Significant breakthroughs and new insights in many science areas have been achieved using neutron and muon techniques. The ability of neutrons to reveal the nuclear structure of matter and distinguish between isotopes has made them a prime tool for research ranging from condensed matter physics through to soft matter biology. Muons provide a complementary probe to neutrons, particularly in the areas of magnetism, superconductivity and charge transport. This diversity of applications and the scale and cost of the facilities needed to enable neutron and muon-based research mean that it is appropriate to review and reassess the provision made to support this research.
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), on behalf of the UK research community and the relevant science-funding Research Councils (RCs), acts to provide access to major national and international facilities for UK researchers. In 2016, STFC commissioned an advisory panel to carry out a strategic review of neutron facilities (including muons) with the brief of making recommendations for: