Balancing Capability - gathering evidence process

As the UK's largest funder in engineering and physical sciences research, it's vital that we continually review our portfolio at the research area level to ensure it is balanced and effective in the long-term.

Recognising that we have a finite budget, it’s vital we balance our investments strategically across our portfolio. Refreshing our research area strategies involves considering the whole portfolio and making decisions based on a comprehensive view of the entire UK landscape with a thorough understanding of research areas in terms of their quality, national importance and existing capacity.

Evidence base

Gathering evidence about the current UK research, training, and innovation landscape from stakeholders including the academic community, business, charities, and other funders is a key component of portfolio management at EPSRC; this evidence is used in Balancing Capability to develop and monitor evidence informed research area strategies.

EPSRC gathers evidence in many forms which can vary for different disciplines including:

  • Evidence that has been published in the form of a report or publication e.g. international reviews, learned society reports, industry sector reports.
  • Potential future opportunities e.g. horizon scanning
  • Community engagement activities e.g. workshops or university visits
  • Funding data: EPSRC portfolio data e.g. submission rates, balance between research and training
  • Community engagement through theme Portfolio Managers
  • Open call for evidence survey – reviewed at key points during the year (November and May)

How we use the evidence we gather?

Evidence collected through stakeholder engagement and the open call for evidence is used to continuously develop EPSRC’s intelligence and knowledge about the current state of the engineering and physical sciences landscape. Working in partnership with our strategic advisory bodies and key community members, we use evidence to identify areas of UK strength, areas or aspects of areas that may require further attention and to identify opportunities. For further information on how we use evidence to make decisions about our portfolio please see the how we set & monitor portfolio strategies page.

Open Call for Evidence

As part of the Balancing Capability refresh exercise in 2016 EPSRC ran a call for evidence and received more than 1,000 submissions from a range of stakeholder organisations. In order to build on this positive response from the community, and to ensure that evidence can be collected on an ongoing basis, EPSRC now has a continuously open and transparent Call for Evidence to which organisations and stakeholder representative groups can input evidence about the current research environment at any time. This Call for Evidence will complement but not replace the active engagement between EPSRC and its partners by which we continuously collect very valuable intelligence about the state of our portfolio.

EPSRC expects that strong evidence submitted through the call for evidence will be submitted on behalf of an organisation or group, and will provide a current substantiated analysis of an aspect of the engineering and physical sciences research, training and innovation landscape.

For details on submitting to the open call for evidence please see the guidance document below.