Balance of Programme Exercise - PPAN evaluations

The STFC Balance of Programme (PDF, 3414KB) (BoP1) exercise, published in 2017, looked at the balance of funding between the PPAN research disciplines. A process was agreed, by both Science Board and Executive Board, stating that in addition to this 3 yearly exercise, more detailed programme evaluations of the specific research disciplines should be carried out. The purpose of the programme evaluations is to look at the portfolio and science strategy to define a balanced programme of excellent science within a realistic financial planning envelope for each scientific discipline.

The evaluations will cover not only the four PPAN programme disciplines:

  • Particle Physics
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Particle Astrophysics
  • Astronomy

but also:

  • Accelerator programme for the above disciplines
  • Computing programme for the above disciplines

The evaluations will generate detailed, standardised information and data on specific research disciplines and will be used to feed into the next Balance of Programmes (BOP2) exercise. They will run alongside a similar evaluation of skills that is being undertaken within STFC. The evaluations will aim to rank projects/experiments/facilities (type of activity depends on the subject area) and outline scientific priorities within their area. The evaluations will provide advice on the shape of the programme. The evaluations will also look at funding levels for new ideas and technology development.

Consideration will also be given to how to ensure projects for which STFC has supported construction are ensured appropriate support for exploitation and return on investment.

Each evaluation will be carried out by its own panel. To ensure consistency between the evaluations and help build knowledge and experience ahead of BoP2.

Each programme evaluations will obtain details of the possibilities/consequence of a + / – 10% funding scenario over the next 5 years. The evaluations will be completed by May 2019 to enable the information to feed into BoP2, which will begin in spring 2019 and report to Science Board in December 2019.

Consideration should also be given as to whether each project still sits within the appropriate research area for future budgetary tensioning.

The outcome of the programme evaluations will be published and available to the community.

For more information contact Malcolm Booy.

The draft generic Terms of Reference for the programme evaluations are:

  • Consider the STFC science drivers that will be important in the next decade and their relevance to this discipline. Identify the highest priority science questions for this field. Comment on whether the current balance between R&D, theory, construction and scientific exploitation across the scientific discipline is correct.
     
  • Assess the quality of projects within the discipline and allocate appropriate ranking. The ranking will apply to the whole lifetime (R&D/construction) of the project. Future opportunities should also be ranked where enough information is available.
     
  • Assess the quality of the exploitation programme.
     
  • Identify the most appropriate balance between the project/experiment/facilities.
     
  • Comment on whether there is appropriate breadth within the scientific discipline for development of future opportunities and establishing / maintaining leadership expertise.
     
  • Recommend the appropriate programme for the research area for the following financial scenarios - Flat cash and Flat cash + / - 10% over the next five years.
     
  • Comment on key Technologies and Technology Development required for the programme.
     
  • Comment on the current and potential ‘Societal and Economic Impact’ within the programme.
     
  • Consider how other sources of funding are utilised and how new funding streams, such as GCRF, can be effectively used.
     
  • Comment on, within the discipline, whether the overall programme achieves its aim of delivering high quality economic impact and enables current and future investments to be sufficiently exploited.

Process

The programme evaluations will be carried out over three meetings by the review group. A set of standard proformas will be devised by PD to be sent to the relevant PI’s and Advisory Panels to be used in the reviews to help standardise the formats of the reports. This will enable greater consistency in the material that is provided.

Timeline

The agreed timeline for starting each evaluation is listed below. Each evaluation will be expected to last around five/six months.

Computing QTR 4 2017
Particle Astrophysics QTR 1 2018
Nuclear Physics QTR 2 2018
Particle Physics QTR 3 2018
Astronomy QTR 3 2018
Accelerators QTR 4 2018

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