Diamond Concise Annual Review 2020/21

4 5 D I A M O N D L I G H T S O U R C E A N N U A L R E V I E W 2 0 2 0 / 2 1 D I A M O N D L I G H T S O U R C E A N N U A L R E V I E W 2 0 2 0 / 2 1 A year on fromthe outbreak of the pandemic, awar is raging against theworld: a newkind for our generation but awar that science can help win! At Diamond Light Source, we have kept operational throughout 2020 at varying levels, fromCOVID-19 related research only for the first quarter of the financial year to remote only experiments on all beamlines. It has obviously been challenging to welcome back users, although summer 2020 and early autumn attempts were successful. I was deeply impressed with the commitments of members of our staff mapping the virus at unprecedented scales, looking at targets to find possible roads to the development of therapeutics. I also commend all the people involved in other disciplineswho remained focused on getting experiments deliveredwith users on the other side of a videoconference, together with all staffwho worked so hard to keep operations going under very challenging circumstances. The many COVID-19 related research projects that Diamond is working on are also a great demonstration of the powerful synergy between Diamond and its neighbouring research institutes, the Research Complex at Harwell and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. Diamond is working with its valued users and many partners to look at the fundamental interactions of the virus, fromwhich it is hoped new therapies can be developed. Over 60 projects are enabling the study of how existing drugs, that have already been tested and approved for other diseases, can be repurposed and used to treat patients. The array of specialised tools and instruments at Diamond, along with the scientific and technical expertise of its staff, allow for many different techniques to be used, from looking at the structure of the virus and fitting drugs into it, like a tiny jigsaw puzzle, to taking direct images of the virus without its infectious component, making it possible to see how it interacts with potential drug chemicals. Diamond also stole the headlines with the first paper on the study of the 3.67 million years old skull of the‘Little Foot’hominid, reaping over 168 pieces of media coverage and amounting to an estimated 10.2 million views of the story and, as you can imagine, driving great traffic to our website and blowing all records on social media! We closed the year with another big project that is about to be published with our Socio-Economic Impact Study report where Technopolis, who carried out the assessment, estimated that Diamond has so far (2007-2020) had a cumulative, monetised impact of at least £1.8 billion, based on the evidence captured at this relatively early phase of the facility’s operations. Bearing in mind that not all activities, outputs and outcomes could be monetised at this stage, this already compares very positively with the £1.2 billion investment in the facility (which includes all capital expenditure and operational costs so far). Of this total, 86% comes from UK taxpayers, with around £1 billion in investment from the Government via UKRI’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and 14% from theWellcome Trust. Diamond has wider societal benefits that it has not been possible to monetise. These include: • 80,000 visitors reached so far through a programme of engagement at the heart of the facility supporting the UK Skills’agenda in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). • Some of the leading scientific questions of the day being investigated by its 14,000-strong user community, with a part to play in 21 st century in 7,759 experimental shifts being awarded across 33 beamlines and 10 electron microscopes. We welcomed 488 on-site user visits from academia across all instruments, with an additional 4,473 remote user visits.The machine continues to perform to a high standard with 96.2% uptime and 132 hours mean time between failures (MTBF). Diamond also provides services critical to industry in the UK, with over 180 companies making use of the facility since operations began, normally paying £2.5 to £3 million per annum for proprietary access. We managed to switch all our engagement with the public to online, creating a dedicated site for our coronavirus research, along with many animations explaining how the science takes place and what is being uncovered about this devastating virus. In addition, during the past year Diamond has had approximately 6,161 significant interactions (30+ minutes) with ‘virtual’ visits from school students and members of the public, and we saw a 57% increase in attendance across our 33 virtual scientific and technical events this year. Likewise, our Student Engagement programme has continued to thrive despite pandemic restrictions, as we welcomed our 2020 Year in Industry and PhD cohorts in September and October respectively, and currently support a total of 116 studentships, at both undergraduate and PhD level, with our 2021 cohorts due to start later this year. The past year also opened our eyes to more flexible working in certain areas, with always at the forefront of our minds, the importance of good internal support that ultimately sets us apart to deliver the best for our user community. I am grateful to all our staff and contractors who worked so hard to keep us going through these unprecedented times. As the financial year closes, we look forward to 2021-22 as we will be laying the foundations for a double anniversary again. In 2022 we will celebrate 20 years since the creation of the company and 15 years of innovation through the research we do and much more! Professor Andrew Harrison OBE CEO Diamond Light Source challenges, from new technologies and environmental remediation to health and well-being. • Widespread awareness of the value and relevance of STEM subjects to our everyday lives through many news articles and outreach activities. In early 2021, Diamond celebrated its 10,000 th publication with lead author Dr Jessica Wade from Imperial College London. The Nature Communications paper presented disruptive insights into chiral polymer films, which emit and absorb circularly polarised light, and offers the promise of achieving important technological advances, including high-performance displays, 3D imaging and quantum computing. This could fundamentally change the technology landscape by enabling a new generation of devices and is a great example of the amazing physical sciences being delivered with our instruments. The Diamond-II Programme, an integrated upgrade of the synchrotron, beamlines and computational facilities, critical to maintaining our world-leading status, has progressed. Led by the Diamond-II Programme Director, Dr Laurent Chapon, and many staff, we have been working hard on the plans for the upgrade, andthis isnow leadingtoaformalOutlineBusinessCase(OBC)forsubmissiontothe UK Government. We were pleased to have already received, after an independent reviewing process, an early indication of support from the Wellcome Trust subject to UKRI STFC’s approval of the Programme. We are under no illusion that the fight for funding from all quarters will be fierce, and that the impact of the pandemic on our economy will be felt for decades to come; but I remain optimistic that the great science we have delivered over the past 14 years of operations sets us and our user community apart as a priority. In the last financial year, we received 1,675 proposals for experiments on our instruments via peer reviewed access routes, requesting a total of 18,465 shifts. After peer review, 801 proposals were awarded beamtime. This resulted Themany COVID-19 related research projects that Diamond is working on are also a great demonstration of the powerful synergy between Diamond and its neighbouring research institutes. CEOWelcome