HARWELL'S Diamond Light Source laboratory is uniting Israeli and Palestinian scientists as part of a programme to build and operate a similar facility in the Middle East.

The first four fellows on the new scheme started their residency at the Oxfordshire synchrotron this week.

Eventually 25 physicists from Egypt, Iran, Israel, the Palestinian territory, Turkey and Cyprus will be involved.

They will be trained in the construction and operation of SESAME – Synchrotron light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East in Jordan.

The Diamond SESAME Rutherford Fellowship Training Programme which officially began this week has been made possible by a £1.5 million grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Diamond CEO Andrew Harrison commented: "SESAME represents a unique project for the Middle East because of the excellent opportunity to stimulate and support scientific and technical activity, training and engagement in the region.

"Because SESAME focuses on areas of local importance - such as water supply, energy, health and the environment - we are keen to nurture new talent and share our skills."