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News from Science Board - 2014

Science Board met on 1 and 2 December at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Science Board welcomed Professor Jayne Lawrence, Kings College London, to her first meeting.

It received updates on planning for the Comprehensive Spending Review and the STFC Light Touch Review and received and discussed in detail the report and recommendations of the Accelerator Review. Science Board thanked all those involved for the comprehensive report.

Science Board considered a number of peer review items including:

  • The Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP) report for the International Linear Collider (ILC) as a Higgs Factor, which was a proposal to support potential UK leadership in an ILC detector and Beam Delivery System. Science Board made a recommendation to the STFC Executive concerning funding;
  • A statement of Interest for Athena, a next generation X-ray observatory, designed to resolve key astrophysical questions including the role of black holes and furthering understanding of baryonic matter. Science Board provided advice to UKSA on the scientific priority of the proposal.

Other business included an introduction and visit to RAL Space, and updates on:

  • the STFC Computing Strategy;
  • Newton Programme;
  • Status of FAIR construction;
  • ESS and UK-ESS.

Science Board will next meet on 26 and 27 February at Daresbury Laboratory.

Science Board met on 23rd and 24th October at Polaris House, Swindon.

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

  • Professor Marco Borghesi, Queen’s University Belfast
     
  • Professor Peter Clarke, University of Edinburgh
     
  • Professor Richard Harrison, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

A further new member will join for the December meeting:

  • Professor Jayne Lawrence, Kings College London

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

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

  • The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), a massively multiplexed fibre-fed spectrograph on the 3.8-metre Mayall telescope in the USA.
     
  • Detector Development for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), where current UK technology has been highlighted as the best option for detectors to meet the ATST science requirements.
     
  • Long Baseline Neutrino Oscillation Experiments aiming to constrain the properties of neutrinos including the neutrino mass hierarchy and CP-violating phase:
    • The LBNE (Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment) project in the US, which uses a neutrino beam from Fermilab, near Chicago, and a liquid argon detector at Homestake in South Dakota.
    • The Hyper-Kamiokande experiment using a water Cerenkov detector at Kamioka in Japan.
    • The CHiPS (Cherenkov Detectors in PitS) experiment using a water Cerenkov detector in Minnesota, USA.
       
  • Nuclear Physics Projects:
    • Jefferson Lab Upgrade, where the upgrade will address how constituent quarks acquire mass.
    • The ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) upgrade, studying hadronic physics and the quark-gluon plasma at the LHC, where upgrades to the detector, trigger, software and computing will enable the detector to cope with the anticipated increase in lead-ion beam luminosity.
    • ISOL-SRS: ISOL Beam Storage Ring, where the aim is to move the heavy ion storage ring (TSR) to CERN and install it at the HIE-ISOLDE radioactive beam accelerator facility.

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

Science Board received an overview of the Public Engagement Fellowships Scheme and had a lively discussion with a number of former and current Public Engagement Fellows. Science Board welcomed this interaction and noted a number of suggestions from the Fellows that might help STFC to enhance its scheme.

A report was received from the Chair of the Astronomy Grants Panel (AGP) for the 2014 grants round. Science Board noted that the proposals were of a high standard and discussed a number of issues raised by the AGP. Science Board thanked the AGP for its hard work and endorsed the recommendations of the Panel.

An update was received relating to the UK Space Agency (UKSA) preparations for the next European Space Agency (ESA) Council of Ministers, including the proposed ESA participation in a lunar programme and the case for UK involvement in the ESA/Russia collaborative programme in lunar science and exploration. Science Board also received an update on the UKSA Space Science and Exploration Programmes summary.

Other business included an update on the status of the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope (SKA) Programme and a preliminary discussion on a proposed update to the Science Roadmap Science Challenges.

Science Board will next meet on 1st and 2nd December at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

News from Science Board – July 2014

Science Board met on 10th and 11th July at Diamond Light Source, Harwell.

It met with the Chair of the Large Facilities Steering Group, the directors of CLF and ISIS, and the CEO of Diamond Light Source. Science Board welcomed these discussions and looked forward to working more closely with the executives of these bodies in the future.

Science Board endorsed the recommendations of the review of the implementation of consolidated grants.

The Chairs of the Nuclear Physics Advisory Panel, Particle Astrophysics Advisory Panel and Particle Physics Advisory Panel joined the meeting to discuss the feedback on the Advisory Panel reports to the Programmatic Review and the future working relationship with Science Board. Science Board will meet with the Chairs of the Advisory Panels on an annual basis.

Science Board thanked all the Advisory Panels for their input to the BIS capital consultation and ESFRI review of neutrons. Science Board had submitted a response to the BIS capital consultation (independent from STFC) and agreed to make this document publically available.

Other business included a final discussion on the Programmatic Review lessons learned and the consideration of two Statements of Interest.

Science Board will next meet on 23rd and 24th October in Swindon.

News from Science Board – April 2014

Science Board met on 24th and 25th April 2014 at Polaris House, Swindon.

It considered the reports from the Sub-Groups convened to conduct the GridPP5 Strategic Review and provide advice on the tensioning of the LHC Upgrades. Science Board discussed the reports in detail and made recommendations to the STFC Executive concerning funding.

Science Board discussed the implementation of the Programmatic Review ahead of the 2015 2016 programme being agreed at the May meeting of Council.

The Chairs of the Astronomy Advisory Panel and the Solar System Advisory Panel joined the meeting to discuss the feedback on the Advisory Panel reports to the Programmatic Review and the future working relationship with Science Board. Science Board will meet with the Chairs of the advisory panels on an annual basis.

Other business included a discussion of the opportunities for engagement with the Newton Fund, plans for collating Science Board’s input to the BIS capital prioritisation consultation and an update from the UKSA.

Science Board will meet in June via teleconference to review the outcome of the Nuclear Physics Grants Round. The next full meeting of Science Board will be the 10th and 11th July at the Diamond Light Source, Harwell.

News from Science Board – February 2014

Science Board met on 27th and 28th February 2014 at Jury’s Inn, Swindon.

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

  • The Multi-Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph (MOONS), a Multi-Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph instrument for use on one of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescopes (VLT).
     
  • The LHCb Upgrade, a proposed upgrade to the LHCb experiment at CERN to take advantage of the increased Large Hadron Collider luminosity over the next 10 years which will exceed the capabilities of the current detector.

Science Board made a recommendation to the STFC Executive concerning funding for MOONS and noted the recommendations of the PPRP with respect to the LHCb Upgrade.

Science Board also considered a Statement of Interest:

  • Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations from Integrated Neutral Gas Observations (BINGO): a proposal to build a small-scale radio telescope in South America to make BAO measurements and investigate Dark Energy.

The chairs of the Advisory Panel for Public Engagement (APPE) and the Education Training and Careers Committee (ETCC) presented their annual reports, and an update was given by the Head, Strategy, Performance and Planning. Science Board also discussed its future interaction with the Economic Impact Advisory Board (EIAB) with the STFC Executive Director, Business and Innovation Directorate.

The Chairs of the Physical Sciences and Engineering Advisory Panel and the Life Sciences and Soft Materials Advisory Panel joined the meeting to discuss the feedback on the Advisory Panel reports to the Programmatic Review and the future working relationship between Science Board and the advisory panels. Science Board will meet with the Chairs of all the advisory panels on an annual basis.

Other business included a discussion of the Spending Review outcomes, a proposed update to the Science Roadmap questions, and an update from UKSA on the M3 mission selection status.

The next meeting of Science Board will be the 24th and 25th April at Polaris House,Swindon.

Last updated: 01 September 2016

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