Science and Technology Facilities Council
|Type||Non-departmental public body|
|Legal status||Government agency|
|Purpose||Funding of science research|
|Sir Michael Sterling|
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a UK government body that carries out civil research in science and engineering, and funds UK research in areas including particle physics, nuclear physics, space science and astronomy (both ground-based and space-based).
STFC was formed in April 2007 when Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), along with the nuclear physics activities of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) were brought under the one umbrella organisation.
Receiving its funding through the science budget from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), STFC's mission is to “To maximise the impact of our knowledge, skills, facilities and resources for the benefit of the United Kingdom and its people.”
· Scientific Facilities: They provide access to world-leading, large-scale facilities across a range of physical and life sciences, enabling research, innovation and skills.
· National Campuses: Working with partners to build National Science and Innovation Campuses based around National Laboratories to promote academic and industrial collaboration and translation of research to market through direct interaction with industry.
· Inspiring and Involving: STFC help create a future pipeline of skilled and enthusiastic young people by using the excitement of our sciences to encourage wider take-up of STEM subjects in school and future life (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The Science and Technology Facilities Council is one of Europe's largest multidisciplinary research organisations supporting scientists and engineers world-wide. Through research fellowships and grants, it is responsible for funding research in UK universities, in the fields of astronomy, particle physics, nuclear physics and space science. STFC operates its own world-class, large-scale research facilities (such as materials research, laser and space science and alternative energy exploration) and provides strategic advice to the UK government on their development. It manages international research projects in support of a broad cross-section of the UK research community and directs, coordinates and funds research, education and training. It is a partner in the UK Space Agency (formerly British National Space Centre or BNSC) providing about 40% of the UK government's expenditure in space science and technology.
It helps operate/provide access for UK and international scientists to the following large-scale facilities:
- Central Laser Facility (CLF) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory;
- The space science and space exploration programmes of ESA;
- European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF);
- Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL);
- Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING), La Palma;
- ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory;
- Diamond Light Source, operating on STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory site. Diamond is also part funded by the Wellcome Trust;
- UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh;
- Microelectronics Support Centre (MSC) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory;
- The Hartree Centre for high performance computing and data analytics at Daresbury Laboratory.
- ALICE (accelerator), EMMA (accelerator), CLARA and VELA at Daresbury Laboratory.
- The LHC Computing Grid through its funding of the GridPP project
- Boulby underground laboratories
- Advanced LIGO
STFC’s budget is allocated annually by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
For 2015-16 STFC’s budget allocation was £529 million.
Knowledge exchange obligations
STFC is active in its responsibility for knowledge exchange from government funded civil science into UKPLC. As such, many technologies are licensed to UK companies and spin-out companies created including:
- L3 Technology (L3T);
- Orbital Optics Ltd;
- Quantum Detectors;
However knowledge exchange activities are not purely limited to commercialization of technologies, but also cover a wider range of activities which aim to transfer expertise into the wider economy.
- Cosener's House, a conference centre owned by STFC in Abingdon
- National Astronomy Week (NAW)
- House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (2007). Office of Science and Innovation: Scrutiny Report 2005 and 2006. ISBN 0-215-03350-7.
- "STFC Corporate Strategy 2010 – 2020". STFC Corporate Strategy 2010 – 2020. STFC. September 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- "House of Commons - Astronomy and Particle Physics: Government and Science and Technology Facilities Council Responses to the Committee's Fourth Report of - Science and Technology Committee". www.publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
- "Science & Technology Facilities Council | Sci-Tech Daresbury". www.sci-techdaresbury.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
- "stfc | BU Research Blog". blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
- "UK Team looking for ripples in Space". News, Events and Publications. STFC. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- "Science and research budget allocations for financial year 15/16, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills" (PDF). Gov.UK. www.gov.uk. September 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2015.