Strategic Review of Particle Physics Panel

On the advice of Council, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is undertaking a strategic review of particle physics to ensure the long-term health of the subject in the UK.

This light-touch review will evaluate data relating to the evolution of the programme of the last 10 years to refresh the underpinning guidance used by STFC advisory committees and programme managers.

It will not prioritise individual projects and will consider the balance between:

  • research and development
  • capital construction
  • maintenance and operations
  • scientific exploitation

The panel will meet over the course of summer 2022 with the intention of submitting their report to Council in the autumn.

Panel members

  • Brian Foster (Chair), Oxford University
  • Sinead Farrington, The University of Edinburgh
  • Nigel Glover, Durham University
  • Mark Lancaster, The University of Manchester
  • Jocelyn Monroe, Royal Holloway University of London
  • Monica D’Onofrio, University of Liverpool
  • Mitesh Patel, Imperial College London
  • Alfons Weber, University of Mainz

See the panel terms of reference.

Initial response from STFC

We welcome the report and the recommendations from the Strategic Review of Particle Physics Panel that was initiated at the suggestion of STFC Council. We appreciate the objective approach adopted by the panel.

The purpose of the review was to provide high-level strategic guidance to ensure the future health of particle physics in the UK, rather than consider specific project prioritisation.

We thank the panel for addressing the key points in the terms of reference, accounting for the current international context and possible future evolution.

The report and its recommendations provide valuable input that will enable STFC to:

  • best adapt to the current external environment
  • capitalise on the planning opportunity provided by a three-year spending review settlement

Some recommendations are covered by changes that we made prior to the review:

  • the substantial uplift to consolidated grants (across the STFC programme), presented in the STFC strategic delivery plan
  • the restoration of an early-stage ‘blue-skies’ funding line with a commitment for funding to rise over the spending review period
  • increased support for project management through the Particle Physics Department project support office and by recognising its importance during the peer review stages
  • closer working with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology on a UK strategy to maximise the benefits from membership of CERN
  • closer working with CERN to improve our industrial and wider return from the CERN subscription

We are currently working on a plan to address the full set of recommendations in the report. It is important that we develop the optimal path forward, taking account of the wider context within the STFC frontier science portfolio, including our governance and advisory structures. We are aiming to communicate the detailed response in the new year.

Again, we would like to thank the panel for their work in developing this report and recommendations and all those that contributed to the process.


Sarah Verth


Last updated: 16 March 2023

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