Francesco Sette has been selected as the next director general of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. Sette, who is currently a research director at the ESRF, will take over from William Stirling when his eight-year term as lab boss finishes at the end of 2008.

The 50-year-old Italian-born physicist first joined the ESRF in 1991 after a spell at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. While at the ESRF, Sette developed a new generation of inelastic scattering beamlines to study the motion of atoms and the electronic properties of solids.

Sette, who has been director of research at ESRF since 2001, has played a key role in encouraging more scientists to use the lab, with the total now exceeding 4000. Sette is also a member of the advisory committees of major light sources at DESY in Hamburg and at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in the US.