Annual Impact Reports

Each year STFC’s Impact Report presents quantitative data and case study examples which illustrate the breadth and depth of our economic and societal impact.

The Impact Report 2015 This year we showcases how long-term, fundamental research conducted at our ISIS facility over the past 30 years has had a significant impact on UK society and the economy.


Highlights from this year’s report include:

World-Class Research

  • Our frontier research in astronomy, particle physics and nuclear physics ranks first in the world as measured by citation impact. The ‘Dream Beam’ article published in Nature in 2004, featuring work at our Central Laser Facility on the possibility of compact hospital laboratory-scale particle accelerators has exceeded the highly coveted 1,000 citations.
  • STFC-funded researchers contributed to the 2015 Nobel prize-winning discovery that neutrinos, crucial to the fabric of the Universe, have mass. This discovery was also recognised in the award of £2 million for the 2016 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics.
  • Our ISIS facility contributed at least £1.4 billion to the UK economy between 1984 and 2014, from research in areas such as clean energy, healthcare, catalysis and materials engineering, as well as a range of innovation outputs and skills benefits. A further £1 billion of impact on the economy is estimated over the next 15 years.

World-Class Innovation

  • The Harwell and Sci-Tech Daresbury Campuses host over 300 enterprises and support more than 6,000 jobs, creating the right conditions for high-tech SMEs to grow. This year tenant companies at Sci-Tech Daresbury created over 107 jobs, saw a 30% growth in sales worth £59 million (£199 million since 2010), attracted a record £28 million of investment (£168 million since 2010) and developed 134 new products (656 since 2010).
  • Government investment of £116 million has been awarded to STFC’s Hartree Centre. IBM will further support the project with a package of technology and onsite expertise worth up to £200 million. This will create a new cutting-edge cognitive computing centre, allowing Hartree to continue to support business. Partnerships already exist with SMEs and firms such as Unilever, GSK, and Jaguar Land Rover.
  • We created three new spin-out companies this year: vivaMOS Ltd, who supply sensors for medical and industrial applications; Mirico Ltd, who develop lasers for the medical and environmental markets; and Exa Informatics Ltd, who provide complex data analytics services.

World-Class Skills

  • We invested £22 million in postgraduate training and fellowships in particle physics, nuclear physics, accelerator physics, and astronomy, including 224 new PhD studentships, bringing the current cohort to 766. Working in our frontier science areas gives our students a wide range of transferrable skills: for example, expertise in data intensive science is applicable to both the research base and high-tech industries.
  • In 2014 we reached two million members of the public, including 295,000 pupils. Our Harwell Campus Open Week in July 2015 welcomed 16,000 people, with 93% of visitors saying they ‘would recommend the event’.
  • In 2014 we provided over 9,970 training days to postgraduate students at our facilities and departments across a range of disciplines and over 1,400 PhD students used our UK facilities. Our ISIS facility, for example, provides ‘on-the-job’ training for between 500-800 early career researchers every year, many of whom go on to work in academia and industry. The value of this training on ISIS has been valued at £30 million over a 30-year period.

Other examples include our improved understanding of the genetic disorders and our commitment to improving cancer care, the creation of a new cutting-edge cognitive computing centre allowing Hartree to continue to support businesses, and the growth of the Harwell UK Space Gateway; our Impact Report 2015 shows the extraordinary breadth of how STFC helps achieve impact, for society and the UK economy.

Our other publications in the series which present a mix of statistics and stories that underline the value of our work to the UK and the world at large are also available.

Pushing the boundaries of science for you’ introduces the STFC Impact Report 2014

Our Science Matters - Impact Report 2013 highlights the many ways our research and technology maximise impact through long term benefits.

STFC creates impact in research, innovation and skills through three distinct but interrelated functions.

Our 2011 Impact Report details how we helped discover most distant galaxy.

Our Science Matters’ is a short summary of the Impact Report 2013 and highlights the many ways our research and technology maximise impact through long term benefits.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000