London, 25 July 2006
A new Large Facilities Council will be created by merging the current responsibilities of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) and the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) the Department of Trade and Industry announced today.
This follows a formal consultation on proposals, which closed on 16 June. More than 120 responses to the consultation were received, and those in favour of a merger outnumbered those against by a margin of approximately two to one.
It has been decided that PPARC's grant-giving functions will not be transferred to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Responsibility for nuclear physics will be transferred from EPSRC to the new Council.
The new Council will be responsible for Particle Physics, astronomy, space science, nuclear physics, synchrotron radiation, neutron sources and high power lasers, and will manage the Rutherford Appleton and Daresbury laboratories. Its budget in 2007-08 will be around £530 million.
The aim of the new council will be to:
* Create a more integrated approach to large facilities, including international negotiations, for long term projects involving several countries acting together;
* Obtain more value from the knowledge and technologies that are developed as a result of the new Council's programmes; and
* Deliver both of the above goals using the two science and innovation campuses at Harwell and Daresbury as identifiable knowledge transfer centres which host UK based large scale international facilities.
Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury said: " The creation of a Large Facilities Council will enable the UK to play a leading role in the next generation of large scale physical science projects. It will bring responsibility for these projects under a single umbrella, and will enable the UK to exploit fully the main synergies between the existing two Councils.
"The new Council will be responsible for two science and innovation campuses at Harwell and at Daresbury, and will be better able to exploit their considerable potential for knowledge transfer, and as internationally competitive locations for large scale scientific facilities.
The Government aims to set up the new Council so that it can take on its new functions by 1 April 2007.
Notes to editors:
The Government announced on 22 March 2006 a consultation on a proposal to create a Large Facilities Council. The consultation was announced in the document Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014: Next Steps. The Government asked for responses on two principal questions:
* Whether all large facilities operations should be integrated under a new Large Facilities Council, or whether there is a case for some facilities to remain under the management of other Research Councils.
* Furthermore, in the event of a merger, should the grant-giving functions of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) be moved to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
2. An affirmative resolution in each House of Parliament will be needed to create a new Research Council under section 1 (1) (C) of the Science and Technology Act 1965.