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STFC Research and Innovation. University of Leicester 2 April 2014 Colin Vincent & Kim Burchell, Astronomy Division Programmes Directorate. We Inspire. We Excite. We inspire. We discover. We innovate. Funding Mechanism. HM Government (and HM Treasury). RCUK Executive Group.

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stfc research and innovation

STFC Research and Innovation

University of Leicester

2 April 2014

Colin Vincent & Kim Burchell, Astronomy Division

Programmes Directorate


We Inspire

We Excite

We inspire

we discover
We discover

We innovate

funding mechanism
Funding Mechanism

HM Government (and HM Treasury)

RCUK Executive Group


Daresbury Laboratory

Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus

Warrington, Cheshire

UK Astronomy Technology Centre


Polaris House

Swindon, Wiltshire

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Harwell Oxford Science and Innovation Campus

Chilbolton Observatory

Stockbridge, Hampshire

Joint Astronomy Centre Hawaii

Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

La Palma


STFC Structure – Science Programmes

  • Futures
  • Innovations
  • Particle Physics / Nuclear Physics / Particle Astrophysics
  • Astronomy
  • Lasers & light sources
  • Public Engagement
  • Studentships / fellowships

John Womersley - CEO

Grahame Blair – Executive Director Programmes


Colin Vincent - Head

Sharon Bonfield - Facilities

Kim Burchell – Grants

Matthew Johnson - SKA

Janet Seed – Associate Director Programmes

astronomy programme facilities
Astronomy Programmefacilities
  • The backbone of the programme is:
  • ESO (VLT, VLTI, ALMA,VISTA, VST, La Silla, APEX, E-ELT) £18M per annum (CERN ~£100M);
  • Island sites: UKIRT, JCMT, ING, LT
  • Local facilities: e-MERLIN, LOFAR, HPC
  • New developments: spectrographs, bilaterals
  • Exploitation – grants (~£30M, ~£10M p.a.) including space missions, theory etc.
  • Training – Studentships / Fellowships
uk space agency
UK Space Agency
  • Since 2010 UKSA has:
    • taken over responsibility for UK relations with ESA (NASA etc.)
    • support for the development of space instrumentation
    • post-launch support
    • all aspects of the development of the UK space industry
  • STFC retains science strategy, early technology development and exploitation
what drives our priorities

What drives our priorities?

BIS Challenges

Global uncertainties

Digital economy

Ageing and wellbeing

Living with environmental change


Global food security


Funding Opportunities

  • Consolidated grants
  • Training Awards
  • Innovations
  • Futures
  • Public Engagement
  • PRD
  • SoIs
consolidated grants
Consolidated Grants
  • One application per department for each research programme (Astronomy/PP/PP Theory/NP) with one deadline per year.
  • Astronomy award for 3 years. PP awards with core posts are awarded for 4 years.
  • Expectation of continued support following review of existing grant – but not guaranteed.
  • Consortium grants: essentially joint consolidated grants and potentially of more interest to smaller departments. Must have a common research programme between the departments.
  • New Applicant scheme: available for newly appointed academic members of staff joining a department between reviews.
astronomy grants panel agp

Astronomy Grants Panel (AGP)

Single Panel comprising 4 sub-panels

Astronomy Observation;

Astronomy Theory;

Solar Studies;

Planetary Studies

Chair Ian Smail, Durham, Deputy Dan Brown Lancs

Members recommended by community but selected to match required expertise

agp grant support

AGP Grant Support

Approximately 50 groups currently receiving AGP / STFC support

Comprising 300 projects

227 PDRAs

28 Technical posts

5 Project students

71 FTE fEC (Applicant time)

5 Consortium grants : Comprising 9 Institutions

training awards
Training Awards
  • Studentships: would need to have grant funding to be eligible for awards and be included in the algorithm;
  • CASE: could apply for CASE studentships if have collaboration with industry.
  • Fellowships: the quota of allocations to departments is decided by the active staff numbers that have been collected for the studentship algorithm.
  • We are considering the terms of the algorithm so might become easier
phd studentships
PhD Studentships
  • 220 PhD places awarded in 2014
  • Duration of between 3 and 4 years
  • Awarded by an algorithm method
  • 5 Industrial CASE studentships awarded in 2014 (next closing date 10 July 2014)
  • 5 Summer schools and short courses also supported in 2014
  • STEP (post PhD submission) up to one year of funding
ernest rutherford fellowships
Ernest Rutherford Fellowships
  • Scheme is designed for early career researchers of more than 2 years post PhD experience, with clear leadership potential to establish a strong, independent research programme.
  • 12 ERFs awarded in 2013/14 exercise
  • Next closing date 25 September 2014
  • Returner applications for candidates returning from career breaks or from working outside of academia are encouraged by STFC
  • STFC also support Daphne Jackson Fellowships
ernest rutherford grants
Ernest Rutherford Grants
  • Additional grants for successful Ernest Rutherford Fellows to enhance their fellowship reach
  • 7 grants awarded in 2014
  • ~ £600k per annum available
  • Follow-on funding
  • Innovation Partnership Scheme
  • Challenge-Led Applied Systems Programme
  • Impact Acceleration Account
  • Knowledge Transfer Network
challenge led applied systems programme clasp
Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP)

Applies STFC research to global challenges

  • User community (Industry, Government etc.) define the priority areas. STFC community respond with potential solutions.
  • 2014 theme is Healthcare – Launch Event 20th May. Deadline September
  • Moving technology from TRL 3-5 (approx).
  • Short technical outline should include impact, timescales, markets and work plan
  • Shortlisted applicants:
    • Develop full proposals with advice from CLASP Panel
  • Industry can offer in-kind support or as a subcontractor

Thank you

Key Contact at STFC: