Prosperity Outcomes: Resilient Nation

Supplementary content information

Resilient Nation Outcomes and Ambitions.

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Kedar Pandya, Head of Engineering - EPSRC

My name is Kedar Pandya and I am Head of the Engineering theme and I also look after the resilient nation.

So when we think about UK prosperity one of the things that it really depends upon is the smooth functioning of infrastructures and systems.  We will have travelled to work today, for example, and have used transport systems; we would have used some energy and some water to have a shower.  All things which we take for granted and we depend on.  Resilience is an ability to anticipate, adapt to and respond to changes to those systems.  Some of those changes we might anticipate and know they are coming but in some cases they come at us from left field and so resilient nation is all about being ready in terms of preparing for that. 

There are five ambitions: to achieve energy, security and efficiency; to build a reliable infrastructure on which the UK economy depends; to build better solutions to acute threats; to manage resources sustainably and efficiently; and finally to develop tools and technologies to mitigate against and prepare for climate change.

So how do we design energy supply systems and distribution systems that are securing to the future?  How do we make them affordable?  The UK, alongside other countries, have signed up to carbon reduction targets, so how do we reduce our emissions?  It’s with new technologies, new sensors, new materials and behaviour, so there is a lot of research and policy questions that go into that.  We think about energy, water, transport and communications as separate entities.  Actually there’s a high degree of integration and interdependency between them, so the research questions are: if I change something here what are the consequences to the system?  Financial systems, health systems, the internet and cybersecurity, all of those and others are vulnerable to attack.  What predictive research, what predictive modelling tools do we have, what do we need to develop in terms of complexity science in order to mitigate against those?

What we want to do in all of these ambitions is accelerate the outcomes of our research into either commercialisation or into policy, so it’s really looking at new ways in which academia and business can work together, perhaps co-constructing some of the research challenges, whether it’s in energy, or climate change, or in infrastructure.  We will really need new thinking and new research, but also new technologies to really disrupt current thinking so that we are ready for the future challenges.