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Higgs Theory gains "mass"!

The UK is again leading the way in linking cutting edge scientific and engineering expertise with industry. A new Higgs Centre for Innovation announced today (5 December 2013) aims to create new market opportunities whilst also inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts MP said: "This new Centre reflects the valuable contribution Professor Peter Higgs has made to global science, which was recognised earlier this year with a Nobel Prize."

"The Higgs Centre for Innovation will focus on big data and space technologies, two of the Eight Great Technologies of the future. The Centre will enable us to build on our strong research base and play a major role in helping to bridge the so-called 'valley of death' between the lab and the marketplace."

The Centre will be built at STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC). It will focus on business incubation and start-up business support, by exploiting UK ATC and academic instrumentation and big data capabilities for commercial use. Working in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the Centre will house up to 12 small businesses, as well as academic and PhD posts, to provide PhD students the opportunity to gain entrepreneurial experience as they start their research careers.

UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
(Credit: STFC)

The new Higgs Centre for Innovation is a fitting legacy for the achievement of Professor Peter Higgs in the year that saw him awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for Physics for his theoretical prediction of the Higgs boson.

Professor Peter Higgs said: "This support from the Treasury and the STFC will create an environment in which future generations of scientists from around the world can share and develop ideas."

Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, added: "We very much welcome this strategic support. It provides an excellent opportunity to integrate technological developments, championed by world class researchers, with business incubation and positive economic impact. We look forward to working with all partners in this new forum for world quality research and discoveries."

The new centre will build on the success and proven track record of similar models seen in the STFC ESA and CERN Business Incubation Centres as well as the Innovations Technology Access Centre. It will bring together particle physics and astronomical instrumentation and big data, academics and industry to create new market applications.

Professor John Womersley, Chief Executive of STFC said: “The Higgs Centre for Innovation provides a unique opportunity to bring together the most advanced scientific and engineering expertise with the business support and knowledge needed to take new ideas through to market reality. STFC has a strong and proven track record in helping small and start-up businesses to take advantage of cutting edge research to successfully compete on a global scale.

“Particle Physics, astronomy and space science all address one of the biggest questions in science, what is the universe made of. The Higgs Centre for Innovation will significantly increase the positive impact that arises from fundamental research like this, both in job creation and economic opportunities and growth in the UK.”

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) received a capital investment of £10.7M from the Treasury to construct the new centre. STFC will invest £2M over five years to operate the centre. The Higgs Centre is expected to open for business in 2016.


Contacts Corinne Mosese
STFC Press Officer
01793 442870/07557 317200
If you have an urgent out of hours enquiry, please call the duty press officer on 07092 982664


Last updated: 14 June 2017


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