Research Complex at Harwell

The RCaH provides high-specification laboratories for researchers working closely with the large facilities on the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) site such as the Diamond Light Source, Central Laser Facility and ISIS.

As well as carrying out new, better or faster experiments with beam time, researchers at the Complex work in a strongly multidisciplinary environment. Stakeholders in the Research Complex include BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC and Diamond.

The complex has 300 square metres of space allocated to researchers working in the engineering and physical sciences remit. This will provide researchers conducting experiments at RAL's facilities with the space and basic equipment necessary to conduct experiments at the site.

There are 'well-found' laboratories, with basic equipment and consumables useful to a wide range of users. There are a few larger pieces of equipment, such as transmission and scanning electron microscopes, 400MHz NMR, mass spectrometer and an analytical ultracentrifuge, as well as specialised equipment through groups based in the centre such as the Oxford Protein Production Facility UK and Lasers for Science Facility. Users will need to supply equipment that is specific to a particular project.

Equipment provision consultation and expressions of interest

We consulted with the research community in late 2008 to inform what instruments should be included at the complex. A review panel discussed the proposals in January 2009 to assess the need for inclusion and place equipment in priority order for funding.

EPSRC invited expressions of interest for research groups to take up residency at the complex and highlight research areas, projects or programmes that could be supported. The call closed in October 2009.

A further call for multidisciplinary research groups closed in April 2010, with research groups taking up residency at the complex in spring 2011. Five-year projects funded through the call are:

  • Catalytic science, consortium of eleven research organisations led by Professor Richard Catlow.
  • Phase modulation technology for x-ray imaging, led by Professor Ian Robinson and involving UCL, Sheffield and Diamond.
  • Dynamic structural science, consortium of nine research organisations led by Professor Paul Raithby.
  • Structural evolution across multiple time and length scales, led by Professor Philip Withers and involving Manchester, Imperial, STFC Laboratories and the OU.

A two-year project in in-situ processing, a consortium of seven research organisations led by Professor Alexander Korsunsky, has also been supported.

RCaH Impact Acceleration Fellowships and Workshops

Following a positive mid-term review of the four multidisciplinary projects run at Harwell, an impact grant was set in place, to encourage even greater impact of the projects. The grant aims to do this by increasing the interactions between the four research groups and by promoting industrial involvement in the projects.

To achieve these aims the funding will appoint impact acceleration fellows and enable eight workshops to run.

More information

For further details about RCaH please see the RCaH website.