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Liverpool John Moores University

UOA 19 - Physics

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

1) Research Strategy and Environment

1.1 Background

Research in the ARI consists of a themed programme covering two main areas: Time Domain Astrophysics (Theme A); The Properties and Evolution of Galaxies and Active Galactic Nuclei (Theme B). Our mission is to be a recognised centre of international excellence in each of these areas. These themes map directly onto the revised STFC science Roadmap and the ASTRONET Science Vision, addressing the key Science Questions:

  • What is the Universe made of and how does it evolve?
  • How do galaxies, stars and planets form and evolve?
  • What are the laws of physics in extreme conditions?

Although the ARI does not sit within a larger physics department, and all staff returned under UoA 19 are astrophysicists, research is grounded in physics and benefits from a wide ranging collaboration in teaching and infrastructure with the University of Liverpool Department of Physics.

Following the 2001 RAE the ARI initiated a thorough strategic review of its research, overseen by the ARI Advisory Board whose current membership consists of: Professor Phil Allport (who succeeded Professor Erwin Gabathuler FRS as chair in 2006, both University of Liverpool); Steve Kenny (Pro Vice-Chancellor Development, LJMU); Professor Paul Murdin OBE (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge); Professor Steve Rawlings (University of Oxford) and augmented by our external reviewer (Professor Sir John Enderby).

Focussing on feedback from the previous RAE, our research strengths and unique capabilities were identified, and we developed a strategic research plan covering staffing, research infrastructure and grant funding. This five-year plan, begun in 2003, was endorsed and supported by the Faculty of Science and the University, which both identified ARI as a strategic priority for research funding.

1.2 Staffing and Science Strategy

Our staffing policy centred on  the appointment of five permanent lecturers and one temporary lecturer in priority research areas identified in the review.

  • Baldry (ex-Johns Hopkins) an observational astronomer specialising in galaxy evolution, with a leading role in current and future large extragalactic surveys (2dF, SDSS and AAOmega).
  • Bersier (ex-STScI) whose expertise encompasses three major strands of time-domain astrophysics: Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs), Supernovae and Cepheid variables and who leads major projects exploiting the unique capabilities of the LT and access to Robotic Telescope Networks.
  • Kobayashi (ex-Penn State) a leading GRB theorist and member of the Swift satellite team, whose research provides the theoretical underpinning of our GRB programme.
  • Maciejewski (ex-Oxford) an expert in the dynamics and evolution of galaxies, whose expertise in these fields underpins Theme B research.
  • Simpson (ex-Durham) a leading expert in the use of multi-wavelength data to study Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) and galaxy evolution, who also leads our involvement in LOFAR.
  • Darnley, formerly PPARC PDRA on the novae and microlensing surveys, now on a long-term contract as a full member of the lecturing staff.

In addition we appointed two fixed-term research staff to permanent positions:

  • Mundell, who has received two merit awards and a three year extension to her Royal Society University Research Fellowship to expand her multi-wavelength study of the dynamics of AGN host galaxies, and appointed as an RCUK Academic Fellow in 2005 which recognises her leadership of our GRB research programme.
  • Smith, who combines a role as operations manager of the Liverpool Telescope with a key position in the Anglo-Australian 2dF Quasar survey, a major strand of our research into AGN.

There are 6 Category B staff: Schindler was appointed as Head of the Institute of Astronomy and Particle Physics, Innsbruck in 2002. Schlattl took up a post at the Institute for Radiation Protection, Neuherberg, in 2003. Jones  took up a chair and Pinfield a lectureship at Hertfordshire in 2004, Kerins moved to Manchester in 2007 and sadly Dr. John Porter died in 2005.

Our research is supported by 5 PDRAs (increased to 8 in 10/07), and 8 further support staff, with expertise in mechanical, electrical, electronic and hydraulic engineering, IT and data processing.

In addition to approving new staff positions, the University supported the ARI as highest priority in two successful bids to HEFCE for RCUK Academic Fellowships. We currently host 5 research fellows: Mundell (Royal Society & RCUK Academic Fellow); Percival and Simpson (STFC); Maciejewski (RCUK Academic Fellow); Mouhcine (ARI Isaac Roberts Fellow).

The final part of our research plan for this RAE period was effected in 2007 with the award of an STFC rolling grant (PP/E0001149/1; PI: Collins; value £2.5m over five years), strengthening and consolidating our research into the two themes detailed in Section 2. This grant enables ARI staff to exploit new data streams from the LT and other facilities across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

1.3 Research Infrastructure

Strategic funding for infrastructure from the University during this RAE period is in excess of £1m. In addition there has been investment of £1.5m through allocations of JIF and SRIF infrastructure funds. 

Liverpool Telescope

Our primary research infrastructure is the 2m Liverpool Telescope (LT) on La Palma in the Canary Islands, designed and built by the then LJMU-owned Telescope Technologies Limited (TTL). Through its robotic operation and unique rapid-response capability, it provides a key research  resource for all of Theme A, and the AGN component of Theme B. It also operates as a UK National Facility, funded through the PPARC LT Operations grant (PP/E003303/1). The principal infrastructure developments in support of our science with the LT are:

  • The Liverpool Semiconductor Detector Centre, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool. This opened in 2002 giving us access to state-of-the-art clean-room facilities for integration of LT instruments  (JIF; LJMU 10% of total cost of £2.88 million).
  • Enhancements to the LT enclosure fully enabling its robotic operation and data stream delivery (SRIF2, £150k + University).
  • Enhancements to the reliability and strategic spares for the telescope, resulting in dramatic improvements in performance and reliability (SRIF3, £310k).
  • Development in collaboration with the University of Southampton of the FRODOSpec spectrograph, next generation instrument for the LT (SRIF 1 and 3, £260k).


On behalf of a consortium of 10 UK universities, the ARI has led the development of the PPARC-funded RoboNet project (PP/C50299X/1, PI: Bode) as a prototype global network of large robotic telescopes. As well as taking part in many follow-up observations of GRBs, RoboNet has provided data leading to the discovery of 3 of the 4 extra-solar planets so far discovered by the microlensing technique (output [STE2], an ESO science highlight for 2006 in their annual report).


ARI is joint PI (with Exeter University) of a major e-Science infrastructure research project, eSTAR (e-Science Telescopes for Astronomical Research), supported through grants from DTI (THBB/C/008/00051) and PPARC (PP/D000599/1) before becoming part of the rolling grant. eSTAR investigates the software and systems necessary to exploit optimally both heterogeneous and homogenous telescope networks such as RoboNet. This interdisciplinary research includes work with other telescope operators (e.g. UKIRT and the Los Alamos RAPTOR/TALONS network), computer science departments (e.g. ICSTM, Southampton) and industrial partners (e.g. Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Real Time Engineering Ltd). As a result of this work, eSTAR leads the development of the international Heterogeneous Telescopes Network standard ( and is a major contributor to the specification of the Robotic Telescope Markup Language (RTML), both now in use worldwide. eStar infrastructure underpins and enables our GRB and microlensing research (e.g. outputs [MUN2], [MUN3], and [STE2]). 

Office Accommodation

The ARI has been housed in purpose-built accommodation at Twelve Quays since 1998 and there have been two major upgrades in this RAE period:

  • Construction of the Technology Group suite at Twelve Quays in 2001 to support the operation and instrument development of the LT (SRIF1, £40k).
  • Taking sole occupancy of Twelve Quays House in Jan 2007 increasing our floor space by 30% to approximately 900 sq m. This doubled our laboratory and workshop area and provided new rooms for PDRAs and final year PhD students and single occupancy rooms for permanent staff and long-term fellows (SRIF3, £70k + £30k University).


To support research we have carried out substantial upgrades to our data reduction facilities (SRIF2, £50K + £50K University):

  • Grid-enabled computer architecture, enabling us to develop and run complex computer models in support of our work on the physics of GRBs, stellar population modelling and star formation.
  • Two HP Proliant servers with 8Tb of RAID  serving desktop workstations for all staff.
  • Laptops available to staff and students, wireless networked as part of the EDURoam consortium.

1.4 Promotion and Management of Research

Overseeing all Institute activities is the ARI Advisory Board, providing strategic and tactical advice on all activities, including feedback on the allocation of manpower and financial resources. This ensures that the Institute stays focussed on delivering outstanding international astronomical research. Research within the University is overseen by the Research and Graduate School, which the ARI reports to through the Faculty of Science. Research policy, expenditure reports, co-ordination of SRIF and other HEFCE bids, research student progression, and annual review of research outputs are delegated to the Faculty of Science Research Committee, on which the ARI has two representatives. Bode and Carter act as coordinators of our two major research themes, overseeing the activities of staff and reporting to the PI of the rolling grant (Collins).

Our policy is to minimise the teaching and administrative responsibilities of new staff in order that they can establish their research. Each researcher is interviewed annually by the Director and another senior staff member on research progress. This provides an opportunity for further mentoring researchers and identifies resource limitation issues, ensuring that income and manpower are allocated to provide the maximum scientific return,

Our four Early Career Researchers (Baldry, Darnley, Mouchine and Percival) have all returned four outputs on RA2. Percival and Darnley have both come through our PhD Programme.

We have developed a sabbatical scheme to give established staff significant periods of time to concentrate solely on their research. ARI bid successfully to LJMU for HEFCE Promising Researcher Fellowships, providing 6 month research sabbaticals awarded to: Carter and Salaris (2006), Moore (2007), Collins and James (2008). This has been extended to provide an annual programme of peer reviewed staff sabbaticals, fulfilling a stated aim in our 2001 RAE submission.

Recognition by the University of individual achievement in research is reflected in promotions of Carter, Mundell and Steele to personal chairs and Salaris to a Readership during the RAE period.

Since 2001 the annual number of refereed papers in leading astronomical journals has doubled and currently averages 70 per annum. LJMU is now in the top 1% of institutions for refereed citations in the field of space science research (

1.5 Research Students

Our strategy is to recruit excellent academic and postdoctoral staff, to ensure maximum strength of potential supervisory teams, and then take advantage by boosting research student numbers towards those which hold in mainstream physics departments. This second initiative is still ongoing. We average 10 research (PhD) students (years 1-3) and ARI has increased its PPARC/STFC biennial quota in each of the last 2 rounds to its current value of 7. We have also recruited a student under the French "co-tutelle" programme with the Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, another funded by the Thai national government under a collaborative agreement with ARI, and hosted a Marie Curie Training site (MCFH-1999-01057). As a result of these measures we have doubled our completion/staff ratio (14/17) this RAE compared with 2001, and two more have completed since July. Students are now targetted at areas of research excellence, especially those in our major research themes strengthened by new staff recruitments.


2) Scientific Programme and Highlights

Our RA2 text boxes, as required, focus on the role of submitted staff in multi-author outputs. Here we summarise some of the scientific highlights.

2.1 Theme A - Time Domain Astrophysics

This theme addresses physics in the most extreme conditions in the universe, a key STFC science question, via the study of variable and transient sources. It is built around the unique capabilities of the robotic Liverpool Telescope and our access to the RoboNet Telescope Network, together with our links into various space missions (particularly Swift, XMM-Newton, HST) providing complementary multi-wavelength studies. Within this theme, major topics are: GRBs (Mundell, Bersier, Kobayashi, Steele, Smith); Novae (Bode, Darnley); microlensing (Darnley, Bode, Steele); Supernovae (Bersier, Bode, Steele) and e-Science (Steele). Particular highlights include:

GRB Research 

Recognising the international imperative to study GRBs, which represent some of the most extreme physical conditions in the universe, and the potential of the ARI's facilities to be at the forefront of this effort, we invested strategically to build up a multidisciplinary team capable of delivering front-rank results in this field. Scientific leadership was strengthened by the award of an RCUK fellowship to Mundell to lead the team, and by the subsequent appointment of Bersier and Kobayashi to develop the GRB programme more broadly than is addressed by the capabilities of the robotic telescopes. Four outstanding postdoctoral researchers (Gomboc, Guidorzi, Melandri and Monfardini) were appointed through PPARC (PPA/G/S/2003/00143) and EU Framework 5 Development Host Fellowship (MCFH-2001-00256) grants. With the LT and e-Science teams they have developed instruments and advanced software for rapid optical follow-up of GRBs detected by the Swift and INTEGRAL satellites and their successors (GLAST, SVOM, AGILE etc.)

