Global synthetic diamond innovation centre to be built in the UK

Element Six announces £20m innovation centre investment near Oxford

8 May 2012: Element Six, the world leader in synthetic diamond supermaterials, has announced it is to start construction of the world’s largest and most sophisticated synthetic diamond supermaterials research and development facility. The £20m investment near Oxford in the UK will consolidate Element Six’s global innovation teams into one integrated centre, developing a pipeline of innovative products for customers in industries from oil and gas drilling to machining and electronics. Synthetic diamond supermaterials typically improve productivity, reduce energy consumption and enable leaps in technology never previously considered in a multitude of applications.

Once complete in spring 2013, the new Global Innovation Centre will reinforce Element Six’s position as the world-leader in synthetic diamond research and will employ more than 100 top engineers, scientists and technicians. 50 new material science jobs will be created, with the vast majority of new positions available for highly qualified graduate scientists, engineers and physicists. Element Six will be offering these innovators an unrivalled opportunity to work with the extreme properties of synthetic diamond and related supermaterials at a state-of-the-art facility.

Aligned with the Government’s desire to foster investment in R&D and advanced manufacturing, Element Six, with support from UK Trade & Investment, identified Harwell Oxford in the UK as the site for its Global Innovation Centre. The location was chosen for its world-renowned reputation, high-tech talent pool and excellent global connectivity.

UK Trade & Investment supported Element Six by proposing and advising on potential locations, organising site visits, facilitating meetings with site owners and developers, preparing bespoke research and bringing in the expertise of the councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships, academic institutions and research partners.

Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:

“The investment by Element Six, that will bring a world class research and development facility to Harwell, shows that the UK is a great place for innovative and cutting edge industries to invest. Along with a real boost to the local economy, providing around 50 new highly skilled engineering jobs, the investment shows that the Oxford region is a world leading location for hi-tech research, and that the UK is open for business.”

Cyrus Jilla, Element Six CEO, commented:

“I am proud we selected the UK as the best location globally for our Innovation Centre. I am positive it will deliver higher performance products for our customers, disruptive technologies for new applications and markets, inspire and spur new related businesses in the UK, and provide an extremely rewarding environment for our scientists who are at the forefront of their field.”

Element Six has an outstanding track record of applying the extreme properties of synthetic diamond supermaterials within abrasive applications and a diverse range of advanced technologies. One of its many examples of commercialising innovation is the synthetic diamond speaker dome used in the Bowers & Wilkins 800 Diamond Series loudspeakers, for which Element Six has just been awarded a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in the UK.

Other innovative uses of Element Six synthetic diamond include optics to enable the highest power levels achievable in CO2 lasers for automotive engineering, as semiconductors in the Large Hadron Collider, as detectors in medical radiotherapy, as cutters for the fastest rates of penetration in oil and gas drilling, and to enable picks used during road re-surfacing and repair to last up to 40 times longer than standard road picks.


Notes to Editors:

About Element Six
Element Six ( is an independently managed synthetic diamond supermaterials company. Element Six is part of the De Beers Family of Companies and is co-owned by Umicore, the Belgian materials group. Element Six is a global leader in the design, development and production of synthetic diamond supermaterials, and operates worldwide with its head office registered in Luxembourg, and primary manufacturing facilities in China, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa and the UK.

Element Six supermaterial solutions are used in applications such as cutting, grinding, drilling, shearing and polishing, while the extreme properties of synthetic diamond beyond hardness are already opening up new applications in a wide array of industries such as optics, power transmission, water treatment, semi-conductors and sensors.

About UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.

About Harwell Oxford
Harwell Oxford has a 60 year history of excellence in science and technology and is today being developed into a world-leading hub for technology transfer and innovative businesses as part of a joint venture by global property group Goodman, The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and The Science and Facilities Technology Council.
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