Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Top priority

Despite the current funding problems at STFC it seems that the future's looking pretty good for the UK gravitational wave community. Yesterday saw the release of STFC's programmatic review (found here), which informs how funding gets distributed. In it the ground-based gravitational wave detector GEO600, and the upgrade to the LIGO detectors, Advanced LIGO, (which are a very large part of what the IGR group at Glasgow works on) were given highest proirity, and the future space-based detector LISA and its precursor technology testing mission LISA Pathfinder (also a major part of the Glasgow work) were given medium-high priority. The review is now in a three week consultation period, in which the Particle Physics and Astronomy community will discuss whether this is the way they want to go forward. Inevitably there will be people trying to argue their projects position up the priority list, which means that they'll also be people trying to argue that some of the things in the high priority section shouldn't be there, but in general things are looking pretty rosy for gravitational waves.

[Update: I should point out that despite there appearing to be two gravitational wave projects in the "High priority" category (Advanced LIGO and GEO600), these in reality should be just one project under the heading of "Ground-based gravitational wave detectors". They are part and parcel of the same thing and not two separate funding entities.]