The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a United Kingdom government agency that carries out research in science and engineering, and funds UK research in areas including particle physics, nuclear physics, space science and astronomy (both ground-based and space-based).
|Type||Non-departmental public body|
|Legal status||Government agency|
|Purpose||Funding of science research|
STFC was formed in April 2007 when the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), along with the nuclear physics activities of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) were brought under the one umbrella organisation. The organisation's first Chief Executive was Professor Keith Mason, who held the position until 2011, when he was replaced by Professor John Womersley. Womersley servied as CEO until 2016 when he left to become Director General of the European Spallation Source. Dr Brian Bowsher, former CEO of the National Physical Laboratory and member of STFC's Council was the last CEO of the STFC before it was subsumed into UK Research and Innovation, a division of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. In 2018 Professor Mark Thomson was appointed as the first Executive Chair of STFC under UKRI.
Receiving its funding through the science budget from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), STFC's mission is "To maximise the impact of our knowledge, skills, facilities and resources for the benefit of the United Kingdom and its people" under several heads:
The STFC is one of Europe's largest multidisciplinary research organisations supporting scientists and engineers worldwide. Through research fellowships and grants, it is responsible for funding research in UK universities, in the fields of astronomy, particle physics, nuclear physics and space science. The STFC operates its own world-class, large-scale research facilities (such as materials research, laser and space science and alternative energy exploration) and provides strategic advice to the UK government on their development. It manages international research projects in support of a broad cross-section of the UK research community and directs, coordinates and funds research, education and training. It is a partner in the UK Space Agency (formerly British National Space Centre or BNSC) providing about 40% of the UK government's expenditure in space science and technology.
It helps operate/provide access for UK and international scientists to the following large-scale facilities:
STFC's budget is allocated annually by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. For 2015-16, its allocation was £529 million.
STFC is active in its responsibility for knowledge exchange from government funded civil science into UKPLC. As such, many technologies are licensed to UK companies and spin-out companies created including:
However knowledge exchange activities are not purely limited to commercialization of technologies, but also cover a wider range of activities which aim to transfer expertise into the wider economy.