Agilent opens flagship spectroscopy site at Harwell Campus

New 32,000 sq ft facility will be a major European R&D hub for molecular spectroscopy

Today Agilent Technologies opened a new state-of-the-art facility for spectroscopy research and development at Harwell. The new 32,000 sq ft Spectrum Building housing Agilent’s Raman spectroscopy business, will soon also accommodate the company’s Laser Spectroscopy Center of Excellence (LSCE).

Spectroscopy technologies are used to ensure environmental quality, human health, and the safety of a wide variety of everyday products. Agilent’s Raman Spectroscopy technologies were originally developed at Harwell by scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) before being spun-out into Cobalt Light Systems, which was then acquired by Agilent for £40million. The technologies have been adopted by global industries – many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies use the technology to assess the raw ingredients of materials and final products, and airports throughout the world have installed Agilent bottle liquid scanners to increase flight safety for tens of millions of people.

With 50% of the Design and Build facility being dedicated to scientific and technical space, the 70-strong Agilent team will focus efforts on:

  • Research and development to enable customers to perform better science.
  • Harmonising existing product lines to ensure an optimal customer experience.

Commenting on why Agilent has invested in the new building, Phil Binns, VP and General Manager, Spectroscopy, Agilent said, “The growth in Agilent’s molecular spectroscopy business created the need for a larger, state-of-the-art building. Our new flagship facility will enable us to develop a truly unified approach to vibrational spectroscopy. The location will also facilitate greater collaboration with internationally acclaimed academic and scientific thought leaders based at this premier UK hub of scientific innovation”

The opening of the Spectrum Building was hailed a success story for UK science and technology amongst the scientists, academics and government representatives attending the ceremony who welcomed the technology back to its ’home’.

Prof. Pavel Matousek, a senior fellow at the STFC Central Laser Facility who, with his colleagues, originally developed the technology just a five minute-walk away across the Campus said, “I’m proud to see Agilent, and the Raman business we helped to establish, growing strongly at Harwell. The new facility is perfectly located for collaboration between Agilent’s Spectroscopy businesses and the large number of scientists and engineers we have based in our unique research infrastructure. I very much look forward to our future joint endeavours.”

Angus Horner, Partner and Director of Harwell Campus, concluded, “Agilent is a welcome and powerful addition to our science and technology community.  Today is particularly significant for the Campus because it highlights how we are succeeding in taking big science research right through an innovation cycle and on into full commercialisation.”

“This Raman technology was born out of research at STFC, with HM Government funding and a collaborative, entrepreneurial ecosystem that accelerated its evolution into a fully and globally applied technology. It is down to this powerful combination, unique in the UK, that we are here today, celebrating all the people who made this happen.”