimation does give us weight when we put forward the user needs in controversial discussions! Therefore, a good turnout is important. The other aspect: research with synchrotron radiation is diverse – and the KFS has only eight elected members. To cover many of these research areas in a representative manner by delegates – how could this be done in a better way than by election? Use your right to vote instead of regretting afterwards that a research area is underrepresented!

Eisebitt Murphy


Filed under: KFS, Komitee