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The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science (JAI) was created in October 2004 in response to an initiative by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council and the Council for the Central Laboratory for the Research Councils (now merged into the Science and Technology Research Council) to foster accelerator R&D in the universities.

The JAI was a joint venture initially between the Departments of Physics in the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway University of London, and with Imperial College London joining in 2011.

The JAI is located in the Denys Wilkinson Building (part of the Physics Department) at Oxford, in the Wilson Building (part of the Physics Department) at Royal Holloway and in the Blackett Laboratory building in Imperial College.

The Cockcroft Institute, a similar joint venture between the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester and based at the Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire was created at the same time.

These two institutes, together with the STFC Accelerator Science and Technology Centre, also based at Daresbury, form the core of accelerator R&D and training in the UK.

JAI opening in Oxford

On the image above - JAI opening in Oxford

All three accelerator centres were created as a response to an initiative in 1999 to rejuvenate accelerator R&D in the UK. Two R&D programmes were started as a result, one for a future Linear Electron Positron Collider and the other for a possible Neutrino Factory, and these formed the core of the original programme of the Institute. Since then, the programme has expanded considerably, with research into advanced light sources, plasma-driven accelerators, accelerators for medical applications. A key strength of the Institute lies in advanced beam instrumentation and diagnostics, enabling accelerator techniques and plasma acceleration.

The JAI was proposed initially by Professor Brian Foster (Oxford) and Professor Mike Green (Royal Holloway), and Brian was the interim Director. In 2005, Professor Ken Peach was appointed Director and Professor Grahame Blair was appointed Deputy Director. In August 2010, Professor Andrei Seryi succeeded Ken Peach as Director. After a successful period in charge of the JAI, Professor Seryi, was succeeded by the current director, Professor Philip Burrows.