Project Summary

ESS & MAX IV: Cross Border Science and Society is an EU project led by Region Skåne (Lead Partner) and Region Hovedstaden (Co-Lead Partner) in collaboration with 27 partner organisations in Sweden, Denmark and Norway during September 2015 to August 2018. The project has a total budget of nearly 19 million EUR, half of which comes from the EU programme Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak (ÖKS). It’s the biggest project to be approved in the programme so far.

The long-term purpose of the project is to develop the region’s strengths, such as material science and life science, with the opportunities that come with the establishment of the two world-leading research facilities ESS and MAX IV as a starting point. Synchrotron X-ray facility MAX IV was opened in June, 2016, and completion of the neutron facility ESS is expected at the end of 2019. Thereafter, ESS is to go through a period of three years, and is expected to be up and running around year 2023. ESS and MAX IV offer unique opportunities to study materials on a micro-level with the help of advanced techniques that can be used in a number of research fields. The two research facilities are strategically located next to each other in Lund, with the ESS Data Management and Software Centre (DMSC) in Copenhagen.

The main goal with the project is to increase the share of young researchers in the region who can use the facilities in the future. The project has identified several fields where there is great potential for working across borders. The fields have been divided into five subprojects that are held together by a Strategic Platform/overall project management. Altogether, the project has a wide scope for increased benefits to society through ESS and MAX IV. The broad partnership creates opportunities for dynamic learning between different organisations and across country borders.


MAX4ESSFUN Cross Border Network and Researcher Programme

Partners: University of Copenhagen, Lund University, Technical University of Denmark, Malmö University, Aarhus University, Chalmers University of Technology, University of Gothenburg, University of Oslo, ESS, MAX IV

Budget: 13,607,293 EUR

The goal of MAX4ESSFUN is to increase the share of young researchers who can perform experiments at ESS and MAX IV. The ambition is for 176 experiment projects of six months each to be completed, with the purpose of strengthening doctoral/PhD and postdoc students’ user competence. The experiments are mostly performed in European, operational facilities. The experiments have a clear cross border dimension, as the students get access to an assistant instructor from a partner university in a different country, ESS or MAX IV. In total, the subproject includes over 1,000 months of training for the young researchers, and 500 months of instructor time, which involves senior researchers. In addition to the experiments, activities such as international workshops and summer courses are included. The activities will contribute to a closer network and collaboration between relevant neutron and synchrotron environments at the eight participating universities.

Expected Results

  • Researcher network with 150 existing and new users from academia and industry
  • 176 cross border experiments/research projects with neutrons and synchrotron X-rays
  • 200 young researchers with high user competence in neutrons and synchrotron X-rays
  • 300 – 400 researchers who have participated in activities for improved user competence
  • Compilation of the universities’ courses and strengths
  • Joint summer/winter courses and international workshops (some of them in collaboration with industry)

At its launch in October 2015, MAX4ESSFUN arranged a researcher kick-off at the University of Copenhagen, which attracted around 100 participants. At the event, the parties presented their respective strengths in neutrons and synchrotron X-rays. A second researcher meetup took place in Lund on October 6th – 7th, 2016 with about 150 participants. A third annual meeting is being planned for March 2018. The Steering Committee, which is the deciding body of the experiments, has by September 2017 granted 147 experiment projects.

In 2016, MAX4ESSFUN developed a new web portal with an overview of all scientists working with neutrons and X-rays at the universities. The web portal makes it easier for researchers to find collaboration partners in the ÖKS-area. An electronic in-depth compilation of the universities’ courses in neutrons and synchrotron X-rays is being developed at the moment. The web portal can be found at

On March 13th, MAX IV arranged an international workshop on ”How can Industry Make Use of the Tools Available at MAX IV and ESS?” in Lund. The workshop gathered around 80 participants, and representatives from the regional industry were given the opportunity to present how the research facilities create added value to their work.

International Attractiveness

Partners: Invest in Skåne, Copenhagen Capacity, ESS, MAX IV, Science Village Scandinavia, Medicon Village, Copenhagen Municipality, Lund Municipality, City of Helsingborg, City of Malmö
Associated Partner: Lund University

Budget: 1,822,000 EUR

International Attractiveness takes cohesive action concerning global marketing of the region’s joint research infrastructure in material science and life science. ESS and MAX IV are catalysts for work with marketing and sales performed within the subproject. By participating in strategically chosen conferences and fairs around the world, the subproject is working to attract investments, businesses and researchers to the Öresund region.

