Funding large or complex scientific projects
Apply for funding to develop a large or complex scientific project. You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding. Your project must be focused on one of the following: - particle physics - nuclear physics - astronomy - particle astrophysics - accelerator physics - computing for physics
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Apply for funding to develop a large or complex scientific project.
You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding.
Your project must be focused on one of the following:
computing for physics.
Large projects could involve:
participating in new experiments or missions
developing new instruments
upgrading existing detectors
the ongoing operation of existing facilities.
You must discuss your ideas with one of our programme managers before applying.
You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding.
Speak to your programme manager (see the ‘contact details’ section) for advice on:
specific eligibility requirements
whether to submit a statement of interest to the STFC Science Board.
Academic applicants must meet the normal eligibility requirements for STFC research grant funding.
STFC provides research grant funding opportunities that are reviewed through frequent Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP) rounds.
STFC supports large or complex projects that have significant scientific priority in one of the following:
computing for physics.
Large projects could involve:
participating in new, or developing existing, high priority experiments or missions
developing new instruments or accelerator technologies
developing new, or upgrading existing, detectors
purchasing new, or upgrading existing, major high performance computing facilities
the ongoing operation of existing facilities
developing new initiatives in the field of e-science, including modelling and data management
How to apply
To apply, you must follow these steps:
contact the relevant programme manager (see the ‘contact details’ section) for advice and eligibility information
submit your statement of interest to the Science Board.
If you are successful, you will then be invited to submit a full proposal to the PPRP.
Before submitting your statement of interest
To help STFC with financial planning, you must let STFC know if you wish to apply for funding for any future research projects.
This is most important for large projects where you are likely to apply for substantial funding from STFC. You must let STFC know by contacting the appropriate programme manager (see the ‘contact details’ section) who will advise you on the next steps.
If you are looking to submit a statement of interest with the intention of developing a full proposal shortly afterwards, you must also contact the relevant programme manager.
Programme managers will:
discuss the submission process with you
ensure that you are aware of all components of the statement of interest
ensure that you understand all stages of STFC’s peer review process
advise you on the fit of your project into the STFC strategic context.
Where appropriate, programme managers can give you advice to ensure your proposal provides sufficient information for effective peer review.
Once the programme manager agrees, they will invite you to submit a statement of interest to the STFC Science Board.
Completing your statement of interest
The statement of interest is made up of two components:
a dedicated template (pro-forma), consisting of specific questions
a two-page scientific justification.
Additional supporting information, such as a letter of support, is not required and will not form part of the STFC Science Board consideration.
If you have any queries about the questions or the scientific justification, please contact the relevant programme manager (see the ‘contact details’ section).
The scientific justification should include the following information:
a strong science case (forming the majority of the scientific justification)
the scientific competitiveness and track record of the group
how the project relates to STFC priorities
the economic and societal impact (who might benefit from this project and how the potential impacts of the project will be realised)
an estimate of the total full economic cost of the project.
The scientific justification may be used to provide more detailed information relating to any of the questions on the dedicated template. You should ensure that the STFC Science Board has sufficient evidence to make an informed recommendation.
The principal focus of the scientific justification is the science case and this should form the majority of the content.
‘Scientific excellence’ is the main criterion on which the STFC Science Board will base its decision.
The justification should focus on the science that would be delivered by the project and what the impact of that science would be (or what the impact would be should the UK not invest).
Estimate of the total full economic cost
This must include the capital construction phase and, where possible, the exploitation phase.
In all cases, costs should be broken down by heading (for example, university and STFC laboratory staff effort, equipment, travel and consumables) and must be sufficiently detailed to show that estimates are reasonable.
Please note that the cost of the project must not exceed that given in the statement of interest by more than 15%. Should project costs increase by more than this, the STFC Science Board may need to reconsider the statement of interest, taking into account the amended costs.
The scientific justification must be no longer than two pages in length.
In line with the standard UKRI specification for Je-S documents, the scientific justification should:
be written in Arial (or equivalent) size 11 font
have a minimum of 2cm margins around each page.
Forthcoming Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP) meeting, October 2023
The panel will be reviewing two proposals over two days of meetings.Both meetings will be held face-to-face at UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC), Edinburgh. The applicant’s presentation and the follow-up question and answer sessions are open to members of the science community to observe.
The proposals being reviewed, and time for public observations are as follows.
The UK ALMA Regional Centre Node: 2024 to 2027
17 October 2023 from 11:30am to 1pm UK time
The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) is located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, 5,000 metres above sea level. ALMA is the world’s premier telescope operating at millimetre and sub-millimetre wavelengths. At these wavelengths ALMA probes the cool gas and dust in the Universe, allowing the study of the formation and evolution of galaxies, stars and planets. The UK has played a significant role in the design and construction of the telescope and continues to be a major user of ALMA.
As part of the European ALMA Regional Center (ARC) network, the UK ARC Node helps UK astronomers produce world-leading science with ALMA. The UK ARC Node does this by providing direct support to UK ALMA users, and potential users of ALMA, at all the different stages in the lifecycle of an ALMA project, from an initial science idea and proposal to the final data analysis and the publication of the resulting science.
In addition, the UK ARC Node contributes to the enhancement of ALMA operations and its science delivery with a programme of development activities which aim to ease access to ALMA for astronomers and improve the quality of the final data it delivers. The UK ARC Node also undertakes outreach and engagement activities to inform the public about ALMA, the science it does and the opportunities science and engineering provide.
The UK ARC Node is hosted in the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at The University of Manchester and this proposal is to continue the funding of the UK ARC Node.
DUNE reconstruction software and distributed computing project: stage two
18 October 2023 from 10:45am to 12:15pm UK time
The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is the flagship of the future US particle physics programme and forms a major part of the UK strategy for the next generation of neutrino experiments. Currently in its construction phase, DUNE will consist of a 1.2 megawatt wide-band neutrino beam generated by the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility at Fermilab, and a 40 kt fiducial mass liquid-argon time-projection chamber (LArTPC) installed 1,300 kilometres away at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. Once operational, DUNE will perform precision measurements of neutrino oscillation physics and search for important phenomena such as nucleon decays and galactic supernova neutrino bursts. The UK is playing a leading role in the DUNE construction phase and has been funded to deliver several key components.
This project focuses on the essential reconstruction software and distributed computing that will be required to commission the DUNE detectors and deliver its precision physics programme. Over the next 4.5 years leading up to the start of data-taking, the UK groups will develop advanced pattern recognition algorithms for interpreting LArTPC data, harnessing the UK-led Pandora suite of particle-flow reconstruction software which represents the state of the art in DUNE. A complete set of reconstruction workflows will be delivered, capable of exploiting the full spectrum of DUNE physics.
The UK will play a key role in the international DUNE computing project, delivering key pieces of software for its distributed computing system and supporting the global management and movement of its data. The production computing system will be validated at scale via a series of data challenges. This project will capitalise on established UK responsibilities and scientific leadership in DUNE and create a strong platform through which the UK can be a key player in its future exploitation and physics.