STFC Funding Crisis : Particle Physics
A statement on the STFC "Invest in the Future" announcement of Dec 2009 and
how it impacts particle physics is below.
Having been created with a shortfall of £80M for its scientific
programme, STFC has staggered from crisis to crisis with the latest
round of proposed cuts being nothing less than disastrous in terms of
the shameful waste of a decade's investment in new facilities across
STFC science. Some of these are only just turning on, with examples in
particle physics including the LHC at CERN and the T2K experiment in
Japan. The government must intervene to stop this harmful and
avoidable squandering of investment and the strong message it sends to
the international science job market to stay away from the UK.
The behaviour of the UK is viewed with disbelief by countries which
can now see that the UK is no longer to be trusted as an international
partner in major scientific programmes. In several cases, the projects
targeted for major cuts or cancellation had elected UK spokespersons
whose positions must now look distinctly untenable with a direct loss
of UK leadership. The situation for scientists in the UK is made
particularly bitter by the knowledge that competitor countries are
making investment in science a strategic priority as their economies
emerge from recession, while the UK which used to boast of its desire
to build a "knowledge economy"
cuts science again and again (see the Pre-Budget Report).
This comes after nearly a decade of trying to achieve parity in R&D
spending with the UK's G7 competitors, a goal it now seems the
government is preparing to abandon. The funding squeeze within STFC is
particularly acute because it failed to secure an adequate settlement
when it was formed from the merger of PPARC and CCLRC and has
under-performed in attracting funding ever since due to its well
documented failures of leadership. We particularly regret the 25% cut
on PhD positions and Fellowships which represents a huge reduction in
the training of highly talented young people who could have so much to
offer the UK economy.
On the cancellation of the New Light Source, participation in the X-ray
Free Electron Laser in DESY and the preparations for a Neutrino Factory,
Professor Ken Peach writes:
"These projects address longer-term science opportunities that would keep the
UK at the forefront of science, including the ambition to host
large-scale international projects in the UK and to attract the
associated inward investment and support for UK industry; these cuts
show that STFC cannot be trusted with stewardship of the UK's science base."
On the many fruitful R&D programmes which have been curtailed, Professor Phil
Allport says: "Development of new technologies for long-term
applications at new facilities have been particularly hard hit, with
more job losses for leading technologists and lost opportunities in
both innovation, training and potential commercial exploitation."
Professor Mark Lancaster of UCL comments: "A lost generation of
students will be created who are denied the opportunity to do a PhD
and cutting-edge science"
And as Professor Brian Foster points out: "It is only 10 months ago
that Gordon Brown delivered the Romanes lecture at Oxford and said:
"Some say that now is not the time to invest, but the bottom line is
that the downturn is no time to slow down our investment in science
but to build more vigorously for the future." These cuts give the lie
to those fine words. This is a sad day for British science: the Prime
Minister should hang his head in shame."
In summary, these latest cuts mean that even more investment in
instruments and experiments is wasted, and hopes of a generation of
the young scientists and graduate students who would have worked on
them have been dashed. As STFC lurches from funding crisis to funding
crisis, there is surely now a very strong case for an independent
inquiry into the funding and management of STFC
and we welcome today's statement by Lord Drayson acknowledging the
major structural problems with STFC and offering to work with the wider
research community to find a better solution to managing international
science projects, large scientific facilities and university research grants.
Professor Ken Peach is Director of John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science
and Co-Director of the
Particle Therapy Cancer Research Institute, University of Oxford
Dec 16 2009.
Professor Phil Allport is Head of Particle Physics and Director of the
Liverpool Semiconductor Detector Centre, University of Liverpool
Professor Mark Lancaster is Head of Particle Physics at UCL and leads the UK's team
on the CDF Experiment at the Tevatron Collider in Illinois, USA
Professor Brian Foster is Head of Particle Physics at the University of Oxford
This page is intended as a conduit of information about the STFC
funding deficit to the particle physics community. It includes
briefing material that can be used in lobbying, presentations/notes
from the various community and town meetings, letters written to MPs,
press releases, press coverage and links to other parallel campaigns.
If you have anything you'd like to be included on this page - additional
press, lobbying material etc then please send it to
(markl AT hep.ucl.ac.uk). Some of the material
is password protected - please email markl AT hep.ucl.ac.uk for the
username & password.
- There will be a meeting for PP group leaders/PIs at UCL on Thursday Nov 6 at 14:00.
The meeting is in SB5 at 188 Tottenham Court Road (see here for map).
John Womersley will be making a presentation.
