Hugh Simons

Associate Professor at the Technical University of Denmark

Sometimes I feel like my career has been spent at the airport rather than the lab. In the last five years I’ve moved from Australia to France, and now to Denmark. Along with travelling to experiments and conferences, it’s been hard to catch my breath. The competition among early career researchers is fierce, but the ESRF has given me a way to bootstrap my career. For a young academic, it seems almost too good to be true: free access to totally unique experimental facilities and skilled staff that are willing to help out. I do close to 90% of my experimental work at the ESRF, mostly within a long-standing collaboration on X-ray microscopy, but also through the regular user programme. Now I’m looking forward to continuing this: I was just awarded an ERC (European Research Council) Starting Grant to build a small research group and develop these methods and activities even further over the next five years. The project will coincide with the ESRF-EBS upgrade and hopefully make full use of its incredible capabilities. At the same time, my base at the Technical University of Denmark is at the epicentre of many other significant developments for large-scale facilities – it’s an exciting time and place to be doing research. 

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