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News from Science Board - 2016

Science Board met on 12 and 13 December at Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board welcomed Professor Chris Hawes, Oxford Brookes University, to his first meeting. Science Board also welcomed Dr Brian Bowsher, newly appointed STFC CEO, who attended the first day of the Science Board meeting.

Dr Richard Worswick, Chair of the Innovation Advisory Board (IAB) gave an overview of the activities of IAB. In discussion, areas where Science Board input would be helpful were identified, together with areas of common interest.

Science Board received and discussed in detail the High-Level Strategy for the Particle Physics Department (PPD), presented by Professor Wark (Director PPD). Science Board acknowledged the excellent work of PPD, its importance to the UK particle physics experimental programme, the leadership provided by Professor Wark and provided comments to STFC’s Executive Board on the high-level strategy.

Science Board received the reports on the LHC Detector Upgrade Tensioning Review (ATLAS/CMS Phase II) and Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiments Strategic Review and provided advice on the reviews’ recommendations and future peer review. Science Board noted that a further review of long-baseline neutrino projects may be needed in 2018 to advise on funding for any future participation in the construction phase for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) and Hyper-Kamiokande projects.

Science Board considered the Statement of Interest for BINGO (A Path-finder for Intensity Mapping Surveys with the SKA).

Science Board received updates on the PPAN Balance of Programmes exercise, recent PRD recommendations and from the UK Space Agency (UKSA). Science Board had an opportunity to meet and network with Programmes Directorate staff.

As a pre-cursor to a wider discussion at its February meeting, Science Board discussed the areas in which strategic reviews will be required and which of these should be STFC’s priority.

Science Board will next meet on 20 and 21 February at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Science Board met on 3 and 4 October at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh.

Science Board welcomed Professor Bill David, STFC RAL/University of Oxford, Professor Ofer Lahav, UCL, and Professor Tara Shears, University of Liverpool, to their first meeting.

Science Board considered and discussed in detail a report presented by the Chair of the Astronomy Grants Panel (AGP) setting out 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.

As part of Science Board’s annual series of meetings with the Chairs of its Advisory Panels, the Chairs of the Astronomy Advisory Panel (AAP), Particle Physics Advisory Panel (PPAP) and Solar System Advisory Panel (SSAP) joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panels (including the input provided by the Advisory Panels to the Balance of Programme exercise) and future working interactions.

Science Board received and discussed in detail a report arising from the review of the STFC Accelerator Institutes and provided comments on the recommendations.

Science Board considered three Statements of Interest:

  • ‘Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE)’, which requested funding to participate in the pre-production phase for the DUNE project at the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility at Fermilab, a project that seeks to address key questions on the origin and structure of the universe;
     
  • ‘The Hyper-Kamiokande Experiment’, which requested funding to participate in the pre-construction phase for the Hyper-Kamiokande (Hyper-K) project in the Tochibora Mine, Japan. Hyper-K is a multipurpose experiment that can act as a long-baseline neutrino experiment and an atmospheric and astrophysical neutrino experiment;
     
  • ‘UK Participation in the COMET Experiment’, which sought funding for UK participation in the construction of the COMET Experiment, with an immediate focus on Phase I, which aims to make world-leading measurements of the charged Lepton Flavour Violating (cLFV) process of muon-to-electron conversion.

Science Board provided comments on the latest draft of the STFC Corporate Strategy. Other business included an update on the Balance of Programme exercise, the Inertial Fusion Energy Network grant, interactions with the Advisory Panels, and Capital Priorities and Opportunities for the 2016 Autumn Statement.

UK ATC hosted a number of visits around the site, including an opportunity to view the Crawford Collection, which was very much appreciated by Science Board.

Science Board will next meet on 12 and 13 December at Polaris House.

Science Board met on 5 and 6 July in Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board received and discussed in detail a report presented by the chair of the Particle Physics Grants Panel (Theory) on the process and outcomes of the recent grants round. Science Board thanked the panel for the very thorough process which had included, for the first time, the arrangements for the consideration and tensioning of research funding for the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology. Science Board endorsed the recommendations of the PPGP(T).

Science Board met with the Directors of ISIS and the Central Laser Facility, and the CEO of the Diamond Light Source. Science Board welcomed the opportunity to work more closely with the executives of the national facilities and would work towards ensuring that its input complemented that available to the facilities via their facility boards and science advisory committees.

As part of Science Board’s annual series of meetings with the chairs of its Advisory Panels, the chair of the Particle Astrophysics Advisory Panel joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panel, including the draft updated roadmap for the area.

Science Board received the review of the funding for the Gravitational Waves consolidated grants and recommended a future funding level. Science Board noted that future plans and level of funding for particle astrophysics would be reviewed as part of the Balance of Programme exercise.

Other business included updates on the international facilities, the Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund, Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment (MICE), and Balance of Programmes exercise. Science Board also received an update from the UK Space Agency.

Science Board will next meet on 3 and 4 October at the UK ATC in Edinburgh.

Science Board met on 28 and 29 April at the Cockcroft Institute.

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

  • The Terra Hunting Experiment, which is a proposal to upgrade and refurbish the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) facility at La Palma with a High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher spectrograph, known as HARPS3;
  • Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (HERA), a radio interferometer array designed and optimised to perform a detailed statistical characterisation of the evolution of the primordial intergalactic medium;
  • ATLAS Upgrade Phase II R&D Funding 2016-2018, a proposal requesting a continuation of the approved R&D phase, following changes in the international Large Hadron Collider (LHC) upgrades schedule at CERN;
  • ProtoDUNE Detector at CERN, this proposal requested an enhancement to the existing DUNE-UK programme of work in response to rapid new developments and will allow the UK to play a major role in the construction of the large-scale engineering prototype of the DUNE far detector to be operated at CERN in 2018.

Science Board made recommendations to the STFC Executive concerning the funding of these projects.

Science Board also considered Statements of Interest (SOI) for:

  • FNAL Mu2e Experiment, which aims to provide a sensitive search for charged lepton flavour violation (cLFV) via the neutrinoless muon to electron conversion process and extend the search for new physics to energy scales beyond direct searches at the LHC;
  • Mu3e Experiment at PSI, which aims to search for charged lepton flavour violation (cLFV) by looking at the μ+→e+e+e- decay of muons and provide a sensitivity to new physics at mass scales not readily accessible at the LHC or HL-LHC;
  • DiRAC (Distributed Research Utilising Advanced Computing), which includes requests for software engineering support and re-purposing of retired Hartree Centre equipment.

As part of Science Board’s annual series of meetings with the chairs of its Advisory Panels, the chairs of the Nuclear Physics Advisory Panel (NPAP) and Computing Advisory Panel (CAP) joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panel and future working interactions. As part of a wider discussion of computing activity, Science Board received an overview of the STFC’s computing programme, met with the STFC’s Chief Data Scientist and had a tour of the Hartree Centre.

Science Board provided detailed comments on the latest draft of the Corporate Strategy and received an update on the planned Balance of Programme exercise.

Other business included updates on UK contributions to the FAIR facility at GSI and updates from Science Board’s cross members on the Skills and Engagement Advisory Board, UK Space Agency’s Space Programme Advisory Committee, and Accelerator Strategy Board, together with the main messages from the recent community Town Meetings.

Science Board expressed its appreciation of the hosting of the meeting by the Daresbury Laboratory.

Science Board will next meet on 5 and 6 July at Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board met on 11 and 12 February in Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board welcomed Professor Rory Duncan, Heriot Watt University to his first meeting.

Science Board received and discussed in detail the draft report of the Free Electron Laser Strategic Review.

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 Life Sciences and Soft Materials Advisory Panel joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panel and future working interactions.

Science Board received and provided comments on the key messages and recommendations of the report from Programmes Directorate of the review of RAL Particle Physics Department.

As new members of Science Board, Professor Andy Parker and Professor Don Pollacco, gave an overview of their research interests.

Other business included an update on the Comprehensive Spending Review and other reviews, recent developments relating to the Newton Fund and an update on the international Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment (MICE).

Science Board will next meet on 28 and 29 April 2016 at the Daresbury Laboratory.

Last updated: 16 November 2017

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