- The Wakeham report is released. See here. Phil Allport has provided a commentary for Research Fortnight and both the IoP and
have official responses.
Press coverage: Physics World,
- RCUK announce their latest thinking on economic impact/KE -
see Guardian article (Aug 13) and RCUK's list of expectations here .
- POST note on Large facilities published here . Has brief mention of STFC budgets.
- Call for nominations for membership of STFC advisory panels. Deadline for nominations is Sep 30.
- Letters to (and replies from) Keith Mason and John Denham from Phil Willis with respect to the government's repsonse to the IUS select committee report.
- STFC ask for comments on it's organisational structure. A web-based comment form is
linked from here . The deadline for comments is Wed July 9 .
- STFC statement on Nuclear Physics grants (July 8) .
- A parliamentary debate on the government's response to the select committee document at 7pm July 7. See here for coverage (after the bus passes...). The transcript is here . Some highlights here .
- The outcome of the programmatic review is released - see here for pdf with an associated press release .
See also coverage by BBC ,
and comment from the RAS and PP .
- FNAL confirms that it has received $29.5M (and SLAC $2.5M) in supplementary funds to suspend
it's redundancy programme and to enhance its neutrino programme. See Physics World article and, AIP News and Bill Foster's page.
- EU puts 5M EUR into ILC .
- STFC input to Wakeham Panel - here .
STFC announces an Open Science meeting to present the final outcomes of the programmatic review - July 8 at the Royal Society .
- Government response to IUS Select Committee report .
We've assembled a precis of the key points here
and some comments here . STFC announces details
Organisational Review . See also press coverage. RAS comments on the government response are here and from the TUC here .
- News from May 22-23 STFC Science Board Meeting here .
- PPAN/PALS reports and the input from the consultation panels now on STFC page .
- DIUS FOI request is turned down - see here for further details.
- Calls for nominations for membership of Science Board ; a ray of hope for FNAL with additional funding proposed in the Senate and an annoymous donation of $5M to UChicago/Particle Physics and IOP make public their submission to Wakeham.
- The engineers rally round - See article
- Topical questions to DIUS in Commons on May 15 from Peter Soulsby (MP) and Adam Afriyie (subscription currency fluctuations). See here .
- RAS statement on IUS Select Committee report .
- A further STFC Council statement - here . Confirming savings to PPAN area are to be £33M.
- The IUS select committee report was publicly released at 0:01 on Wed 30th April.
A copy is here along with the accompanying
IUS press release.
We have issued a press release commenting on the report
which is here
and also listed under the Press Releases section.
A brief 7-page summary of the report with the parts pertaining to STFC
is here . STFC have issued two press releases : one from
Keith Mason and one from the
See also BBC web,
BBC Radio 4 Today (Brian Cox),
BBC Radio 4 Today (Phil Willis MP),
- John Fry in consultation with John Womersley has produced
a brief summary of points discussed at the Town meeting which summarise where we now stand.
- STFC funding discussion on BBC TV Newsnight (Wed April 9) at 10:30. See here for Susan Watt's report .
- Government issues a response to the second No.10 petition which called for the "Prime Minister to reverse the decision to cut vital UK contributions to Particle Physics and Astronomy."
- As part of PP2020 - we're starting to gather non-funding PP stories. This will take a while to fill from the last six months - small steps. See the first from the Sunday Times here
- Minutes of the post-CSR Science Board meetings are now on the STFC web-page .
- LHC-B have created a page with their PPAN consulation submission and other supporting letters here .
- Transcript of John Denham's Webchat is here . Straight bat replies to a subset (John Dainton, Lee Jones, James Monk) of the questions we lodged.
- TUC statement on DIUS Innovation white paper includes comments on STFC budget shortfall.
- RAS issue statement on the programmatic review consultation.
- In repsonse to the The Times article of Mar 11; STFC replied with a letter and PP also sent a letter supporting PPAN colleagues.
- A new FOI section created. See here .
- Science and Innovation white paper released by DIUS. See
article in the Daily Telegraph. The press release is here and the full report is here .
- PPAN feedback to PIs is made public. See here .
- Richard Wade to speak on "STFC one year on" at the IoP Standing Conference of Physics Professors on Fri April 11 see here .
- "Lovell telescope @ Jodrell Bank for sale !" - bid here and the article in The Register .
- PALS, PPAN minutes released under FOI. See the FOI section.
- Transcript of 3rd IUS Select Committee (Feb 27) released
- ICFA statement calling for stability in ILC funding.
