London, 10 February 2005
Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury, today announced the appointment of Professor Keith Mason as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC).
Announcing the appointment Lord Sainsbury said: "I am very pleased to welcome Professor Mason to the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council. Professor Mason's space science research background, and experience of managing international collaborations, as well as his experience as a member of PPARC's governing body since 1 April 2000, will be a great asset to the Council".
Professor Keith Mason said "It is an honour to have the opportunity to build on the legacy left by Ian Halliday. This is a time of great opportunity for the UK in astronomy, particle physics, and space science, and I look forward to working with the Council to realise these to the benefit of the UK." PPARC funds the highest quality research and related postgraduate training. In the last financial year it received £255 million from the science budget.
Professor Keith Mason will take up the post on 1 August. He succeeds Professor Ian Halliday who retires as Chief Executive on 31 March. The appointment is for four years.
Notes for Editors
1. The appointment of Professor Mason has been made following an open competition undertaken in accordance with the Guidance on Appointments to Public Bodies of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
2. Professor Keith Mason is currently Head of UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics and Director, Mullard Space Science Laboratory. He is the UK's lead investigator for the Ultra Violet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) on the NASA Swift mission which was launched last November and which is studying the explosive phenomena of gamma ray bursts.
3. Professor Mason is not active on behalf of any political party. He is currently a member of PPARC Council for which he is paid £6120 pa. He will resign on taking up this appointment. He holds no other ministerial appointments.
4. Professor Mason will receive an annual salary of £92,310 and will be eligible for performance awards of up to 15% of his basic salary.
5. Professor Richard Wade, currently the Council's Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Programmes, will take over as interim Chief Executive and Accounting Officer for the period from 1 April to 31 July 2005.
6. PPARC is the UK's strategic science investment agency. It funds research, education and training, and public understanding in four broad areas of science - particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and space science.
7. PPARC is government funded and provides research grants and studentships to scientists in British universities, gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, the European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory. It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility".
8. More information can be found at http://www.pparc.ac.uk
News release No. P/2005/049
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