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Science Minister announces STFC Executive Chair Designate


Science Minister announces STFC Executive Chair Designate

Minister Sam Gyimah has today (22 January 2018) announced that Professor Mark Thomson has been selected to be Executive Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), following a fair and open competition. Professor Thomson is a Professor in Experimental Particle Physics based at Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge and has an extensive background researching high energy particle physics, and will take over from STFC Chief Executive Brian Bowsher at the beginning of April when UKRI comes into being. Professor Thomson will also lead delivery of the UKRI Infrastructure Roadmap.

Announcing the appointment, Universities and Science Minister, Sam Gyimah, said: 

"Professor Thomson has a strong background in particle physics and will be a great asset to STFC, reinforcing the UK’s reputation as being world-beating in this exciting and ever-evolving area of science.

"Boosting research and development is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy and the role of Executive Chairs for the Research Councils will have a fundamental role in not only setting the priorities for their particular areas of interest, but of UKRI as a whole and I look forward to working with Professor Thompson and the rest of the UKRI team.

"Brian Bowsher has done a terrific job leading STFC and I thank him for all his hard work and wish him well for the future."

Professor Thomson said: 

"I am passionate about STFC science, which spans the smallest scales of particle physics to the vast scales of astrophysics and cosmology, and it is a great honour be appointed to lead STFC as its new Executive Chair. The formation of UKRI presents exciting opportunities for STFC to further develop the UK’s world-leading science programme and to maximise the impact of the world-class facilities supported by STFC."

Sir Mark Walport added:

"Professor Mark Thomson has extensive experience of national and international leadership roles at the forefront of particle physics. He is the ideal person to lead STFC and I am delighted that he has been selected to join UK Research and Innovation as Executive Chair of STFC. He will take over from Brian Bowsher, who has been an exceptional leader and has played a pivotal role in the development of UKRI."

Notes to editors

  1. Professor Thomson is Professor of Experimental Particle Physics at the University of Cambridge. He has held national and international research leadership roles at the forefront of particle physics across a number of areas, including collider physics and neutrinos. Most recently, he has been the co-leader of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), a collaboration of over 1000 scientists, working towards the construction of a major new project in the US. Professor Thomson was the scientific lead for the recent £65 million UK investment in DUNE, which secured the UK’s leading role in the construction of DUNE. In addition to his own research, Professor Thomson has held numerous research oversight roles both in the UK and abroad. 
  2. The post of Executive Chair of the STFC is subject to a pre-appointment hearing by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The Committee will consider this appointment in due course.

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