Press Release

New Chair appointed for the Science and Technology Facilities Council

By SpaceRef Editor
July 31, 2009
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The Minister for Science and Innovation, Lord Drayson today announced the appointment of Professor Michael Sterling as the new Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Lord Drayson said:

“I am very pleased to appoint Professor Michael Sterling as Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council. He brings a wealth of experience of management at the highest levels of academia and deep understanding of leading a national organisation working closely with government.

“This appointment will play an important role in the future success of STFC and its mission to fund the highest quality research and postgraduate training in space science, particle physics, nuclear physics and astronomy. The Council’s activities which also includes providing access to a range of scientific facilities, support many sectors vital to our everyday lives such as communications and the biological and medical sciences”.

Professor Michael Sterling said:

“I am delighted to be joining STFC, an organization that is so clearly at the leading edge of knowledge and that has such direct relevance to our understanding of our physical environment. The importance of the research is evident from the many international partnerships which underpin the facilities.”

Professor Sterling will succeed Peter Warry on 1 August 2009. The appointment is for four years.

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the STFC, welcomed Professor Sterling’s appointment: “I am looking forward to working with Professor Michael Sterling as together we take the Science and Technology Facilities Council in to a fresh era; implementing our new Vision to maximise the impact of our knowledge, skills, facilities and resources for the benefit of the United Kingdom and its people.”

Professor Mason also paid tribute to the retiring Chairman: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Warry for his commitment and guidance to Council over the years of his tenure. Peter has been Chairman of STFC since its creation in April 2007, and was Chairman of one of its predecessor Councils – the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [PPARC] – having been appointed to this role in 2001, making Peter Warry PPARC’s longest serving Chairman.”

Notes to Editors

Press Office Contact:

BIS Press Office – Rachel Clarke Tel: 18002 020 7215 5945 (this is a text-direct telephone; please dial the number in full).

STFC – Julia Maddock MInstP MInstPR
Tel: 01793 44 2094

1. The appointment has been made in accordance with the requirements of the Code of the Commissioner for Public Appointments and after consideration of a report of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee which held a pre-appointment hearing on Monday 13 July.

2. Professor Sterling has not been involved in any relevant political activities in the last five years. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the Nolan recommendations there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity to be made public. He holds two other Ministerial appointments. He is a Board member of Advantage West Midlands for which he is paid #8,666 pa and an unpaid member of the Council for Science and Technology. As Chair of STFC he will receive an honorarium of #24,270 pa.

3. Professor Sterling is an engineer by background. He has just retired as Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham University and was previously Vice Chancellor at Brunel University (1990-2001). His earlier career was at the University of Durham and the University of Sheffield. He has been a member of the Council for Science and Technology since 2004 and is Chair of its energy and water subgroups. He is a Board member of Advantage West Midlands Regional Development Agency. He was Chair of the Russell Group of the 20 leading UK Universities from 2003 to 2006. He was a member of the Council of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2005-08 and was President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers from 2002-03.

4. 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.

The Council has a broad science portfolio including Astronomy, Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics, Nuclear Physics, Space Science, Synchrotron Radiation, Neutron Sources and High Power Lasers. In addition the Council manages and operates three internationally renowned laboratories:

* The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire
* The Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire
* The UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh

The Council gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) and the European Space Agency (ESA). It also funds UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory. The Council distributes public money from the Government to support scientific research.

5. Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS – Investing in our future.

SpaceRef staff editor.