Skip to website navigation Skip to article navigation Skip to content

In the Spotlight

HFML-FELIX and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin

Britta Redlich is the director of FELIX, and Gerard Meijer is the director of the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin. A multi-million euro grant in 2020 will enable these two top scientific institutes to strengthen ties even further. 

In 2020, HFML-FELIX received €15.1 million from the Dutch Science Council (NWO) programme National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Facilities, intended for the construction or renovation of essential facilities in the Netherlands. The Magnetic Resonance Research Center  (NMR Lab) at Radboud University also shared a grant from the Roadmap as a participant in a national consortium of universities and companies. In total, €17.9 million was awarded to this consortium for scientific research that could lead to new medicines, improved food production and new materials for energy storage and conversion. Britta Redlich is the director of FELIX, and Gerard Meijer is the director of the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin.

Britta Redlich: “HFML-FELIX is a unique research lab and an international user facility. We have three core tasks: in addition to conducting cutting-edge in-house research within our scientific programmes, our team of scientists and technicians maintains and develops the state-of-the-art technical infrastructure, and we support hundreds of guest researchers each year. These three tasks interact seamlessly; it really is team science.”

“To maintain our position in the scientific ‘Champions League’, we constantly strive to renew and improve our free-electron lasers, magnets and experimental instruments. Thanks to this grant from NWO’s National Roadmap, we can realise even more of our plans. It’s fantastic when you manage to get money from such a highly competitive programme.”

‘We want to maintain our position in the scientific Champions League’

- Britta Redlich

“Despite the often fundamental nature of our research, various collaborations with companies, universities and medical centres around the country have developed over time. Moreover, we maintain good relations with international institutions such as the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin.”

“Because of our position on campus, there is intensive contact with various faculties, and students easily find their way to our institute. Our drive to identify opportunities, bring different parties together and discover new things makes HFML-FELIX a pearl for the region and even a special institute on a global scale, because our infrastructure enables us to open up research areas that no one has been able to explore before.”

Gerard Meijer: “To say that I am happy with this grant would be stating the obvious. It’s the result of years of very hard work by everyone involved, and Britta Redlich and Peter Christianen in particular deserve compliments. Starting under Jan Kees Maan, who was director of the HMFL magnet lab in 1992, the course was set for building up a unique magnetic field infrastructure in Nijmegen. Thanks to the motivation and commitment of the HFML-FELIX staff, it has grown into a leading institute, which has now been recognised and strengthened by this grant.”

“We at the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin have been working intensively with them for many years, especially with FELIX. We have a similar laser in Berlin, we support each other in technological developments and we work together on research projects. Thanks to grants like this, the collaboration with us – as well as with other international institutions – can be even more intensive.”

‘Other institutes also have laser systems or magnetic fields, but none of them have both’

- Gerard Meijer

“HFML-FELIX is a fitting collaboration partner for us both because of the wonderful, exciting research with which it leads the way internationally and because of the great accessibility of the facility and its staff. Other specialised institutes also have similar laser systems or magnetic fields, but none of them have both. Moreover, other institutes are not located on a university campus. In Nijmegen, students can already get to know these unique facilities during their studies, whereas elsewhere they only have access to them later in their scientific career. That aspect makes HFML-FELIX unique in the world.”