Strategy & Structure

Through a coherent approach to staffing strategy, research initiatives, graduate education, knowledge exchange, industry engagement and funding opportunities, physics research in Scotland has flourished with SUPA partner institutions proving to be attractive to top class researchers and the best graduate students from around the world. Collectively, SUPA forms the largest cluster of research power in physics in the UK.

SUPA is theme led, reflecting research strengths in the eight partner universities. Five themes represent physics sub-disciplines: Astronomy & Space Sciences, Condensed Matter & Materials Sciences, Nuclear & Plasma Physics, Particle Physics and Photonics. A further two themes represent impact strengths: Energy and Physics & Life Sciences.

The Graduate School (GS), with around 600 PhD students currently registered, has been a major success of SUPA. Over 50 advanced specialist and professional development courses, corresponding to over 800 hours of lectures, are delivered annually via a network of video classrooms. SUPA Prize studentships have previously been awarded to outstanding applicants since the creation of SUPA. The SUPA GS works in collaboration with a number of RCUK funded Doctoral Training Centres, research institutes and other alliances.

Organisational Structure

Governance of SUPA is provided by a Board of Directors (BoD) at Vice-Principal level. SUPA receives strategic guidance from an International Advisory Committee (IAC) providing a broad combination of experience of top level physics research globally.

A CEO supported by a Directorate staff is tasked with co-ordinating the overall operation of SUPA, working under an Executive Committee (EC) formed from the senior physics representatives from each of the partner institutions and chaired by the SUPA CEO. 

The Executive Committee concentrates on the strategic direction of SUPA, such as the Themes, with links to the organising committee for SUSSP, and Associate Members of SUPA.

The Graduate School Committee makes operational decisions regarding the courses within the themes and beyond, such as industry engagement and the professional development of our researchers. While each university has a Graduate School Committee member, each university also has a PhD student representative and a post-doc representative, who meet with the Graduate School Coordinator.