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News from Science Board - 2013

Science Board met on the 19th and 20th December 2013 at Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board welcomed a new member, Professor Jon Goff, Royal Holloway, University of London. This recent appointment brought the core membership to 16 members.

Science Board considered a number of Peer Review items including two reports from the Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP):

  • SOLiD (Search for very short baseline Oscillation with a novel Lithium-6 detector) is a proposed experiment to search for the disappearance of electron anti-neutrinos by measuring the anti-neutrino rate and energy spectrum using two novel detectors at the BR2 detector in Belgium.
  • The SNO+ experiment which aims to perform a competitive search for neutrinoless double beta decay was awarded STFC funding in September 2013 and requested funding of an upgrade to the Phase I tellurium loading.

In each case Science Board made a recommendation to the STFC Executive concerning funding.

Science Board also considered three Statements of Interest and a report from a Sub-Group established to provide strategic advice to Science Board on which, if any, of four Nuclear Physics proposals should be invited to submit a full proposal to the PPRP. Science Board thanked the Sub-Group for their work and made recommendations regarding the review of the proposals.

Science Board discussed the strategic reviews which are planned over the next few years and recommended some other strategic activities for the work programme.

Other business included an update on the implementation of the Healthcare and Environment action plans and an overview of the Horizon 2020 programme. Science Board noted the outcome of the recent round of the Project Research and Development (PRD) Scheme.

The next meeting of Science Board will be the 27th and 28th February at Jury’s Inn, Swindon.

News from Science Board - October 2013

Science Board met on the 24th and 25th October at Jury’s Inn, Swindon.

Science Board welcomed five new members as part of the rotation of Board membership. They are:

  • Professor Malcolm McMahon – University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Bob Nichol – University of Portsmouth, ICG
  • Professor Pam Thomas – University of Warwick
  • Professor Dan Tovey – University of Sheffield
  • Professor Chick Wilson – University of Bath

A further new member will join for the December meeting to bring the membership to 16 core members.

  • Professor Jon Goff – Royal Holloway, University of London

The full Science Board membership listing may be found on the STFC website.

Science Board considered a number of Peer Review items including four reports from the Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP):

  • COMET – a proposal for the world’s most sensitive search for physics beyond the Standard Model in the area of charged lepton flavour violation;
     
  • g-2 – a proposal for an experiment to make the world’s best measurement of the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon;
     
  • Gaia CU9– a proposal to support a data management work package for the ESA’s Gaia mission which will provide the most sensitive astrometric census of the sky;
     
  • WEAVE – a proposal for a UK-led, next-generation wide-field spectroscopic facility for the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope.

In each case Science Board made a recommendation to the STFC Executive concerning funding.

Science Board also considered three Statements of Interest and a report from a Sub-Group established to provide strategic advice to Science Board on which, if any, of three spectroscopic instrumentation proposals should be invited to submit a full proposal to the PPRP. Science Board thanked the Sub-Group for their work and made recommendations regarding the review of the proposals.

A report was received from the chair of the Astronomy Grants Panel (AGP) regarding the recent grants round. Science Board noted that the proposals were of a very high standard and that due to financial limitations a significant amount of high quality research could not be supported. Science Board thanked the AGP for their hard work and endorsed the Panel’s recommendations.

Science Board discussed the lessons learned from the 2012-13 Programmatic Review. Feedback had been sought from within STFC, the Programmatic Review Sub-Groups and the Advisory Panel chairs. Science Board noted that there would be a further opportunity for input subsequent to the publication of the Programmatic Review final report.

Science Board discussed its future work programme and noted the need to ensure an appropriate balance between its long term strategy, review and monitoring, peer review, and programme oversight activities.

The annual report from the Futures Programme was received. Science Board noted the organisational changes in the programme management and expressed an interest in seeing some case studies at a future meeting.

An update was received from the UK Space Agency. Science Board noted that input to the selection of the ESA M3 mission would be sought under Dual-Key in the near future. ESA’s selection process and timescale for the L2 and L3 mission science themes was also noted.

Other business included an update on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, a proposal for a review of the Accelerator R&D programme and an update on the planning for HiPER.

The next meeting of Science Board will be the 19th and 20th December at Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board met on the 17th and 18th June at Polaris House, Swindon.

A significant portion of the meeting was devoted to the review of the draft Programmatic Review report to Council. Science Board discussed and agreed the contents of the report and its recommendations.

The Executive provided an update on recent developments in e-infrastructure funding and the cross council advisory structure. Science Board had a discussion on priorities for future investment in capital across the STFC programme.

A NERC draft strategy for Space Weather was presented. Science Board commented on the strategic relevance of the topic to STFC and made a number of recommendations regarding the draft strategy.

Other business included the consideration of several Statements of Interest, a report on the mid-term review of the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology, and the recently published update to the European Strategy for Particle Physics.

The next meeting of Science Board will be a teleconference on the 11th July 2013 to discuss the outcomes of the Particle Physics Theory Grants Round and a review of support for Gravitational Waves.

News from Science Board – May 2013

Science Board met on the 21st and 22nd May at Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board discussed a proposal for detailed reviews of astronomy science areas and received a report from a review considering the continuation of funding for the coordination of the HiPER ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) Project. Science Board made a recommendation to STFC Executive concerning funding, subject to the outcome of the Programmatic Review.

The Programmatic Review Sub-group Chairs presented the key findings from each Sub-group together with the interim reports from each area. Science Board asked each Sub-group to provide minor clarifications to their reports and agreed the recommendations for each Sub-group area which will form the basis of the final report of Science Board to Council for the Programmatic Review.

The next meeting of Science Board will take place on the 17th and 18th June 2013.

Science Board met on the 21st and 22nd February at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). 

Science Board received a report from the Projects Peer Review Panel on a proposal for the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), a project designed to discover planets transiting stars, and made a recommendation to STFC Executive concerning funding, subject to the outcome of the Programmatic Review.

The Executive provided a brief update on the Programmatic Review process, which was running according to the planned schedule. A communication plan would be published on the Programmatic Review news page in due course.

The Programmatic Review Sub-Group Chairs presented interim reports and recommendations. Science Board reviewed each interim report and provided guidance and advice to the Sub-Group chairs concerning balance within their areas and various other issues. A representative from the Economic Impact Advisory Board (EIAB) joined the meeting to review the reports and to participate in Science Board’s discussion.

Science Board received a report from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and noted that the JUpiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission instruments had now been selected by ESA, including the UK led magnetometer. UKSA had issued a call to the UK community, inviting Statements of Interest for Co-Investigator involvement. Science Board agreed the process and timescale for providing further scientific advice to UKSA on these opportunities.

Science Board was given a tour of the Central Laser Facility which it found very interesting and instructive, and thanked those involved for their time.

The next meeting of Science Board will take place on the 21st and 22nd May 2013.

Last updated: 01 September 2016

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