Wakeham Review Panel's first meeting (2008)

The panel, on whose composition the RAS was consulted, to review the health of physics met on February 29. Following the meeting the following statement was released:

The review will consult a range of evidence in making its assessment of UK physics. The Panel will collect data from HEI physics departments and bibliometric evidence drawn from existing and new sources. Submissions will shortly be invited from a range of stakeholders that include university departments, vice-chancellors, research facilities, users of physics research, subject representative bodies and learned societies.

The Panel will invite a range of witnesses, selected in consultation with the learned societies, to provide input to the review when it convenes again in late June. These will include physics researchers and postgraduate students, non-academic research users, research and funding council representatives and facilities managers.

The Panel will use the definition of physics used by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE):
· Theoretical, computational and experimental studies of: quantum physics;
· atomic, molecular and optical physics;
· plasma physics;
· particle physics and nuclear physics;
· surface and interface physics;
· condensed matter and soft matter physics;
· biophysics;
· semiconductors,
· nanoscale physics, lasers, optoelectronics and photonics;
· magnetism, superconductivity and quantum fluids;
· fluid dynamics;
· statistical mechanics, chaotic and nonlinear systems;
· astronomy and astrophysics, planetary and atmospheric physics;
· cosmology and relativity; medical physics;
· applied physics; chemical physics; instrumentation;
· pedagogic research in physics.

The review will report to Research Councils UK (RCUK) Executive Group in September, to be published shortly afterwards.

The review will not be commenting on the implications of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review settlement. Additionally, the Panel agreed that the review will not comment on STFC management or the timing of funding decisions that are to be made. However the Panel will be commenting on whether the current funding structure affects the long-term strength of physics in the UK.