Professor John Womersley is Director General for the European Spallation Source ERIC (ESS), a new European intergovernmental laboratory under construction in Lund, Sweden. ESS will probe the atomic structure of materials and molecules using beams of neutrons, with a wide range of applications from engineering to energy to the life sciences, and will start operation in 2022.
Prof. Womersley previously held the position of Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the United Kingdom's funding agency for, for large scale science facilities and national laboratories, particle physics, nuclear physics and astronomy. He led the UK’s membership of the European XFEL, ESS, and the SKA telescope project, and established the Hartree Centre as a £300m joint project with IBM.
A graduate of Cambridge and Oxford (D. Phil. Experimental Physics), he has played a leading role in particle physics both in Europe and the United States. John worked at Fermilab before becoming a scientific advisor to the Department of Energy in the US. He returned to the UK in 2005 to become Director of the Particle Physics Department at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at a time when it was building and delivering vital components to CERN's Large Hadron Collider. In time John took on a broader role as Director of the Science Programmes Office and was then appointed Chief Executive in 2011.
He has served on the councils of CERN and ESO, the Fermilab (FRA) Board and the board of AURA. John has chaired the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and the European Commission's Expert Group on Cost Control and Management in Large Research Infrastructures. John has also served on numerous review panels and boards as an expert including the Helmholtz Association and the Human Brain Project.