As an example, realising that very early polarisation measurements can put strong constraints on GRB models, the instrument team led by Steele designed and built a novel fast-track instrument (RINGO) to measure polarization in a single shot. RINGO was fitted onto the LT in 2006, and within 6 months produced a polarisation measurement of the Swift-detected GRB060418, 203 seconds after onset, by far the earliest polarization measurement made for any GRB. Analysis by our science team showed that polarization upper limit in the afterglow rules out the presence of strong magnetic fields in the emitting material [MUN3]. According to the commentary by Covino in the same issue of Science, this is a “remarkable result”.

Kobayashi is part of an international team of leading GRB theorists who have developed a comprehensive theoretical interpretation of all the components of the X-ray lightcurves of GRB afterglows, as seen by Swift [KOB1]. This paper was the Thomson ESI Hot Paper in Space Science for July 2007 ( Kobayashi also led the theoretical modelling of unexpected, bright X-ray flares in GRB afterglows [KOB2]. This showed that the central engine is active even 100-1000s after the prompt emission, placing severe constraints on progenitor models.

Bersier was a member of the team that established the link between long GRB and supernovae ([BER1]; one of the top ten discoveries of 2003 according to Science). This was accomplished via the supernova signature superimposed on the GRB light curve, and also from characteristic spectroscopic features. However spectroscopy of two GRBs shows no evidence of the typical supernova features implying that there is some mechanism that can create long GRBs that is not associated with the collapse of a massive star [BER2].


Nova research has been supported by grants PPA/G/S/1999/00050, PP/C000129/1, Bode's PPARC Senior Fellowship, and now the rolling grant. Most recently we have led the international campaign on the 2006 outburst of the recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi, including programmes on Swift (~350ks  over 300 epochs) and HST (5 orbits; Bode et al. 2007, ApJ, 665, L63). This work has elucidated the links between RS Oph and supernova remnant evolution and particle acceleration [BOD1]; remnant shaping and jet collimation [BOD2] and strengthened the proposal that recurrent nova systems such as this are progenitors of Type Ia supernovae (see Patat et al., Science, 317, 924, 2007). To date, ARI staff have contributed to 10 refereed papers on the 2006 outburst.

2.2 Theme B - Properties and Evolution of Galaxies and AGN

Surveys of Galaxies and Clusters

Our research addresses some of the major issues in galaxy formation and evolution:

  • The structure, properties and evolution of dwarf galaxies;
  • The faint end of the luminosity function in different environments;
  • Morphological transformations and the red and blue sequences;
  • Stellar populations and the star-formation history in galaxies in different environments;
  • The use of galaxies and clusters as cosmological probes.

The work combines the leadership position of ARI in a number of major surveys with expertise in the understanding of stellar populations in galaxies (Salaris, Mouhcine) and in galaxy dynamics (Maciejewski).

The REFLEX catalogue of 452 X-ray clusters [COL2], [COL3]  provides the benchmark for the local density distribution of clusters. This is described as a “major achievement” in the subject in a 2002 conference summary (Ellis, R., 2002, PASP, Vol. 268, 113) and, along with 2dFGRS and SLOAN, has helped establish the cosmological parameters from large-scale structure. Collins jointly leads the XMM-based XCS survey to measure accurately the rate of cluster evolution in the redshift range 1-2 using spectroscopically confirmed galaxy clusters [COL4]. Carter leads the HST/ACS Coma cluster Treasury survey, the only European-led HST Treasury proposal to date, and the largest European project in HST allocation Cycle 15 (164 orbits awarded). This builds on work by Carter in the area of the evolution of galaxies in clusters [CAR4].

