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User consortia

The Council of the European XFEL decided to welcome contributions by User Consortia to the construction of scientific instruments, to the ancillary instrumentation, and to the technical infrastructure. Contributions by User Consortia are regulated by a clear set of guidelines. In a first evaluation round seven User Consortia proposals have been approved.

In 2011 a Call for Expressions of Interest in contributing to the European XFEL in the form of User Consortia was published. This call was published with an initial deadline, in order to start a first evaluation, but is open, allowing new proposals to be submitted at any time.

A first round of proposals has been evaluated internally and with the help of the European XFEL advisory committees. Following discussion and positive decision by the European XFEL Council, six User Consortia are now in their implementation phase. New proposals will undergo the same evaluation and approval procedure.

User Consortia under implementation
The approved User Consortia proposals contribute significant additions to the European XFEL instrumentation, addressing in particular the instrumentation scope of the scientific instruments, soft- and hardware for the scientific computing, biochemical laboratories, and additions to the FEL undulators. Most contributions include the provision of hardware, personnel and contributions to the general technical infrastructure. Some proposals include the provision of funding for personnel and consumables during the operation phase of the facility.

Proposals under implementation:

Integrated Biology Infrastructure Life-Science Facility at the European XFEL (XBI)
The XBI user consortium is a proposal for an integrated structural biology infrastructure—including laboratory space, sample characterization technique, and operation staff—in the headquarters building (XHQ). XBI already provided the infrastructure for the corresponding area in the XHQ laboratory floor and recently acquired sufficient funding to proceed to the first phase of instrument acquisitions. Current members are Arizona State University, EMBL, Uppsala University, the University of Oulu, the Unviersity of Hamburg and University Hospital Eppendorf, and the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (SFX)
The SFX user consortium proposes to build a second interaction chamber for nanocrystallography and sample screening in the Single Particles, Clusters, and Biomolecules and Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (SPB/SFX) instrument hutch, re-using the transmitted X-ray FEL beam. This proposal is led by DESY and includes strong Swedish, UK, and Slovak contributions. More details about this UC can be found on its website and information on the combined SPB/SFX beamline at the forthcoming XFEL webpage for SPB/SFX.

DataXpress is a user consortium providing a data analysis toolkit and hardware aiming at solving the data and reconstruction challenge for single particle and nanocrystal coherent diffraction experiments at the European XFEL. This proposal is led by DESY, and includes other partners from Germany. More details can be obtained from Anton Barty (DESY) who coordinates this proposal. E-Mail:

Helmholtz International Beamline for Extreme Fields at the European XFEL (HIBEF)
The Helmholtz International Beamline for Extreme Fields at the European XFEL (HIBEF) User Consortium contribute two high energy optical lasers, a high field pulsed magnet instrument, and a number of scattering diagnostics to be integrated into the High Energy Density Physics (HED) instrument. A laser building could house future upgrades of these optical lasers and would provide preparation places for the staff to build up and operate these systems. This proposal is led by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), and includes contributions and partners from more than 20 countries. More details about this UC can be found on its Website

The COMO consortium addresses the provision of state-, size-, and isomer-selected samples of polar molecules and clusters for XFEL studies using soft and hard X-ray FEL radiation. It intends to build an molecular beam injector setup that can be attached to the European XFEL instruments, in particular Small Quantum Systems (SQS) and Single Particles, Clusters, and Biomolecules (SPB). More details can be obtained from Jochen Küpper (CFEL, DESY and Universität Hamburg) who coordinates this proposal. E-mail:
Project website:

Heisenberg Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (h-RIXS)
The Heisenberg Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (h-RIXS) user consortium proposes to build high resolution spectrometers complementing the capabilities of the Spectroscopy and Coherent Scattering (SCS) instrument and facilitate RIXS-type experiments at the transform limit in time and energy. This proposal includes core partners from Germany, Switzerland, Finland, France, Sweden, Italy and the UK as well as a broad international users community and is led by Alexander Föhlisch from Potsdam University and HZB. More details can be obtained from Alexander Föhlisch. E-mail: