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 - 2015

Science Board met on 15 and 16 December in Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board welcomed Dr João Cabral, Imperial College London, and Professor Christine Davies, University of Glasgow, to their first meeting.

Science Board received an overview of the activities of STFC’s Programmes Directorate from the Executive Director, Programmes Directorate and had an opportunity to meet with Programme Directorate staff and to discuss the work of the Directorate. Science Board expressed its appreciation of the opportunity to learn more of the work of Programmes Directorate.

Science Board considered two Statements of Interest:

  • ‘UK Participation in the 4MOST Consortium’, which proposed provision of hardware to build a second low-resolution spectrograph for the European Southern Observatory telescope, VISTA, which would double extragalactic speed of the proposed instrument, contribute to the analysis of data and enable UK leadership of two surveys;
     
  • ‘n2EDM’, which would allow the UK to take a leading role in a proposed upgrade to the neutron electric dipole moment (nEDM) experiment at PSI.

Science Board also provided advice to the UK Space Agency on the proposal to support UK participation in NASA’s WFIRST-AFTA Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope mission, a facility that will provide a field of view of the sky that is 100 times larger than images by provided by the Hubble Space Telescope and with a coronagraph that will enable detection and measurement of properties of planets in other solar systems.

Other business included an update on the Comprehensive Spending Review and other recent reviews, including the process and planning for future programme evaluation. Science Board welcomed the opportunity to provide input to this process.

Science Board will next meet on 11 and 12 February 2016 in Swindon. Science Board noted that its meeting date in April 2016 had been amended to 28 and 29 April 2016.

Science Board met on 22 and 23 October at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Science Board welcomed Professor Andy Parker, University of Cambridge, and Professor Don Pollacco, University of Warwick, to their first meeting. Three further new members will join Science Board for its December meeting. They are:

  • Dr Joao Cabral - Imperial College London
  • Professor Christine Davies - University of Glasgow
  • Professor Rory Duncan - Heriot-Watt University

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

Science Board received and discussed in detail a report presented by the chair of the Astronomy Grants Panel (AGP) on the process and outcome of the recent grants round. Science Board thanked the panel for its hard work and endorsed the recommendations made by the AGP.

Science Board received an overview of the 10-Year Vision for the Diamond Light Source from the CEO of Diamond Light Source. Science Board welcomed the opportunity to work closely with the Diamond Light Source in the development of this vision.

Science Board received an overview of the activities of STFC’s Technology Department from the Director, Technology and a tour of a number of facets of the department. Science Board expressed its appreciation of the insightful visit.

Science Board received an overview of the Review of Phenomenology from the chair of the review panel. Science Board supported in principle the recommendations of the review.

As part of Science Board’s annual series of meetings with the chairs of its Advisory Panels, the Chair of the Nuclear Physics Advisory Panel (NPAP) joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panel and future working interactions. Science Board will receive the updated NPAP roadmap in Spring 2016.

Science Board received a report from the Accelerator Strategy Board (ASB), which included details of the consideration by ASB of accelerator Statements of Interests and two full proposals. For the latter, Science Board endorsed the peer review process, funding levels and recommendations of the ASB.

It also discussed in detail, and provided comments on, a draft report from the strategic review of Free Electron Lasers (FEL). Science Board will receive the final report of this strategic review at its meeting in December.

Other business included an update on the Comprehensive Spending Review and STFC’s Corporate Strategy Refresh.

Science Board will next meet on 15 and 16 December in Swindon.

Science Board met on 15 and 16 July in Swindon.

Science Board received and discussed in detail a report presented by the chair of the Particle Physics Grant Panel (Experimental) on the process and outcome of the recent grants round. Science Board thanked the panel for its hard work and endorsed the recommendations made by the PPGP(E).

Science Board also discussed in detail, and provided comments on, the Large Facilities Scenarios provided by a specifically constituted sub-group of Science Board.

As part of Science Board’s annual series of meetings with the chairs of its Advisory Panels, the Chairs of the Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics and Solar Systems Advisory Panels joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panels and future working interactions.

Science Board considered Statements of Interest (SOIs) for two projects:

  • SOX ‘A Spectrometer to Exploit Transient Sky Surveys in the Next Decade’, which set out UK participation in a new instrument to be installed on the ESO New Technology Telescope (NTT) which will be a transient follow-up instrument in the southern hemisphere;
  • `Epoch Reionisation Observed with HERA (Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array)’, which proposed a UK role in a new experiment to detect the power-spectral response from the epoch of reionisation when the first stars and black holes formed in the Universe.

Science Board reviewed and provided comments on the key messages and recommendations of the draft STFC Computing Strategy.

Science Board received an update on the recent SEAB meeting, the strategic review of Free Electron Lasers (FELs), international issues, and the future work programme for Science Board interactions with the UK Space Agency.

Science Board will next meet on 22 and 23 October

Science Board met on 29 and 30 April at Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board considered a number of peer review items including a report from the Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP) for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), which was a proposal to allow UK groups to participate in providing dual mirror gamma-ray Cherenkov Telescopes (GCTs). Science Board made a recommendation to the STFC Executive concerning the funding of the project.

Science Board also considered Statements of Interest (SOI):

  • Background control for the SHiP Experiment, which requested funding for preparatory work leading to a high intensity frontier search for low mass particles that are very weakly coupled. This could give significant insight on neutrino masses and dark matter.
  • Terra Hunting Experiment at the Isaac Newton Telescope (THE@INT), which sought funding for a very long dedicated survey that aims to identify earth-like planets around solar-like stars and characterise their atmospheres.
  • UK Participation in the Athena Mission. Science Board had confirmed to the UK Space Agency (UKSA) the high scientific priority of the science case. UKSA had requested further input to enable a prioritisation between the two potential instruments and to clarify the aspiration for the data centre. Science Board provided additional advice to UKSA.

As part of Science Board’s annual series of meetings with the chairs of its Advisory Panels, the Chair of the Astronomy Advisory Panel (AAP) joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panel and future working interactions. Science Board also received a presentation on the draft report of the Exoplanet Review, which included recommendations from the review panel. The report highlighted the current activity and the opportunities in this rapidly-developing area, which is particularly strong in the UK.

Science Board received updates on the Diamond Review, the Free Electron Lasers (FELs) strategic review, the development of the STFC Computing Strategy and a report from the Accelerator Strategy Board (ASB).

Science Board will next meet on 15 and 16 July in Swindon.

Science Board met on 26 and 27 February at the Cockcroft Institute.

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

  • The LUX-ZEPLIN Dark Matter Search, which was a proposal to allow UK groups to participate in the construction of LUX-ZEPLIN, a tonne-scale liquid xenon detector to be installed at the Sanford Underground Research Facility;
  • The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which was a proposal to allow UK participation in Phase A of the LSST, an integrated survey system designed to conduct a decade-long deep, wide, fast time domain survey of the optical sky;
  • The UK Programme for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), which was a proposal for a programme to lead the completion of a first light instrument, a contribution to the construction of a further instrument, together with a contribution to the adaptive optics systems and the next instruments though two further Phase A studies.

Science Board made a recommendation to the STFC Executive concerning the funding of the three projects.

Science Board also considered a Statement of Interest (SOI):

  • Upgrading the ATLAS experiment for the Luminosity Frontier at the LHC, which set out UK participation in the programme of upgrades planned to exploit the potential of operating the LHC at higher energy and higher luminosity in the future.

As part of Science Board’s annual series of meetings with the chairs of its Advisory Panels, 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 recent activities of the panels and future working interactions.

Science Board received an update from the Chair of the Large Facilities Steering Group (LFSG) relating to the findings of, and next stages for, the Science Requirements report. Science Board also received an update on interactions with the UK Space Agency, including the UKSA Operations Review and consideration of the ESA M4 candidate missions.

The Daresbury Laboratory hosted a number of visits and tours including to the Hartree Centre, VELA (Versatile Electron Linear Accelerator), the Vacuum Laboratory, Technology Department, the Medical Training and Research Laboratory (MTRL), the Nuclear Physics group and ALICE. Science Board also received a presentation about the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus and met with representatives of the campus activity. Science Board expressed its sincere appreciation of the excellent hosting of the meeting by the Daresbury Laboratory.

Science Board will next meet on 29 and 30 April in Swindon.

Last updated: 01 September 2016

UKRI

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