Appointment of a Chairman

This vacancy is now closed
Job Title Appointment of a Chairman
Job Reference NA
Post Type NA
Division NA
Salary information NA
Application deadline 14/04/2014

Job Description


Qualification & Experience - Essential

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

Further Information

Other information


Diamond Light source is the UK’s national synchrotron light source and is an energetic and dynamic organisation comprising a wide range of scientific, technical, professional and support staff. As one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world, our pioneering capabilities are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of scientific research. We are now looking to appoint an experienced and inspirational leader to the post of Chairman to succeed Lord Alec Broers FRS. Working closely with our new Chief Executive Officer, Professor Andrew Harrison, this is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in the on-going development of this young organisation which owns and operates one of the country’s leading scientific research facilities.


Diamond Light source is located at the Harwell Oxford Science & Innovation campus in south Oxfordshire. This state-of-the-art third generation medium energy synchrotron light source, which was opened to users in 2007, will by 2018 host thirty two cutting-edge research stations/beamlines supporting the life, physical and environmental sciences, engineering disciplines and other fields. twenty four beam lines are already available for user operation and eight beam lines are at various stages in the design and construction phase.

Diamond is a not-for-profit limited company established in 2002 as a joint venture limited company funded by the UK Government via the science and technology Facilities Council (STFC) and by the Wellcome Trust, owning 86 per cent and 14 per cent of the shares respectively. The Government’s funding level for Diamond along with the other national facilities (ISIS and the Central Laser Facility) is determined collectively by the research Councils through the Large Facility steering Group. The synchrotron is free at the point of access through a competitive application process, provided that the results are in the public domain. Over 3,000 researchers from both academia and industry use Diamond to conduct experiments, assisted by approximately 500 staff.

Diamond’s goal is to be a leading-edge facility for scientific research, supporting a wide range of users from both academia and industry to research the structure of the world around us in fields such as medicine, life sciences, the environment, materials and engineering science, physics, chemistry and heritage science. In addition, it engages with industry to provide them with R&D facilities thereby expanding the impact of Diamond. To further maximise its impact Diamond seeks to develop its people, partnerships and networks of users, and to engage with society – inspiring people and developing future users. Diamond is committed to ensuring that the knowledge generated at the facility in areas such as health and well-being, energy, nanoscience, security, the environment and the digital economy is widely disseminated.

Further information about the company including the corporate structure, the on-going development of the facility, the company’s vision and mission, short biographies of members of the Board, the executive management team and details about the suite of beam lines at Diamond can be viewed on our web site at


The Company is governed by a Board comprising eight Directors including two executive Directors (the Chief Executive Officer and the Director of Administration and Corporate Services), five non- Executive Directors (four nominated by STFC and one nominated by the Wellcome Trust) and an independent Chair.

Day-to-day operational management is carried out through a Divisional structure, with four Divisional Directors (the technical Director, the Life sciences and Physical sciences Directors and the Director of Finance & Corporate services) who are brought together in the executive team led by the CEO. In addition there is a CEO Divisional Office. The Executive team meets monthly. Diamond employs over 500 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff from over 40 countries worldwide. The staffing profile for the organisation as at 1 March 2014 is shown in the reporting line organogram below.

Company Divisional Organogram


We are seeking to appoint a Chairman to the Diamond Light Source Board of Directors.

the successful candidate will have a proven track record in nurturing and leading successful organisations; will have an appreciation for science and its role/value in society and to the economic development and welfare of the UK and will have excellent contacts within the international research community, UK Government and wider funding arena.

the Chairman will be an impartial, voting member of the Board, taking on the normal responsibilities, including working closely with the Chief executive to:

  • develop the strategy and agree this with the Board and shareholders;
  • manage the relationships with the shareholders and funders;
  • effectively use networks and contacts to ensure that Diamond retains its position as a world leading synchrotron science facility and continues to meet the needs of its scientific and industrial users;
  • maintain best practices of corporate governance; and
  • ensure that Diamond is appropriately funded to deliver its mission.


The Chairman of Diamond Light source Limited (the Company) will have the necessary skills and attributes to:

  • Lead the Board in meeting the aims, vision and goals of the Company, ensuring that appropriate strategies, plans, funding and governance arrangements are in place to achieve this, including (a) ensuring that the Board and its sub-committees have the appropriate mix of experience and expertise to enable it to discharge its legal and governance responsibilities, and (b) ensuring that the division of responsibilities between the Diamond executive and the Board support the overall performance of Diamond within its agreed objectives, and to review such division of responsibilities from time-to-time as appropriate;
  • Ensure that the management of Diamond and its procedures (including audit procedures) are effective and appropriate; manage risk and comply with all relevant legal, governmental and other stakeholder requirements;
  • Ensure effective communication and implementation of Board decisions, and together with the Board, guide, monitor and support the Diamond executive particularly with a view to managing the financial performance of the Company and its scientific and technical delivery;
  • Create a meaningful and productive working relationship with the Chief Executive Officer and Diamond executive in order to ensure harmonious working and the achievement of Diamond’s overall objectives;
  • Ensure that the Chief Executive Officer and Diamond Executive are fully equipped and supported in order to undertake their respective roles, including ensuring that appropriate performance review and succession planning arrangements are established and operated in a proper manner;
  • Ensure that an environment is sustained within the Company which enables it to continue to maintain, operate and develop a world class synchrotron radiation facility, and to foster an associated scientific culture at the site;
  • Maintain the constructive working relationships with the science and technology Facilities Council, Wellcome Trust, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and other stakeholders as appropriate, and to ensure that Diamond is appropriately accountable to its shareholders and funders;
  • Ensure effective, consistent and regular communication with the wider research and stakeholder community.


The role of Chairman of Diamond Light source Limited requires the following personal attributes, skills and experience:

  • Experience either of chairing a company or scientific research organisation, or acting as a senior non-executive director of a company or scientific research organisation;
  • Acknowledged success in running a large, complex organisation or equivalent, whether Government funded, academic or industrial;
  • An interest in, and appreciation for, science and its role/value in society and to the broader economic development of the UK;
  • The ability to achieve consensus through balanced discussion at Board level;
  • An understanding of the UK science/higher education funding arena, and an understanding of the relationship with Government;
  • An appreciation of the nature of the role, and a readiness to support and mentor, but not interfere with, the work of the executive leadership team;
  • strong leadership and interpersonal skills and the ability to build and manage effective relationships with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders;
  • A fluent and persuasive communicator who can represent the organisation externally as well as internally;
  • Well networked with political connections at the highest levels and a willingness to use contacts for the benefit of the Company;
  • A proven track record of handling difficult issues with authority and confidence;
  • A network of contacts within the international research community and within the UK Government and funding arena;
  • Strong negotiation and influencing skills;
  • Exceptional ability to succeed, tempered by maturity and experience;
  • An appreciation of the importance of synchrotron radiation facilities or detailed knowledge of a related field of science would be an advantage but is not essential.


The post of Chairman is a part-time, paid, non-executive appointment.

The Chair will be expected to attend in person meetings of the Board and the remuneration Committee at the offices of Diamond Light Source Limited (Harwell Oxford Science and Innovation Campus, Didcot, Oxfordshire). The Board currently meets on a quarterly basis, and the Remuneration Committee meets at least once per annum.

In addition to the four Board meetings per annum, the Chairman is expected to meet with the Chief Executive Officer ahead of each Board meeting, as well as making him/herself available for consultation with the Chief executive, other members of the executive team and the shareholders as required.

In addition, the full portfolio of responsibilities will require the chair to be present at Diamond, the Wellcome Trust (London), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (Harwell Oxford Science and Innovation Campus and Polaris House, Swindon) or Central Government as required.

Compensation is £20,000 per annum plus reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.


The policy and practice of Diamond require that all employees are afforded equal opportunities within employment. Subject to statutory provisions, no applicant or employee will be treated less favourably than another because of his or her gender, marital or civil partnership status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, racial group, age, or disability. Entry into employment and progression within employment will be determined only by merit and the application of criteria which are related to the duties of each particular post and the appropriate salary structure. In all cases, ability to perform the job will be the primary consideration.

All data supplied by applicants will be used only for the purposes of determining their suitability for the post and will be held in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Company’s Data Protection Policy.


Diamond Light Source will be supported in this appointment process by the executive search firm Parrett Laver. Parrett Laver will support the selection committee in the discharge of its duties, both to assist in the assessment of candidates against the requirements for the role and to identify the widest possible field of qualified candidates.

Completed applications, including a curriculum vitae and the details of three referees should be uploaded at by quoting reference number 1554. The closing date for applications is midday on Monday, 14th April 2014.