UKRI-EPSRC Policy Baseline

The UKRI-EPSRC Council met for the first time on 15 and 16 May 2018.

At the meeting, the Council agreed that many of the major policies and plans set in motion by its predecessor, and the positions and values that have hitherto driven the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), provided a valuable legacy and a useful starting point and benchmark for the new Council as it considers how it can best contribute to the mission of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The major EPSRC policies and approaches are embodied in our current Strategic Plan and our current Delivery Plan.

EPSRC adheres to a number of general, overarching values and beliefs which precede policies and which drive its work:

  1. Society should always be the beneficiary of our work
  2. Research excellence is the primary criterion for investment decisions
  3. We are committed to the enhancement of training and skills so that the UK has the numerate, highly-skilled workforce it needs
  4. We are committed to multi-disciplinary investments, and do this by building on the foundation of a strong disciplinary capability
  5. The best way to do project prioritisation is by peer review - a position consistent with, and supported by, government endorsement of the Haldane Principle
  6. Research is a long-term endeavour: outcomes may not be tangible or visible until 10 years or more (and the routes to impact are many, varied and complex) - it follows from this that the research base requires stable, sustained funding
  7. We achieve more by partnering appropriately with others, including, and especially, with other research councils with, and on behalf of, whom we have led joint programmes (eg the recent AI CDT call)
  8. As an underpinning investor, the innovative research we generate may:
    1. lead to further Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) research and/or
    2. lead directly to new products and services; and/or
    3. be taken up by other parts of UKRI
  9. We add value by:
    1. Informing and influencing so that the research and innovation ecosystem is ready to receive our investment and to obtain maximum benefit from it
    2. Managing/converting our knowledge of UK EPS into new investments that generate impact for the nation
    3. Monitoring the effects of our investment in order to identify the returns on our investment - for example, through the REF impact case studies
    4. Promoting our successes and influencing decision-makers so that the nation will invest further in EPS
  10. We engage with our constituencies actively, openly, transparently and approachably
  11. We believe in the need to adapt, to work flexibly and innovatively. Indeed, Council has always supported the Executive in striving to introduce more imaginative ways of working within constraints (eg cohort training models, algorithmic approaches)
  12. Ensuring sufficient critical mass in the leadership team is important both to ensure the appropriate level of creativity and agility, and to sustain the necessary level of engagement with our key partners