New UK centre of excellence is formed to strengthen and develop partnerships in software for scientific research
07 Sep 2017



7 September 2017 - A long‐standing partnership between UK research councils took a significant leap forward today with the formation of a new centre of excellence for computational science.

CoSeC logo



L​aunched today at the Research Software Engineers Association conference taking place at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the Computational Science Centre for Research Communities (CoSeC) will strengthen and develop scientific research software that universities and industries worldwide increasingly rely on for the advancement of science, business and education.

In the last fifty years, computational science has transformed scientific research by using advanced computers and software to analyse and solve increasingly complex problems in multiple disciplines - physics, chemistry, life sciences, engineering, and more. These major gains are dependent on the long-term development of software, the continued advancement of computational hardware, and the nurturing of strong collaborations necessary for scientific communities to flourish.

 CoSeC is a centre that builds on the 40 year heritage of the Collaborative Computational Projects, which bring together leading UK expertise in key fields of computational research to tackle large-scale scientific software development, maintenance and distribution. CoSeC aims to continue to provide longevity to the software used by these research communities and build on their collective knowledge and expertise.

From today, CoSeC will support a wide range of scientific research topics including the biological and medical sciences as well as the physical sciences and engineering. Examples of research aided by CoSeC include: drug design and delivery methods; catalysis and energy storage; and brain scanning technologies that may make it possible to identify and track the signs of dementia.

“CoSeC supports thousands of researchers in universities and industry, and is a hub for exchanging knowledge and expertise across scientific communities. CoSeC also provides training for highly-skilled researchers as well as professional development opportunities for people who are passionate about working both in science and software development," said Dr Barbara Montanari, Director of CoSeC.

Housed in the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Scientific Computing Department, the new Centre will bring together existing investments from three UK Research Councils: the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

This new, integrated approach of these UK Research Councils will deliver extra value to the efforts of academic, governmental and industrial researchers. It will do so by providing opportunities to extend partnerships and harness cooperation across more areas of science, supporting the advancement of interdisciplinary research and sharing expertise and software for the benefit of the economy and society. Research topics include: the study of viruses and proteins at the molecular level; the engineering of matter into new and useful materials; and fusion energy, one of the most promising options for generating large amounts of carbon-free energy in the future.

Professor Adrian Mulholland, Chair of the Collaborative Computational Projects steering panel, said,  "Computational science is increasingly central in important areas as diverse as antibiotic resistance, aerospace and the development of 'green' catalysts. The establishment of CoSeC will provide a focus for sharing and developing expertise in emerging methods and computational architectures, and supporting collaborations between academia and industry, and between theoreticians and experimentalists, delivering real impact."

“CoSeC embraces decades of core support by the research councils, and will provide continuity and security in the years to come" added David Corney, Director of STFC's Scientific Computing Department. 

“This partnership model is the envy of research and educational communities in other countries because it aims to provide longevity to the software tools needed for research. Through close collaboration with other software and research initiatives, the software and expertise supported by CoSeC will aim to continue to develop and evolve, and be made available to research communities for many years into the future."


For more information contact:

Marion O'Sullivan, STFC Scientific Computing

Tel: 01235 394205

Notes for editors:

1.       For more information about CoSeC and the work we support, visit

2.       Collaborative Computational Projects (CCPs) enrich UK computational science and engineering research in various ways. They provide a software infrastructure on which important individual research projects can be built. They support both the R&D and exploitation phases of computational research projects. They ensure the development of software which makes optimum use of the whole range of hardware available to the scientific community, from the desktop to the most powerful national supercomputing facilities.

 3.       The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

STFC is keeping the UK at the forefront of international scince and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security. The Council has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise in materials science, space and ground-based astronomy technologies, laser science, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar.

STFC operates or hosts world class experimental facilities including in the UK the ISIS pulsed neutron source, the Central Laser Facility, and LOFAR, and is also the majority shareholder in Diamond Light Source Ltd.

STFC enables UK researchers to access leading international science facilities by funding membership of international bodies including European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). STFC is one of seven publicly-funded research councils. It is an independent, non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

 4.       The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate. By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

5.       The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences (BBSRC) 

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £473 million in world-class bioscience, people and research infrastructure in 2015-16. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes.

​​​​​6.       The Medical Research Council (MRC)

The Medical Research Council is at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayers' money in some of the best medical research in the world across every area of health. Thirty-one MRC-funded researchers have won Nobel prizes in a wide range of disciplines, and MRC scientists have been behind such diverse discoveries as vitamins, the structure of DNA and the link between smoking and cancer, as well as achievements such as pioneering the use of randomised controlled trials, the invention of MRI scanning, and the development of a group of antibodies used in the making of some of the most successful drugs ever developed. Today, MRC-funded scientists tackle some of the greatest health problems facing humanity in the 21st century, from the rising tide of chronic diseases associated with ageing to the threats posed by rapidly mutating micro-organisms.


Contact: O'Sullivan, Marion (STFC,RAL,SC)