European acknowledgement for KM3NeT (project by Leiden researcher Dorothea Samtleben and colleagues)


The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) has selected KM3NeT for its 2016 Roadmap.

The neutrino telescope KM3NeT is an international research facility with scheduled locations on the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, near Toulon (France) and Sicily (Italy). At the end of last year, scientists installed its first detector. KM3NeT has three main goals: discovering astrophysical sources of cosmic neutrinos, determining the relative masses of neutrinos and facilitating ocean and environmental research. Neutrinos are neutrally charged elementary particles that interact extremely weakly with matter and are therefore hard to detect. An advantage is that physicists can directly pinpoint where they originate from, because nothing will have deflected them on their journey. The place on the ESFRI Roadmap means acknowledgement of both KM3NeT’s scientific importance and its technical feasibility.

The Netherlands plays an important role in the project, with among others Dorothea Samtleben from the Leiden Institute of Physics and Nikhef. The proposal to put KM3NeT on the roadmap was presented by the Dutch ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), with political support from Greece, France and Italy.


ESFRI is a strategic body of European governments to promote scientific integration within Europe. Setting up large international research facilities requires European collaboration and a coherent strategy, which has been established for the upcoming years in the ESFRI Roadmap. To be eligible for a place on the roadmap, a facility should have political and financial support from at least three countries. 21 projects are part of the ESFRI Roadmap.