2017 Accelerator Strategic Review

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is currently undertaking a strategic review of its Accelerator Programme. Accelerator science is integral to STFC’s mission and serves to underpin the organisation’s functions. A strategic approach is required to ensure that the UK maintains its international position in accelerator science, and to position it to take timely decisions and influence investment both in the UK and internationally. The 2017 accelerator strategic review aims to provide an understanding of where future investment and resource should be targeted, taking into account the enabling technologies and synergies.

Read the accelerator strategic review 2017.


Accelerator science is a core component of STFC’s programme, underpinning much of what the organisation does. The 2012 to 2013 STFC programmatic review recognised that accelerator-based facilities are crucial to delivering large parts of STFC’s core science programme, and also serve a range of research activities including chemistry, biology, materials science and engineering that are funded by other research councils, Wellcome Trust and industry. The UK accelerator landscape will continue to evolve rapidly and it is important that the UK programme develops in an appropriate manner in response to changing national and international priorities. The review recommended that the Science Board, in conjunction with the Accelerator Strategy Board, develop and maintain a science-driven strategy for accelerator-based science, technology and facilities.

The programmatic review further recommended that a focused review of the current accelerator portfolio be conducted to assist in the development of a strategy. The accelerator review report was published in 2014. This provided an overview of the breadth and scope of the Accelerator Programme, highlighting areas of expertise and strength as well as areas of need.

In October 2015, STFC’s Executive Board considered the council’s priorities in the following areas of accelerator science:

  • neutron sources
  • light sources
  • frontier machines
  • novel accelerators
  • cross-cutting themes.

Statements agreed by the Executive Board regarding priorities for the Accelerator Programme inform strategy development, as does the 2016 review of the accelerator institutes.

Terms of reference

The Accelerator Programme’s goal is to develop a strategy for STFC accelerator science that:

  • provides a vision for the development of accelerator science over the next 15 to 20 years, taking into account financial scenarios
  • identifies the highest priorities for accelerator science in its five core themes and overall
  • outlines the high-level actions needed to deliver these priorities, taking into account financial scenarios.

The strategy development should consider:

  • the current STFC Accelerator Science Programme, including strengths and weaknesses
  • the future opportunities for accelerator science, both in the UK and internationally
  • STFC, national and international priorities relevant to accelerator science and the relative priorities of the five themes, including a steer on the financial investment needed
  • where STFC should take an international leadership role or, conversely, areas where minimal or no involvement would be appropriate
  • the underpinning technologies required to deliver the high-priority facilities, along with how to address any gaps
  • how commercial opportunities arising from accelerator research and development can be maximised
  • how STFC’s relationships with other organisations impact on the Accelerator Science Programme and where there are opportunities to develop or create new partnerships to benefit the programme.

Input for the strategy comes from the:

  • 2014 accelerator review report
  • strategic guidance from the Executive Board
  • STFC corporate strategy
  • 2016 accelerator institute reviews
  • 2016 FEL strategic review
  • national and international strategy documents.

Review Panel members

  • Stewart Boogert (ASB, JAI, Royal Holloway, University of London) Chair
  • Ralph Assmann (DESY)
  • Mei Bai (GSI)
  • Hans Braun (SwissFEL)
  • Håkan Danared (ESS)
  • Rory Duncan (SB, Heriot-Watt University)
  • Terry Garvey (SwissFEL)
  • Norbert Holtkamp (SLAC)
  • Victor Malka (LOA, France)
  • Victoria Martin (PPRP, The University of Edinburgh)
  • Lia Merminga (SLAC)
  • Hugh Montgomery (Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facilities)
  • Andy Wolski (ASB, University of Liverpool)
  • Nigel Boulding (FMB Oxford)
  • Phil Kaziewicz (IAB, GI Partners)

Read updates leading up to the publication of the report on the UK Government Web archive.

Last updated: 12 September 2023

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