Theme strategy in relation to Balancing Capability
Our approach to Balancing Capability has built on our theme vision: to identify and tackle fundamental engineering research challenges for lasting UK benefit. To build on our vision and frame individual strategies, the theme evaluated the role of the Engineering research areas against the following:
- Delivery of Government priorities, such as materials or smart cities;
- Underpinning innovation investments, such as the Catapults;
- Alignment to current Centres for Doctoral Training.
Framing each research area in this way enabled the theme and the Engineering Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) to approach Balancing Capability across a broad remit of research areas. The final recommendations for strategy and individual trajectories were made in light of the theme’s engagement activities, in the context of the whole engineering portfolio; and a research area’s role in enabling or underpinning developments across engineering and physical science disciplines.
Key engagement activities
The Engineering theme have engaged with the wider community at a research area level, and through workshops and dedicated meetings; including with learned societies and professional bodies, innovation partners such as the Advanced Propulsion Centre and with the heads of chemical engineering departments. The balance of the engineering portfolio was further informed by strategic advice received from across EPSRC, the Engineering Grand Challenges, EPSRC funding data and recent government capital announcements.
The following events were held in 2016 to provide engagement opportunities and ensure feedback was obtained from the community on strategic opportunities and to input into balancing capability:
- Learned and Professional Societies Balancing Capability Meeting, London
- Understanding the Landscape of Water Research in the UK from an EPS Perspective event
- Engineering Engagement Workshop, Birmingham
- Frontier Engineering Meeting – Balancing Capability Breakout during Mid-term review
In addition, we have worked with the Manufacturing the Future SAT to incorporate a wider perspective of research relating to Particle Technology, and have engaged across Research Councils to reflect the wider remits of some research disciplines, such as the Built Environment.
Key evidence sources
In addition to engagement activities, our recommendations have been informed by a comprehensive range of evidence across engineering and supporting research areas. This evidence was identified by EPSRC and/or highlighted through the ‘Call for Evidence’ activity. Key evidence sources included:
- EPSRC, Engineering Grand Challenges, 2014-15
- EPSRC and RAEng, Assessing the economic returns of engineering research and postgraduate training in the UK, 2015
- House of Commons Select Committee, Robotics and AI Inquiry – written and oral submissions, (2016)
- Government Office for Science, Future of cities: the science of cities and future research priorities, 2016
- Coordinated National Investment in UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC), Business case, 2016
- Sir Henry Royce Institute, Business Case, 2016
- Aerospace Technology Institute, ATI Strategy, 2016
- Advanced Propulsion Centre, Propulsion Roadmaps, 2013
- EPSRC Commissioned Report, The importance of engineering and the physical sciences to the health and life sciences, 2014
The above list is not exhaustive, please see the individual research area rationales for further evidence sources and the Balancing Capability ‘Call for Evidence’ for further information.