The vision for Physical Sciences capability is to support UK physical scientists to deliver the very best research and training to meet the future scientific needs across the science base. This needs to be set in the context of the national provision and also how the UK competes in these areas internationally.

To deliver this aspiration and ensure that we will provide the flow of people needed to sustain capability at all career stages in areas of strategic importance we have mapped the whole portfolio and highlighted those areas with strategies where we wish to encourage a shift in the current levels of investment. The following landscape description is deliberately set at the research area level to reflect back to the community the competing investments.

In terms of strategies, Physical Sciences will:

  • build on current thematic challenges being set by the community eg Chemistry and Physics Grand Challenges;
  • target fellowship support especially where we wish to strengthen capability around people;
  • encourage researchers to set their research questions to meet the societal challenges in energy, healthcare technologies, manufacturing;
  • engage in more active brokerage where areas need refocusing eg matching theoreticians with experimentalists, meeting broader challenges as indicated above, and so on;
  • target centres of excellence at both specific research themes and/or multidisciplinary level;
  • increase competitiveness in those areas where we will reduce our investment.

We still aim to fund research across the Physical Sciences spectrum but in reduce areas this will be on an increased competitive basis. In areas of growth, proposals will still be subject to rigorous peer review to ensure only excellent science is supported.