Baldry’s analysis of the bivariate colour distribution [BAL2] using the The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is described in the review by Renzini in Ann. Rev. Astron. Astr., 2006, 44, 141-92 as making major progress in the stellar population diagnostics of elliptical galaxies and has attracted 162 citations to date. Baldry and Collins were members of the AAO/2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey (2dFGRS) and Baldry led the high-profile project to analyse the star formation history in the universe based on the novel method using the cosmic spectrum [BAL4].

James, Salaris and collaborators [JAM2] have applied population synthesis techniques incorporating the latest stellar physics, including self-consistent models for alpha-enhanced abundance ratios and a range of horizontal branch morphologies, developed by Salaris and collaborators [SAL3], to the study of star formation histories and abundance variations in galaxies. ARI expertise in all stages of this work, from modelling of individual stars to the evolution of composite stellar populations, underpins our extragalactic programme, and enables exploitation of our participation in the surveys discussed above and in Section 3.2.

Percival's precise determination, using a main-sequence fitting technique, of the distance to the Pleiades [PER1] showed a discrepancy with the Hipparcos distance, and led to a reanalysis by the Hipparcos team of their entire catalogue. This also has critical implications for data analysis for GAIA, as was emphasised in a review by Schilling in Science, vol 306, p1312, 2004.   

AGN and Quasars

Our programme embraces the physics of AGN and their importance in galaxy evolution, through observational studies of AGN dynamics (Mundell, Simpson); the connection of AGN accretion and feedback with our galaxy evolution programme (Simpson, Mundell, Baldry). The work is underpinned by the theoretical expertise of Maciejewski in the dynamics of the central regions of galaxies.

At the highest redshifts and most extreme power, Smith has had a leading role in the 2dF QSO Redshift Survey, a catalogue of more than 23,000 quasars, the most significant such catalogue for investigation of QSO evolution and the power spectrum ([SMI1] and [SMI2]).

2.3 Further Information

Submitted staff have also undertaken Book Editorship and Authorship as follows: Astrophysical Ages and Time Scales, 2001, ASP (eds. T. von Hippel, Simpson and N. Manset); Ultracool Dwarfs: New Spectral Types L and T, 2001, Springer (eds. H.R.A. Jones and Steele); Evolution of Stars and Stellar Populations, 2005, Wiley (Salaris with S. Cassisi); Heterogeneous Telescope Networks, 2006, in AN, 327, issue 8 (special issue, eds. T. Naylor, A. Allan and Steele); Classical Novae, in press for 2008 (ISBN 978-0-521-84330-0), CUP (eds. Bode and A. Evans).

Further details of work undertaken in Themes A and B, and other research projects at the ARI, can be found at


3) Future Strategy

3.1 New Appointments

The University has endorsed our plans to recruit two further senior academic staff to strengthen our research programme in key areas, exploiting fully both enhancements to the LT instrumentation suite, and scientific opportunities provided by our investments in projects such as LOFAR and e-MERLIN.

3.2 Infrastructure Enhancements and Future Large Projects

Liverpool Telescope

The future strategy of the LT was developed by an internal review process in February 2005, to be revisited on a three year time-scale, and subsequently endorsed by the PPARC LT Advisory (now STFC LT Oversight) Committee. New instruments will be driven by ARI science priorities, and will in the longer term target niches not covered by  wide-area survey instruments such as Pan-STARRS and LSST. Opportunities in reactive follow-up and direct support of space missions will also be exploited.

