ASE logo The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh


No 52 - March 2007

ROE in new research council

The Government is creating a new research council, into which the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) - the main constituent of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh (ROE) - will transfer. The new council will come into existence on 2007-04-01. It was known provisionally as the "Large Facilities Council", but has now been named the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). It will concentrate the large physics and astronomy research facilities in one council. Such large facilities include the UK involvement in e.g. the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). To this end the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) and the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) will merge, and responsibility for nuclear physics will transfer from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to the new council. Following pressure from the science community PPARC's grant funding will remain with the new council and not be transferred to EPSRC.

The two top jobs in the new council have been awarded to Prof. Keith Mason and Prof. John Wood. Mason, who is the Chief Executive of PPARC, is Chief Executive designate of the new council. Wood, who is the Chief Executive of CCRLC, is Director, International Relations, designate, of the new council.

In the mid 1990s the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) had been split up into EPSRC, PPARC, CCLRC and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In 1998 SERC/PPARC closed the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) in Cambridge and transformed the Royal Observatory Edinburgh into the UK ATC, reducing its responsibility to developing astronomical instrumentation. Since then the name of the ROE is kept alive jointly by the UK ATC, the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Edinburgh (IfA) and the ROE Visitor Centre. Following its creation the UK ATC experienced a period of steady growth. But this came to an end in 2005 when it had to lay off staff due to cuts to PPARC's astronomical instrumentation programme.


Horst Meyerdierks


Cover page

From the editor

Recent observations

Annual General Meeting - March 16th 2007

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on March 17th 2006

Astronomical Society of Edinburgh - Annual Report for 2006

Observing through the years

ROE in new research council

Forthcoming events

About the ASE Journal

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