Our approach

Theme Strategy in relation to Balancing Capability

The EPSRC Information Communications Technologies Theme has adopted a twin-track approach to Balancing Capability: a review and refresh of our cross-ICT priorities and a thorough review of the individual research areas in or relating to EPSRC’s ICT research portfolio (and a refresh of the strategy for each). These approaches have been achieved by working with our Strategic Advisory Team (SAT), stakeholders in academia, industry and government. We have reached our decisions based on a range of consultation activities, considering evidence and a thorough analysis of the research landscape.

Key engagement activities

Following an analysis of how the portfolio has changed over the last Delivery Plan period, the ICT Theme organised a series of interactive events and activities from late 2015 and throughout 2016, which included:

  • Four Balancing Capability workshops. At the first pair of workshops the ICT Theme discussed  initial suggestions with senior academics to  gain input and suggestions. The second pair of workshops were focused on gaining input from senior research leaders on the future trajectories of ICT research areas. The outputs from these events fed into a refinement of EPSRC ICT research areas.
  • A series of workshops in April 2016. Attendees included Centre for Doctoral Training Directors, Network Directors, Directors of Programme Grants and Fellows supported by the ICT Theme. The aim was to receive further evidence and input on ICT research areas and the national and international context in which the research existed.
  • We also discussed the research areas with members of the appropriate Research Excellence Framework panels and the UKCRC Executive Committee in September 2016. This event was attended by members of the Digital Economy Programme Advisory Board with whom we continue to work closely.

We have had continued discussion with the ICT Theme’s Strategic Advisory Team throughout the entire Balancing Capability project. This included holding an additional meeting to discuss the ICT research areas.

In parallel with the above activities we have engaged with members of the research community, reviewed reports and other evidence and incorporated this into recommendations.

An important component of the ICT Theme’s strategy is the support of EPSRC cross-ICT priorities. These are aimed at stimulating research that addresses important cross-disciplinary topics and encouraging innovative thinking. As part of the discussions described above the Theme has identified five new topics which have emerged from the discussions around the Theme’s research priorities. In addition, continuing encouragement for new and emerging areas has been reaffirmed, creating a sixth priority.

Key Evidence sources

A key element of our analysis of the research theme has involved evidence gathering. This evidence may have been identified by ourselves and/or the academic community, industry and stakeholders. The key evidence sources included:

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of evidence. For further details of the evidence sources for individual research areas within this theme see the research area rationale.