We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

News from Science Board - 2010

STFC’s Science Board held its most recent meeting on 18th November 2010 at University College London.

Science Board’s main business was devoted to a discussion on the most recent draft delivery plan scenarios submitted to BIS. Following the Government’s spending review decision to maintain overall investment in science at flat cash, STFC was requested by BIS to elaborate the impact of several funding scenarios around this figure. The capital allocation is still not finalised and so various assumptions had to be made. Science Board talked through the programme under each of these scenarios and was asked to provide advice in a number of areas where further input to Council would be helpful.

Science Board also received an update regarding STFC’s Technology Strategy. A draft technology strategy framework has been developed and Science Board was invited to comment on the framework. The next stage is to develop an implementation plan. Science Board was supportive of the current draft technology strategy framework and would like to further discuss the detail of the implementation of this strategy at the appropriate time.

The next meeting of Science Board will take place on 13th January 2011.

STFC's Science Board held its most recent meeting on 12th-13th October 2010 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Science Board's business included a discussion on the comprehensive spending review, updates from PPAN and PALS, discussion on the grant funding mechanism review, an update on the technology strategy, a discussion about the advisory structure and visits to Lasers for Science, the Central Laser Facility and ISIS.

The Executive and Council sought advice from Science Board on pressing matters currently related to the comprehensive spending review, and the Board discussed a number of specific matters and provided guidance to Council.

Science Board discussed the STFC advisory structure, noting that the current advisory structure is large and complex. Whilst this reflected the complexity of STFC it would be possible to simplify the structure. Science Board noted the importance of the advisory panels in providing a formal conduit between the advisory structure and the community, and in helping to establish tensioning between the different subject areas and the STFC science programme as a whole.

Science Board was presented with an update on the activities relating to the development of the STFC technology strategy. After some internal discussions and a technology workshop involving a cross section of the STFC scientific community, the need to agree an underlying philosophy was recognised. STFC Programme Board had agreed that:

  • STFC develops technology first and foremost to underpin STFC's science and facilities;
  • STFC will strategically manage a technology programme from blue-skies R&D to working systems;
  • STFC will endeavour to exploit technology developed for STFC's science and facilities for other applications and through industry.

Science Board broadly agreed with this underlying philosophy, and made some suggestions concerning the scope and timescales of such a programme. For further information please contact Victoria Wright.

Science Board discussed the review of the grant funding mechanisms; Science Board was presented with the methodology and findings of the review and discussed the recommendations provided. The report, and Science Board's comments, will be considered by Council at their next meeting.

Science Board received reports from the Chair of PALS and the Chair of PPAN.

PALS met on 6th-7th September 2010 at Polaris House, Swindon. PALS business included discussions regarding the comprehensive spending review and an update on the Futures Programme with a presentation regarding the challenges in healthcare and ageing. PALS also continued with its development on the science roadmap, agreeing the key science challenges and mapping techniques onto these challenges.

PPAN met on 29th September 2010 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. PPAN discussed the review of grant funding mechanisms, held discussions regarding the comprehensive spending review; received updates from the UK Space Agency and E-ELT, and continued its development of the science roadmap. PPAN finalised the definition of the key science challenges, after consultation with the Advisory Panels, and agreed to structure the roadmap around techniques used to address these. PPAN also considered the statement of interest for UK Access to the Felsenkeller Underground Nuclear Astrophysics Facility.

Science Board noted the importance of effective cooperation and communication between STFC and the newly-formed UK Space Agency to the success of future UK astronomy and space science.

Science Board visited Lasers for Science, the Central Laser Facility and ISIS, and commented on the excellent science activities carried out by these facilities.

The next meeting of Science Board will take place on 18th November 2010.

STFC’s Science Board held its most recent meeting on 28th - 29th July 2010 at The Cosener’s House, Abingdon. Science Board’s business included a discussion on the comprehensive spending review, updates from PPAN (Particle Physics, Astronomy and Nuclear Physics) and PALS (Physical and Life Sciences), and a presentation from the STFC Science in Society team.

The majority of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of options for managing the impact of potential comprehensive spending review outcomes. Science Board was requested by the Executive to provide advice to help guide further input to BIS (Department for Business Innovation and Skills). In order to construct this advice, Science Board discussed a number of thought provoking scenarios designed to explore the sort of issues that the Executive may be confronted with if there were to be a significant funding reduction as a result of the 2010 comprehensive spending review settlement. As a result of these deliberations Science Board provided the Executive with guidance on how to take forward this strategic planning.

