IRI: a new player in the German-Russian scientific collaboration

Germany and Russia have been traditionally close partners in the field of scientific basic research in large research instruments. Prominent examples of this cooperation are the large involvement of Russia in the Free-Electron Laser European XFEL in Hamburg and in the International Accelerator Center FAIR in Darmstadt. In order to further intensify this cooperation, a new joint institute has been set up by DESY and the National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute”, which is supposed to consolidate cooperative activities in this field and to provide additional incentives for cooperation. This institute has been named by the famous physicists Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923) and Abram Fedorovich Ioffe (1880-1960).

IRI and the German-Russian cooperation

As early as 2007, an agreement concerning cooperation in the development and use of accelerator-based photon sources was concluded between Germany and Russia. Thematic emphasis included research with photons in the life sciences, material sciences and nanosciences, as well as development of light sources and related accelerator technology. In 2011, an additional German-Russian Joint Declaration was signed at ministerial level to strengthen scientific cooperation with the aim to support the construction of the Ioffe Röntgen Institute as a new facility which is supposed to consolidate cooperative activities in the context of larger research infrastructures. The research centres of the Helmholtz Association are mentioned as partners on the German side, the National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute" is mentioned as the Russian partner. In February 2012, a basic agreement was finally signed between DESY and the NRC "Kurchatov Institute" to set up the IRI.

The Ioffe Röntgen Institute IRI

The IRI is supposed to place cooperation between German and Russian scientists on a new structural basis over the long term and to offer a common umbrella for future bilateral projects and initiatives in the field of large-scale research infrastructures in order to further strengthen and deepen cooperation in this strategically important research area for both countries.

The thematic fields of IRI are initially photon science, accelerator research, particle physics, as well as research with neutrons and general material sciences, especially energy materials. The IRI is open for additional fields in order to integrate and consolidate existing activities of German-Russian research.

With the IRI, a structural framework is created in order to build up joint support mechanisms and research agendas in the German-Russian scientific cooperation, which will permit performance of different bilateral measures. This includes performance of joint research projects, initiatives in scientific cooperation, conferences and especially support of young researchers.

From a research structural point of view, the IRI has a clear Helmholtz dimension, in addition to the instrument of BMBF project support, which is to be embedded in the Helmholtz research context with reference to the IRI objectives, measures and structures.