Global Uncertainties Strategy

This strategy will be up-dated in line with the Delivery Plan 2016-2020 by the end of June 2016.

The Global uncertainties theme is a long-term research and skills development activity of internationally-judged excellence that is of national strategic importance to the UK.

The theme addresses global threats to security including those to critical infrastructure, terrorism and crime. The theme will deliver long-term impact for the health, prosperity and sustainability of the UK and the world. It will help governments, businesses and societies to predict, detect, prevent and mitigate threats to security.

The theme's core elements are: cyber security; ideologies and beliefs; countering the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons and technologies; terrorism; threats to infrastructures; and transnational organised crime.

The theme is a long-term 10-year (2018-2018) Research Councils UK (RCUK) cross-council activity led by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on behalf of the seven sponsoring research councils. EPSRC is one of the participating councils.

Engineering and physical sciences have a key role to play in addressing the challenges posed by security risks, especially criminal (human) interventions.

EPSRC will influence its research council partners to ensure they have a greater appreciation of the contribution that the engineering and physical sciences can make towards addressing the challenges in Global uncertainties.

EPSRC's role within the Global uncertainties strategy is to:

  • Connect potential users (government and business) to its existing portfolio
  • Coordinate multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary workings with the aim of strengthening coordination across research councils and other stakeholders to maximise the impact of existing portfolio
  • Commission co-funding partnerships, wherever possible, with user organisations (practitioners and developers), new research and skills development in cyber security.

We will help engineering and physical sciences researchers understand the relevance of their expertise to Global Uncertainty challenges, especially by analysing our portfolio of research and training investments, informing them of opportunities and encouraging them to network and work with users so that they will identify innovative, creative and transformative solutions to the challenges in Global uncertainties, particularly those caused by malicious intent in the cyber world.

EPSRC will continue to refresh the portfolio, in response to curiosity-led proposals, particularly in cyber security, and in other security-related areas in the physical sciences and engineering in which challenge-owner stakeholders will articulate the challenges, enter strategic partnerships with EPSRC, and co-invest with EPSRC.

Proposals submitted by UK universities will have to demonstrate long-term objectives, international excellence and the potential of delivering impact for the UK.

EPSRC will aim to concentrate more investment in interdisciplinary centres of international excellence to ensure critical mass and foster greater collaborative networking among leading teams.