APPENDIX I: Evaluation Summary Report

Transnational Access implemented as Specific Support Action (SSA)


Proposal Number: 505313

Acronym: ULTI



Mark (0 to 5)

1. S&T Excellence (Threshold 3/5; Weight 1)

 The ultra low temperature Laboratory of Helsinki offers a unique facility for the temperature range from 4K to the lowest temperatures available in Europe. In fact the state-of-the-art low temperature measurement environments such as sub-mK cryostats can provide the lowest temperatures anywhere in the world. The existing facilities have recently been enhanced by the addition of microfabrication facilities which include electron-beam lithography. Some additional access can also be provided to class 100/1000 clean room areas. Such facilities are very rare worldwide and expensive to establish and maintain. There are 2 similar facilities in  the USA and Japan. Access to low temperature facilities in Europe will soon be reduced further by the closure of the Bayreuth facility to outside access. The proposal attaches 34 letters of support from current and potential users many of whom refer to the unique facilities and in particular the rotating cryostat operating at mK. The facility clearly operates at a world class level and belongs to the leading institutions worldwide. Moreover, it provides a platform for first class education for young scientists.

The unique infrastructure and the existing expertise guarantee highest quality research on an international level. It also acts as a node for the collaboration with Russian scientists who are well known to be leading in many aspects of ultra-low temperature physics. The ULTI facility has an excellent track record in creating a facility dedicated to high quality research. The past achievements document excellent scientific results from international cooperations. A wide range of science has been successfully undertaken ranging from cosmology to quantum fluids and nanoelectronics. They are keen to extend this range to new topics and users and there is good evidence of being able to do so. The services are well established and the newest technologies are continuously implemented.





2. Quality of the Management (Threshold 3/5; Weight 0,5)

There is an extensive in-house research programme which covers most of the perceived research areas of external users and also the areas most relevant to the development of the facility itself such as refrigeration, cryogenics and nano-fabricated cryosensors. ULTI experiments are typically lengthy, i.e. 6-12 months of cryostat time. Strong collaboration between the scientific staff at the facility and external users is therefore essential. The facility clearly thrives on this close collaboration and it has proved to be a highly effective method of working. The experiments are often complex and necessitate equipment construction or modification. In addition to the regular technical staff who are responsible for the He liquefier and the mechanical workshop, an additional engineer is hired specifically to train and assist users in the low temperature techniques necessary for them to conduct their experiments when on site. 75% of this technician’s time is charged to the project. Graduate students are used to instruct on the use of e-beam lithography. The use of the clean room is provided only for experienced users although some assistance can be provided. Additional facilities for sample preparation are also made available to users as required. Logistic support of travel arrangements etc. is provided by a secretary. The letters of support are highly complementary about the excellent standard of scientific and technical support offered in the past. Selection procedures seem entirely appropriate with due priority given to first time users and those without access to similar facilities in their home country. The expert selection panel only meets once every 18 months, but proposals are evaluated twice per year remotely. Experience has led to the removal of the 3 month time limit for proposed projects which should widen access further. The selection of projects is purely by quality.






3. European Added Value (Threshold 3/5; Weight 1)

ULTI has an impressive track record in the attraction of new users drawn from a wide range of countries. ULTI has participated in 3 previous access programmes over the past 9 years and in each new contract period nearly half the groups have been new users. 60 groups were approached in the preparation of this proposal, 50% of them new groups, which yielded the 34 letters of support / expressions of interest in using the facility. Of these, 13 are new groups and 6 have no facilities in their country. These letters are evidence for the effective advertising programme which comprises the usual mix of adverts in journals, on the web and conferences as well as by directly addressing potential users. In particular, user meetings are held every 2 years which serve to spread good practice, encourage new users and provide feedback to the facility.





Total Score (Threshold 3,5/5)




Overall remarks (highlighting strengths and weaknesses and providing recommendations for project negotiation, including recommended level of resources):

This is an exceptionally good proposal providing access to state of the art low temperature facilities (replacement cost 5M€) at the Helsinki University of Technology. Strong in-house research provides excellent scientific collaboration with users on long and complex experiments. Technical and logistic support is good with 75% of a technician provided to train external visitors. The facility has long experience of providing facilities for outside users and has proved itself capable of producing high quality research evidenced by their publication record. In addition, they have an excellent track record in attracting new users from a wide range of Countries. The resources requested are modest as they request only 75% of a technician keeping the unit cost low. Due to the lengthy nature of the projects, the cost per project is inevitably relatively high.

Horizontal issues (if relevant)

Selection of proposals is on technical merit with priority given to new users and those for whom no comparable facilities are available in their home country. There are no gender issues.

ULTI reaches a wider community by publications in journals of high impact factor.

The training of  students and their participation in the research is integral to the project.




Y / N

Has the proposal passed all evaluation thresholds?


Does this proposal have ethical issues that need further attention?