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News from Science Board

December 2017

Science Board met on 18 and 19 December at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Science Board welcomed Professor Paul McKenna, University of Strathclyde, to his first meeting.

As part of Science Board’s annual series of meetings with the Chairs of the Advisory Panels, the Chairs of the Nuclear Physics Advisory Panel (NPAP) and Particle Physics Advisory Panel (PPAP) joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panels.

Science Board received and discussed in detail the report from the Radio Astronomy Strategic Review, which had been conducted by an ad-hoc panel following a recommendation from the 2016 Balance of Programmes that a review be conducted “of UK involvement in all ongoing, and planned radio facilities and experiments ... to create a strategic roadmap for radio astronomy towards the SKA era”.

Science Board received an overview of, and discussed in detail, the emerging draft recommendations and priorities from the Accelerator Strategic Review.

Science Board considered two reports from the Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP):

  • ‘ATLAS Upgrade Phase II Construction’, which requested funding to enable science following the approval of the high-luminosity upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider. The proposed upgrades were essential to allow full exploitation of the HL-LHC. The UK had major interests in the new all-silicon tracker, upgrade trigger and data acquisition, and computing and software;
     
  • ‘e-MERLIN Continued Operations and Development, 2018 – 2023’, which requested funding over a five-year period to ensure continued operation and essential maintenance of the facility, together with a staged, modular development programme to enhance the current capabilities of the facility.

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

  • UK Participation in the Production Phase of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), which sought funding to allow the UK to play a role in the production of the CTA;
     
  • R&D for the European Solar Telescope (EST), to enable the UK to maintain its position within the EST consortium and support continued UK involvement in the design phase. Science Board reconsidered this SOI in the light of the outcome of the Solar Physics Strategic Review;
     
  • ‘Ultracold eEDM’, a proposal to build an apparatus that can measure the nonzero value of the electron’s electric dipole moment (eEDM) more precisely than 10-30e-cm. Science Board received an update on the discussions relating to this SOI, originally considered at its April meeting;
     
  • ‘AGATA – Precision Spectroscopy of Exotic Nuclei’, which sought funding to enabling coupling of AGATA to the new to the new high intensity radioactive ion beam facilities that will provide increased capability to address emerging challenges;
     
  • ‘The Advanced Charged Particle Array at ELI-NP (ACPA@ELI)’, a proposal to allow the UK to develop and implement a segmented silicon-detector array to facilitate detection of charged particles with Pulse Shaped Analysis discrimination. The detector array will be installed at the Extreme-Light Infrastructure (ELI) – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) Gamma Beam System (GBS);
     
  • DRACULA – Direct Reaction Array for the Core Understanding of Light-Nuclei and Astrophysics, which sought funding to allow the UK to develop a new, charged-particle detection system at the Facility of Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB);
     
  • Continuous Wave (CW) Linear Accelerator - a proposal that sought funding to allow the UK to make a contribution to a new CW Linear Accelerator for studying super heavy elements at the GSI/FAIR facility. The proposal is for the capital cost of one cryomodule and effort for R&D relating to integration and commissioning. Science Board noted that the SOI may have more relevance for the accelerator programme and will therefore also be considered by the Accelerator Strategy Board.

As part of its regular interaction, Science Board received an update from the UK Space Agency, focussing on the space science programme, its forthcoming launches and missions in development. Other business included an overview of the process for updating the “PPAN” (frontier programme) Science Challenges and STFC progress in establishing UKRI.

Science Board will next meet on 27 and 28 February 2018 at the UK ATC in Edinburgh.


Previous News

Science Board met on 9 and 10 October at Polaris House, Swindon.

Science Board welcomed Professor Stewart Boogert, Royal Holloway, University of London, to his 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.

Science Board received an update on the Accelerator Strategic Review and provided comments on the science priorities for accelerator development.

Science Board received and discussed in detail the report from the Solar Physics Strategic Review, which had been conducted by an ad hoc panel to ensure the strategic landscape for this research area is well defined and up to date.

Science Board considered two peer review items, a Statement of Interest and a report from the Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP):

  • Statement of Interest for the proposal ‘R&D for UK Participation in a Next Generation (G3) Dark Matter Search’, which sought funding to provide for R&D leading to the construction of an ultra-low next-generation 30-70 tonne liquid xenon experiment for the detection or characterisation of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMP). The proposal had been prepared by nine of the UK Lux-Zeplin (LZ) institutes, all of which were currently leading areas with LZ or making significant contributions. The intention was to exploit and safeguard previous STFC investment. The proposal would also strengthen and forge partnerships with other similar groups.
     
