Ground-breaking scientific body appoints Leicester professor

A top University of Leicester academic has been appointed to a body which is delivering world-leading research to discover the secrets of the universe.

Professor of Planetary Science John Bridges has been involved in ground-breaking research into the Solar System’s most primitive building blocks and the evolution of Mars, and has played key roles in NASA and European Space Agency missions.

Now, Professor Bridges, who belongs to the University of Leicester’s School of Physics and Astronomy and Space Park Leicester, has been appointed to the Science Board of the Science Technology Funding Council (STFC) which supports research in astronomy, physics and space science.

He said: “Being invited onto the STFC Science Board is an exciting opportunity to help shape the organisation’s priorities and work across space science, astronomy, training and computing which are all activities that we are heavily committed to in the UK, at Space Park Leicester and in the School of Physics and Astronomy.”

The STFC supports an academic community of around 1,700 individuals involved in particle physics, nuclear physics, and astronomy including space science, who work at more than 50 universities and research institutes in the UK, Europe, Japan and the United States.

Every year more than 3,500 people use its large-scale scientific facilities to carry out more than 2,000 experiments and generate around 900 publications.

Its facilities provide a range of research techniques using neutrons, muons, lasers and X-rays, and high-performance computing and complex analysis of large data sets.

They are used by scientists across a huge variety of science disciplines, including the physical and heritage sciences, medicine, biosciences, the environment and energy. 

These facilities provide a massive productivity boost for UK science, as well as unique capabilities for UK industry.

The organisation’s Science Board, which Professor Bridges now belongs to, is its principal scientific advisory committee and provides the STFC with a strategic scientific overview and assessment of, and science advice on, all of the programmes STFC supports. 

It is supported by advisory panels, peer review committees and other advisory committees.