Diamond Light Source names new CEO

Professor Andrew Harrison has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Light Source Ltd with effect from 1 January 2014.

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, which holds 86 per cent of the shares, and the Wellcome Trust, which holds 14 per cent.

With applications in virtually all fields of scientific research, Diamond plays an important part in keeping the UK at the forefront of science: 2,287 related journal articles have been published and 1,464 protein structures deposited in the World Protein Databank since the facility came online in 2007.

Professor Harrison has been Director General of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) neutron source in Grenoble, France, since 2011. He 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.

Lord Broers, Chairman of the Diamond Board, 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.

"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."

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 shown by recent developments under Gerd Materlik's excellent stewardship, such as the new foot and mouth vaccine, these are exciting times for Diamond.

"Andrew will bring valuable experience in managing a world-class facility which serves the needs of a broad range of scientific disciplines."

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.