Harwell - Science Vale


Harwell: the UK's leading science, technology and innovation Campus. A 710-acre site with 200 organisations employing over 5,500 brilliant people.
Middle aged lab engineer, wearing lab coat, turquoise gloves and safety goggles, is working with complex laboratory machinery

Harwell is a location like no other.  It’s home to five major national research facilities, academia and private industry.  It attracts brilliant minds from across the globe and offers all businesses big opportunities.  A beacon of the UK knowledge economy, Harwell Campus is home to a number of growing inter-disciplinary clusters including space, life sciences and healthcare, plus many more research led organisations.

Harwell has been at the forefront of science for 70 years.
1947 – Fusion: Europe’s first working reactor.
1953 – Computing: world’s first transistorised computer.
1961 – Genetics: link between genes and hereditary conditions established.
2016 – Space science: launch of Sentinel-3 satellite.

Harwell continues to attract talent and funds.  The organisations here are split roughly 50/50 between academia (research councils and universities) and business.  The total investment in scientific equipment at Harwell amounts to £2bn.

Key industry clusters at Harwell include:

  • Space and satellite applications
  • Life sciences and healthcare
  • Big data and supercomputing
  • Energy and environment
  • Advanced engineering and materials


Big science facilities at Harwell

Diamond Light Source – the UK’s national synchrotron accelerates electrons to near-light speed.  At these speeds electrons emit a light that’s ten billion times brighter than the Sun.  Each year over 5,000 visiting scientists use this light to study a wide range of materials from new medicines and treatments for disease to innovative engineering and cutting-edge technology.

ISIS Pulsed Neutron Source – one of only three facilities of its kind in the world.  Researchers in a wide variety of fields from physics to archaeology use ISIS to investigate the properties of materials at an atomic level using instruments described as ‘super microscopes.’

Central Laser Facility – one of the world’s leading laser facilities uses high-power and high-sensitivity lasers for research in a wide range of fields from atomic and plasma physics to medical diagnostics.

UK Space Gateway – a focal point for growth in the UK space sector and home to the UK’s largest thermal vacuum chamber.  The chamber has a temperature range from -180°C to +150°C.  Researchers use it to test whether instruments destined for use in space can withstand the extreme temperatures they’ll encounter there.

The National Imaging Centre – for nanoscale imaging and physical sciences includes two advanced cryo-electron microscopes.  Researchers use the microscopes to study the structure of individual cells frozen in liquid nitrogen.  At these ultra-low temperatures, microscopic analysis doesn’t damage cell structure.

Grow your business at the unique place that is Harwell
Harwell is expanding fast.  In 2015, the European Space Agency’s ECSAT building opened for advanced telecoms R&D and RAL Space’s R100 facility opened for thermal vacuum and other instrument testing.  Millions more square feet of superb new buildings including a new innovation centre are coming in the next few years.

Harwell is good for business because its ethos is innovation.  Harwell’s blend of national labs and innovation districts, set within a well-planned campus, brings out the best in people – their inventiveness and their sense of shared purpose.  The aim is make more of Harwell’s networking – to use its collaborative advantage to raise the profile of the site and its achievements.

What could you achieve if you were part of this vibrant mix of science and collaboration?  Ask us about opportunities that would suit your business.
Tell me how I can grow my business at Harwell

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