Science Board received reports from the Chair of PALS and Chair of PPAN.

PALS met on 14th – 15th July 2010 at Polaris House, Swindon. PALS business included a presentation on the Imaging Solution Gateway Centre and a review of PALS’ previous work on the Health and Ageing Review. Further work on the science roadmap was also undertaken; PALS distilled the science challenges identified from its last meeting into five science themes and identified the techniques and facility developments required for each theme. PALS also discussed the facilities funding model, received an update on the Large Facilities Capital Fund and discussed some ideas about FEL (free electron laser) light sources.

PPAN met on 20th July 2010 at Polaris House, Swindon. PPAN received two PPRP (Projects Peer Review Panel) reports; the ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) UK collaboration’s proposal for participating in the ATLAS upgrade programme and a four year GridPP4 (Particle Physics Grid) project to deliver full-scale Grid computing facilities for the exploitation of LHC (Large Hadron Collider) data. PPAN also received a report on the review of the rolling grant applications for gravitational waves research. PPAN moved onto the next stage of the development of the science roadmap; PPAN reviewed the science challenges in readiness for distribution to the Advisory Panels for comment and started to identify elements of the roadmap.

Science Board also received an update report from the STFC Science in Society (SiS) team, which included the annual report for 2009/10 from the Science in Society Advisory Panel. Science Board discussed the difficulty of measuring the impact of a programme such as SiS and commended the SiS team for the work they were doing on trying to define better metrics. Science Board noted the importance of a Science in Society (SiS) programme, stressing that in the current financial climate public engagement was a highly valuable thing to do.

The next meeting of Science Board will take place on 12th - 13th October 2010.

STFC’s Science Board held its most recent meeting on 2nd - 3rd June 2010 at the Cockcroft Institute in Daresbury. Science Board’s business included the PPAN (Particle Physics, Astronomy and Nuclear Physics) and PALS (Physical and Life Sciences) update reports, discussion on the 2010/11 Budget, update on the comprehensive spending review scenarios and a review of lessons learned from the prioritisation.

Science Board received reports from the Chair of PALS and Chair of PPAN.

PALS met on 20th – 21st May 2010 at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot. PALS first day included discussions with Facility Directors regarding the implementation of the prioritisation exercise; presentations about the Hartree and Detector gateway centres and a discussion on the STFC Lasers programme.

A workshop with the advisory panels took place on day two; the aim of which was to identify science challenges relevant to STFC facilities and futures programmes.

This workshop included members from the photon and neutron advisory panels. The workshop provided challenges spanning physical, biological, technological and cultural aspects of research undertaken at STFC’s facilities. As part of the roadmap development, PALS will map these challenges onto the capabilities of STFC’s technology and facilities.

PPAN met on 28th May 2010 at Polaris House, Swindon. PPAN’s main business was the development of the science roadmap for PPAN science. The advisory panels provided PPAN with 18 key science challenges; PPAN examined these challenges, identified the overlaps and distilled them into a smaller set of challenges.

PPAN also considered the STFC Vision document and their input into the strategy consultation document in 2008. PPAN received five roadmaps from the advisory panels and will work to synthesise these roadmaps at its next meeting.

Science Board commented on the excellent progress made from PPAN and PALS on the development of a science roadmap. Science Board discussed producing a glossy overview of the science challenges that could be circulated to key stakeholders in the near future.

Science Board discussed and agreed overarching science challenges and commented that the “people” aspect of STFC (students, universities, training and skills impacts) needs to be highlighted. Science Board agreed upon the message of this document and provided STFC with ideas to portray this theme.

Science Board discussed and endorsed a plan, developed by Programme Board, to manage the in-year funding for the 2010/11 budget. Science Board was also informed of the scenario planning STFC is undertaking in preparation for the upcoming spending review. In addition Science Board was informed of the financial impact on STFC of the £6bn Government savings plan for 2010 / 11.

Science Board discussed lessons learned from the recent prioritisation exercise and expressed concern about the inevitable impact the prioritisation had on small projects and some entire areas of STFC science. Science Board asked STFC to consider initiatives aimed at sustaining such areas in the future.

The next meeting of Science Board will take place on 28th - 29th July 2010.

