We’re working to help more people better understand the Universe – from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter. And we’re creating impact on a very tangible, human scale. From cancer treatment to airport security, from high-tech jobs to hydrogen-powered cars, from energy generation to accident-scene emergency care. It’s fair to say that what we do touches every aspect of daily life. Here are just a few examples:
Given the challenges of rebuilding the economy, there’s never been a more important time to sustain our position as one of the world’s leading research nations. By creating new jobs and new products, winning international contracts and supporting start-ups though our business incubators, we’re doing our bit.
We’re constantly looking for new ways to drive innovation in medicine. Recently, our people developed a technique that could remove the need for needle biopsies in breast cancer diagnosis, replacing them with a non-invasive screening that offers instantaneous results. This technique should be available within the next decade, saving the NHS £10-20 million a year, and avoiding discomfort and anxiety for patients.
We’ve helped university researchers to develop a new material called NOTT-300, which is designed to capture carbon dioxide gas emitted from power stations. Right now, researchers are working to commercialise this product. We also built a world-first NERC/STFC-funded instrument for environmental modelling for NASA at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre. This will help to measure greenhouse gases around the planet and could inform future global policy on climate change.
We’re taking important steps to refine crime scene forensics. Research carried out at STFC funded facilities could lead to better identification of fingerprints. Currently, only 10% of hidden fingerprints taken from crime scenes are usable in court, but this new way of detecting prints could dramatically improve the accuracy of crime scene forensics.
We’re really passionate about fostering new talent and driving the standard of skills in the UK. So far, we’ve provided 16,800 training days to students from a range of disciplines. We’ve also provided the design tools for the £23 billion microelectronics industry, helping to train the majority of European microelectronics engineers over the past 25 years. We’re a proud partner of the ‘Explore Your Universe’ programme, a national initiative engaging more than 156,000 people with STFC research. We also focus on promoting STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) for women.