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UK Astronomy


Astronomy matters because it seeks to answer fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of the universe. It pushes the boundaries of human understanding and of the technology that is necessary to detect and make sense of it.

It has the ability to encourage interest in STEM career fields, where skills shortages threaten productivity now and into the future.  It provides the opportunity to develop a range of advanced technologies that can be used across fields from high-energy neutron optics to nuclear magnetic resonance.

The Committee has launched an inquiry into how well placed the UK astronomy sector is to showcase the UK as a science superpower and maximise its leadership in international programmes.

It will examine the status of the UK’s astronomical research base and assets, UK access to international astronomical facilities and contribution to international programmes. It will explore astronomy’s potential contribution to the UK economy and what considerations should inform the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s next Strategic Delivery Plan, due in 2026. 

This inquiry is no longer accepting evidence

The deadline for submissions was Friday 27 October 2023.

Upcoming events

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Past events

Wednesday 8 May 2024
9:30am Public
UK Astronomy - Oral evidence 8 May 2024
  • Dr Jessica Dempsey (Director at ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy))
  • Professor Dr Michael Kramer (Director and Scientific member at Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy)
  • Professor Nicolas Thomas (Professor at Space Research & Planetary Sciences, Physics Institute, Universität Bern)
  • Mr Gabriele Cremonese (Senior Technologist at Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) and Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (OAPD))
Room 6, Palace of Westminster
Wednesday 17 April 2024
9:20am Private
9:30am Public
UK Astronomy - Oral evidence 17 April 2024
  • David Arditti (President at British Astronomical Association)
  • Professor Chris Lintott (Professor of Astrophysics and Citizen Science Lead at Physics Department, University of Oxford)
  • Chas Bishop (CEO at National Space Centre)
  • Dame Maggie Aderin-Pocock (Chancellor at University of Leicester and astronomy educator)
Room 6, Palace of Westminster
Wednesday 13 March 2024
9:20am Private
9:30am Public
UK Astronomy - Oral evidence 13 March 2024
  • Professor Gillian Wright CBE (Director at UK Astronomy Technology Centre)
  • Dr Geraint Morgan (Academic at The Open University)
  • Adam Woodcraft (Research and Operations at QMC Instruments)
  • Justin Byrne (Head of Earth Observation and Science at Airbus Defence and Space)
  • Ian Jones (Chief Executive Officer at Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd)
  • Professor Manesh Anand (Professor of Planetary Science and Exploration and Deputy Head, School of Physical Sciences at Open University)
Room 6, Palace of Westminster
Wednesday 10 January 2024
9:20am Private
9:30am Public
UK Astronomy - Oral evidence 10 January 2024
  • Professor Catherine Heymans (Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Professor for Observational Cosmology at University of Edinburgh)
  • The Lord Rees of Ludlow OM (Astronomer Royal and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at University of Cambridge)
  • Professor Steve Eales (Head of Astronomy Group and Co-Director, Cardiff Hub for Astrophysics Research and Technology at Cardiff University)
  • Professor Mike Edmunds (President at Royal Astronomical Society)
  • Professor Anna Scaife (Professor of Radio Astronomy and Head of Jordrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics Interferometry Centre of Excellence at University of Manchester)
  • Professor Martin Barstow (Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science and Director of Strategic Partnerships Space Park Leicester at University of Leicester)
Room 6, Palace of Westminster

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  • Phone: 020 7219 5023 (general enquiries) | 020 7219 4984 (media enquiries)
  • Address: Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA