University of Warwick to participate in $500m research project

Prof Gary Barker

Scientists at the University of Warwick are to participate in a $500m international partnership to probe some of the mysteries of the universe.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is aimed at extending the boundaries of particle research.

DUNE will study the properties of mysterious particles called neutrinos, which could help explain more about how the universe works and why matter exists at all.

The UK Government has backed the partnership’s work by agreeing to invest £65m into the research programme.

The flagship global science project, based in the United States, could forever change our understanding of the universe.

On signing the agreement in Washington DC, UK Science Minister, Jo Johnson said: “Our continued collaboration with the US on science and innovation is beneficial to both of our nations and through this agreement we are sharing expertise to enhance our understanding of many important topics that have the potential to be world changing.

“The UK is known as a nation of science and technical progress, with research and development being at the core of our industrial strategy. By working with our key allies, we are maintaining our position as a global leader in research for years to come.”

The UK investment is a significant step which will secure future access for University of Warwick, and other UK scientists, to the international DUNE experiment.

It said investing in the next generation of detectors, like DUNE, helped the UK to maintain its world-leading position in science research and continue to develop skills in new cutting-edge technologies.

Professor Gary Barker, neutrino researcher in the University of Warwick’s Department of Physics said: “This new capital funding will allow the UK to deliver significant components of the first DUNE Far Detector and of the proton accelerator complex used to produce the neutrino beam.

“The University of Warwick researchers are working on aspects of the software that will allow the Far Detector to record good quality data and this new announcement takes us one step closer to the day when we can analyse this data and see what secrets it holds.”

The UK research community is already a major contributor to the DUNE collaboration, with 14 UK universities and two STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council) laboratories providing essential expertise and components to the experiment and facility. This ranges from the high-power neutrino production target, the readout planes and data acquisitions systems to the reconstruction software.