This morning [25th July 2006] the Department of Trade and Industry announced that the Government has decided to create a new Large Facilities Council merging the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils [CCLRC] and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [PPARC] following the 'Next Steps' consultation exercise. The Government aims to set up the new Council so that it can take on its new functions by 1 April 2007.
The announcement was jointly welcomed by Professor John Wood, Chief Executive of CCLRC and Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of PPARC who made the following joint statement.
"Science is undoubtedly international both on a European and global scale, and the new Council will enable the UK to be a major player in the forthcoming era of scientific facilities and discoveries that lie ahead.
Through the new Council and our membership of major European organisations, the UK will be in a much stronger position to help shape and exert greater leadership and leverage in the development of strategies for large research facilities, enabling the UK research community to have access to the best facilities in the world.
The UK's technology capability will be enhanced through the development of the Harwell and Daresbury Science and Innovation Centres leading to greater industrial engagement, knowledge transfer and economic impact.
During the months ahead we will conduct wide consultation with our broad community and stakeholders in 'designing' the new Council which presents an enormously exciting opportunity for the UK science and engineering base".
The joint response from CCLRC-PPARC to the 'Next Steps' Consultation Exercise on the potential for merging two Councils can be seen at: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/Md/Artcl/NewRCProposal.pdf
The Department of Trade and Industry announcement can be seen at http://www.gnn.gov.uk/environment/detail.asp?releaseID=216698&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromDepartment=False
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The Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils [CCLRC] is one of eight UK research councils and is one of Europe's largest multidisciplinary research organisations supporting scientists and engineers across the world. It operates world-class large-scale research facilities, provides strategic advice to the government on their development and manages international research projects in support of a broad cross-section of the UK research community.
The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [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.