Launching PPARC's Five Year Strategy Programme

Press Release From: Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2003

PPARC's Five Year Strategic Programme is now available online at

Over one hundred delegates from Parliament, Whitehall and Industry attended a reception on Tuesday night (25 November) to mark the launch the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council's (PPARC) Five Year Plan.

The reception, which was addressed by the Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Education and Dr Ian Gibson, Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee, looked ahead to the next suite of cutting edge projects and celebrated the many exciting developments in UK science over recent years.

Professor Ian Halliday, PPARC's Chief Executive, said:

"It is an exciting time for PPARC science. The science delivered over the last four years results from the increases in the science budget which has made a real difference. With many more opportunities ahead of us, such as the Linear Collider and Extremely Large Telescopes, it is time to build on our success and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of cutting edge science and technology."

The key highlights and future work from UK research involves answering some of the fundamental questions about the Universe including:

* What are the basic properties of the fundamental particles and forces? Through research into the mass of the W boson, Quark gluon plasmas, neutrino oscillation

* SNO, LHC, Mice and the Linear Collider

* Why does anything exist at all? Through research into CP-violation

* Babar, LHCb, neutrino factory

* What is the origin of the Universe? Through research into the curvature of space

* Very Large Telescope, Large Hadron Collider, Planck, LISA

* Does life exist elsewhere? Through research into extra-solar planets

* Beagle 2, Very Large Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope, DARWIN

In space science the successes include the launch of Mars Express, carrying the UK led "Beagle 2" which is due to land on Mars on Christmas Day and the launch of SMART-1 en route to the Moon. Both missions have had key UK involvement from academia and industry and look set to provide important new scientific knowledge.

PPARC science is spearheading the next generation Internet by developing GRID technology that will have a profound impact on the global information society. The first phase of GRID technology is now being deployed in the run-up to handling the massive amounts of data that will stream from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, which is on target for completion in 2007.

Speaking at the reception the Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Education said:

"I applaud the work of PPARC and in particular the efforts to answer the deeply fundamental questions about who we are and what we are about. Knowledge of this is important for society as a whole, and especially in schools. Science is at the core of these big questions and there is great opportunity to engage children by this whole approach."

Notes to Editors

1. PPARC's strategic plan (2003-8) can be viewed on line at

2. For a hard copy of PPARC's Strategic Plan please contact Jim Gallagher on 01793 442037 or email

3. For further information about the strategic plan and PPARC's programme please contact:- Peter Barratt * PPARC Press Office. Tel: 01793 442025. Email:

4. Images of the launch event are available from the PPARC website or contact Gill Ormrod on 01792 442012. Email:

5. The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is the UK's strategic science investment agency. It funds research, education and public understanding in four broad areas of science - particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and space science.

PPARC is government funded and provides research grants and studentships to scientists in British universities, gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, the European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory. It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility.

For further details on PPARC see

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