Expected Results

  • Cohesive message concerning the region’s strengths in material science and life science
  • Value propositions (concrete offers to businesses)
  • 50 good ambassadors spreading the region’s message internationally
  • Development of a “tool kit” which can be used by multiple parties in the Öresund region

Initially, the focus of the project has been on making a benchmark analysis of the region’s collective strengths and opportunities to attract operations globally. The analysis was completed before the summer of 2016, and is the basis for the ongoing work which now aims to develop cogent value propositions that can be used for international marketing. The subproject has identified and started to contact ambassadors who can spread the region’s core story and strengths internationally. Copenhagen Capacity´s Goodwill ambassador network, with representatives from industry, will be used for this.

The subproject has participated in a number of large, international conferences, such as MedTech Europe in Stuttgart, Bio Asia in Japan and Tech Connect in Washington. The subproject has also been successful in attracting international conferences to the region, for example Nordic Life Science Days 2017 in Malmö and BIO-Europe 2018, which will be held in Copenhagen with some sessions located in Malmö and Lund.

Two Value Propositions on “Hydrogen for Fuel Cells within Green Transportation” and “Big in Nano” have been produced. The subproject continues working on developing Value Propositions on onchology, diabetes and functional food.

Regional Supply Base

Partners: Big Science Secretariat, Industrial Platform in Skåne, IUC Syd

Budget: 488,310 EUR

The purpose of Regional Supply Base is to increase Swedish and Danish companies’ business opportunities in the big science industry. Two analyses will be developed within the subproject. The first analysis will give an overview of the facilities’ non-technical requirements and operationally crucial events. A number of study visits have been made to other research facilities as part of this analysis. The second analysis focusses on clarifying the competence requirements that businesses in the region need to meet to be able to act as suppliers to ESS and MAX IV. The subproject also includes measures focusing on strengthening the businesses’ networks on the other side of the strait.

Expected Results

  • Analysis of non-technical requirements and operationally crucial events at ESS and MAX IV
  • Analysis of what businesses require in terms of competence development to enable them to supply services and products to ESS, MAX IV and other large-scale research facilities
  • Information and competence development measures, such as within public procurement (supply)
  • Cross border business network

The first analysis was carried out in 2016, but will be revised continuously throughout the whole project period. As part of the analysis, the subproject management group made a study visit to ISIS and Diamond Light Source in February, 2016. The facilities were considered especially interesting as they are co-localised, just like ESS and MAX IV, and constitute one neutron and one synchrotron X-ray facility. In November 2016, the project team made a second visit to ISIS and Diamond Light Source, this time together with companies from Sweden and Denmark to get increased knowledge about the business opportunities within Big Science.

The second analysis was completed in June 2017 and the subproject has been in contact with companies in the region to get an overview of their competence needs. The analysis includes discussions of Higher Vocational Education (Yrkeshögskola) connected to production of advanced technology, public procurement, enhanced skills in 3D printing in metal and a list of the companies’ expertise in the region.

In order to strengthen the companies’ capacity to function as suppliers to the research facilities, the subproject arranged a workshop on 3D printing in Lund, in September 2017. The workshop gathered around 120 researchers and representatives from both industry and research facilities from around Sweden, Europe and the U.S. During the workshop, future needs were discussed, as well as challenges and news in advanced 3D technology. More technology workshops will be arranged as a way to increase the companies´ capacity building.

Cross Border Barriers

Partners: The Greater Copenhagen and Skåne Committee, the Swedish Public Employment Service, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, the Swedish Tax Agency, the Skåne County Administrative Board, Öresunddirekt DK, DK Skat, ESS
Associated Partners: The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR), the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Swedish Migration Agency

Budget: 340,505 EUR

A number of Swedish and Danish authorities are part of the subproject, and will, together, map the border obstacles faced by third country and EU citizens wanting to live and work on different sides of the strait. The authorities participate based on their respective areas of knowledge, such as tax issues, labour market or social insurance. In addition to identifying the border obstacles, the subproject will also develop suggestions of solutions and influence strategies to achieve long-term changes. ESS will contribute to the subproject with concrete cases of border obstacles that their employees have come across. The Cross Border Barriers subproject will be terminated at the end of 2016.

Expected Results

  • A report of identified border obstacles faced by EU and non-EU citizens
  • Suggestions of solutions to be presented on a national level
  • An influence strategy for long-term work
  • Information dissemination of results on Öresunddirekt’s website/English portal

In 2015, the subproject analysed what applies to work and residence permits in Denmark and Sweden respectively. Thereafter the authority experts continued to analyse selected cross border obstacles in depth. During the process, ESS has contributed with cases of cross border barriers experienced by their staff.

