Engineering Strategic Advisory Team meeting November 2015

The 15th meeting of the Engineering Strategic Advisory Team.

Glamorgan Building, Cardiff

For the 15th meeting of Engineering Strategic Advisory Team (SAT).
Held on Thursday 26th November at Committee Rooms 1 & 2, in the Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII, Avenue, Cardiff.

Thursday 26th November

09:00 – 09:30

Arrival and Refreshments

09:30 – 09:40

Welcome and Minutes of Last Meeting


09:40 – 09:55

Cardiff University Information


09:55 – 10:15

Theme Update



10:15 – 10:45

Balancing Capability: Where are we and where are we going?


10:45 – 11:00


11:00 – 12:15


Engineering Interventions: an overview of the proposed changes and top questions for each Research Area


12:15 – 13:00

EPSRC Engineering Theme Engagement Plan for Balancing Capability (Working Lunch)


13:00 – 15:00

Compound Semiconductor Centre Launch Event – Cardiff Castle

15:00 – 16:15


EPSRC Delivery Plan update

Kedar / Luke


16:15 – 16:30

Any Other Business




Summary of Meeting and Discussion Items: Engineering SAT Meeting 25th November 2015

The 15th meeting of the Engineering SAT took place on the 25th November 2015 at Cardiff University.

Engineering SAT members in attendance of the meeting were: Professor Karen Holford (Chair) – Cardiff University, Professor David Butler – University of Exeter, Dr Lionel Clarke - BionerG, Dr H Alicia Kim – Cardiff University, Dr Ruth Mallors Ray – Aerospace Technology Institute and Professor Sarah Spurgeon – University of Kent. EPSRC staff in attendance at the meeting were: Dr Kedar Pandya, Dr Luke Davis, Dr Daniel Smith and Miss Ruqaiyah Patel.

Apologies were received from: Professor Jon Binner – University of Birmingham, Professor Ian Metcalfe – Newcastle University, Dr Simon Pike – Tata Steel, Professor Eileen Ingham – University of Leeds, Professor Robert Smith – University of Bristol, Professor David Lane – Heriot-Watt University, Dr Deborah Pullen – Building Research Establishment and Professor Jason Reese – University of Edinburgh.

The meeting focused on the following items:

  1. Cardiff University Information

    The SAT were presented information with regard to Cardiff University, such as the activities within the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering and the University Research Institutes.

  2. EPSRC and Theme Update

    The SAT were presented a cross-EPSRC update, including details of the Delivery Planning process. An Engineering theme update was also presented to the SAT.  This covered recent investment activities which the SAT advised on and investment activities currently underway and planned. The SAT were reminded about the SAT Terms of References.

    The responsibilities of SAT members and the Executive were discussed in detail. It was noted that as the SAT is an advisory body, not an executive body, there is no quorate. Therefore the executive is able to take suggestions/ideas forward from SAT meetings even when attendance is low. It was agreed that the Theme Leader would write to all SAT members confirming the terms of reference and expectations for 2016

  3. Balancing Capability Strategy

    The SAT were given an update on the Balancing Capability strategy. This covered the history of the strategy, the timeline of the process with regard to the next delivery plan and the role of SATs within the process. The proposed changes to the Engineering theme related Research Areas were presented to the SAT. The SAT were also presented with the theme’s plans for external engagement as part of the Balancing Capability project. The SAT collectively discussed these and advised on other opportunities for broader evidence and strategic input. The SAT commented that the Executive should use the KTNs and Catapults as part of the engagement plan. The SAT also queried how early career researchers would be able to input into the Balancing Capability exercise.

    The SAT were then split into two groups to look at these proposed changes and were asked to provide the Executive with any initial thoughts on these proposed changes. The two groups independently considered the criteria by which research areas should be prioritised. There was a strong degree of agreement between the two groups on the most important criteria. Both groups applied these criteria in an initial consideration of the research areas i.e. which should be grown, maintained or reduced in the coming Delivery Plan. This discussion was held on the understanding that the advice would be re-visited a number of times, in light of the external evidence received, prior to the SAT finalising its advice to the Theme Leader ahead of the decisions to be taken. It was agreed that the SAT would need to engage fully in the discussions on Balancing Capability at the February, summer and autumn meetings, alongside any cross-cutting theme  or EPSRC meetings.

  4. AOB

    The next Engineering SAT meeting will take place on February 23 – 24 February, 2016 at Polaris House, Swindon.