STFC’s Science Board held its most recent meeting on 7th-8th April 2010 at Polaris House in Swindon. Science Board’s business included the PPAN (Particle Physics, Astronomy and Nuclear Physics) and PALS (Physical and Life Sciences) update reports, discussion on the future role of Science Board, update from the Director and the Science and Technology roadmaps.

Science Board’s main business was a discussion on the future role of Science Board within STFC in light of the proposals from the Drayson Review and the steps being taken to create a UK Space Agency. Science Board discussed its past achievements and debated its role and that of PPAN and PALS within the changing structure of STFC.

There was general agreement that STFC needs a Science Board, and that its role is crucial during the coming months of change, but there is some sense that its future role may evolve within the STFC structure. Science Board agreed that there is a requirement for PPAN and PALS within the STFC advisory structure.

Science Board will have an introspective meeting later this year to consider these issues in more detail whilst noting that any changes in funding arrangements will not come into effect until 2011.

Science Board received reports from the chair of PPAN and chair of PALS.

PPAN met on 24th – 25th March 2010 at Polaris House, Swindon. PPAN’s main business included a review of lessons learnt from the prioritisation exercise, a meeting with the Advisory Panel Chairs to discuss the science roadmap and providing advice to STFC on the impact of the LHC schedule delay. PPAN also considered one statement of interest: ISIS Hemispheric Imager on the NASA Solar Probe Plus Mission.

PALS met on 11th – 12th March 2010 at the Imperial College London. The first day of business included a Healthcare and Ageing review, which is the first of a series of reviews of different science areas to enable PALS to develop strategic advice for STFC.

The second day included interviews with Facility Directors regarding the implementation of the prioritisation exercise. Other business included information for future prioritisation exercises and future roadmaps and long term work plan.

Science Board was presented with an update on STFC’s future plans for Science and Technology roadmaps. A workshop for the technology roadmap is planned for July 2010 to identify new technologies and identify technology that needs to be retained. The process plan for the science roadmap was presented to Science Board, the publication of this roadmap is expected to be in early 2011; the science roadmap will be aimed at the science community rather than government bodies.

Science Board noted that Council will be setting up a sub committee to develop comprehensive spending review scenarios for the expected spending review after the general election. STFC is internally evaluating scenarios to explore options. Science Board and its committees will be invited to input in these discussions where possible.

The next meeting of Science Board will take place on 2nd-3rd June 2010.

STFC’s Science Board held its most recent meeting on 11th February 2010 at Polaris House in Swindon. Science Board’s business included the PPAN (Particle Physics, Astronomy and Nuclear Physics) and PALS (Physical and Life Sciences) update reports, prioritisation follow-up items, the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) / STFC Fusion review and a discussion of the future work programme.

Science Board received reports from the chair of PPAN and chair of PALS.

PPAN met on 27th – 28th January 2010 at Polaris House, Swindon. PPAN received a presentation from the Astronomy Grants Panel, discussed the impact of the prioritisation on the Nuclear Physics grants and spent time finalising public feedback from the prioritisation. PPAN also considered one statement of interest: a proposal to participate in the implementation of GAIA data processing and data releases, after launch until the final data release in 2020/21.

PALS met on 14th – 15th January 2010 at the University of Oxford. Its business included finalising public feedback for the facilities considered during the prioritisation and presentations about the Campuses/Gateways Centres, the Futures Programmes and the Research Complex at Harwell.

Science Board discussed the review of STFC’s structural issues currently being undertaken by Professor Michael Sterling at the request of Lord Drayson, Minister for Science. Science Board expressed a wish to provide a view to Professor Sterling and Council.

Science Board was presented with some financial information about how funding profiles have changed over the last five years and what the impact of the prioritisation will be. Science Board noted again the impact of its decision to fully fund both the UK large facilities and international subscriptions had on other areas. Science Board also noted the overall reduction in funding for the Science Programme area when the European Southern Observatory (ESO) joining fee is fully paid in 2013.

Science Board noted the recent report on the review of fusion discussed by Council in September 2009. The report presents the proposed Research Council’s Programme Strategy for the future support of fusion for energy in the UK following on from the EPSRC-STFC review of fusion strategy.

Science Board discussed a proposal by STFC for a long term work programme that included the development and update of science and technology strategies and regular balance of programme and prioritisation exercises.

The next meeting of Science Board will take place on 7th - 8th April 2010.

Last updated: 01 September 2016

UKRI

Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000