- Minutes from the first Wakeham meeting on Feb 29 just posted.
- Notes from the SB town meeting.
- A second EDM titled "Funding of Particle Physics and Astronomy"
is tabled by Adam Afriyie and presently has 47 signatures.
See also .
- STFC release programmatic review results and consulation period is open with a
web-form. See here .
- UK now back in Gemini . See STFC statement
and article in Research Fortnight and BBC
- STFC council minutes for the meetings after the CSR are posted here
- A restructuring of the STFC management structure is announced to STFC staff on Feb-20
Early Day Motion on STFC tabled by Peter Soulsby MP on Feb 19. It presently has 49 MPs signed up.
- Email to PPAN/SB from PP group leaders on subject of future support for the ILC.
- RAS statement, originally emailed to STFC executive , is made public. See eg Daily Telegraph coverage. A supporting email from PP
was sent to the executive on Feb-15. The council's reply was posted on Mar-3 .
- The online #10 Downing Street petition
closed on Feb 18 and collected 17,507 signatures
including - Stephen Hawking, Peter Higgs, Patrick Moore, Paul Nurse, Harold Kroto. The government response was to quote direct the reader to the Feb-7 STFC press release.
Press Coverage - most recent first
- "Physicists fear mergers on horizon" - Times Higher - Aug 14 .
- "The science funding war is not yet won" - Times - July 14.
- "The Final Outcome" - Physics World - July 9.
- "Funding secured for observatory" - BBC - July 9 .
- "Jodrell Bank safe - for now" - Guardian - July 8 .
- "Nuclear industry undermined by savage science cuts" - Daily Telegraph - July 8
- John Womersley and Jim Al-Khalili on BBC Radio-4 Today Programme - July 8 .
- "UK Mars rover hopes face set-back" - BBC - July 7
- "Physics names winners and losers" - BBC - July 3 .
- "UK Physics Plans are approved" -
Physics World - July 3 .
- "Government backs down over plans to close Britain's 'eye in the sky' Jodrell Bank observatory" -
Daily Mail - July 3.
- Jodrell Bank observatory plans abandoned - Daily Telegraph - July 2 .
- STFC admits fears over currency costs"- Research Fortnight - June 30 .
- "Payback time" - Nature - June 26 .
- "Unbalanced portfolio : British research councils should still foster
basic science" - Nature - June 26 .
- "Bankrolling Jodrell" - The Times - June 26 .
- "Jodrell Bank future in balance after glowing report is ignored" - The Times - June 21 .
- "Jodrell Bank: Cosmic Myopia" - The Times (editorial) - June 21 .
- "Government rejects call for STFC chief to be sacked" - Times Higher - June 19 .
- "Jodrell Bank future looks better" - BBC - June 18 .
- Radio-4 BBC Today Programme - Brian Foster - June 18 .
- "No extra cash for UK physics" -
Physics World - June 18
- "Physics agency instigates review" - BBC - June 17 .
- "STFC to undergo review, but management positions safe" - Research Fortnight - June 17 .
- "Government 'turns blind eye to science funding criticism'" - Daily Telegraph - June 17 .
- "The Government is selling science short" - Daily Telegraph - June 16 .
- "Stephen Hawking warns Government over 'disastrous' science funding cuts" - Daily Telegraph - June 15 .
- Stephen Hawking: ministers £80m error puts science at risk" - Sunday Times - June 15 .
- Hard-Up - Physics World - May 30 .
- "Top physicist to quit 'amateur' Britain after Stephen Hawking snub" - Sunday Times - May 25 .
- "From the Knowledge Economy to the false economy in one go" -
THE - May 21 .
- "'This is a big job needing to be done very quickly' (Bill Wakeham)" -
THE - May 15 .
- "Cambridge scientist to take Canada to cutting edge of physics theory" - Globe And Mail (Canada) - May 10
- "Science funds must be accountable" - The Times (Letters) - May 8
- "How to wreck a nation's scientific credibility" - New Scientist (Editorial) - May 7
- "Physics funding becomes a farce" - Research Fortnight - May 7
- "MPs wrong on STFC, say 'forgotten physicists'" - Research Fortnight - May 7
- "MPs criticise Mason and STFC over funding shortfall" - Research Fortnight - May 7
- "Professor Keith Mason was a 'scapegoat for the Government's failures'" The Times - May 6. See also
The Times (Letters) - May 6
- "Of budgets and black holes" - The Economist - May 1
- "MPs decry government influence on budgets" - Times Higher Education - May 1
- UK science looks 'incompetent' after funding fiasco" - New Scientist - April 30
- "Facing the Black Hole" - The Engineer - Apr 30
- "Science spending a 'PR disaster'" - FT - April 30
- "UK physics chief next for the chop in funding bloodbath? " - The Register - April 30
- "Report slams UK's leading physics funding agency" - Physics World - April 30 .
