On 20 September the UK science minister Jo Johnson and the US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith G Garber signed the first-ever science and technology agreement between the UK and the US. This represents a major step towards the commitment to strengthening cooperation taken by the two countries last January – and might be part of the UK strategy to forge new partnerships outside of the EU.
One of the major projects of the agreement is the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), under construction in the US. Fourteen UK universities and two UK Science and Technology Facilities Council laboratories providing essential expertise and components to the experiment and facility are involved in the project.
The project – for which the UK is the largest country investor outside of the US, with £65 million investment – aims is to deepen knowledge of the origin and structure of the universe. More specifically, the behaviour of particles called neutrinos and their antimatter counterparts, antineutrinos, will be investigated. This could provide insight as to why we live in a matter-dominated universe and inform the debate on why the universe survived the Big Bang.