Cockcroft Institute awarded £16m to boost accelerator research

Liverpool, UK – 9 October 2009: The Cockcroft Institute, a partnership between the Universities of Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester, has been awarded £16.4million to further research into accelerator science and technology.

The funding, awarded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), will enable the Cockcroft Institute to build upon its academic expertise and strong research base in accelerator research and development over the next eight years and strengthen its position at the forefront of research into the next generation of frontline accelerators.

Accelerator science underpins a wide range of scientific disciplines and plays a key role in the advancement of research to further understanding of the Universe and in the global challenge areas of energy, security, health and environment.

The Cockcroft Institute, led by the University of Liverpool, places academics, scientists and engineers at the forefront of developing the next generation of particle accelerators that will meet physicists’ demands for more energised and intense particle beams to carry out fundamental research. It is heavily involved in the research and development towards future global particle physics accelerators based on linear collider technology and for the study of neutrinos.

Professor Swapan Chattopadhyay, Director of the Cockcroft Institute and Sir John Cockcroft Chair of Physics at the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester, said: “I am delighted at the exciting opportunities for growth that have been secured by this award. This investment will ensure the Cockcroft Institute maintains its position at the forefront of accelerator science and help us to develop our research in the areas of particle physics, nuclear and photon sciences in collaboration with colleagues across the UK and abroad.”

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of STFC, said: “Both the Cockcroft and John Adams Institutes are recognised as international centres of excellence and have played a fundamental role in re-establishing accelerator science capabilities in the UK and enabling the country to compete at a global level.
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“The awarding of these grants by STFC will support both Institutes to develop their existing programmes and continue making significant scientific and technological contributions to the next generation of frontline accelerators worldwide.”

The Cockcroft Institute is involved in ongoing research in next generation light sources and emerging activities in high current proton accelerators for various sciences using hadron and electron-hadron colliders, neutrons and muons and their applications to energy and health. They are also enabling strong links to be built between the research community and high technology industry to ensure that the UK can get the maximum benefit from its science.

The Cockcroft Institute complements a number of the University of Liverpool’s research projects already underway at Daresbury including the ‘New Light Source’ project which allows researchers to study molecules working in real-time, follow chemical reactions as they happen and look at potential drug molecules as they interact with cells.

Working closely with the Cockcroft Institute and other partners as part of the CONFORM project, the University of Manchester is spearheading a multi-million pound drive to develop a prototype `non-scaling fixed field alternating gradient’ (NS-FFAG) particle accelerator, which could lead to more effective cancer treatment, greener electricity and less nuclear waste.

The announcement follows a review of the Cockcroft Institute earlier this year by a panel of international experts.

Notes to editors:

1. The Cockcroft Institute is based at the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus and is a partnership between the Universities of Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester, with support from the North West Regional Development Agency.

2. The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.

3. Lancaster University’s Physics department is rated first in the UK for research quality and 92% Lancaster’s overall research is recognised as world leading or internationally significant. Lancaster is one of only 29 UK universities ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide, coming in at number 162 in the annual THE-QS world university rankings and is currently ranked top University in the North West in the Independent, Guardian, Times and Sunday Times league tables.

4. The University of Manchester is the UK’s largest single-site university, with an annual income of more than £680 million. According to the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, it is now one of the country’s major research institutions, rated third in the UK in terms of ‘research power’ behind only Oxford and Cambridge. The University attracts world-renowned researchers and teachers and boasts no fewer than 23 Nobel Prize winners among its current and former staff and students. The reputation of the School of Physics and Astronomy for research was confirmed by the last research assessment, which placed it fifth in the UK in its volume of world-leading and internationally excellent research.

5.The Science and Technology Facilities Council ensures the UK retains its leading place on the world stage by delivering world-class science; accessing and hosting international facilities; developing innovative technologies; and increasing the socio-economic impact of its research through effective knowledge exchange partnerships

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