Science & Technology

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The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is an independent, non-departmental public body of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and one of Europe’s largest multidisciplinary research organisations. It has an annual budget of £678 million (2017–18) and employs over 1900 staff. As a Research Council, STFC provides funding for research in astronomy, particle physics, nuclear physics, and space science, and supported 777 grants in 2015.


STFC also operates and provides access to large scale scientific facilities. These include the Central Laser Facility, one of the world’s leading laser facilities; Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility in which STFC is a major shareholder; and the ISIS neutron source. In high-performance computing, STFC hosts the Hartree Centre, dedicated to developing software to model, simulate and visualise the research and development of products.


 STFC’s Scientific Computing Department (SCD), primarily involved in the FREYA project, provides large-scale computing resources and expertise in scientific computing and information technology to the STFC science programme and its partners within UK and worldwide. The Department has about 170 staff and holds about 40 petabytes of scientific data and runs several High Performance Computers. It hosts the UK Tier 1 centre as part of the CERN Large-Hadron Collider consortium, managing over 15 petabytes of data on behalf of the Particle Physics community; and runs HPC systems, including the JASMIN super-data-cluster for environmental science, and the Emerald GPU cluster.


As well as large-scale data storage and computation, SCD has a strong interest in research data management and preservation. The ICAT Data Catalogue tool suite ( is an enterprise data management system which stores, catalogues, and allows access to data generated by large-scale analytical facilities. ICAT is an open source collaboration in use at ESRF, ILL, ISIS and Diamond, as well as the UK Central Laser Facility and the US Spallation Neutron Source. SCD’s instance of the ICAT suite run for Diamond and ISIS contains over 1.2 billion data files and serves thousands of users.

 STFC, through SCD, is a member of the EUDAT Collaborative Data Infrastructure. SCD is very active in European projects, including EUDAT2020, the Research Data Alliance (European plug-in project), EOSC-hub, SeaDataCloud, and in the past major projects on preservation of digital data.