New CEO of Diamond Light Source

Professor Andrew Harrison appointed

Professor Andrew Harrison has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Light Source Ltd with effect from 1st January 2014, the Diamond Board announced today.

Diamond is the UK’s national synchrotron, on the Harwell Oxford Campus in Oxfordshire. It is operated as a joint venture between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) which holds 86% of the shares, and the Wellcome Trust with 14%.

With applications in virtually all fields of scientific research, Diamond plays a major role in keeping the UK at the forefront of science, with 2,287 journal articles published to date and 1,464 protein structures deposited in the World Protein Databank, since the facility came online in 2007.

Prof Andrew Harrison, picture courtesy of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL).

Professor Harrison has been Director General of the Institut Laue-Langevin neutron source in Grenoble, France since 2011. He grew up in Keele and graduated from Oxford University with a degree and DPhil in Chemistry. After working as a Royal Society University Research Fellow, he joined Edinburgh University in 1992, becoming Professor of Solid State Chemistry in 2000, and was Founding Director of the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions in 2001 before joining ILL in 2006 as Science Director.

As an inorganic chemist and Professor of Solid State Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, Professor Harrison brings 30 years of scientific leadership to the organisation. Since 2006, he has been the Associate Director and from 2011 the Director General of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), the Neutron Source in Grenoble, France. 

Diamond Board chairman Lord Broers comments: “Professor Harrison brings to the role a wealth of science and management experience, and the Board is delighted that he has chosen to return to the UK to take up this prestigious role.”

He adds: “With Phase III construction underway to be delivered by 2018 and the increasing portfolio of experiments undertaken at Diamond, Professor Harrison’s proactive approach and scientific expertise will be key ingredients to drive the organisation forward.”

Professor Harrison says: “I am delighted to be joining the team at Diamond. The facility is known the world over for its success, both in terms of its machine performance and reliability and for the outstanding science delivered so far. I look forward to leading the organisation and building on the tremendous work of its staff over the past decade.”

STFC Chief Executive Professor John Womersley says: “Andrew’s experience in operating a large scientific facility for academic and industrial use makes him the perfect candidate to ensure Diamond’s ongoing smooth transition to a world-leading operational facility.”

Dr Ted Bianco, Acting Director of the Wellcome Trust, says: “We are pleased that Diamond has been able to secure such a high calibre recruit as Andrew Harrison to run its synchrotron science facility. As recent developments under Gerd Materlik’s excellent stewardship show, such as the new foot and mouth vaccine, these are exciting times for Diamond. Andrew will bring valuable experience as Director of the Institut Laue-Langevin in managing a world class facility which serves the needs of a broad range of scientific disciplines.” 

As Director General of ILL, Professor Harrison has recently successfully worked with the facility’s three major shareholders to agree a further 10-year extension of operations. The Fifth Convention was signed on Monday in Paris between the UK, France and Germany.

Professor Harrison will replace Diamond’s inaugural CEO, Professor Gerhard Materlik, whose term concludes on 1 September 2013. Diamond’s Director of Science, Professor Trevor Rayment, will act as CEO until Professor Harrison’s arrival in January 2014.

“Gerd deserves a great deal of praise for turning the dream of Diamond into a fully-fledged operating facility serving thousands of academic and industrial users. The Board wishes him the very best for his future,” Lord Broers concludes.

Professor Materlik studied Physics at the Universities of Muenster and Munich and graduated for his Ph.D. from Dortmund University. After working at Cornell, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Stanford University and the German electron synchrotron DESY, he took up his current position at Diamond in 2001, overseeing the final design, construction and initial operational phases. He was awarded an honorary CBE in 2007 and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011.


For more information, please contact Isabelle Boscaro-Clarke, Head of Communications, Diamond Light Source on 0044 7990797916 or Silvana Westbury, PR Manager on 0044 7920594660.


Note to editors:

Short biography for Prof Harrison
Professor Andrew Harrison is currently Director General and Associate Director of the Institut Laue-Langevin and Professor of Solid-State Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. He holds a first class BA (Hons) and a DPhil in Chemistry from the University of Oxford. He began his career in 1986 as a Junior Fellow in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford before joining Atomic Energy of Canada in 1989 as Research Fellow. Professor Harrison returned to the University of Oxford in 1990 as Royal Society Research Fellow, and in 1993 he was named Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, where he was subsequently promoted to Reader. In 2000 he was appointed Director of the Centre for Science at Extreme conditions, the year he was also appointed as Deputy Head of the Planning Unit in the Department of Chemistry. He assumed his current roles in 2011, 2006, and 1999 respectively.

Outline of career
1986-1989 Junior Fellow, Inorganic Chemistry, University of Oxford
1989-1990 Research Fellow, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
1990-1993 Royal Society Research Fellow, University of Oxford
1993-1999 Lecturer then Reader, Department of Chemistry, Edinburgh
1999- Professor of Solid-State Chemistry, University of Edinburgh
2000-2003 Visiting Professor, RIKEN, Tokyo
2000-2005 Director, Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions, Edinburgh
2000-2006 Deputy Head of Planning Unit, Chemistry, Edinburgh
2006- Associate Director, Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble
2011- 2013 Director General, Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble

About Diamond Light Source
Diamond Light Source is funded by the UK Government through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and by the Wellcome Trust.
Diamond has already contributed to the development of a synthetic vaccine for Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus and the mapping of the structure of the HIV integrase. The synchrotron has also been used lately to study the development of a new type of domestic boiler using phase-change materials and the first 3D reconstruction of what an ancient rugose coral looks like. A462 million years old, it is the oldest fossil of its kind ever found.
The faciity generates extremely intense pin-point beams of synchrotron light. Diamond’s X-rays are around 100 billion times brighter than a standard hospital X-ray machine. Diamond Light Source is used by over 3,000 academic and industrial researchers across a wide range of disciplines, including structural biology, health and medicine, solid-state physics, materials & magnetism, nanoscience, electronics, earth & environmental sciences, chemistry, cultural heritage, energy and engineering. For more information about Diamond visit

About the Science and Technology Facilities Council
The Science and Technology Facilities Council ensures the UK retains its leading place on the world stage by delivering world-class science; accessing and hosting international facilities; developing innovative technologies; and increasing the socio-economic impact of its research through effective knowledge exchange partnerships.

The Council has a broad science portfolio including Astronomy, Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics, Nuclear Physics, Space Science, Synchrotron Radiation, Neutron Sources and High Power Lasers. In addition the Council manages and operates three internationally renowned laboratories:

- The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire
- The Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire
- The UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh

The Council gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Chile, and in the UK LOFAR and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

The Council works closely with the UK Space Agency on exploiting UK membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and delivering the UK civil space programme.

About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.