The European Commission and CERN have today agreed to support the construction of SESAME, one of the most ambitious research facilities in the Middle East.


69069655SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) is a so-called synchrotron light source, functioning in effect like a giant microscope.

It will allow researchers from the region to investigate the properties of advanced materials, biological processes and cultural artefacts. SESAME is a unique joint venture based in Jordan that brings together scientists from its members Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. Alongside its scientific aims, the project aims to promote peace in the region through scientific cooperation.

Construction of SESAME started in 2003. Like CERN, SESAME was established under the auspices of the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: “We are very happy to join forces with CERN to support one of the most exciting scientific projects in the Middle East. The SESAME facility will not only offer researchers from the region state-of-the-art facilities, it will draw attention to the big advances that can be achieved in the region through peaceful cooperation.”

CERN the European Organization for Nuclear Research Director General Rolf Heuer said; “SESAME is one of the most important projects in the world right now. With its close parallels to the origins of CERN, I am very happy that we are able to make this important contribution to the young laboratory’s success.”

Through the agreement announced today, the Commission will contribute €5 million, allowing CERN, working with SESAME, to supply magnets for a brand new electron storage ring – the heart of the facility. This will pave the way for SESAME to begin commissioning in 2015.


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