Strategy for Physical sciences

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

Physical sciences research remains a priority for EPSRC. We will shape and integrate the portfolio to meet the many societal and economic challenges that rely on fundamental science for solutions.

Physical sciences research spans the breadth of the EPSRC remit, and is relevant to the BBSRC, MRC, NERC and STFC research portfolios. We aim to provide greater opportunities for researchers to deliver the very best research and training and relate these strengths, where appropriate, to the challenges highlighted in our Delivery Plan, as we focus on meeting strategic national needs through international research excellence.

The Physical sciences portfolio is fundamental and high-risk, as the potential impact can be many years away. Our aim is to maintain the flow of people needed to sustain capability at all career stages, ensuring we have the right people in the right places to exploit new opportunities as the Physical sciences landscape evolves.

We will map the whole of our funded portfolio to help guide future investments. These funding decisions will be based on international excellence and national importance.

Much of the research supported by Physical sciences will continue to be underpinning in nature but there will be an emphasis on:

  • Research areas and emerging fields that build on past successes, and provide essential underpinning science at the interfaces with other science and engineering disciplines
  • Moving to a coordinated Physical sciences portfolio with other Delivery Plan challenge areas; specifically we will support research that underpins the Energy, Healthcare technologies and Manufacturing the future priorities
  • Using stage-gating to maximise opportunities arising from exploratory research ideas and potentially realise research impacts more quickly
  • Identifying from the portfolio research leaders at all stages of their career and encouraging them to co-shape future priorities
  • Focusing our support for people, such as Fellowships, in areas of strategic need, including challenge themes
  • Working with the research community to mentor early career researchers and support the development of these individuals to encourage research across the interfaces
  • Aligning Physical sciences training provision to cross-disciplinary needs
  • Providing focus and direction to deliver impact in partnership with other organisations