Cockcroft Institute awarded more than £11 million to boost accelerator research



IMAGE: Cockcroft Institute
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Credit: STFC

The Cockcroft Institute (CI), a partnership between the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester and Strathclyde, and the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), has been awarded more than £11 million for R&D into accelerator science and technology.

The funding, awarded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), will enable the Institute to continue using its expertise to develop scientific frontier facilities, novel acceleration techniques, address global challenges in health, security, energy, manufacturing and the environment, and to train the next generation of accelerator experts in areas where there is a recognized international skills shortage.

CI Director, Professor Peter Ratoff, said: “The Cockcroft Institute is the de facto national centre for particle accelerator R&D in the UK, comprising about 250 academics, STFC professional accelerator staff, post-doctoral research associates, administrative staff and PhD students. It is probably the largest of its kind globally, delivering world class education, training and R&D in conventional and novel methods of acceleration with major contributions to the realization of national and international accelerator facilities. The STFC core grant provides crucial support for our research and the significant award is testament to the outstanding quality of the work carried out across the institute.”

Over the next four years, the CI will further its research programme into scientific frontier facilities and underpinning technologies, novel acceleration techniques and applications of accelerators. The institute will grow its existing international research partnerships and use the core grant to leverage additional support from a range of funders.

Lancaster University has both Engineering and Physics departments as members of Cockcroft Institute with specialist expertise in RF Engineering, advanced acceleration techniques using THz and plasma acceleration, beam dynamics and mathematical physics.

Professor Graeme Burt of Lancaster’s Engineering department highlighted the importance of engineering in accelerator institutes.

“Accelerators are used for more than just high energy physics and this funding will allow the development of radiotherapy accelerators, cargo scanning and water treatment as well as helping lead the development and delivery of key engineering components to major projects like the Large Hadron Collider Upgrade”.

Professor Steven Jamison of Lancaster’s Physics department welcomed news of the funding.

“The awarding of this grant will underpin the next four years of our research in advanced acceleration concepts and beam dynamics. As well as supporting the next generation of post-doctoral researchers, the funding of dedicated facilities for laser-driven acceleration will provide us with a truly internationally leading capability in this field.”

The core grant will allow the CI to continue to deliver world-class research and development in particle accelerator science & technology that is well aligned to national science policy and the strategic requirements of the partner universities and UKRI/STFC.


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