Statement on Spending Review

STFC's Delivery Plan 2011-15 (PDF - 749kB - link opens in a new window) sets out a broad programme of inspiring and exciting science and technology, and includes new proposals to strengthen our science base and maximise the economic benefits for the United Kingdom from our research.

The Plan provides a high-level overview of STFC’s planned expenditure over the next four years. Implementation details will be developed over the coming three months in consultation with STFC’s science community, universities and other academic partners, and private sector collaborators.

Approved by STFC Council and the Minister for Universities and Science, the Plan is structured around the three budgetary partitions announced in March 2010 by the government – international subscriptions, UK large facilities and our core programme. This approach will avoid the transfer of possible future financial pressures to other parts of the programme, especially grants, and to ensure that the large facility operations meet the collective needs of the Research Councils.

After transferring responsibility for space science to the UK Space Agency, STFC’s overall baseline allocation for 2011-12 for resource funding (previously termed “near-cash”) is £377.5m rising to an allocation of £381.14m in 2014-15. This excludes administration which will be separately allocated. Our capital baseline allocation for 2011-12 is £91m, with an indicative allocation for the remainder of the spending review period reducing to £68m in 2014-15.

“Our settlement is extremely welcome and recognises government’s strong support for our science and technology, although the next four years is not without challenges. STFC and its research communities are well positioned to deal with these – we carried out a thorough prioritisation of our programme in 2009 which focused support on our highest priority activities,” STFC Chairman, Professor Michael Sterling, said today.

“This process was a difficult one, involving significant reductions in research support for some of STFC’s science areas, but the programme and priorities established a year ago form a strong basis for the next four years and are carried forward in this Delivery Plan.”

Some of the highlights of the Plan are:

  • We will support a world-class research programme in astronomy, particle physics and nuclear physics, following the priorities established a year ago in consultation with our research communities.

    • Our programme includes the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, ESO telescopes, R&D for the proposed European Extremely Large Telescope and Square Kilometre Array, and grant support for other projects.

  • We will maintain resource spending on grants and keep studentship numbers constant, and will transition all our grant support to a new consolidated grants mechanism.

    • We will introduce a new Fellowships scheme and a new Studentship Enhancement Programme to nurture future research leaders.

  • We will operate the UK large national facilities to ensure agreed levels of access for the other Research Councils. As part of this we will ensure their continued sustainability as world leading facilities.

    • The Diamond Light Source will be fully exploited, including the expansion of its research capabilities through the provision of new beamlines which will deliver new advances across the full range of research disciplines.
    • Operations at the ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source and the Central Laser Facility will be reduced.

  • We will provide access, at levels agreed with international partners and our fellow Research Councils, to the international facilities operated by CERN in Geneva, the European Southern Observatory organization based near Munich in Germany, and the Institute Laue-Langevin and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility both in Grenoble, France.

    • We have made significant savings in real terms in all of these subscriptions and have agreed to reduce the UK’s use of ESRF.

  • We will reorganise STFC, with a tighter focusing of our laboratory activities and the establishment of new Campus Centres.

    • We will restructure our organisation to match these priorities and activity levels, and the reduced administration budget.

  • We will introduce new funding schemes to support Global Challenges, innovation, and collaborative R&D, and will develop new models of industrial/academic cooperation using both public and private sector funding.

  • We will deliver new activities to inspire and enthuse the nation’s young people about careers in science, and to improve public understanding of scientific advances.

STFC’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Keith Mason, said: “The next four years will bring significant challenges, but we believe that this Delivery Plan lays out a solid basis on which to move forward. With the enthusiasm and commitment of our staff, our research communities, and our partners, and their shared belief in the importance of what we do, we will face these challenges with determination and confidence.”

Alongside the Plan, we are also publishing our Corporate Strategy (PDF - link opens in a new window) which sets out a clear direction for the organisation over the next 10 years. The Plan has been designed around our Strategic Goals, and will ensure we maximise the impact of our science and technology for the benefit of the UK and its people.”

Page last updated: 20 December 2010 by Julia Maddock