Operated by STFC and located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, it provides a thriving and collaborative environment for research in:
Approximately 1,200 staff at RAL support the work of more than 10,000 scientists and engineers, chiefly from the university research community. RAL’s pioneering research in areas such as energy, security, healthcare and the environment addresses important challenges facing society.
RAL, and the wider Harwell Campus and Innovation Campus host some of the UK’s major scientific facilities including:
Novel ways are being developed to store hydrogen for energy by studying the microstructure of materials, for example, and cell biology research is furthering our understanding of diseases like cancer.
Attracting young people into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is vital for the future of the UK economy. RAL’s diverse training schemes provide important skills – from engineering apprenticeships and summer student placements to graduate training schemes.
An exciting public engagement programme also offers activities and lectures for public and school audiences.
RAL also hosts a range of services and smaller facilities. These include the Energy Research Unit, which focuses on new and renewable energy sources, and the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC). Funded by the National Environment Research Council, the BADC supplies data to the Met Office and the International Panel on Climate Change.
RAL co-ordinates the UK's particle physics programme and participates in high energy physics experiments around the world, including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Switzerland.
The LHC will improve our understanding of the origins of the Universe by recreating conditions moments after the Big Bang. RAL’s e-scientists are helping to process and store data generated by the LHC using RAL’s cutting-edge computing facilities and technology.
The European Space Agency’s new UK centre on the Harwell Campus will increase collaborative opportunities for RAL’s space research and technology. A new multidisciplinary research complex will promote innovation by supporting scientists using ISIS, Diamond Light Source and the CLF.
Through its links with the Appleton Laboratory, the laboratory can trace a history back to 1921. A laboratory has existed on the Chilton site since 1957 when the then Rutherford High Energy Laboratory, an establishment of the National Institute for Research in Nuclear Science, was set up.
Following mergers with the Atlas and Appleton Laboratories in 1975 and 1979 respectively, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory was formed with a diverse remit to support a wide range of university research activities. Together with Daresbury Laboratory, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory was brought under the umbrella of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils in 1995.