The institute has been established for 10 years in the first instance, with the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) investing £7m and the University of Durham investing £5m. Durham already has a strong track record in phenomenology lead by James Stirling, who is director-designate of the new institute. To begin with the institute will have four new permanent positions and seven postdoctoral positions.

"This is a major opportunity to strengthen and expand UK phenomenology," said PPARC chief executive, Ian Halliday. "I believe this is an opportunity for the University and PPARC to have a major international impact; relations between the Institute and the experimental community will be all important.''