- "MPs criticise handling of research funds" - Guardian - April 30 .
- "He should seriously consider his position" - Physics World - April 30 .
- "Physics" - The Times (Commentary) - April 30 .
- "Top physicist is urged to quit over failings, flaws and secrets" - The Times - April 30 .
- "MPs report blames Government and a quango for science funding crisis" -
Daily Telegraph - April 30 .
- Brian Cox - BBC Radio 4 Today Programmme - April 30 .
- Phil Willis MP - BBC Radio 4 Today Programmme - April 30.
- "Science Cuts 'Hit UK reputation'" - BBC - April 30.
- "Science needs more cash and a higher public profile says TUC" - TUC - April 29
- "Blue skies and sterling support: our innovators need facilitators" - Keith Mason in
THE - April 24
- "Trail of Ineptitude" - Research Fortnight - April 23
- "The Waiting Game" - Research Fortnight - April 23
- "Brian May attacks science research cuts" - Telegraph - April 14
- " An astronomer's view of funding cuts" - BBC - April 11
- "Science cuts: Funding chief has his say" - BBC - April 11
- "Peer review informed ILC pull-out" - Physics World - April 10
- "The driving force behind the effort to halt cuts to physics" - ! - Times Higher Education : April 10
- "Black hole in funding say scientists" - BBC Newsnight report : April 9 .
- "Massive extension for Daresbury planned but 'Alice' still under threat" -
Research Fortnight : April 4 .
- " Astronomers 'must make own case'" - BBC : April 4 . A commentary on some of the points raised at the NAM meeting
is here and a MP3 recording here .
- "Cuts threaten UK role at LHC" - Physics World : April 3 . Use your IoP membership number as the username and surname as password or see here .
- "'Alice' loss would 'waste £25m'" - BBC : April 3
- "Facilities council appoints advisory panels"- Research Fortnight : Apr 1
- "Blame Gordon for Jodrell's woes" - The Times - March 31
- " 'Funding stranglehold' on science" - BBC News : March 28 .
- "Himla besvar med forskningspengar" - (Massive trouble with research funding) - HBL Newspaper (Finland) in Swedish !
- "Funds increase is science fiction" - House of Commons Magazine (The House) : Mar 10
- "John Denham defends science cuts at White Paper launch" -
Daily Telegraph : March 13 .
- "Jodrell Bank to close because scientists voted for own plans" - Times : March 12
- "Science council still not giving the full picture, say scientists" -
Research Fortnight : March 11
- "For 50 years, it has watched the stars. Now, to plug a black hole in the budget, Jodrell Bank may close" - The Independent : March 7
- "Professor Sir Bernard Lovell condemns 'disastrous' plan to close Jodrell Bank" - The Times : March 7 and
"Closing Jodrell Bank for the sake of 4p a head" : Times Comment : March 7
- "Science on Tap" - Editorial in Feb edition of RSC's Chemistry World
- "Budget cuts threaten Britain's leading observatory, Jodrell Bank" - [mp3] BBC Radio 4 Today Programme : Mar 6
- "World-leading telescopes face being shut down to save Â£2.5m" - Times : Mar 6
- "Astronomers remain worried by cuts" - Research Fortnight : Mar 5
- "but goals must balance curiosity" - Research Fortnight : Nick Dusic (ACSE) : Mar 5
- "Council accused of mixed messages over Daresbury" -
Research Fortnight : March 5
- "STFC science board bears brunt of lost confidence" -
Research Fortnight : March 5
- "Scientists demand transparency during facilities council consultation" -
Research Fortnight : Mar 4 .
- "Deadline looms for science cuts" -
BBC : March 4
- "Astronomers see stars" -
Guradian : March 4
- "Conservative tables EDM on particle physics" -
Research Fortnight : Mar 3 .
- "Council promises 'more constructive' dialogue with astronomers" -
Research Fortnight : Mar 3 .