Specific priorities identified were:

  • Completion of the SRIF-funded FRODOSpec spectrograph, scheduled for commissioning in early 2008. FRODOSpec provides significant new capabilities for much of our research programme, for example in GRBs, Novae and AGN. This project is supported by our collaborations with Southampton and with visiting Professor John Meaburn (University of Manchester).
  • Exploitation of the RINGO polarimeter, for instance in a collaborative programme involving Steele, Smith, and the PLANCK team at Jodrell Bank, to survey the polarization in the galactic plane to remove the foreground signal from PLANCK data.
  • Increase in the field size of the optical detector. This programme has begun with the acquisition of a large format (4096 pixel square) CCD from Fairchild. This is driven by new opportunities for external collaborations with future Gamma-ray satellite projects, and by the requirements of the pixel microlensing programmes of Darnley and collaborators ([DAR1], [DAR3]). We will complete the large format optical detector in early 2009.
  • Extension of the Infra-red capability to longer wavelength (K band) and wider field, driven by the GRB, supernova and nova programmes. Funding will be sought in  2009-2010 to pursue this initiative.

We are currently constructing another fast-track instrument; a fast read-out CCD camera (RISE) for use initially in a search for extra-solar Earths using transit timing (with Queens University Belfast).

Robotic Telescope Networks

LT will be central to future scientific and technical developments in global telescope networks. We are building upon our development of RoboNet through initiatives designed to enhance our Time Domain programme, including:

  •  ARI has secured a contract for access to 550 hours per year from October 2007 on facilities of the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGTN, the new owners of TTL). LJMU has also negotiated access to 5% of the time for 20 years on a new 2.4m telescope in Yunnan province, China, built to the same design as the LT by TTL. Together with the LT, these facilities will support a range of projects enhanced using geographically dispersed telescopes, including extragalactic transient sources (e.g. GRBs).
  • To develop our GRB programme into the post-Swift era, we intend to provide rapid Optical/IR follow-up to new space missions. As an example, we are currently negotiating as invited participants in the French-Chinese GRB space mission SVOM.
  • We are pursuing an MOU with the IceCube neutrino telescope, under construction in Antarctica. We intend to implement an automated alert system enabling GRB-style follow-up observations of high-energy neutrino events associated with GRBs, supernovae and other astrophysical particle accelerators.


ARI recognizes the importance that radio astronomy will bring to studies of galaxy evolution, and has committed funds to be involved in two of the next generation radio synthesis instruments.

ARI contributed £50k from SRIF 2 to e-MERLIN, to commission a dual channel geodetic GPS receiver, to determine tropospheric and ionospheric delays. The removal of atmospheric corruption from the incoming signal will enable e-MERLIN to determine astrometric positions with sub-milliarcsecond accuracy. This enhanced precision underpins much e-MERLIN science, and our investment was driven by the scientific requirements of existing and future programmes for which knowledge of the correspondence between optical and radio astrometric reference frames is vital (including GRB studies, and work on AGN accretion disks by Mundell).

ARI is a founding member of the LOFAR:UK consortium, contributing £50k from SRIF3 towards the building of stations in the UK for the Dutch-led LOFAR radio interferometer. Simpson is a member of the LOFAR:UK Management Council. LOFAR's all-sky radio monitor will detect 300-500  radio transients per year which the LT is uniquely capable of following up.

Simpson is exploiting the synergy between e-MERLIN and LOFAR by leading a planned e-MERLIN Legacy program to investigate the relationships between accretion and star-formation and underlying large-scale structure. 


ARI was a member of the VISTA consortium which bid successfully for JIF funds. We have also contributed towards the purchase of narrow-band filters, together with UK-led broad-band surveys, these will enable detailed studies of star formation and large-scale structure at a range of redshifts, including Ly-alpha emitters at z~7. Collins and Simpson will lead the analysis at intermediate redshifts where star formation in the Universe is believed to peak.


GAMA is a major UK/Australian/European survey of galaxies, building upon the successful 2dFGRS. Baldry is co-PI, within a collaboration of approximately 20 scientists. The project has been awarded 66 nights with AAOmega, the upgraded multi-object spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. GAMA aims to determine the cosmological space density of low-mass galaxies and galaxy groups. GAMA will utilize the VISTA public survey for high-resolution near-IR imaging, to investigate bulge-disk decompositions for 100,000+ galaxies which will have AAOmega redshifts, providing clear views of the stellar mass content of these two basic components over a range of masses, redshifts and environments.

