Roelof van Silfhout obtained his PhD from the University of Leiden (The Netherlands). After postdoctoral work at Edinburgh University on structural changes of semiconductors at high pressures he became staff scientist at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble (France) and at the EMBL Hamburg Outstation (Germany). In 2001 he accepted a post as lecturer in Manchester. His research interests include the application of X-rays in structural studies of materials at the atomic scale, optical characterisation methods at the meso- and macroscopic scale and associated high precision instrumentation. Roelof has a strong track record in developing innovative instrumentation and to exploit their application in close collaboration with dedicated users groups both in the UK, Europe and the US.