The government has made its largest ever award to a single science project today, giving £100m to extend the Isis neutron lab at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot.

The current neutron facility at Isis is the most powerful in the world, but it cannot expand to meet the capacity required by the scientific community. The funding will allow a new wing to be added that will offer unique equipment, which should help to retain the lab's status as a world-class facility for years to come.

Making the award, science minister, Lord Sainsbury said: "This £100m for the Isis laboratory is a key part of our investment strategy in major facilities for scientists in this country. It will keep the UK at the forefront of neutron research for many years."

The Isis facility is used by scientists studying the structure and dynamics of matter and is need by a range of disciplines including physics, chemistry, biotechnology and materials science. Areas currently being worked on at the lab include: targeted medical delivery, which hopes to cut down on the side effects of medical treatment; the next generation of environmentally friendly technologies; superfast computers; data storage; and sensors.

The funding will be spread over the next six years, until 2008, and includes £7.1m which was granted in 2002.

For more information on the Isis lab click here.