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UCLan receives million pound grant to fund science research

10 December 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Science and Technology Facilities Council awards funds for astrophysics and solar physics

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been awarded over a million pounds from the Science and Technology Facilities Council to support research into astrophysics and solar physics.

The £1.2million grant from the Science and Technology Facilities Council will support postdoctoral researchers and academic staff in the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute (JHI), which focuses on research and teaching in astronomy, mathematics and physics. The grant will also fund research into solar eruptions and their effect on space weather on the Earth.

"This award is a tremendous recognition nationally for our outstanding research in the areas of astrophysics and solar physics.”

The Director of the JHI, Professor Derek Ward-Thompson, said: "This award is a tremendous recognition nationally for our outstanding research in the areas of astrophysics and solar physics. They will allow us to build on our very strong research base within the JHI in the coming years.”

The JHI hosts the UK data centre for the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, which studies the rapid evolution of eruptions on the surface of the Sun. Other areas supported by these grants include the study of stellar oscillations using the NASA Kepler Space Telescope, which allows astronomers to 'see' into the centres of stars using seismology, studying the evolution of galaxies using highly advanced computer simulations and looking at the formation of stars and planets.

In the field of star and planet formation the funding will allow the JHI to work on a collaborative venture with the European Space Agency (ESA) using data from the ESA Herschel Space Telescope to look at stars and planetary systems that are currently being formed, and modelling their evolution using the UCLan High Performance Computing (HPC) Cluster. Staff and students, both postgraduate and undergraduate, within the JHI will benefit from the results of this research.