Science and Technology Facilities Council
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Who does what? – Arrangements for sharing responsibility for the science programme between the STFC and the UK Space Agency

With the UK Space Agency now fully operational, arrangements have been made to ensure continuity of support for the UK Science Programme including training and development of instrumentation. Arrangements for the distribution of responsibilities for the previously wholly STFC supported programme have been agreed, under a  ‘Dual Key process’ and regulated within a Service Level Agreement with the UK Space Agency.

Under the Agreement:

STFC will support:

• Research Grants for the exploitation of astronomy and space science, within the scientific remit of the STFC, details of the scheme can be found on the STFC web pages;

• The community is able, via these grants, to request support for blue skies and generic technologies related to the needs of space instrumentation or computing, as has always been the case.

• Studentships and fellowships in the areas of astronomy and space science, including training related to instrumentation for space missions but excluding Aurora training awards.  Details of the scheme can be found on the STFC web pages;

• Projects Research & Development (PRD) proposals for technologies (for example detector developments or software), that offer application to specific ground-based astronomy applications; 

• Space science outreach schemes, through STFC’s responsive mode funding schemes;

• STFC Knowledge Exchange programmes.

The UK Space Agency will support:

• Research grants and awards relating to the design and construction of space mission instruments or science mission-related software and systems.

• Grants and awards relating to post-launch support;

• Studentships and Fellowships related to the Aurora programme;

• Science exploitation of the Aurora programme, funds for which were foreseen in the original STFC approval, and were transferred to the UK Space Agency;

• Aurora outreach;

• UK Space Agency responsive mode outreach programmes;

• UK Space Agency Knowledge Exchange programmes.

In all cases potential applicants are encouraged to talk to the relevant STFC or UK Space Agency Programme Managers before submitting proposals and to consult the relevant web pages at STFC (link opens in a new window) and the UKSA (link opens in a new window).

UKSA and STFC summary:

-ESA subscriptions                                                                                  
-Mission-specific instruments                                             
-Operation of UK instruments (PLS)                                      
-Aurora integrated national programme

-Early R&D for space science (non-mission specific)
-Scientific exploitation of missions

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