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Home > Press > New board members for STFC

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have announced the 8 appointments to its Science Board which will be responsible for providing advice to Council and the executive on all aspects of STFC's science and technology programme.

New board members for STFC

UK | Posted on June 11th, 2007

The Science Board appointments have been made from across the science disciplines within the Council's remit and are as follows:-

Chair: Professor Sir Peter Knight, Imperial College London
Deputy Chair: Professor Jenny Thomas, UCL
Professor Gabriel Aeppli, London Centre for Nanotechnology
Professor John Ellis, CERN
Professor Monica Grady, Open University
Professor Matt Grifffin, University of Cardiff
Professor Douglas Kell, University of Manchester
Professor Tony Ryan, University of Sheffield

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council said, "As one of Europe's largest multi-disciplinary research organisations STFC is positioned to deliver world class science for the UK on a global scale. The work of the Science Board will be crucial in fulfilling this objective and I look forward to working with them in order to achieve this."

Newly appointed Science Board Chairman Professor Sir Peter Knight from Imperial College London adds, "It is an exciting time to be appointed and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead in managing and balancing the needs of the science communities to ensure that the UK is well positioned on the global research stage."

The key role of the Board is to work with the science programme office to formulate, prioritise and update a long-term science strategy for STFC, based on inputs from the science programme office, the Particle Physics, Astronomy and Nuclear Physics Science Committee (PPAN) and the Physical and Life Sciences Committee (PALS).
Another fundamental role of the Board will be to identify and prioritise the scientific opportunities likely to arise within the next fifteen years or so, with a description of the technologies required for their success and an estimate of their cost. The board will also be responsible for prioritising all known short to medium term investment in the science and technology programme in the context of funds available against agreed and publicised criteria.

The Board first meets in July and will meet 4 times a year.

For further details of the terms of reference of the STFC Science Board see

Notes to Editors
Summary Biographies of Science Board members

Chair of Science Board
Professor Sir Peter Knight is Professor of Quantum Optics and Principal of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Imperial College. He was Head of Imperial's Physics Department, Imperial College London from 2001 to 2005, held the role of Acting Principal of the Faculty of Physical Sciences in 2004/5 at Imperial and is a member of the College Management Board. 2005 saw him being knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Peter Knight is the immediate Past-President of the Optical Society of America, and Director of the OSA Foundation and Chair of their Long Rang Planning Group for Publications. He was past-chair of OSA's International Council and was coordinator of the SERC Nonlinear Optics Initiative, past-chair of the EPS Quantum Electronics and Optics Division and is Editor of the Journal of Modern Optics and of Contemporary Physics. Knight was also Chief Scientific Advisor at the UK National Physical Laboratory. His research centres on theoretical quantum optics, strong field physics and especially on quantum information science. He is a Thomson-ISI "Highly Cited" author.
After his doctorate at Sussex University, he joined the group of Joe Eberly as a Research Associate from1972-1974 in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Rochester and at the Physics Department and SLAC, Stanford University, USA. This was followed by a period as SRC Research Fellow from 1974-1976 at Sussex University and in 1976 was Visiting Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.
In 1976 he became Jubilee Research Fellow from 1976-1978 at Royal Holloway College, London University, followed by an SERC Advanced Fellowship from 1978-1983, first at RHC from 1978 to 1979, transferring in 1979 to Imperial College. He has remained ever since at Imperial College (apart from very frequent visits to the USA), first as a Lecturer 1983-1987, then Reader 1987-1988 and Professor since 1988. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, a Humboldt Research Award holder at the University of Konstanz and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin and at the University of Rochester. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Optical Society of America and of the Royal Society. He is an elected member of Council of the Royal Society.

Deputy Chair
Jenny Thomas is Professor of Physics at University College London. With a BSC in physics from Bedford College London (1981) and a D.Phil from Oxford University in Particle Physics (1983) her first postdoctoral position was for Imperial College (at DESY, Hamburg 1983-1985). Then from 1985-1989 she was a CERN fellow working on the Time Projection Digitizer (TPC) for ALEPH. She was a Wissenschaflicher Angestellter at Max Planck Institut, Muenchen, from 1989-1991 from where she took up a Staff Scientist position at the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory in Dallas Texas. She returned to Oxford University in 1994 as a Research Officer working on the MINOS proposed experiment which she then brought to UCL in 1997.

Professor Thomas is a collaborator on the MINOS Experiment at FNAL (1993-present): MINOS is an experiment designed to look for neutrino oscillations. It makes use of a very long baseline, with one detector at Fermi National Accelerator Center (FNAL) and the other 735 km distant at the Soudan mine in Minnesota. She have taken on several leadership roles in the MINOS experiment since its inception but most notably that of leader of the calibration detector CC analysis coordinator and presently as overall physics analysis coordinator. She was a founding member of the Executive Committee, a position which I still hold. Professor Thomas was a member of PPARC Science Committee (2001 -2007) and Chair of the Committee (2006/7).

