Joint Statement by the Governments of the United States of America and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the U.S.-U.K. Science and Technology Agreement
U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith G. Garber and U.K. Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson signed the U.S.-U.K. Science and Technology Agreement on September 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The signing ceremony marks the first-ever umbrella agreement between the United States and United Kingdom outlining a commitment to collaborate on world-class science and innovation. Accompanying Jo Johnson on the visit to the United States was Chief Executive Designate at U.K. Research and Innovation Sir Mark Walport.
Expanding the Frontiers of Physics
The first major project of the agreement is U.K. investment in the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), for which the U.K. government has confirmed approximately $88 million in funding. Construction for LBNF/DUNE is expected to create an estimated 4,000 jobs in the United States, split evenly between South Dakota and Illinois. The $88 million in funding makes the U.K. the largest country investor in the project outside of the United States.
The LBNF/DUNE project aims to answer some of the most important questions in science and advance our understanding of the origin and structure of the universe. One aspect of study is the behavior of neutrinos and their antimatter counterparts, antineutrinos. The project could provide insight as to why the universe survived the Big Bang.
The U.K. is a major scientific contributor to the DUNE collaboration, with 14 U.K. universities and two Science and Technology Facilities Council laboratories providing essential expertise and components to the experiment and facility. U.K. involvement in the project will also provide opportunities for U.K. industry to build capability in new and developing technologies, for example, in precision engineering, cryogenics, and accelerator-based applications.
Improving Digital Research Skills
Building on the U.S.-U.K. partnership, the U.S. Smithsonian Institution and the U.K. Arts Humanities Research Council are extending a successful history of partnerships by developing a new collaboration, based at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, focused on increasing the use of digital research skills in museums. Enhancing these skills will benefit areas such as data analysis, curating, and accessibility of collections, and will also further audience engagement. This work will help achieve new best practices in digital scholarship and the application of digital technologies at research-led museums.
Breaking New Ground Together
The U.S.-U.K. scientific partnership is one of the world’s strongest, with bilateral collaborations resulting in 26 Nobel prizes for science and economics. The investment in LBNF/DUNE is the most recent example from a long history of collaboration in industries ranging from aerospace to robotics to agriculture. U.S.-U.K. cooperation on science and innovation benefits both nations by sharing expertise to enhance our understanding of many important topics that have the potential to be world-changing, helping maintain our position as global leaders in research for years to come.
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