Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
We were formed as a new Research Council on 1 April 2007 through a merger of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) and the transfer of responsibility for nuclear physics from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). We are one of seven national Research Councils in the UK.
We are a science-driven organisation and make it possible for a broad range of scientists to do the highest quality research tackling some of the most fundamental scientific questions.
We do this by:
- funding researchers in universities directly through grants particularly in astronomy, particle physics, space science and nuclear physics.
- providing in the UK access to world-class facilities, including ISIS , the Synchrotron Radiation Source (SRS), the Central Laser Facility, and HPCx . We are also a major stakeholder in the Diamond Light Source, which started operating this year.
- providing in the UK a broad range of scientific and technical expertise in space and ground-based astronomy technologies, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar.
- providing access to world-class facilities overseas, including through CERN, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and telescope facilities in Chile, Hawaii, La Palma, Australia and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at JodrellBank Observatory.
We supply highly skilled scientists and engineers and generate ideas and technologies that have a much broader social and economic impact. We encourage researchers to create new businesses based on their discoveries and we help established companies to use the fruits of our research as the basis of new or improved products and services.
We have a total budget of about £678m per annum and employ more than 2200 staff who are deployed at 7 locations. These locations are: Swindon where the headquarters is based: the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, which is part of the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire: the Daresbury Laboratory, which is part of the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus in Cheshire: the Chilbolton Observatory in Hampshire: the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh: the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes on La Palma in the Canary Islands; and the Joint Astronomy Centre in Hawaii.
The relevance of the Consortium to the physical and environmental sciences is greatly enhanced by the full participation of STFC, which hosts research environments for an extensive user community across the spectrum of science and engineering in the UK, and provides services to around twelve thousand visiting scientists each year. The STFC’s significant involvement in existing digital curation projects with EPSRC, BBSRCand with NERC (all research funding bodies in the UK ) and links worldwide ensure the relevance of CASPAR to multiple science communities.
STFC will provide overall financial and technical management via the co-ordinator for CASPAR. The primary work areas for STFC will be in Conceptual Modelling and Standards and the Virtualisation Process – areas where it has well proven track records. The STFC will also provide one of the test cases for the testbed using current data environments. Testbeds could be provided by a number of STFC data resources and services e.g. for the Particle Physics, Chemistry, the Environmental Science communities, and experimental results from ISIS for many scientific domains.
STFC also has much to contribute to the work of CASPAR on standards, and has been leading the UK effort in defining the Open Archival Information System (OAIS), as well as involvement in the definition of ISO standards. STFC is furthermore engaged in a number of data model and metadata standardisation efforts in relation to Marine XML, Chemical Markup Language and a range of ISO standards for the Environmental Science Domain.