UK physics gets new funding boost
Dec 10, 1999
The second set of awards under a £750 m scheme to upgrade research facilities in UK universities have been announced. Six physics projects were awarded money in the second round of the Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF), and a further eleven projects in related areas have also been funded. The physics projects are: £3.8 m for a study of 'dark matter' at Sheffield University, an upgrade to the Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank (£2 m), a new semiconductor centre in Liverpool University (£3.1 m) and research into measuring particle electric dipole moments at Sussex University (£1.7 m). A consortium led by Edinburgh University also won £6.7 m to build the world's most powerful computer dedicated to quantum chromodynamics, while another joint project led by Oxford University was awarded £2.1 m for particle physics research at Fermilab in Illinois.
The JIF scheme is funded by the UK government and the Wellcome Trust, the world's largest biomedical research charity. It was set up after several reports found that a shortage of state-of-the-art research equipment was making it difficult for universities in the UK to remain at the forefront of international research. Nearly £320m has been awarded to 45 projects in 27 different institutions in the second round of the scheme. The size of the awards varies between £750 000 and £30 m.
The upgrade to the Lovell Radio Telescope will extend the life of the 76-metre telescope to the mid 21st Century. The useable frequency range of the telescope will be increased by a factor of four, and the sensitivity by a factor of five. The new funds will also treble the sensitivity of MERLIN - a network of UK radio telescopes link together to form a giant 'virtual' telescope.