The HST/ACS Coma cluster Treasury survey

This is an investigation into the properties of galaxies in the nearest dense environment, with specific focus on the science questions listed in Section 2.2. The project team consists of 35 scientists from 9 countries. It provides the centrepiece for a much larger project, drawing in collaborators with access to leading ground- and space-based facilities at all wavelengths. ARI has a central role in all of these programmes, and leads the ACS component and overall project through Carter, and the ground-based infra-red component through a UKIRT Campaign allocation (U/CMP/1, PI: Mouhcine). Medium-term strategy for the Coma project focuses on the future opportunities provided by the enhanced instrumentation suite available from Cycle 17 on HST.

3.3 Star formation and the JCMT Legacy Surveys

This research area builds on the work of Moore in the field of star formation (e.g. [MOR1], [MOR4]). A recent STFC grant award (PP/E001599/1) supports our involvement in the JCMT/SCUBA2 Galactic Plane Legacy Survey (JPS) of which Moore is UK PI, and the other components of the JCMT legacy programme.

The JPS is an unbiased survey of two thirds of the Galactic Plane in the 450um and 850um continuum. It is an international project involving over 50 investigators and is part of the JCMT Legacy programme. It will produce a complete census of all high-mass star formation within 1 degree of the Galactic Plane and will inventory star-formation activity in molecular and infrared-dark clouds. This grant underpins our research on star formation, and we will consolidate this support into the rolling grant as a third major research theme at the next review in 2009.


4) Evidence of Esteem

Awards and Major Appointments

LJMU was awarded the 2005 Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the work of the ARI. This is one of the UK's most prestigious educational awards and part of the Honours system. The Prize recognises the astronomical excellence of the ARI and in particular the development of the LT and our enhancement of public engagement in science. Similarly, our rapid development of the RINGO polarimeter and its use to set important early upper limits on GRB polarisation has been named as THES Research Project of the Year for 2007.

On behalf of STFC, Bode is Task Leader for the ASTRONET Roadmap for European Astronomy. In conjunction with Europe’s major astronomy funding agencies, plus ESA and ESO, ASTRONET is developing a strategic plan for all aspects of astronomy and astrophysics covering the next 20 years. Bode was also part of the team (led by Tim de Zeeuw, now ESO Director General) which developed the ASTRONET Science Vision. The Roadmap Symposium is being hosted in Liverpool by LJMU in June 2008, prior to the final report being delivered that September. Bode has also been appointed to STFC's newly constituted PPAN panel

Mundell has been an invited member of the OST Horizon Scanning and Foresight Brainstorming workshops (2006) and the UN Energy Division working group advising UK ministers attending the Johannesburg summit on Energy and Climate Change (2001). She has also acted as UK Chair of the Royal Society's Frontiers of Science symposium (UK-V4), 2006/2007. Kobayashi and Baldry are UK representatives on the organising committees of the UK-Japan and UK-Germany components of this initiative, which aims to bring together outstanding young scientists to discuss recent advances in their subject area.

Externally-funded Personal Fellowships

PPARC Fellowships: D. Pinfield, S. Percival; PPARC Advanced Fellowships: E. Kerins, C. Simpson; PPARC Senior Fellowship: M. Bode; Royal Society University Research Fellowship: C. Mundell; Marie Curie Individual Fellowship: H. Schlattl.

PPARC/STFC Panel Chairs

Bode has served as chair of the Astronomy Grants Panel (2001-2004), he and Mundell have served as chairs of the MERLIN Steering Committee (2001-2004 and 2005-present respectively). Steele served as Deputy Chair of the Projects Peer-Review Panel and is currently Chair of the AstroGRID Deployment Advisory Committee. James served as chair of the PATT Time Allocation group for the Isaac Newton Group (2001-2003).

