UK Physics Funding “Revamped”

25Jul06

In a move whose immediate implications for me remain unclear, the United Kingdom has merged its Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) with its Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CLRC). The new entity will be called the Large Facilities Council, a nod to the trend that cutting edge experiments in astronomy and particle physics occur on a scale never before seen by the world (consider the LHC).

As a fellowship-funded student interested in theoretical physics, this shouldn’t have any direct impact on my studies in the UK. However, the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology at the University of Durham has ‘PPARC’ stamped all over it–it’s unclear at this stage whether the merger will bring about significant change in funding structure or administrative personnel within the funding body.

One point that hopefully isn’t beyond nomenclature was raised by the Standing Conference of Astronomy Professors (SCAP), who noted that the new Large Facilities Council doesn’t even have “research” in its name–something slightly disconcerting since there’s more to doing science than building big machines.



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