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Particle Physics Theory Town Meeting John Womersley STFC Chief Executive 18 December 2013. STFC’s role – a reminder. Our Vision is to maximise the impact of our knowledge, skills, facilities and resources for the benefit of the United Kingdom and its people.

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Particle Physics Theory

Town Meeting

John Womersley

STFC Chief Executive

18 December 2013

Stfc s role a reminder
STFC’s role – a reminder

Our Vision is to maximise the impact of our knowledge, skills, facilities and resources for the benefit of the United Kingdom and its people.

We deliver our mission through three distinct but interrelated functions:

  • Supporting University based research and skills development in astronomy, particle physics and nuclear physics

  • Providing access to world leading large scale research facilities for UK researchers and industry

  • Building national Science and Innovation Campuses around our national laboratories to promote academic and industrial collaboration

What we have achieved
What we have achieved

  • Restructured senior management team

  • Released from ‘special measures’, convinced BIS we are trusted partners

  • Developed a much clearer sense of ‘who we are and what we do’

    • PPARC and CCLRC merger now much more complete

  • Transformed relations with our communities

  • Positioned STFC as a ‘thought leader’

  • Managed flat cash without crises

  • Refreshed our science programme (e.g. E-ELT, FAIR)

  • Delivered major investment on Campuses (e.g. Hartree)

  • ISIC has become the Satellite Applications Catapult

  • New JV partner at Harwell

  • Discovered the Higgs…

The higgs boson
The Higgs boson

Over 25 million people in the UK read this story in the press or saw it on television news

Particle physics
Particle Physics

  • Our highest priority in particle physics remains the exploitation of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

    • ATLAS, CMS and LHCb(and ALICE) experiments.

    • Worldwide LCG (via GridPP)

  • TheATLAS and CMS upgrades are highest priority projects

    • We have agreed funding for the Phase 1 and next phase of R&D

    • Phase 2 upgrades also required but cost and schedule a concern

  • LHCbupgrade currently under review

    • future funding dependent on outcome of Programmatic Review

Particle physics1
Particle Physics

  • Exploring neutrino mass and mixing with T2Kand SuperNEMO

    • T2K at JPARC in Japan, in which the UK holds key leadership roles, is a world leading experiment for the study of neutrino oscillations

    • We are supporting the Demonstrator phase of the SuperNEMO project, a UK-France led experiment to search for neutrinoless double-beta decay.

  • Engaging in future opportunities for a next generation long baseline neutrino experiment

    • Strong science case recognised in European Strategy for Particle Physics

  • Support for nEDM experiment at ILL.

    • Cryogenic upgrade for nEDM needed for experiment to remain competitive

Particle astrophysics
Particle Astrophysics

In the coming decade we expect to directly detect, for the first time, gravitational waves from distant cosmic phenomena

Exploitation of ground-based Gravitational Wave Detectors

Advanced LIGO (inc LIGO-India)

LISA pathfinder

Particle astrophysics1
Particle Astrophysics

  • We are participating in pre-Construction Phase of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)

    • providing funding for a 3 year R&D programme for CTA

    • This will place the UK in a strong position to lead the high-energy component of CTA in the construction phase and ensure future access to data for the UK scientific community.

  • Dark Matter also a strategically important area of research for the UK

    • Focused R&D funding for DM being provided by STFC.

    • UK community targeting Lux-Zeplin second generation experiment using noble liquid detector technologies.


  • LHC maintenance and upgrade programme is well underway

  • UK company Arcade has won £1 million of contracts at CERN to upgrade ventilation systems

  • Over the last three years UK companies have won £47 million in contracts from CERN

  • From 2011 to 2012 the value to UK companies of CERN contracts rose by 52%

Square kilometre array
Square Kilometre Array

David Willetts at MeerKAT site, Karoo, South Africa

  • Project engineering phase underway

  • Project schedule approved

    • Anticipate early science in 2020

  • Early capital contribution to help secure

  • HQ in UK?

Dark energy survey des
Dark Energy Survey (DES)

  • 5-year survey just started on a US telescope in Chile, utilising a 570 megapixel camera, to gather data to explore the nature of dark energy

  • STFC provided ~£2M to enable a UK consortium led by UCL to provide precision optics for the camera and to enable a UK lead in exploiting the science

Super resolution imaging on octopus
Super Resolution Imaging on Octopus

Conventional widefield image

Fluorescence microscopy

Super-resolution (dSTORM) image

Collaboration with UCL group (Ian Robinson) based in RCaH investigating chromosome structure using lasers and X-ray imaging on Diamond. Advanced labelling techniques allow high labelling density of dyes suitable for super-resolution imaging.

dSTORM uses localization of single fluorescent molecules to build up an image at sub-50 nm resolution. The first of a number of super-resolution techniques to be commissioned on Octopus. 3D super-resolution to follow (funded by MRC).

