Peer review backs Daresbury's bid to secure its future

May 31, 2002

Daresbury Laboratory's bid to secure its future by building a world-leading light source has received a crucial vote of approval.

After successful peer review, the chief executives of the research councils and their director general agreed that the proposals for the fourth-generation light source (4GLS) should go to the next stage of the Treasury's gateway process.

Wendy Flavell, a director of the project and physicist at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, said: "This is tremendous news. We're delighted that the government has given us the go-ahead to prepare a business case and demonstrate the technical capabilities of the project. We look forward to exceeding their expectations."

As further endorsement for the project, the Jefferson Laboratory in Virginia, US, the world leader in the free electron laser technology on which 4GLS will be based, has told Daresbury it wants to collaborate on the project. It has sent key equipment to the Cheshire laboratory to help scientists in early testing phases.

But although the science has received government and scientific endorsement, trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt, in a parliamentary question, stopped short of saying 4GLS would definitely go to Daresbury.

The 4GLS is the first pure science project to enter the Treasury's gateway review process. The procedure was set up in February 2001 in response to criticism that too many projects were delivered late or over budget and that the process was not transparent.

4GLS is part of the £160 million Casim proposal for Daresbury.

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