  • PPRP Report for ‘Continuing Exploitation of UK Investment in the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT)’, which requested a continuation of the support agreed by STFC in 2014 that had allowed the UK JCMT consortium to retain a ~20% share of the JCMT telescope.

Science Board received an overview of the activities of STFC’s Programmes Directorate, which included updates on the Global Challenges Research Fund and Centres for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science.

Other business included updates from STFC on progress in establishing UKRI, the Skills Balance of Programmes and STFC’s responses to the PPAN Balance of Programmes exercise.

Science Board will next meet on 18 and 19 December at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Science Board met on 3 and 4 April at the Daresbury Laboratory.

Science Board considered and discussed in detail a report presented by the Chair of the Nuclear Physics Grants Panel (NPGP) 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 NPGP.

Science Board also received and discussed in detail the draft report from the UK Neutron Strategic Review setting out the review panel’s findings and recommendations.

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 (PS&EAP) and Life Sciences and Soft Materials Advisory Panel joined the meeting to discuss the recent activities of the panels. Science Board extended its thanks to Professor David Lennon, who was attending Science Board for the final time as Chair of PS&EAP. Science Board also received an update from the Chair of the Accelerator Strategy Board (ASB) on the recent activities of the ASB.

Science Board considered two Statements of Interest:

  • ‘The High Luminosity Upgrade of the CMS Detector’, which sought funding to allow the CMS detector to take advantage of increases in LHC luminosity that will permit the measurement of Higgs couplings and self-couplings, and give greatly enhanced sensitivity to physics beyond the Standard Model. This followed a strategic review in 2016 to guide STFC’s future investment in the LHC Phase II Detector Upgrades;
     
  • ‘Ultracold eEDM’, which proposes to build an apparatus that can measure the non-zero value of the electron’s electric dipole moment (eEDM) more precisely than 10-30 e cm. It will search for the CP violating interactions responsible for the matter-antimatter asymmetry, and a test of physics beyond the Standard Model up to ~100 TeV.

Science Board received an overview of the activities of the Campus Technology Hub and had a tour of the facility. Science Board expressed its appreciation of the opportunity to increase its awareness of the CTH’s activities.

Other business included updates from STFC and on the Accelerator Strategic Review.

Science Board will next meet on 29 and 30 June in Polaris House.

Science Board met on 20 and 21 February at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Science Board received and discussed in detail the report from the Balance of Programme exercise setting out a number of recommendations. Science Board thanked the Balance of Programmes subgroup for its significant work.

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

  • ‘The 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;
     
  • ‘The 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.

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

Science Board also considered four Statements of Interest:

  • ‘Development of a UK Platform for R&D on Depleted Monolithic Active Pixel Sensor (DMAPS) Technology’, which proposes the creation of a cross-facility, strategic, long-term research capacity to build an international network of excellence in the development of the next-generation of silicon sensors based on HV/HR-CMOS DMAPS technologies;
     
  • ‘UK Participation in the European Solar Telescope (EST)’, which aims to enable the UK to maintain its position within the EST consortium and consolidate the UK’s position for the construction phase by contributing to the overall design work being undertaken by the Instituto de Astrofisica Canarias (IAC);
     
  • ‘Exploiting UK Investment in JCMT’, sought funding as a contribution to the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) operations to allow the UK to complete the current large programmes and take part in the upcoming opportunity to propose new programmes;
     
  • ‘e-Merlin/VLBI National Facility’, which requests funds towards the continued operation of the e-Merlin national facility including a new campaign of PI-led proposals, as a follow on to the e-Merlin Legacy Programme. The proposal also included the further development of the capabilities of the e-Merlin telescope in a staged 5-year programme.

Science Board also received and discussed the emerging conclusions and recommendations of the UK Neutron Strategy Review.

Other business included updates on the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and the UK’s Industrial Engagement at CERN.

Science Board will next meet on 3 and 4 April at the Daresbury Laboratory.

To read news from a previous year, select the relevant year from the 'In this section' on the right hand side of this page.

Last updated: 30 January 2018

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