- "UK astronomers on 'rollercoaster'" - BBC : Feb 28
- "STFC comes full circle on Gemini" - Research Fortnight : Feb 28
- "UK makes U-turn on Gemini funding" - Physics World : Feb 28
- "Daresbury Cuts 'mean it must close' say Scientists" - Liverpool Daily Post : Feb 28
- "Science research council under fire for cuts" - Guardian : Feb 27
- "Facilities Council admits problems in management and consultation" -
Research Fortnight : Feb 27
- "Wakeham panel to invite detailed submissions from physics community" - Research Fortnight : Feb 24
- "Physics Funding Furore" - New Scientist : Feb 23
- "Science budget inquiry continues with input from affected institutes" - Research Fortnight : Feb 22
- "Panel picked to review UK physics" - Physics World : Feb 22
- "Don't sacrifice basic science for research, say MPs" - Education Guardian : Feb 21
- "Minister admits that Daresbury faces a long slog after 350 job cuts" -
Liverpool Daily Post : Feb 21
- "Top scientists at troubled Daresbury campus threaten to quit" - Liverpool Daily Post : Feb 21
- "Don't sacrifice basic science for research, say MPs" Education Guardian : Feb 21
- "Pearson dismisses talk of STFC crisis" - Research Fortnight : Feb 21
- "Daresbury scientists threaten to quit" - Research Fortnight : Feb 21
- "Sweet Valentine" - Research Fortnight : Feb 20 . A copy of the letter sent by Michael Rowan-Robinson to Keith Mason, accompanying the RAS council letter.
- "Dance to the Music of Space" - Paul Crowther in Research Fortnight : Feb 20
- "Stars in their eyes" - Andrew King in Research Fortnight : Feb 20
- " The big bang implosion of Physics" - Spiked : Feb 19
- Ian Pearson - reply to Jan 31 New-Statesman article : Feb 18
- "Why particle physics needs stability" - CERN courier : Feb 18
- "Calls Mount for STFC Changes" - Research Fortnight : Feb 18
- BBC R4 Today Programme LHC startup & ILC funding : Feb 18
- "Particle physics in the UK is facing a severe funding crisis" - CERN Courier : Feb 15
- "Astronomers write of no confidence in council" - Research.com : Feb 15
- "Pessimism and anger over science funding crisis" - Daily Telegraph : Feb 15
- "The lost two and a half" - Karina Willimans : Durham21 student website : Feb 14
- "British manned space flight is 'wishful thinking'" - Daily Telegraph : Feb 14
- "Physics review brought forward as cuts bite" - Times Higher Education : Feb 14
- "Space Exploration" - interview with Andrew Coates, Ian Pearson BBC Today : Feb 14
- "Prospects look up for UK astronomers" - New Scientist (blog) : Feb 13
- "Astronomers given Gemini reprieve" - BBC : Feb 12
See also statement from Gemini board .
- "STFC accused of spin tactics" - Research.com : Feb 7
- "UK confirms withdrawal from ILC" - Physics World : Feb 7
- "EPSRC announces a reduction in grants" - Times Higher Education : Feb 7
- "Physicists go nuclear with online protest at funding cuts" -
The Register : Feb 5
- "NERC deal could rescue ground-based solar physics" - Times Higher Education : Feb 4
- "In the gutter looking at the stars" - Education Guardian : Feb 4
- "Death of Big Physics" - New Statesman : Jan 31
- "UK Physics Cuts Bite Deep" - New Scientist Editorial : Jan 31
- "Physicists call for heads to roll over cash cuts" - New Scientist : Jan 31
- "Pay Up" -
Education Guardian : Jan 29
- "STFC must be more transparent, says board" - Research.com : Jan 29
- "UK shut out of Gemini telescope" - Nature : Jan 29 .
the statement from the Gemini board . And the
STFC press release .
commentary from Paul Crowther . The impact of the STFC deficit on
our international reputation and standing with international partners
(such as Gemini) was commented on at the
select committee hearing . An email exchange and other interesting
comment is available on
the e-Astronomer blog.
- "Space weather science rues cuts" -
BBC : Jan 29
- "Funding woes hit UK scientists" - BBC TV News : Jan 27
- "Skies dim for British astronomers" - BBC : Jan 26
- "Government must back researchers, not technology parks" : Electronics Weekly : Jan 25
- "Physicists fail to stall cuts despite subject review" - THES : Jan 24
- "UK woes could impact Euro Physics" :
: BBC Online : Jan 24
- "Discussions ongoing over science funding" : Liverpool University : Jan 24
- "Two into One don't go" - Ken Pounds Article in Research Fortnight : Jan 23
- "Wakeham can't save you, physicists told" - Research Fortnight : Jan 23
- "Insult to Injury" - Research Fortnight : Jan 23
- "Physics has a brighter future" -
coverage of the Jan 22
STFC/Dr. Pangloss news conference.
