Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time


The Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time (PATT) comprises an overall chair, members and technical secretaries of the time allocation groups (TAGS).


  • Dr Chris Watson, Queen’s University Belfast


  • Dr Caroline Villforth, University of Bath
  • Dr James Mullaney, The University of Sheffield

Remit, terms of reference and constitution


These include those where the UK community has priority access to time via an agreement (such as the ING, LT and e-MERLIN) and those where the UK community is able to compete via open access (such as facilities owned and operated within the US, Chile or Australia). Applications for ESO facilities are dealt with directly by ESO. It may on occasion be asked for input to policy and related matters.

PATT no longer includes the Time Allocation Groups (TAGS) which consider applications for the use of the ING, LT and e-MERLIN. For more information for applying for time on the ING, LT or e-MERLIN please consult the telescope directors directly, or check the relevant website.

Terms of reference

  • Advise the executive on the award of travel and subsistence expenses consistent with allocated telescope time
  • Take account, as appropriate, of any strategic advice provided by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
  • Take account, as appropriate, of the recommendations of external reviewers
  • Provide clear, concise feedback to applicants
  • Advise the Executive as required on all issues relating to PATT
  • Liaise with other bodies as necessary.


The PATT comprises a grant awarding body. Members will be drawn from the wider academic community and will be overseen by an overall chair.

The grant awarding body is appointed by the Executive and comprises the overall chair, plus members from the TAGS (usually no more than three). It meets once a year, usually by teleconference.

The secretariat for PATT is provided by STFC.

Guidelines for managing conflicts of interest in the peer review process

STFC, as a publicly funded organisation, is accountable to government and the public for its actions and for the way it conducts its business, which must be undertaken in a way that is transparent and guards against conflicts of interest influencing the outcome of decisions. Further information on managing conflicts of interest as a STFC panel member can be found in our guidance for reviewers.

Equality of opportunity

STFC is fully committed to ensuring that all applicants receive equal treatment throughout the peer review process, and will provide the necessary training and support to panel members and peer reviewers. STFC shares its equality, diversity and inclusion policies with UKRI, and monitors its activities to ensure that it follows best practice and enable full compliance under the Equality Act 2010.


STFC distributes peer review papers via a secure extranet. Anything accessed on the extranet is confidential, and the contents should not be disclosed. This is to ensure that the contents of the proposals and reviews are not made known more widely than is necessary for proper consideration by the peer review panels. Names of reviewers are not disclosed to applicants, nor are those of the lead introducer for the proposals.

Last updated: 18 January 2024

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