In 2016 the subproject sent an amendment to the Danish Ministry of Taxation in order to influence the “Tax scheme for foreign researchers and highly paid employees” (Forskerordningen) for employees at DMSC in Copenhagen. The new law, called “Lex-ESS”, was successfully approved in the Danish parliament in December 19th. The new regulations also made it possible for employees at ESS to live in Copenhagen and work in Sweden. The new law was entered into effect on 1st of January 2017.

The cross border obstacles identified in the subproject will be registered in the Freedom of Movement database (Gränshindersdatabas) at the Nordic Council of Ministers, and will be included in the Council’s regular work. The result will also be implemented in Greater Copenhagen and Skåne Committee, everyday work with cross border barriers.

Welcoming International Talents

Partners: Copenhagen Municipality/International House, Invest in Skåne, Lund Municipality, City of Helsingborg, City of Malmö, Copenhagen Capacity

Budget: 952,000 EUR

Welcoming International Talents aims to build a cross border knowledge network for organisations in the Öresund region working with reception issues. The purpose of the network is to learn from each other and to coordinate activities for international talents on both sides of the strait, as a part of improving reception services. A number of events for international talents and, to an extent, those accompanying them, will be arranged as part of the subproject. The events are based on the target group’s needs, and can focus on the labour market, culture, leisure choices or social aspects. Another part of the subproject involves systematic mapping of talents’ needs through an expat panel including people on both sides of the strait. The long-term purpose is to get more international talent to remain in the Öresund region.

Expected Results

  • The creation of a cross border knowledge network for reception organisations
  • Coordination of joint activities for international talents and those accompanying them
  • Development of Talent Forum, Welcome Reception, Culture and Leisure Guides and a Step to Step Guide
  • Better communication and marketing of events for talents arranged in the Öresund region

In Skåne, the experience exchange has contributed to the development of a new concept, the “kick-start program”, which aims to make it easier for spouses to enter the labour market. The development of the concept takes place in collaboration with ESS’ HR department, the Swedish Public Employment Agency, Öresunddirekt, businesses and other organisations.

In August 2017, the subproject participated at the “HELLOpenhagen” in Copenhagen City Hall, which is a fair that attracts around 1,000 international participants. The fair showcases Copenhagen’s culture and leisure offering, and also, thanks to the project, the opportunities offered in Skåne.

The electronic survey “International Talent Forum” has been developed, and surveys on “Housing” and “Civic participation” have been sent to persons that have recently moved to Greater Copenhagen and Southern Sweden.

A cross border “Step-by-Step Guide” is also being developed, with easily accessible information to foreigners moving to the region.

Strategic Platform

Partners: Region Skåne, Region Hovedstaden

Budget: 1,766,200 EUR

The purpose of the Strategic Platform is to lead and coordinate the project. The platform shall ensure goal achievement, cross border added value, and synergies between the subprojects. A coordination group with representatives from all subprojects will support the project management group, and contribute to synergies between the working packages being ensured. The project management group will report the project’s implementation to a steering group regularly. Another of the tasks of the Strategic Platform is to connect the project to the surrounding world. This will, for instance, be done with the help of an Advisory Board consisting of organisations and authorities on national and international levels, and strategic forums on various themes.

Expected Results

  • Project management and synergies
  • The surrounding world being kept track of and anchored with
  • Financial reporting
  • Meetings in the steering group and coordination group
  • Organisation of the advisory board and strategic forums
  • Communication and results dissemination

Initially, the project management group focuses on getting processes going for steering, reporting, finances and communication. So far, three economic reports have been sent to the Interreg-secretariat including an overview of activities and results.

A coordination group with representatives from each subproject was formed shortly after the start of the project. This group meets once a month to discuss status, thematic areas, and results. The project’s overall steering group, consisting of the project’s 15 biggest financiers, have so far met four times. The second meeting in the Advisory Board took place in September 2017 with participants from national level in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, EU-level and the industry. In September 2017, the Strategic platform arranged a workshop focusing on how to meet set goals in the project and also worked as a starting point for looking ahead on what can be done after the project has ended.

The project management has focused on establishing the project among external stakeholders, and has for example presented the project to representatives from the European Commission and Parliament, DESY, XFEL, Region Midtjylland, Västra Götalandsregionen and Work in Denmark. In May 2017, the Strategic platform arranged a seminar during the Skåne Innovation Week on cross border innovation, focusing on ESS and MAX IV. The seminar gathered participants from Sweden and Denmark and enabled discussions on common future developments in innovation.

The project management distributes monthly newsletters and social media to give information about the project and disseminate results. Several young researches have been interviewed and highlighted in the newsletter as a way of disseminating outcomes of the project.