- "Swingeing cuts threaten UK astronomy research" :
Guardian Blog : Jan 22
- "Hopes for UK funding-cut reversal dashed" : Physics World : Jan
- "Huge jobs cut at science laboratory, preparing lab for closure, MPs warned" :
Liverpool Daiy Post : Jan 22
- "Physics Reels as the Financial Axe Falls" -
New Scientist : Jan 19
- "Who's to blame for government science cutbacks?" - Scotsman : Jan 18
- Brian Cox on BBC TV NorthWest
Tonight : Jan 18
- "Warnings on Daresbury science jobs sounded 10 months" -
Liverpool Daily Post : Jan 17
- BBC Radio-4 Today program - Brian Cox, Tom Feilden mp3 and
transcript : Jan 16
- "Government was warned of physics crisis" -
Nature : Jan 16
- "Despair over science cuts" - letter to Telegraph : Jan 16
- "Ministers ignored physics crisis warnings" -
Daily Telegraph : Jan 16
- "Tories attack physics funding" -
Guardian : Jan 16
- "Physically impossible" - Ed Vaizey MP on Guardian Comments page : Jan 16
- "Science: Funding cuts threaten scientific research" -
Daily Telegraph (Martin Rees) : Jan 15
- "10,500 sign petition to reverse cuts to science" -
Times Higher Education : Jan 10
- "Don't panic - Whether to build the International Linear Collider is
an open question, but R&D on it should be supported" -
Nature Editorial : Jan 10
- "Accelerator plans stalled after US and UK cuts" -
Nature : Jan 9
- "Scientists wait to see where axe will fall" -
Guardian (Education) : Jan 8
- "US physics begins to crumble under budget strain" -
NewScientistSpace : Jan 8
- "Funding Bombshell hits UK Physics" - Physics World (News & Analysis) : Jan 7
- "Future at risk as Daresbury sacrifices hundreds of jobs" -
Liverpool Daily Post : Jan 4
- "The Â£80m black hole : UK physics could be irreparably damaged by an Â£80m funding shortfall" -
Physics World (editorial) : Jan 3
- "Job fears for Telescope Centre" -
BBC News : Jan 3
- "Concerns over Research Council Budgets" -
CASE : Dec 31
- "U.K. Cutbacks Rattle Physics, Astronomy" - Science : Dec 27
- "Stephen Hawking joins attack on science cuts" -
Daily Telegraph : Dec 27
- "Government Hits back at funding claims" -
Northern Echo : Dec 27
- "Shortfall translates to reduced grants"
- THES : Dec 21
- "Funds crisis putting research in jeopardy" -
The Northern Echo : Dec 21
- "Funding changes defy the workings of physics" -
Ken Pounds : THES : Dec 21
- "Science cuts may harm UK's international reputation" -
New Scientist : Dec 21
- "Thousands fighting science cuts" -
Channel-4 : Dec 20
- "Senseless slashing of science budget" -
Letters In The Guardian : Dec 20
- "Observatory jobs go as budget cut" -
Edinburgh Evening News : Dec 20
- "Supporting Science ?" -
Letter in Times from Astronomers : Dec 19
- "British physics faces an unnecessary squeeze" -
Nature Editorial : Dec 19
- "Newton's Law of Funding" -
Economist : Dec 19
- Radio-4 Today Programme - Rosie Walton Interview MP3 : Dec 19
- "Diamond Geezers" - Private Eye : Dec 18 .
- "In praise of ... Britain's astronomers and particle physicists" -
Guardian Leader : Dec 17
- "UK researchers reel from budget cuts" -
New Scientist (blog) : Dec 17
- Radio-4 Today Programme - Report & Phil Willis MP Interview MP3
, transcript : Dec 14
- "UK to pull out of atom smasher project" -
Daily Telegraph : Dec 13
- "UK pulls out of key physics and astronomy projects" - New
Scientist (article+comments) : Dec 13
- "Lab faces 40m shortfall" -
Oxford Mail : Dec 12
- "Science council struggles with cuts" - Guardian : Dec 12
- "Physics and Astronomy research face catastrophic cuts" -
Nature : Dec 12
- MP3s Radio 4 Today programme - Brian Cox/Ian
Pearson/Sarah Montague and Summary at 08:15 :
; and a full transcript
- Radio 4 PM News - interviews
with Keith Mason and
Martin Rees (mp3) : Dec 11
- "Minister Responds to STFC budget concerns" - DeHavilland Information Services : Dec 11
- "Lean Days Ahead for U.K. Physical
Science Now : Dec 11
- "Loss of research funding in this area is of grave concern..." -
CASE : Dec 11
- "Boffins slashed in big-science budget blunder
bloodbath !" -
The Register : Dec 11 !
