Joint EPSRC and STFC position on nuclear physics related remits

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Research in nuclear physics encompasses a range of activities from fundamental theory through to studies directly relevant to the production of nuclear power. The research councils fund these activities through the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Programme, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Nuclear Physics Programme and EPSRC Research Base Funding. This statement is to clarify the remits that are covered by EPSRC and STFC and outline what applicants should do if they feel their proposals lie at the interface of both research councils.

The RCUK Energy Programme supports research into Nuclear Fission power generation. The Energy Programme core remit includes:

  • Decommissioning of nuclear facilities
  • Treatment of nuclear waste for recycling within the fuel cycle or for disposal
  • The nuclear fuel cycle
  • Current nuclear facility operation
  • New nuclear build and advanced reactor technology

STFC provides support for experimental and theoretical nuclear physics. This includes the following where the aim is to enable research in fundamental nuclear physics:

  • Experimental work carried out at facilities
  • Design and research and development of instruments and detector systems
  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Development and study of theoretical frameworks.

STFC also provides schemes to support the application and commercialisation of STFC funded research (including nuclear physics research described above).

EPSRC supports fundamental research relevant to Nuclear Power in the following research areas:

  • Plasmas and lasers
  • Materials engineering – metals and alloys
  • Performance and inspection of mechanical structures and systems
  • Instrument Development
  • Nuclear fusion

The instrument development research area remit covers generic sensor/instrumentation development with the potential for wide application. Sensors and instrumentation research that addresses a specific application or underpins scientific advances in a particular research area is funded via the relevant research council. For example, as mentioned above, development of instruments and detector systems for enabling research into nuclear physics is funded by STFC.

Research proposals submitted to EPSRC or STFC are assessed by each Research Council under its normal peer review process and evaluated against its priorities and strategy. If you have an idea for a research project that is at the interface of EPSRC and STFC, or you are not sure which research council remit your idea falls under, you should submit a two-page remit query to our Remit Query Service before submitting a full proposal to either research council. Both STFC and EPSRC are signed up to the Cross-Council Funding Agreement.

Remit queries should be directed to the EPSRC Remit Queries inbox and copied to the relevant Programme Manager below:

For a summary of the relevant EPSRC andf STFC funding schemes (PDF 215KB).