STFC: After more than 10 years of work by more than 200 engineers, the Mid InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) (a camera so sensitive it could see a candle on one of Jupiter’s moons) has been declared ready for delivery by the European Space Agency and NASA.
The MIRI Optical System is an instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) that will eventually take up a position 4 times further away from the Earth than the Moon. It will now be shipped to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre where it will be integrated with the other 3 instruments and the telescope.
Facilities at Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory had to be specially designed to simulate the environment the instrument will experience in space and account for it’s extremely low operating temperatures.
GPS: On 1 April 2012, the Government Procurement Service successfully completed what is understood to be the largest electricity & gas supply meter transfer in British history.
The project, led by the GPS energy team, involved changing the supplier of electricity & gas for 21,831 public sector sites, primarily across Ministry of Defence, Department for Work & Pensions and Health estates.
By transferring these sites to our frameworks, their electricity & gas requirements were aggregated to deliver lower cost energy though trading and tendered single source frameworks for Gas, Non-Half Hourly Electricity and Half Hourly Electricity.
The successful transfer means GPS will deliver an additional £25m of savings in the financial year 12/13 through state of the art trading and the application of lower supply chain costs to sites. A similar level of additional savings is anticipated for subsequent years.
WO: With Swansea and Cardiff in the running to bid for licences to allow them to launch their own local TV stations, Wales Office Minister David Jones has encouraged Welsh production companies to bid. Potential operators now have until 13 August 2012 to apply to Ofcom for a licence.
BIS: A new £100m investment fund to support research partnerships between universities, businesses, charities and philanthropic donors opened for bids on Monday. The Research Partnership Investment Fund is open to UK universities for investment in long-term capital projects that leverage in significant private funding.
Universities will be able to bid for between £10m & £35m per project and must be able to demonstrate that they can attract at least double the amount in private investment. Applications will be judged on value for money and how much they build on existing strong research capability.