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£147.5m boost for British particle accelerators

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Science and innovation minister Lord Sainsbury today announced £147.5m funding for two particle accelerators. They will be used to aid research in areas including medical and computer research, and clean energy technology.

The two devices - ISIS and Diamond Light source - produce high-energy light beams and particles which allow scientists to study the structure of different materials in detail.

The need for this was outlined by Wellcome Trust director Dr Mark Walport: "Thanks to the decoding of the human genome and the genomes of many important bacteria and viruses, we now know the sequence of thousands of new proteins that are important in health and disease. But to understand their function, we need to know their structure. Diamond Light Source is a top-notch facility that will help us do that. Ultimately, this is the key to the future development of new drugs and treatments."

"These new world-class scientific facilities will enable UK scientists and engineers to make exciting discoveries," said Lord Sainsbury at today's official opening of the first section of the Diamond machine tunnel. "This is not just about pure academic research, Diamond Light Source and ISIS both provide opportunities for industrial research such as the aerospace industry, surgical tools, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics."

Some £120m of the new investment - consisting of £103.4m of government funding and £16.8m from the Wellcome Trust - will be spent on phase II of Diamond Light Source. The rest - £27.5m - will be used to increase capacity at ISIS for new high-tech instruments.

Said Professor John Wood, chief executive of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC): "This is excellent news. The new instruments on both machines will provide UK scientists with complementary, state-of-the-art technology on which to carry out their world-leading research. I'd like to congratulate all staff from DLS and CCLRC who are working hard to make both projects a success." ®

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