21 September 2017 08:54

The UK is investing £65million in a flagship global science project that could change our understanding of the universe. 

UK Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson signed the agreement with the US Energy Department to invest the sum in the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) in the United States.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota will house the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE).

DUNE will study the properties of mysterious particles called neutrinos, which could help explain more about how the universe works and why matter exists at all.

It will be built and operated by a group of around 1,000 scientists and engineers from 31 countries.

These include Dr Jarek Nowak, Dr Andy Blake and Professor Peter Ratoff from Lancaster University as well as UK scientists from the universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Imperial, Liverpool, UCL, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield, Sussex and Warwick.

This latest investment is part of a long history of UK research collaboration with the US, and is the first major project of the wider UK-US Science and Technology agreement.

On signing the agreement in Washington DC, UK Science Minister, Jo Johnson said: “Our continued collaboration with the US on science and innovation is beneficial to both of our nations and through this agreement we are sharing expertise to enhance our understanding of many important topics that have the potential to be world changing.

“The UK is known as a nation of science and technical progress, with research and development being at the core of our industrial strategy.  By working with our key allies, we are maintaining our position as a global leader in research for years to come.” 

This investment is a significant step which will secure future access for UK scientists to the international DUNE experiment. Investing in the next generation of detectors, like DUNE, helps the UK to maintain its world-leading position in science research and continue to develop skills in new cutting-edge technologies.  

The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) will manage the UK’s investment in the international facility, giving UK scientists and engineers the chance to take a leading role in the management and development of the DUNE far detector and the LBNF beam line and associated PIP-II accelerator development.