Since opening in 1967, Daresbury Laboratory has enjoyed a reputation for world-leading scientific excellence in fields as diverse as accelerator science, bio-medicine, physics, chemistry, materials, engineering and computational science. Today, STFC Daresbury Laboratory is an energetic laboratory developing forefront science, supporting industry and delivering solutions to grand challenges. The innovative and inspiring environment is shared with an increasingly diverse community, including a growing number of research centres and a rapidly expanding cohort of successful high-tech businesses.
Indeed, since 2010 STFC, Halton Borough Council and property development specialists Langtree Property Partners have operated a joint venture called Sci-Tech Daresbury – one of only two National Science and Innovation Campuses in the UK. The venture enables even the smallest start-ups to work side-by-side with successful and influential international companies.
There are currently over 1,200 people on-site, including scientists working in a variety of scientific fields including accelerator science, high performance computing, simulation and data analytics, and sensors and detectors. Sci-Tech Daresbury operates large-scale facilities used by many UK universities as well as an increasing number of industrial companies (for example IBM, Unilever, Bentley Motors, BAE Systems).
Sci-Tech Daresbury is home to over 100 high-tech companies, employing over 500 people in areas such as advanced engineering, digital/ICT, biomedical and energy and environmental technologies. These vary from start-up companies to more mature SMEs to international corporates, such as IBM. About one in six companies have their headquarters outside the UK.
The Daresbury campus has evolved into a hotbed of discovery, innovation and collaboration. STFC has many valued on-campus partners with whom it enjoys collaborative and productive relationships. Here are just a few examples of those partners:
The Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) delivers innovative virtual engineering solutions to industry, through the exploitation of academic research and the latest scientific and technological infrastructure. A key aim of the VEC is to enhance capability and improve business performance and competitiveness through the evaluation, application and adoption of virtual engineering tools and techniques, and to support the development of skills and expertise throughout the advanced manufacturing supply chain.
The VEC comprises a multi-disciplinary team including specialists in engineering, computer science, visualisation and manufacturing technology, and is underpinned by the University of Liverpool and specialist centres of excellence. Located at both Sci-Tech Daresbury and the University of Liverpool, the VEC is a hub for communicating research back to potential end users, while providing competitive advantage to industry.
The STFC Hartree Centre is transforming industrial R&D through use of high performance computing, big data analytics, visualisation and cognitive technologies. Working with a wide range of global hardware and software partners, the Centre’s capabilities range from high performance computing and data storage, to accelerated and energy efficient computing platforms. Data analytics clusters can work with rested, live-streaming and predictive data, while access to cognitive computing technologies through IBM Watson means the Centre can use techniques, such as natural language processing and machine learning, to tailor unique solutions for both industry and academia. This enables businesses and organisations to engage with cognitive technologies at an accelerated rate to boost UK competitiveness.
Cognitive computing - What can it be used for?
SuperSTEM is a highly sensitive electron microscope that can analyse single atoms using a technique known as scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). It uses beams of electrons to create very detailed images of specimens and supports a wide variety of multi-disciplinary research. SuperSTEM revolves around its central hub, a purpose-designed building housing three state-of-the-art STEM instruments. It is owned by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and administered by an academic consortium including the Universities of Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Oxford.
The North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) is an independent group of influential business leaders, who work together to promote the sustainable economic development and long-term well-being of North West England. Membership of NWBLT is made up of senior executives from the region’s major businesses. It operates as an independent business voice for the whole of the North West, thus providing valuable strategic support for the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships. NWBLT members are currently engaged in a programme of thought leadership addressing issues of major concern to North West business. These include skills for industry, transport investment, science & innovation and essential resources.
NWBLT also sponsors and administers the annual Lever Prize to stimulate collaboration between the North West’s cultural and business communities (with support from Arts & Business) and an annual Schools Science Competition for pupils from years 7 and 8 in North West schools.
Particle accelerators are the tools scientists use to search for the fundamental building blocks of the Universe. They also help to treat cancer and search for cleaner, greener energy options. The Cockcroft Institute brings together the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester and STFC’s Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC) to provide essential infrastructure for accelerator science and technology. Through collaboration between academia, national laboratories, industry and local economy, it creates a focal point for the best accelerator scientists, engineers, educators and industrialists to lead the UK’s participation in flagship international experiments.
Intrigued by the exciting research, development and innovation at Sci-Tech Daresbury? Why not visit the campus during Daresbury Open Week this summer?