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STFC plans Rutherford Appleton lab cutbacks

A review by the Science and Technology Facilities Council of its support for particle physics research will result in the end of some research programmes at the Rutherford Appleton laboratory in Didcot, Oxfordshire.

The review was ordered in June 2011 with the intention of making recommendations on the laboratory’s role “in the context of wishing to concentrate on a technical support mission for the UK national programme; the appropriate size, structure and areas of expertise for such a role; and the governance of the activity,” the STFC said.

Among its main recommendations, the review panel argued that the particle physics department must remain strongly focussed on its mission to support the national particle physics programme. This means it will favour work in areas such as detector development and instrumentation, advanced engineering, triggering and tracking capabilities, data acquisition systems, online and control systems and computing.

The council’s management is currently considering implementation of the reviews’ recommendations. This is expected to lead to a reduction in the size of the particle physics department, the STFC said in a statement.