Science and Technology Facilities Council
STFC's contribution to society and the economy
The Impact Report 2017 reviews STFC’s impact on the UK’s science and innovation landscape in the 10 years since our establishment, and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Diamond Light Source, the 40th anniversary of the Central Laser facility, and the 50th anniversary of STFC’s Chilbolton Observatory. It also reports on recent evaluations of the Hartree Centre and the Square Kilometre Array.
Commenting on the report Executive Chair Mark Thomson said “STFC is committed to supporting excellent research and providing access to a full range of world-class research facilities. This report shows how the work we do delivers real economic and societal benefits and raises international recognition of the excellence of our research and our researchers. STFC is responding to major challenges facing society by applying the science and technology we have helped develop. Our research continues to inspire and deliver results that matter shaping the next generation of scientists and innovators.”
Other highlights from the report include:
- The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to British biochemist Dr Richard Henderson “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”, alongside Professors Jacques Dubochet and Joachim Frank. Professor Henderson and STFC have collaborated for the past decade on the development of sensors for the cryo-electron microscopy that he pioneered.
- Our large facilities continue to deliver substantial impact. Using the powerful X-rays produced at the Diamond Light Source, a team of scientists from the University of Oxford has successfully mapped the structure of the deadly Ebola virus molecule, and is now exploring new drugs to prevent the disease.
- Following the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012, five new particles have been discovered in the past year, thanks to the incredibly sensitive LHCb experiment at CERN. The LHCb confirmed their existence, which has been theorised but never before proven, thereby helping physicists to gain greater understanding of the ‘strong force’ which glues nucleons together, as well as opening up entirely new avenues in particle physics.
- Harwell and Sci-Tech Daresbury Campuses currently host more than 300 enterprises and support more than 6,700 jobs, creating the conditions needed for high-tech SMEs to grow. Added to this are the plans in hand to expand the UK ATC’s innovation activities with the opening of the Higgs Centre for Innovation in early 2018, providing business incubation for the growing number of high-tech start-up businesses in Scotland.
- The Harwell Campus is due to host two new, Government-funded, EPSRC-supported research organisations: the £100 million Rosalind Franklin Institute, a multi-disciplinary science and technology research centre which aims to help transform understanding of disease and speed up the development of new treatments; and the £65 million Faraday Institution, a major initiative to support research into energy storage.
- STFC continues to facilitate the growth of the world-class scientific and technical skills needed to ensure that the UK maintains its international status as a destination of choice for collaborative, interdisciplinary science, technology and innovation. In support of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, STFC is providing funding to nearly 100 additional students through Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), bringing the total number currently supported to more than 850. CDT students will be trained to analyse data from astrophysics, accelerator science, nuclear or particle physics research.
For more information about STFC’s achievements and impacts, including case studies and impact evaluations, read our Impacts and Achievements page.
Jake Gilmore STFC Media Manager
Latest News from
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Visit to Diamond Light Source launches £500m upgrade programme11/09/2023 13:05:00
The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan toured the world leading facility last week to officially kickstart Diamond-II.
UKI2S tops £100 million to provide UK economic boost30/08/2023 10:05:00
Investment in the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), a driving force in supporting early-stage innovation and high-impact businesses, now totals £102m.
Boosting UK infrastructure resilience against climate change29/08/2023 13:05:00
Eight projects share £1.4 million to develop the UK’s infrastructure resilience against severe weather events such as extreme floods caused by climate change.
New STFC Executive Director of National Laboratories31/07/2023 13:05:00
Experimental particle physicist Professor David Newbold has commenced work as STFC’s Executive Director of National Laboratories.
James Webb Space Telescope advances our understanding of galaxies25/07/2023 13:05:00
New research that used data from JWST shows that crucial building blocks of planets and stars could form much earlier in the life cycle of galaxies.
Crowds flock to Daresbury Laboratory for science extravaganza24/07/2023 13:05:00
Schools and visitors from across the region got a rare opportunity to get up close to some of the world's most groundbreaking technology at Daresbury Laboratory.
STFC helps Sardinia Observatory to see beyond the Milky Way13/07/2023 13:05:00
STFC scientists have installed a new tool to support the Sardinia Radio Telescope to see further into the universe and enhance space weather forecasting.
Launch of space mission to map the evolution of the Universe04/07/2023 13:05:00
The Euclid Space Telescope has successfully launched on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft from Cape Canaveral in Florida.