Gabriel Aeppli is the Quain Professor of Physics and the Director of the London Centre for Nanotechnology. Prior to taking up these posts in the autumn of 2002, he was a Senior Research Scientist for NEC (Princeton), a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, a Research Assistant at MIT, and an industrial co-op student at IBM. He obtained a B.Sc. in Mathematics and PhD, M.Sc. & B.Sc in Electrical Engineering from MIT. Honours include the APS Oliver Buckley Prize (2005), the IUPAP Magnetism Prize/Neel Medal(2003), Riso National Laboratory Fellow (2002), Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2002), Mildner Lecturer, Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, UCL (2002), Fellow of the American Physical Society (1997), Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (1996). In addition, he has been a member and chairman of many panels, sponsored by the USDOE, American Physical Society, EPSRC, and National Research Council (US), among others. His personal research is currently focused on the implications of nanotechnology for information processing and health care.

Professor John Ellis, CERN - after studying mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge John spent a couple of years at SLAC and Caltech in the US. He joined CERN in 1973. He is currently a senior scientific member of staff at the Theoretical physics Division, CERN, Geneva. He is also Advisor to CERN Director-General for relations with Non-Members States. Much of his theoretical work has been directly linked to experiments at CERN. He also has an active interest in cosmology. Between 2004 and 2007 John was a member of PPARC Council.

Monica Grady is Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes. Prior to that, she was Head of the Meteorites and Cosmic Mineralogy Division in the Department of Mineralogy at the Natural History Museum, and Honorary Professor of Meteoritics at University College London. Monica received an honours degree in Chemistry and Geology from the University of Durham in 1979, then went on to complete a Ph.D. on carbon in stony meteorites at the University of Cambridge in 1982. Since then, Monica has continued to specialise in the study of meteorites, and carried out this research at Cambridge, then for eight years at the Open University in Milton Keynes, prior to joining the Natural History Museum in 1991. Her particular research interests are in the fields of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope geochemistry of primitive meteorites and of martian meteorites, interstellar components in meteorites, micrometeorites, and also in astrobiology and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the cosmos. Asteroid (4731) was named "Monicagrady" in her honour. In 2003, Monica gave the Royal Institution Christmas lectures on the theme ‘Voyage in Space and Time'. Between 2005 and 2007 Monica was a member of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Council's Science Committee.

Professor Matt Griffin, completed his PhD in Astrophysics at Queen Mary College, University of London, in 1985. Since then his research interests have included instrumentation for far infrared and sub millimetre astronomy and Earth observation (specialising in bolometric and photoconductive detector systems), planetary atmospheres, and star formation. He has participated in various instrumentation projects for ground-based sub millimetre telescopes, including the SCUBA sub millimetre camera on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and was a Co-Investigator in the Long Wavelength Spectrometer (LWS) instrument for ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). He is currently Principal Investigator for SPIRE, the sub millimetre camera and spectrometer to be flown on ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, and is also a Co-Investigator in the Planck HFI instrument consortium. He has served on numerous UK and international committees including as Chairman of the UK Space Science Advisory Committee, as a UK delegate to the European Space Agency's Science Policy Committee, and as a member of the European Space Science Committee.

Professor Douglas Kell, University of Manchester
Top Scholar, Bradfield College, Berks (1996-1970). B.A. (Hons) Biochemistry at St John's College, Oxford (1975) (Class 2-1 with Distinction in Chemical Pharmacology). Senior Scholar of St John's College, Oxford, M.A. (Oxon), D.Phil. (Oxon) 1978. SRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow (1978-1980), Postdoctoral Research Assistant (1980-81) and SERC Advanced Fellow (1981- 1983), and 'New Blood' lecturer in Microbial Physiology (1983- 1988), all at the Department of Botany & Microbiology, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Reader in Microbiology, Dept of Biological Sciences, UCW, Aberystwyth, 1988-1992, and Founding Director, Aber Instruments Ltd, Science Park, Aberystwyth. Personal Chair, The University of Wales, 1992. Director of Research, Institute of Biological Sciences, UWA 1997-2002. Founding Director, Aber Genomic Computing, 2001-. EPSRC/RSC Research Professor of Bio analytical Science, UMIST 2002- , The University of Manchester 2004-. 2005- Director, BBSRC Manchester Centre for Integrative Systems Biology. He has published over 350 scientific papers, 17 of which have been cited over 100 times (plus 4 over 90).

Tony Ryan is the ICI Professor of Physical Chemistry & Director of the Polymer Centre, Department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield. Previous to this he was Head of the Department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield, August 1999 to July 2003 (seconded 10% to the CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory, October 1997 to September 2002). Reader in Polymer Science and Technology, Manchester Materials Science Centre, UMIST, Manchester. April 1995 to September 1997 (seconded 50% to the CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory, October 1993 to September 1997). Tony's main contribution to the field has been the development and application of the techniques of time-resolved structural tools to polymers. This work was the subject of prizes in 1990 by the Plastics and Rubber Institute, in 1992 and 1999 from the Royal Society of Chemistry and in 1999 from the Polymer Processing Society. He is actively involved in public understanding of science work and this culminated in his appointment as the Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer for 2002. He was also the first appointed EPSRC media fellow. Current appointments include: Faraday Council of the RSC, Editorial Board of Chemistry World, CCLRC Facility Development Board, ESRF Scientific Advisory Committee, EPSRC Public Engagement Strategic Advisory Team, Trustee of the High Polymer Research Group.


About Science and Technology Facilities Council
• 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.

• 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 will manage and operate 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 contributes money for the 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.

Gill Ormrod – Science and Technology Facilities Council Press Office
Tel: 01793 442012
Mobile: 0781 8013509

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