Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Centre for Instrumentation

Within the national laboratories, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) undertakes strategic research to prepare for the future instrumentation needs of STFC facilities and programmes.

Partners involved:
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

The scope and what we're doing

Aligned with the STFC detectors and instrumentation strategy, the Centre for Instrumentation is designed to sponsor pre‐grant work to prepare for our next generation of instrumentation systems.

The resources provide a focus for the development of solutions to instrumentation needs that are common across our programmes, such as:

  • sensor materials
  • front-end electronics
  • data acquisition hardware
  • firmware
  • control
  • software.

The board prioritise cases where the needs of more than one facility or programme are being addressed while not duplicating other funding or exploitation routes such as STFC’s proof of concept awards.

Why we're doing it

Detectors and instrumentation are recognised as being a key enabler at the forefront of all STFC’s core research areas. This includes our national facilities that support research across much of the wider UK Research and Innovation remit.

The performance requirements for our detector components and systems are constantly increasing as new techniques are developed and source powers increase.  This constantly sets new challenges that STFC’s facilities and programme’s instrumentation teams need to address to remain competitive.

This requires long-term planning and development to ensure that future detector needs for STFC, partners, stakeholders, and science communities can be effectively met.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Funding opportunities

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Following a rigorous bidding and review process, funds are allocated each year by the governing board in the form of managed programmes and shorter responsive mode projects.

Programmes are larger projects that span three or more years and address strategic developments, with a rolling three-year work plan.

Shorter responsive mode projects address short-term developments (up to 12 months) designed to promote innovative ideas, push current boundaries and pioneer new work.

The bidding process is open to everyone within the national laboratories of STFC. For others that might want to engage please approach the Centre Head (see ‘Who to contact’ section).

Who to contact

Marcus French, Head of Detectors and Electronics division, STFC Technology Department


Anna Orlowska, Director STFC Technology Department


Governance, management and panels

A Centre for Instrumentation board provides a link between STFC’s national laboratory departments and represents the needs of the community to STFC.

The board decides which projects are funded and monitors project progress and overall alignment of the programme to the mission of the centre.

The programme selection is guided by recommendations from the Director of Technology Department who, together with the Centre Head, is responsible for drawing up a proposed programme of work for the centre for the coming year. The board has the final power to modify, accept or reject the proposal from the Director.

The board meets at least twice per year, typically in:

  • March, to approve the programme for the coming year
  • October, to review the programme and advise on future directions.

The board may meet more frequently as required.

The board membership is currently comprised of the department heads within the national laboratories with additionally external domain experts.

Last updated: 12 September 2023

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