Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC Funding): Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics Research Grants. Particle Physics Research Grants support research in the areas of experimental and theoretical particle physics and certain aspects of particle astrophysics. Applications for work in these areas are assessed by the Particle Physics Grants Panel (PPGP).

About STFC: We are one of Europe’s largest multidisciplinary research organisations supporting scientists and engineers world-wide. We operate world-class large-scale research facilities, manage the UK access to large-scale facilities in other countries, provide strategic advice to the government on development of large-scale science facilities and manage international research projects in support of a broad cross-section of the UK research community.

We have a responsibility to ensure that the UK scientific community has access to the large facilities that will enable it to perform high quality, world leading research in the future.

Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics

Everything, including ourselves, is made of matter whose underlying structure is governed by basic laws. STFC’s particle physicists investigate the structure of matter at the most fundamental level by looking at the sub-atomic particles that make up atoms.

One of the current goals in particle physics is to complete the ‘Standard Model’, which describes the known particles and their interactions. The Higgs particle, which is thought to be responsible for giving particles their mass, has recently been discovered and work is now underway to understand its properties and if these conform to predictions of the Standard Model.

But the Standard Model does not give a complete theory of everything as it does not include gravity and does not explain recently observed neutrino oscillations and so physicists are looking for phenomena ‘beyond the Standard Model’. There are hints that new physics such as dark matter and supersymmetry exists and so the search is on to find experimental proof. These searches require the development of new detectors that push technology to the limit.

Particle Astrophysics is a new field of research emerging at the intersection of particle physics, astronomy and cosmology. It uses new infrastructures and methods to detect a wide range of cosmic particles including neutrinos, gamma rays, cosmic rays, dark matter and gravitational waves.

Particle physics and particle astrophysics research aims to answer fundamental questions such as:

  • How can we explore and understand the extremes of the universe?
  • Are the particles described by the Standard Model fundamental, and how do they interact?
  • What is mass – how do particles get heavy?
  • Where does gravity fit in to the Standard Model?
  • What are the properties of neutrinos and what is their role in cosmic evolution?
  • What is the origin of cosmic rays?
  • Why is there an imbalance between the existence of antimatter and matter?
  • How can high energy particles and gravitational waves tell us about the extreme universe?

Particle physics is also underpinned by theory and the UK is renowned for the originality and depth of its contributions to theoretical physics.

Further information on particle physics and particle astrophysics research can be found in the STFC Science Roadmap.


For further information and advice on how to apply please contact Jane Long or Sarah Verth.

How to Apply

Consolidated grants

The next Theory consolidated grant review will take place in 2016.
Documentation for the 2016 Theory consolidated grant review can be found below:

New Applicants scheme

This scheme is intended to provide support for newly appointed academic members of staff (lecturers or lecturer equivalent fellows) who have joined a department between grant reviews. For more information see the new applicants scheme section of the Research Grants Handbook.

Conference and short course applications

Applications can be made at any time for contributions to the cost of organising conferences and workshops within the PPGP’s area of interest. Applications should include the following information:

  • The proposed programme and list of speakers
  • The likely benefits to the UK Particle Physics community of holding the conference or workshop
  • A budget setting out both costs and income, based on estimated attendance and contributions from other sources (both guaranteed and requested)

Further details: click here

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