UK in­vests £65 mil­lion in State­side science

THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS - Jack.grove@timeshigh­ere­d­u­ca­tion.com

The UK govern­ment is to in­vest £65 mil­lion in two land­mark US science projects as part of a ground­break­ing deal that is likely to pave the way for more transat­lantic re­search col­lab­o­ra­tions.

Un­der the first UK-US Science and Tech­nol­ogy Agree­ment, an­nounced last week, the UK has com­mit­ted in­vest­ment worth £65 mil­lion ($88 mil­lion) in the Long Base­line Neu­trino Fa­cil­ity (LBNF) and Deep Un­der­ground Neu­trino Ex­per­i­ment (Dune), two lead­ing re­search ini­tia­tives that will ex­plore the ori­gin and struc­ture of the uni­verse.

The UK-US Science and Tech­nol­ogy agree­ment was signed by Ju­dith G. Gar­ber, the US act­ing as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for oceans and in­ter- na­tional environmental and sci­en­tific af­fairs, and Jo John­son, the UK univer­si­ties and science min­is­ter.

The treaty is the first um­brella agree­ment be­tween the US and the UK and out­lines a com­mit­ment to col­lab­o­rate on world-class science and in­no­va­tion, build­ing on ex­ist­ing suc­cess­ful re­search co­op­er­a­tion in recog­ni­tion of the value of open data to fur­ther sci­en­tific re­search and strengthen both economies, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment for Busi­ness, Energy and In­dus­trial Strat­egy.

It fol­lows talks at the White House be­tween US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and prime min­is­ter Theresa May in Jan­uary, in which they agreed plans to strengthen UK-US co­op­er­a­tion.

“By work­ing with our key al­lies, we are main­tain­ing our po­si­tion as a global leader in re­search for years to come,” said Mr John­son on sign­ing the agree­ment, adding that “re­search and de­vel­op­ment [is] at the core of our in­dus­trial strat­egy”.

“Our con­tin­ued col­lab­o­ra­tion with the US on science and in­no­va­tion ben­e­fits both na­tions and this agree­ment will en­able us to share our ex­per­tise to en­hance our un­der­stand­ing of many im­por­tant top­ics that have the po­ten­tial to be world­chang­ing,” Mr John­son con­tin­ued.

Un­der con­struc­tion in the US, the ma­jor in­ter­na­tional LBNF/Dune project aims to an­swer some of the most im­por­tant ques­tions in science and ad­vance our un­der­stand­ing of the ori­gin and struc­ture of the uni­verse. One as­pect of study is the be­hav­iour of par­ti­cles called neu­tri­nos and their an­ti­mat­ter coun­ter­parts, an­tineu­tri­nos. This could pro­vide in­sight as to why we live in a mat­ter-dom­i­nated uni­verse and in­form the de­bate on why the uni­verse sur­vived the Big Bang.

The UK is al­ready a ma­jor sci­en­tific con­trib­u­tor to the Dune col­lab­o­ra­tion, with 14 UK univer­si­ties and two Science and Tech­nol­ogy Fa­cil­i­ties Coun­cil-funded lab­o­ra­to­ries pro­vid­ing es­sen­tial ex­per­tise and com­po­nents to the ex­per­i­ment and fa­cil­ity. This £65 mil­lion in­vest­ment makes the UK the largest coun­try in­vestor in the project out­side the US.

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