Annual Impact Reports

Impact Report 2018 front cover

Click to view report.
(Credit: STFC)

STFC’s has published its Impact Report for 2018. The report highlights key impacts made by STFC on science, on the economy and on society and culture. For example:

World-class research

Throughout 2018, we continued to contribute actively to world-leading research, both within our national laboratories and across the academic community that we support.

  • RAL Space and scientists from Imperial College London and the University of Oxford provided one of the key instruments for the NASA InSight mission, which landed on Mars last November, tasked with carrying out scientific investigations on and below the surface of the planet.
  • At our Central Laser facility, UK, German, Swedish and US physicists used the extremely powerful Gemini laser to slow down electrons travelling at near-light speeds, a phenomenon thought to occur only around objects such as black holes.

Business support

  • In the past ten years, UK companies have won contracts valued at nearly £240 million from STFC-supported international facilities.
  • The Hartree Centre delivered more than 100 collaborative projects in its first four years of operation, and a net impact GVA of £27.5 million in commercial benefits to users, according to an independent baseline evaluation published by Technopolis in October 2018.
  • Nineteen spin-out companies from STFC have been created since 2002; together they have raised more than £78 million in third-party investment and created more than 230 jobs. Ten of these spin-outs are currently trading and employ in excess of 100 people.

Societal impact

  • Through public engagement activities and training courses, we reached more than one million people in 2018. The research that we support also makes an impact across wider society.
  • An international team used STFC’s Diamond Light Source beamlines to solve the structure, and engineer an improved version, of an enzyme that has the ability to degrade plastic, work that could help in finding a solution to the global challenge of plastic waste.
  • RAL Space, Cranfield University and Fardoulis Robotics Ltd are also investigating how Mars Rover technology can help to clear landmines and explosive remnants of war.

Our impacts are often significant and far-reaching; they also provide an indication of our support for the government’s policy of raising total investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, and for UK Research and Innovation’s strategic objectives of pushing the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding, delivering economic impact, and creating social and cultural impact.

For more information about STFC’s achievements and impacts, including case studies and impact evaluations, read our Impacts and Achievements page.


For copies of earlier Impact reports, please follow the links below:

View the STFC Impact Report 2011.

Last updated: 22 March 2019

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