- "Academics warn of physics funding crisis" -
Guardian : Dec-11
- "Physics Professors criticise cuts in budget" - Daily TeleGraph : Dec-11
- "UK pulls out of plans for ILC" -
Physics World :
- "Sad day for Physics as funding is decimated" - THES : Dec 11
- "Ministers review physics funding" -
BBC : Dec 11
- "Physicists fear worst as STFC and DIUS eye cuts" - Research Fortnight : Dec-5
- "MP's bid to keep vital technology at Daresbury" -
This is Cheshire : Dec 3
- "Clouds on Astronomy's Horizon?" - RAS statement from Michael Rowan-Robinson in Research Fortnight : Nov 22.
Material Released under FOI
Requests have been made to both DIUS and STFC by various members of
the particle physics and astronomy communties to release documents
related to the CSR submission, STFC's space infrastructure plans,
the formulation of the priorities in the delivery plan and the programmatic review.
- A request to STFC was made on Jan 18 to STFC to release all STFC
documents concerned with plans to establish major new Space Science infrastructure
on either or both of the Harwell and Daresbury Science and Innovation Campuses.
After extension requests from STFC
the release of documents has so far been refused citing the need to
"balance the public interest in withholding the information against
the public interest in disclosing the information". A request for an internal
review was thus submitted on March 7.
- A request was made to DIUS on Jan 13 to release details of any
correspondence between DIUS and STFC pertaining to the CSR. This
request has so far been refused following two deadline extensions
and a request for an internal review has been lodged. Further details are
- A request for minutes of Council, Science Board, PPAN and PALS
minutes lodged on 17th Dec had resulted in redacted
minutes being made available on 11th March (PPAN/PALS) and 20th March (Science Board).
here for further details.
- A request to STFC to release material pertaining to the CSR
submission was made on Dec 4th 2007 and the material was released on Jan
here for further details. A commentary on this material is here .
This document contains an overview
of the present STFC deficit issue and arguments we can use in lobbying.
- Statistics from the ongoing PP2020 work are also included to back up some of the
arguments. The science and knowledge exchange material will be more fully
developed in the PP2020 documents. There are more details on the KE side
in the 1st rough
draft for PP2020 where we've started to assemble the case studies
and examples which are summarised in the above briefing document.
- A primer on fEC ; with examples of how different institues are arguing for its use to help mitigate the cuts.
Presentations & Notes from Nov 23rd Meeting @ UCL
Dec 13th STFC Town Meeting
Dec 14th Cern Council Meeting
Letters / Meetings With MPs & VCs
- To date over 70 letters have been written to MPs,
Ministers and Shadow Ministers. The list and letters where available can
be found here . Two parliamentary questions from
Ellman MP have been answered by
Harriot Harman and
- After communications with VCs, Universities UK (UUK) has written a letter to John Denham with an
accompanying press release
- Martin Rees, president of The Royal Society also wrote a letter to
John Denham on Dec-10
- A letter from 39 FRSs working in the fields of STFC science was sent
to John-Denham in the first week of December
- A summary of the Royal Society's actions can be found here .
- Questions were asked of DIUS in the Commons on Jan-10 about the STFC deficit.
See here for a transcript.
- John Denham at the IUS Select Committee on Jan 16. Minutes 40-50 of this video are the most relevant.
- Question to Under-Secretary of State for Wales on Jan 16 -
- Question to Gordon Brown at PMQs from Mike Hall MP about Daresbury on Jan 16 -
- A letter of support from the ILC community at
CERN/KEK/SLAC/FNAL and DESY have been sent to Ian Pearson and
- Ed Vaizey MP (Conservative, Shadow Arts Minister), in response to
letters from Wantage/Didcot constituents held a half hour
debate in Westminster Hall, (The second Chamber of the House of
Commons) on Tuesday 15 January in which he, Evan Harris MP (Oxford West/Abingdon),
Peter Soulsby MP (Leicester South) outlined the issues. Ian Pearson replied.
Ed Vaizey received detailed input from us and his constituents that he received letters from.
The full transcipt is here . It includes the aside(!) :
"If anything is more complicated than a comprehensive spending review,
it is probably particle physics, so I am indebted to those physicists,
who have put their intelligence to use analysing how the STFC's
deficit has come about at a time when the Minister is going around
saying that he has given the council a 13.6% increase."
