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.

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). The consortium already provided the infrastructure for the corresponding area in the XHQ laboratory floor that was installed and commissioned. The first phase of dedicated equipment acquisition has started and some of the devices are already installed in the laboratories. Current members are Arizona State University, EMBL, Uppsala University, the University of Oulu, the University of Hamburg and University Hospital Eppendorf, and the Slovak Academy of Sciences. More information can be found on the user section of the European XFEL website.

Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (SFX)

The SFX user consortium proposed to build and currently implements a second interaction chamber for nanocrystallography and sample screening in the SPB/SFX instrument hutch, reusing the transmitted X-ray FEL beam. This proposal includes sample injectors for the first interaction area and a large, 4 Mpx AGIPD detector for the second interaction area. This proposal is led by DESY, and it includes strong Swedish, UK, and Slovak contributions. More details about this consortium and the combined SPB/SFX beamline can be found on the webpage for the SPB/SFX instrument.


DataXpress is a user consortium providing a data analysis toolkit and hardware aimed 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.

Coordinator: Anton Barty (CFEL, DESY)


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 proposed to contribute two high energy optical lasers, a high field pulsed magnet instrument, and a number of scattering diagnostics to be integrated into the HED instrument. The ultrashort pulse high intensity laser is currently under procurement. The construction of the nanosecond high energy laser is underway at STFC. A laser building could house future upgrades of these optical lasers and would provide offices for the staff to build up and operate these systems. This proposal is led by HZDR and includes DESY, both research centres of the Helmholtz Association, plus many partners outside of Germany.

Contact: Prof. Thomas Cowan




The COMO user consortium addresses the provision of state-, size-, and isomer-selected samples of polar molecules and clusters for study using soft and hard X-ray FEL radiation. It plans to build an additional chamber that can be attached to the European XFEL instruments, in particular SQS and SPB/SFX. This proposal is led by DESY.

Coordinator: Jochen Küpper (CFEL, DESY and the University of Hamburg)


Project website:

Heisenberg Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (h-RIXS)

The Heisenberg Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (h-RIXS) user consortium is building a high resolution spectrometer complementing the capabilities of the SCS instrument and facilitate RIXS-type experiments. The funds are secured and the conceptual design of the spectrometer is finalized. This consortium is about to order optical elements for the spectrometer. Current members are the University of Potsdam, DESY, and the University of Milan.

Contact: Alexander Föhlisch