PPARC/STFC Panel Membership

ARI staff have served as fixed-term or ad-hoc members of many PPARC committees and management panels, including: JCMT management board (Moore); UKIRT board (James); Merlin Steering Committee (Mundell); ALMA UK oversight committee (Moore, Collins); AstroGRID oversight committee (Steele); Herschel-Planck Steering Committee (Collins); Projects Peer Review Panel (Mundell, Carter); XMM-Newton/Swift oversight committee (Mundell); Panel for Allocation of Telescope Time (Simpson, Baldry, Moore); ELT Technology assessment committee (Steele); various Rolling Grant review panels (Moore, Collins, Steele, Bode), VISTA Executive Board (Bode). James was external project scientist for UKIRT's UIST instrument.

Other External Committee Membership etc.

Bode served as chair of the RAS Standing Conference of Astronomy Professors (1997-2003). Other ARI membership of external committees includes ESO VISTA public surveys panel (Baldry); LOFAR:UK Management Council (Simpson); RAS Membership Committee (Bode); EPSRC Outline Panel for the Basic Technology Programme (Mundell); RCUK Basic Technology Panel Fund (Steele); ESA GAIA Consulting Group on Variable Stars (Bersier). Bode is Honorary Auditor for the RAS and Mundell was an invited contributor to the Royal Society's Space Policy Advisory Group (2006/2007). Moore has been appointed as a Senior Visiting Scientist in Physics at the University of Leeds


We have hosted approximately 100 international visitors during the RAE period. We have held several 1-3 day workshops, including those in the following areas: Pixel Microlensing (July 2005); Gamma Ray Bursts (November 2005); Coma Cluster (August 2007); LOFAR:UK (July 2007); XCS (September 2007). Average attendance at these workshops was 25 participants, including many from overseas.

International Conferences

All submitted staff have given invited talks or chaired sessions or both at international conferences (including IAU General Assemblies, JENAMs and the RAS National Astronomy Meetings). They have presented around 400 papers at international conferences, including many invited talks. Invited reviews include: Baldry: Cosmic Star Formation History (New Windows on Star Formation in the Cosmos, Maryland, 2004); Bode: The Evolution of Nova Remnants (Classical Nova Explosions, Sitges, 2004), High Spatial Resolution Optical and Radio Imagery of the Circumbinary Environment (Symbiotic Stars Probing Stellar Evolution, La Palma, 2002), The Evolution of Nova Ejecta (Asymmetrical Planetary Nebulae III, Mt Rainier, 2003); Carter: Robotic Telescopes (JENAM 2004, Granada); Collins: The Evolution of Brightest Cluster Galaxies, (JENAM, Porto, 2002). James: Star Formation in Galaxies (NAM, Leicester, 2004); Maciejewski: Opening Review on Gas Dynamics in the Centres of Galaxies (JENAM, Porto, 2002); Mundell: Violence and black holes in the hearts of galaxies (written review in Advances in Astronomy, ed: J.M.T. Thompson, Imperial College Press 2005); Salaris: Theoretical uncertainties in red giant branch stellar models (Observed HR diagrams and stellar evolution, Coimbra, 2001), Integrated colour-colour diagrams as constraints on star formation Histories (Resolved Stellar Populations, Cancun, 2005), Techniques to constrain the SFH of unresolved stellar systems (Fine-tuning stellar population models, Leiden, 2006), Convection in stellar evolution models (Unsolved Problems in Stellar Physics, Cambridge, 2007); Simpson: Galaxy Evolution from Infrared Surveys (Cosmology, Galaxy Formation and Astroparticle Physics on the Pathway to SKA, Oxford, 2004). Bode was selected to give a Hot Topics talk on the X-ray results on RS Oph at the IAU General Assembly 2006 in Prague.

ARI staff have served on Scientific Organising Committees of 10 international conferences, including as SOC chair or co-chair for: Heterogeneous Telescope Networks (Exeter, 2005, Steele); Twenty First Century Challenges for Stellar Evolution (Sicily, 2007, Salaris); RS Ophiuchi and the Recurrent Nova Phenomenon (Keele, 2007, Bode SOC chair and co-editor of the proceedings).