The Secretary of State and I have had a number of discussions with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) about research in physics and astronomy.
The STFC published its Delivery Plan on 11 December 2007 following its Science Budget Allocation which amounted to an additional £185 million over the CSR period and a total budget of £1.9 billion over that period.
STFC Council has made clear that the funding for physics exploitation grants will remain broadly level in this financial year (2008/09). Bill Wakeham, Vice Chancellor of Southampton University, has been asked to lead a review of the health of physics research in the UK, as part of a RCUK review of the continued health of key research disciplines. The review panel is expected to report to the RCUK Executive Group in September, and the results of the review will be published shortly afterwards.
STFC also announced that funding for Particle Physics grants will be 43 per cent. higher in 2008/09 than it was in 2005/06, while in Nuclear Physics, a grant round now in progress will provide an increase of 78 per cent. in 2008/09 compared to 2005/06.
STFC has also announced that support for astronomy grants will be 67 per cent. higher in 2008/09 than in 2005/06.