ESRF Council confirms Francesco Sette as Director General of the ESRF


At its 73rd session, the ESRF Council appoints Francesco Sette, as the next Director-General, for a new term of office.

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Sette’s new four-year term of office will begin on 1 January 2021. This exceptional confirmation comes at a strategic time for the ESRF. The ESRF is presently delivering, on time and within the budget, the first of a brand-new generation of high-energy synchrotrons, the ESRF-EBS -Extremely Brilliant Source. Welcomed by the international scientific community for its exceptional design performances, this new source is providing its first light for test experiments and the ESRF will resume service to its 10 000 users from the 22 partner countries and worldwide on 25 August 2020. Following a shutdown of 19 months to install and commissionning the EBS, the science programme on new investigations on the complexity of condensed and living matter is now ready to go.

"I congratulate Francesco Sette very warmly on his new appointment as Director-General. It’s exceptional. The ESRF has achieved an impressive work and outstanding results under Francesco’s guidance, placing the facility at the forefront of X-ray science and applications."  said Miguel Ángel García Aranda, Chair of the ESRF Council. "I am convinced, as is the Council, that under Francesco’s leadership, with his enthusiasm, full dedication to the ESRF and his capacity to innovate, the facility will stand up to its challenges. Among these are the effective exploitation of the full potential of the EBS for the benefit of our international scientific community and keeping its leading role in the development of synchrotron science and technology. But also, the very important challenge to continue enabling international collaboration on excellence-based scientific research, with the support of the ESRF partner countries."

"I am very grateful to the ESRF Council for its renewed trust. It is a great privilege for me to continue serving the ESRF in these exciting times, but also a huge responsibility towards the international science community and in particular the next generation of scientists and engineers” said ESRF Director-General, Francesco Sette. “The following years will be crucial for laying the foundations of ESRF’s future and for drawing new excellence-based scientific research opportunities with the new Extremely Brilliant Source. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the key role played by international research facilities such as the ESRF to tackle global challenges faced by our society. And I am very honoured by the opportunity to continue to work with the ESRF partner countries and the world synchrotron community, and to contribute putting X-ray science to the service of humanity.

Francesco Sette has been ESRF’s Director-General since 1 January 2009. A pioneer in research with synchrotron radiation, Sette is Doctor in physics from the University of Rome. After eight years at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey (USA), he joined the ESRF in 1991, where, as a group leader, he developed a new generation of inelastic X-ray scattering beamlines, which made it possible to study atomic motions and electronic properties of condensed matter in unexplored momentum-energy phase space regions. In 2001, Sette became Director of Research at the ESRF, playing a pivotal role in the conception and launch of the ESRF Upgrade Programme 2009-2018. Sette is the fourth Director General of the ESRF.