Particle Physics: Towards a UK Technology R&D Roadmap for Accelerators, Detectors, and Software and Computing: A report provided by the Particle Physics Technology Advisory Panel on behalf of the STFC scientific community

Paula Chadwick, Deepa Angal-Kalinin, Robert Appleby, Graeme Burt, Chris T. Rogers, Ben Shepherd, Matthew Wing, Adrian Bevan, Kai Bongs, Robert Halsall, Kimberly Palladino, Angela Romano, Craig Sawyer, Eva Vilella, Iacopo Vivarelli, Neil P Chue Hong, Tim Scanlon, Phil Burrows, Jim Clarke, Charlotte JamiesonMax Klein, Dave Newbold, Anna Orlowska, Peter Ratoff, David Brown* (Editor)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract / Description of output

The Particle Physics Technology Advisory Panel (PPTAP) was established in late 2020. Its role was twofold, to (i) coordinate the UK response to the European Committee on Future Accelerators (ECFA) and European Laboratory Directors Group (ELDG) research and development (R&D) roadmaps that were initiated following the publication of the European Strategy for Particle Physics Update (ESPPU) in 2020, and to (ii) provide a report for STFC’s Technology and Accelerator Advisory Board (TAAB) on developing a coherent response to these European activities.

The panel was composed of mid-career researchers from across the different disciplines of accelerator and particle physics detectors covered by the R&D roadmaps, and chaired by Professor Paula Chadwick. In addition to the nine areas established by ECFA for the detector R&D roadmap, and the five covered by the ELDG for the accelerator R&D roadmap, one more field of expertise, software and computing, was felt to be relevant and included in the panel. The panel met regularly throughout the first part of 2021 and its members actively sought input through a variety of mechanisms to both encourage and coordinate UK response to the roadmapping exercises.

The panel was able to identify strengths within the community, and issues confronting them. It noted that the traditional approach that understandably focuses on the science drivers, and the projects delivering these, were missing the opportunities of creating technology synergies that could enhance science delivery, skills development, and career trajectories. The financial constraints of recent years have further aggravated this by concentrating R&D into construction projects, where there is limited time and capacity, thereby restricting cross fertilisation, and potentially squeezing out early-stage innovation.

The panel recognised the importance of innovative R&D to the long horizon associated with particle physics (PP) in terms of skills development and retention of capability, with consequent beneficial economic impact for the UK. It noted that there were interdisciplinary opportunities both within and beyond STFC, and felt that a more strategic approach would help in leveraging these. Engagement with industry around early technology readiness level R&D should be encouraged, as whilst industry can of course provide off the shelf solutions, its appetite for early co-development activity is currently underutilised and far simpler to kick-off than often envisaged.

The UK has a vibrant PP community, but its robust and fruitful future should not be taken for granted. There is much technology R&D required globally, and a technology funding line to support this is equally required in order to enable the UK to be part of next-generation particle physics experiments; the status quo does not respond to the ESPPU nor the ECFA and ELDG roadmaps or their implementation. An adjustment to the UK approach and funding to shape the emerging European structures to both plan and deliver technology R&D is required in order to position the UK to continue its strong engagement, including a renewed focus on software and computing. Focused funding, potentially through responsive-mode funding calls for shorter, smaller R&D projects, would allow this to evolve in a strategic fashion.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyUK Research and Innovation - Science and Technology Facilities Council (UKRI-STFC)
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2022


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