- Questions were asked of DIUS in the Commons on Jan-10 about the STFC deficit.
See here for a transcript.
- John Denham and Lord Winston addressed an audience at an RSA event
entitled "Science and Society: bridging the gap" on Jan 16. In his speech
Lord Winston expresses his concern about STFC's
cuts to physics funding. A freelance journalist
asks John Denham about the STFC crisis. His reply is
A full recording of the event is here
- A letter was sent by the 1994 group of VCs to John Denham
in early Feb
- Questions to Ian Pearson during DIUS session in HOC on Feb 21 from Ann McKechin MP (Glasgow).
- Questions to Ian Pearson during DIUS session in HOC on Mar 3 from Nigel Griffiths MP (Edinburgh).
- Letter from Ann McKechin (MP Glasgow North) about private meeting with John Denham, stating that DIUS has allowed a £30m underspend to be carried over from 2007/8.
Other Campaigns / Groups
- A campaign from PhD students/post-docs/young physicists has resulted in a
letter signed by 559 young researchers being sent to John Denham. They have a Facebook
page with more information. See
Daily Telegraph coverage .
A poor cut and paste reply was sent on 14th
January. A further letter in light of
this hastily cut and pasted reply was sent on Jan-16 highlighting that the reply had not adressed any of the concerns; in the meantime a corrected, reply admitting an error in the original was received on Jan-16.
- The astronomy community have similar pages. See
Paul Crowther's page,
the UK Gemini page and the
Save Astronomy page.
- Antonella de Santo organised a letter signed by 242 overseas
researchers in the UK which was sent to John Denham.
- Jason McFall has set up a Facebook group with a view to mobilising
ex-particle physicists for input into the current campaign and PP2020.
- The Daresbury campaign .
- The page of the MIST (Magnetosphere Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial) community.
- Concerns expressed by National Schools Observatory - see here
- Durham students Union passed a motion on Jan 30 opposing the STFC cuts. The motion and quotes from Durham students and researchers are here
The Wakeham Review of Physics
- The terms of reference and some
background to the Wakeham review
announced on the Dec-11 Radio-4 Today programme are on this
RCUK page .
- The membership of the panelwas formally announced on Feb 20.
- Minutes from the first Wakeham meeting are here.
IUS Select Committee Meetings
Two edvidence sessions have taken place and a third will take place on Feb 27.
Heard evidence from IoP,RAS,Prospect, RCUK & STFC on Jan-21.
The proceedings are viewable
here and the transcript is
The IoP reaction to the Jan-21 select committee is here
Statements and evidence submitted:
The PP community provided various documents to brief MPs on and
outside the SC:
Was preceeded by visits to RAL, ATC and DL. A report of the RAL
visit is here . It took
Feb-20 and heard evidence from Keith O'Nions and Ian
Pearson. Proceedings can be streamed from
Parliament TV ; or downloaded as a scrollable MP3 from here
The transcript is here
Took place on Wed Feb 27 at 9:30. Evidence was heard from Swapan Chattopadhyay, Richard Holdaway, Keith Mason and Peter Warry. The audio proceedings can be streamed from Parliament TV
; or downloaded as a scrollable MP3 from here
The transcript is
Three months into the US financial year the FY08 budget was made public on
Dec-18. The overall DOE
science budget is up only 2.4%. The NSF increase is also only 2.5%
compared to Presidential/Senate/House requests for a 10% increase. The HEP
allocation of $696M is $90M less than the President's FY08 budget
request of $782M and almost $60M below the actual FY07 allocation
($752M). The allocation made zero provision for NOVA against a planned
budget of $30M. The ILC(+SCRF) was allocated only $15M(+$5M) from a request
$60M(+$20M). Additionally no provision was made for the US to make its
$120M contribution to ITER. The ILC implications are discussed by
and the impact on FNAL is discussed
here which also contains a link to Pier Oddone's
FNAL address and daily udpdates including a statement of support
Barack Obama .
A letter in support of US HEP has been written
and signed by group leaders from the UK and sent to
Secretary of State Bodman. We received many letters of support from the US
in response to the STFC delivery plan announcement.
Todd Huffman has also sent a second letter signed by UK FNAL users.
The DOE has announced the premature termination of the SLAC B-factory. See also the statement from SLAC
Ray Orbach comments on the cuts here
- CSR RC allocations as listed in Research Fortnight here
- The DIUS science budget document
- Sep 2007 IoP Report quantifying the benefits of physics to the UK economy