How Diamond is supporting the skills agenda of the Industrial strategy and its scope for further growth

A year on from the formal launch of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron, has undertaken many activities which have been supporting the delivery of the Industrial Strategy. Here we look at Diamond's work supporting the skills agenda.

Proposed location of the new building at the front of the Diamond site on the Harwell Campus
Proposed location of the new building at the front of the Diamond site on the Harwell Campus

With a ’transforming space’, Diamond would aim to more than double the number of visitors to the facility within 5 years. The proposed space represents a unique opportunity to have an impact on the UK’s scientific landscape by providing a hub for skills, and access to high quality training, education and informal learning, and this in line with the industrial strategy’s aspirations.

Its close location to Diamond will concentrate educational visits, scientific workshops, hands-on training and tours with minimum impact on the operation of the facility.

The location of the new building maximises access to the machine during shutdowns and allows quick access to the spare girders area, where we have invested in a training beamline in the visible light spectrum as part of the developments. This idea represents a unique opportunity for the UK Government to invest in a collaborative space to generate more growth of STEM infrastructure and education, embraces the science provided by Diamond and combines it with the potential to serve and showcase the Campus.

With over 60,000 visitors already welcomed to the facility, the potential for Diamond to attract a huge range of audiences is clear. One of Diamond’s strategic objectives is to ‘To engage and inspire the general public through promoting science’. With over 80 events per year the facility is a catalyst for the industrial strategy’s approach to strengthen skills and build on delivering a world-class education system (secondary, technical and higher education) as well as ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of science and technology.

In the past 5 years, Diamond has seen its yearly average number of visitors reach just under 7,000 and with a growing programme of scientific workshops, courses and training, as well as secondary and its wider public engagement, Diamond has a clear vision and need for what they are calling ‘a transforming space’. This would help it maximise its full potential and impact positively on the entire Harwell Science & Innovation Campus where it is located.

The current demand to visit Diamond through education and informal learning activities is already substantial. However, expansion of these activities is constrained by lack of space. Additionally, there is a need to consolidate and expand the aspect of student training and engagement as part of our offer as a national facility. Many of the advanced training courses delivered at Diamond are in the biomedical field, and taking into account the current rate of the growth, it is anticipated that with its integrated facilities the range of courses required for biomedical and physical sciences will increase by 40% each year. Similarly, it is expected that the portfolio of required events will increase in line with the increased number of beamlines especially as they mature.