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STFC - its official!

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 December 2013 20:49
Published on Thursday, 09 November 2006 00:00
The new large facilities council will be called the "Science and Technology Facilities Council"( STFC).

In announcing this the DTI said,
' The new name reflects the broad nature of the new Council's responsibilities, which encompass a wide range of science and technology activities. It addresses concerns, raised by some respondents to the consultation which ended last June, that the name "large facilities council" did not refer directly to the scientific remit of the new Council. Respondents felt that this could make it more difficult for stakeholders, both in the United Kingdom and internationally, to recognise immediately the role of the Council'.

While the research community will be relieved that 'Science and Technology' appears in its name, there will be some concern that 'Research' does not. The RAS has argued that the new Council needs to be carefully designed from scratch incorporating the following principles:
            (A)  it should be a Research Council
            (B) there should be a strong presence on its  governing committee (Council) of experienced university researchers 
          (C) a Science Committee should undertake the necessary strategic reviews needed to plan new facilities, ensure that they are well-instrumented, and make sensible decisions about when facilities have reached the end of their cutting-edge life 
            (D) the peer review process currently used by PPARC in assessing proposals for new facilities and instrumentation, research grant proposals and applications to exploit facilities should be retained. 

The new Council is planned to be created using powers in the Science and Technology Act 1965 which require an affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament approving a draft Order. The new Council will be under the sponsorship of the Office of Science and Innovation in the DTI which will provide most of its funding.