Press release

Reappointment of Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council for 2015 to 2019

Science Minister announces the reappointment of Professor John Womersley, as Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson today (30 November 2015) announced the reappointment of Professor John Womersley, as Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

I am very pleased to be able to reappoint John Womersley to a second term as Chief Executive of STFC. His extensive knowledge and experience as well as his excellent standing in international science are a great asset for the Council.

Sir Michael Sterling, Chair of the STFC said:

Under John’s leadership over the past 4 years the STFC has developed into a globally recognised and highly efficient research organisation. STFC’s scientific facilities are world leading and its extensive research programme delivers significant benefits to the UK, including hundreds of skilled post-graduates, enhanced productivity for dozens of companies, and Nobel Prize-winning science. I am delighted John will continue to act as steward of this key part of our national science capability for another term.

Professor Womersley said:

I am truly honoured to be re-appointed as CEO of the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Leading this organisation is an opportunity to help advance the frontiers of discovery science – from understanding the origin of the universe to the smallest constituents of the atom. It involves some of the world’s fastest computers, the world’s largest telescope, the biggest microscope, and the brightest x–ray source; and the work we do is truly important, with huge impacts on society and the economy. Most importantly it means working with truly outstanding, committed and enthusiastic people at all levels within STFC. I firmly believe our best is yet to come.

The appointment is from 1 November 2015 until 31 October 2019.

The STFC coordinates research on some of the most significant challenges facing society, such as future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security. It offers grants and support in particle physics, astronomy and nuclear physics. In the 2015 Spending Review, the government protected science funding of £4.7 billion in real terms over the Parliament. This will include a new £1.5 billion Global Challenges Fund.

Notes for Editors

  1. The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security. The Council has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise in materials science, space and ground-based astronomy technologies, laser science, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar. STFC operates or hosts world class experimental facilities including in the UK the ISIS pulsed neutron source, the Central Laser Facility, and LOFAR, and is also the majority shareholder in Diamond Light Source Ltd. It enables UK researchers to access leading international science facilities by funding membership of international bodies including European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). STFC is 1 of 7 publicly-funded research councils and is an independent, non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

  2. Professor John Womersley was first appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) for four years from 1 November 2011. A graduate of Cambridge and Oxford (D. Phil. Experimental Particle Physics), he has played a leading role in particle physics both in Europe and the United States. John worked at the Florida State University and Fermilab before becoming a scientific advisor to the Department of Energy in the US. He returned to the UK in 2005 to become Director of the Particle Physics Department at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at a time when it was building and delivering vital components to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. In 2007, John took on a broader role in STFC, managing the Science Programmes Office which oversees the STFC’s science and technology strategy, science operations and planning, including the STFC’s processes for peer review and research grants, as well as STFC’s programmes in education, training and public outreach.