Programme & Partners

About the programme

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL.

InnovaXN is a Doctoral Programme for innovators with synchrotron X-rays and neutrons, that provides an exceptional training opportunity for 40 PhD students. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. The research training is driven by pre-competitive R&D exploiting synchrotron X-rays and neutrons, in close collaboration with an industrial partner for each PhD project. This provides a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges by exploiting the academic-industry interface.

The InnovaXN programme officil debut was 01 October 2019, and it has a duration of 5 years. In which, two major steps have been defined: project proposals and recruitment campaigns.

The project proposals were divided in two calls: July-September in 2019 and 2020.

Two recruitment campaigns were organised to find students for each project, February-March in 2020 and 2021, for projects starting in September of 2020 and 2021, respectively.

The project is coordinated by the ESRF, and managed in collaboration with the ILL.

For further information about the programme,  more details are provided through these links: Programme management structure; Ethics; Meet the students.

Synchrotron X-rays and neutrons provide amazing insights into the heart of materials and living matter from centimetres to the atomic scale. In the InnovaXN hot spot between industry, academia and the Grenoble facilities, this helps to develop new and better manufacturing processes and products. Understanding materials is central to this and synchrotron X-ray and neutron techniques are exploited across a huge range of industry sectors such as catalysis, nanotechnology, engineering and metallurgy, consumer products, food and agriculture, and pharma and biotech. Research projects can be expected across all of these areas.

About the Partners

InnovaXN is a H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions supported project, led by the ESRF with ILL and the University Grenoble Alpes as partners

The ESRF and ILL share a physical site, called the European Photon and Neutron Science Campus (EPN-Campus,, with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Grenoble Outstation and the Institut de Biologie Structurale (IBS). Over 300 scientists and engineers specialised in R&D using X-ray and neutron techniques are based on the site. The EPN Campus is at the heart of Grenoble’s GIANT Innovation Campus ( that also includes the national research institutes CEA and CNRS, the Université Grenoble Alpes  (UGA), and Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) and numerous companies, particularly from the high-technology sectors of semiconductors and pharmaceuticals.

  • The European Synchrotron (ESRF) ( is the world-leading source of synchrotron and a centre of excellence for fundamental and innovation-driven research for imaging and studying the structure of matter at the atomic and nanometric scale in many fields of research, including life sciences, materials science, chemistry and physics. The ESRF owes its success to the international co-operation of 22 partner nations. An ongoing upgrade, the ESRF’s Extremely Brilliant Source (ESRF-EBS) has been selected as a Landmark by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) for the 2016 Roadmap and reiterated in the 2018 Roadmap, recognising the strategic importance of the ESRF’s pioneering new-generation synchrotron ring.

  • The Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) ( is the world’s flagship centre for neutron science and technology, providing scientists with a very high flux of neutrons feeding some 40 state-of-the-art instruments, which are constantly being developed and upgraded. As a service institute, the ILL makes its facilities and expertise available to visiting scientists. Every year, about 1400 researchers from over 40 countries visit the ILL. Research focuses primarily on fundamental science in a variety of fields including condensed matter physics, chemistry, biology, nuclear physics and materials science. The ILL also collaborates closely and at different levels of confidentiality with the R&D departments of industrial enterprises. ILL is funded and managed by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, in partnership with 10 other countries.

  • Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) ( is one of France’s leaders in higher education and research. A comprehensive, global university, UGA enrols about 45,000 students each year in its high-quality academic programmes, and maintains 80 research centres of all disciplines. As an international leader in both pure and applied research, UGA also benefits from a uniquely innovative setting. Its researchers enjoy ties to a thriving local community of international businesses and industry. Its IDEX project is focused on creating a single world-class university from multiple Grenoble institutions.