Engineering Strategic Advisory Team meeting July 2016

The 17th meeting of the Engineering Strategic Advisory Team.

Polaris House, Swindon

For the 17th meeting of Engineering Strategic Advisory Team (SAT).
Held on Monday, 4th July 2016 at Polaris House, Swindon.

Monday, 4th July 2016

9:30

Arrival and coffee

10:00 – 10:30

Introduction – Theme Update

Kedar Pandya

10:30 – 12:00

Leaders strategy Session

Michelle Lascelles

12:00 – 12:30

Balancing Capability update and session prep

Daniel Smith

12:30 – 13:00

Working Lunch – ODA information

13:00 – 15:00

Balancing Capability – Introducing RA drivers for change

Kedar Pandya

15:00 – 15:15

Afternoon Tea

15:15 – 17:00

Balancing Capability – assigning action categories

Kedar Pandya

17:00

Close

Theme Update

The executive provided an overview of activities since the last SAT meeting in February, this was both from a theme and organisational point of view. An update on the Global Grand Challenges Research fund was provided.

Building Leadership

The SAT were provided with an update on the activities surrounding the building leadership strategy. This session built on the February SAT discussion.  The focus was on first grants and fellowships.

The SATs  provided advice on engineering-specific issues and opportunities for EPSRC to consider on first grants. They identified any advantages or concerns about the proposed changes to First Grants and provided advice on what an appropriate early career support package should include. Further input was provided to engineering fellowship support and how we might evolve our approach for supporting fellows over the next delivery plan, reflecting on previous successes and challenges.

Balancing capability

The SAT were provided with an update on all the activities since the last SAT meeting, including the high level outputs from the call for evidence and how these would be analysed by the Executive. The SAT noted the forward timeline and proposed communication approaches.

The SAT were then invited to comment in a generous generalist capacity against all Engineering led research areas with respect to the change over the last delivery plan, their interconnectivity across EPSRC and the main drivers for change over the next delivery plan period. This was approached at a macro-level to enable a comparison to be achieved across 26 diverse research areas.

To enable this, the executive had synthesized all relevant facts from the process to date into high-level summary sheets and proposed an initial grow, maintain and reduce action category. The SAT were first asked to confirm, based on the logic of the arguments presented, that they found the proposed category plausible. They were then asked to consolidate their advice into a firmer position, making recommendations to the Executive with respect to Grow/Maintain/Reduce action categories. The SAT also raised a number of questions on forward strategies, which would be revisited at the September meeting

SAT members acknowledged the process and that due diligence had been carried out with respect to the decisions made by the executive. The SAT did however note the challenge of qualitative verses quantitative data with respect to comparing disparate research areas.