David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, met scientists, engineers and industrial partners at Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron facility, and formally inaugurated Diamond’s Phase III development, as part of his visit to Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire on Monday 14th March.
Diamond CEO Prof Gerd Materlik showed the Minister around the synchrotron, including some of the latest developments on the storage ring and two of Diamond’s 19 operational experimental stations known as ‘beamlines’. The Minister then unveiled a plaque to formally inaugurate Diamond’s Phase III expansion programme.
“Combining academic research and commercial applications, Diamond is one of the really great scientific research facilities, not only in Britain but around the world, and the 10 new beamlines of Phase III will further increase the high quality and quantity of scientific output. We all understand the importance of an excellent science base for the economy, as well as for fundamental research. We are committed to the future of Diamond, and confident that with this investment, it will continue to lead the world in this area.”
David Willetts MP, Minister for Science
"It is a great pleasure to be here. I came here before when I was an opposition spokesman and appreciated the briefing that you gave me then, but this is the first time I’ve been able to come back as Minister for Science.
It is a great pleasure to be back because this is of course one of the really great scientific research facilities, not just in Britain, but around the World and I know you had to deal with a bit of uncertainty when the new coalition government came to office, and understandably people needed to review budgets and review capital commitments and I do appreciate the tolerance that you showed during those months of uncertainty. But it all turned out alright. It turned out alright because we all understood the importance of our excellent science base, both for our economy but also just because it’s fundamentally worthwhile and interesting in its own right and this is one of those places where we combine scientific research and also commercial applications.
I am delighted that we have been able to confirm the go ahead with the 10 extra beamlines for the Diamond Light Source. It will bring this facility up to its full capacity; it will mean that we can carry on doing world class scientific research here; it means that all the different business users as well, and I’ve been briefed on everything from what GSK or Rolls Royce can draw from using your beamlines. It means that we can go ahead and ensure that this remains, I think probably, the world’s most important single facility in this area. I know there’s competition, I’m always being briefed on the competitive challenge, we can never relax but we have stayed ahead of the competition, and I’m confident that with this investment we will continue to be ahead of the rest of the world. I’m grateful to you all for what you do, the high quality of the scientific output, as well as the commercial applications of what you do, and it gives me therefore great pleasure personally to confirm our commitment to this excellent facility. Thank you very much indeed."
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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