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New report highlights the key impacts made by STFC on science, on the economy and on society

Impact Report 2018 front cover

Click image to view report.

March 14th 2019 - The newly published 2018 STFC Impact Report highlights some of our recent significant and far-reaching impacts.

The report also provides an indication of our support for the UK government’s policy of raising total investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, and for supporting 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.

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.

  • STFC’s 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 232 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.


Last updated: 14 March 2019


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