International Panel Review of ISIS

  • “The Review Committee is extremely impressed by the development and performance of ISIS. In particular by the fact that ISIS has, since its creation, being able to create a culture of innovation that has had profound impact on and will continue to change the way neutron scattering is performed worldwide.”

  • “Very few research institutions have demonstrated similar drives toward innovation and spread of the resulting technological development.”

Accelerator r d
Accelerator R&D

  • VELA is operational

  • First commercial users booked with more in the pipeline

  • CLARA CDR completed

Nuclear physics
Nuclear Physics

STFC joined as an Associate Partner in FAIR in May 2013

  • UK groups win time on a range of international facilities and lead many international physics programmes

    • Isolde, Jyvaskyla, GSI, MaxLab, GANIL and JLAB

    • Continue to play key role in LHC ALICE project

Making our case
Making our case

  • House of Lords Inquiry on large and medium-sized research infrastructures and e-Infrastructure in UK

    • Future needs

    • Strategic planning

    • Funding and governance arrangements

  • Report just out

  • Recommends long term strategic approach

Review mania
Review mania

BIS Strategic Review

  • We will participate fully, but these overlapping reviews, together with the increasing numbers of ‘routine’ BIS enquiries, are stretching capacity

Lean processes

Centres of Excellence

Triennial Review Implementation


Governance Review

Triennial review
Triennial Review

Phase 1

  • Francis Maude approved

  • 10 recommendations but no mergers

    Phase 2

  • Report in draft

  • Outcome likely to be amber-green

  • Final report end January earliest

    TR Implementation Group (TRIG)

  • First meeting two weeks ago

  • Aiming to sunset by Feb 2014

Spending review
Spending Review

  • Unresolved issues in non-science budget

  • Ministerial discussions over next month to resolve and this will have implications for the size of science budget

  • Science Minister not keen to see big changes to allocations

  • Allocations may go into New Year

“We are making difficult decisions on things like welfare so that we can invest in areas like science”

The higgs innovation centre

The Higgs Innovation Centre

Investment to secure the UK’s science base and take the lead in cutting-edge science and technology

The centre will provide cutting edge academic instrumentation and big data capabilities to support high tech start ups and academic researchers specialising in astronomy and particle physics

Developing Sci-Tech Daresbury

  • TSB funded Materials and Manufacturing Launchpad

  • CERN Business Incubation Centre launched in November

    • supports businesses and entrepreneurs in turning innovative technologies related to particle physics into marketable products

    • The Sci-Tech Daresbury Science and Innovation Strategy approved by the Joint Venture

Developing Harwell Oxford

  • New European Space Agency building

  • Modular building for rapid expansion of Catapult

  • New Innovation and Amenity Centre

  • New RAL Space Facilities building

  • New JV partner

STFC Impact Report 2013

  • Supporting UK space industry (worth £40 billion by 2030)

  • CERN technology benefits to the UK economy

  • New vaccine for foot and mouth disease

  • New method for breast cancer biopsies

  • Tenant companies at Sci-Tech Daresbury, delivered £35 million sales, attracted £63 million of investment and developed 147 new products

  • Two million people reached last year in face to face engagement including 346,000 school children and 17,500 teachers

Consolidated grants review 2013
Consolidated Grants Review 2013

  • PP Theory consolidated grants review in 2013

  • Science Board approved Panel recommendations for grants commencing October 2014

  • But final outcome is subject to Spending Review

    • Majority of institute grants announced

    • PIs informed of positions to be funded if expected funding is available

  • We’ve made preparations to minimise delay once funding is known

Review of uk phenomenology
Review of UK Phenomenology

  • Mid-term review of IPPP took place in 2013

  • Panel agreed IPPP made very positive impact on UK programme

    • Instrumental in rejuvenating phenomenology in the UK

  • But Panel also agreed it’s appropriate to consider future ways to support phenomenology

    • Especially if flat cash funding is to continue

  • Panel recommended STFC undertake a strategic review of UK phenomenology in 2014/15

    • Review planning will begin soon

    • Science Board to consider membership and ToR in February

    • Will include community consultation

Vision for stfc
Vision for STFC

  • We are the national agency for strategic investment in science

    • Real people on the ground doing real things

    • Trusted delivery partner for investment and innovation

    • We don’t just have spreadsheets, we have “achingly glamorous,” billion-pound, world-leading facilities

      What’s the next Big Thing?

      Your input welcome!

Making our case1
Making our case

We are doing well!


  • General Election held before next need to argue our case

  • How can we make a visible difference to the UK?

    • Economy, STEM skills, industrial strategy

  • How do we convince others to tell our story?

  • The breadth of STFC’s programme is a strength

    • How do we maximise the benefits?

    • And how can increase the impact of all our programme?

      We need your help and input!