The Joint Venture
By Isabelle Boscaro-Clarke, Head of Communication
On 27th March 2002, the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust sat down and signed the paperwork to establish the limited company to take the project forward – Diamond Light Source Ltd – at the then known Department of Trade and Industry in London. The UK Government funding came from the office of Science and Technology, through the Council of the Central Laboratories of the research councils (CCLRC).
The company started with a handful of staff under the leadership of Prof Gerhard Materlik, who remembers those exciting times.
“It was so thrilling to have the joint venture come together and witness the birth of the project. Once we had a legal framework through the setting up of a company we could then move this on… place contracts for the building and physically start the project.”
Another witness of this unique partnership was Dr John Wood, who was then the Chief Executive of the CCLRC, and involved with Diamond since the early negotiations. It was certainly exciting times for all those involved. They were making the first step in the history of the project. From then on, this would allow Diamond to place orders and move things on quickly and effectively.
Taking over from the previous and well-established synchrotron was going to be a real challenge as we say in “we were all standing on the shoulders of giants”. The team at Daresbury was instrumental in the development of the detailed technical specification for the machine, called the Green Book, which was then taken over by the team on the ground. These were difficult times with the controversial decision to locate Diamond on the Harwell Campus, to allow for scientific synergy with other national and international facilities on the site. Although difficult, this decision is today finding real synergies. Despite many were dubious of this justification at the time, it is nice to see perspectives from colleagues at ISIS who confirm that this is actually happening!