Research areas

An A-Z list of all research areas. On each research area page you will find a description of the area, along with details of and reasons for the strategic actions EPSRC intends to take. To help digest the information we have introduced visual icons to summarise particular highlights in the strategic focus of each research area. The Icons are not intended to cover all potential topics. Please use the filters to customise the listing on this page.

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Algebra stems from the study of equations, their solutions and associated operations and symmetries, including group theory, representation theory and ring theory.

Development of novel techniques, or novel application of existing techniques, to analyse chemical or biological matter and systems, for example.

The study of antimatter physics by the production of atomic systems containing antiparticles.

Explores the operational structure of a system and the software which abstracts a system’s hardware and presents a precise interface to higher levels of software/applications.

The reproduction or surpassing of abilities (in computational systems) that would require 'intelligence' if humans were to perform them.

Assistive Technology research aims to restore human function and/or enable independence for older people, the disabled and those with long-term conditions. Musculoskeletal Biomechanics is the study of forces and their effects on the musculoskeletal system.

The thermochemical conversion of biomass to heat, electricity and liquid fuels, for example.

Understanding information processing in biological systems.

The application of engineering methods to create environments and/or materials that promote cell or tissue growth and function, in vitro and in vivo.

Biophysics combines approaches from physics with biological questions and hypotheses; Soft Matter Physics investigates soft condensed matter systems.

Quantitative engineering research into the design and operation of buildings and the construction processes involved.

The capture of CO2 from power stations and energy-intensive industry and its secure long-term storage.

Development of new Catalysis concepts and catalytic processes, preparation of new/improved catalysts and studies to understand catalytic mechanisms.

Development of novel chemical tools and technologies for the understanding of biology and the synthesis of biological and biologically active molecules.

The study of rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions in gas and solution phase, and at surfaces.

Determination of chemical structure by spectroscopic, diffraction and thermodynamic techniques.

Encompasses a range of topics (e.g. sensors, devices, instrumentation and modelling) relevant to the development of new healthcare solutions.

Research into coastal/waterway structures, management and flood defences, estuarine engineering, reservoir/dam engineering and hydrodynamics.

Theoretical and experimental studies of atomic and molecular species cooled to sub-millikelvin temperatures and their science applications.

The addressing of engineering challenges related to combustion dynamics through multi-scale modelling and experimental approaches.

Characterisation, modelling, formulation and processing of complex fluids (e.g. blood, creams, pastes and emulsions).

Explores the behaviour of complex systems by focusing on the interconnections of their components and on systems architecture.

The study of chemistry by computational or theoretical means and/or development of new computational and theoretical methods.

Research into the links between electronic structure and material properties.

Research into the fundamental physics of magnetism and into magnetic materials.

Research into the mathematical modelling of continuous media, encompassing classical solid and fluid mechanics and complex media.

Encompasses theories, methodologies and tools for modelling, analysis, design and optimisation of self-regulating systems, with an emphasis on uncertainty and robustness of feedback systems. This research area underpins a number of others across the engineering and physical sciences research base.

Theoretical foundations of databases and research into data management systems, distributed information management and query languages.

The theory, algorithms and architectures for processing data and signals and the information they carry.

Research into underpinning optoelectronic technologies for the display of text, graphics, images and video.

Design and manufacture of electromechanical systems and their accompanying power electronic drives and controls.

The study of chemical phenomena associated with charge transfer, charge separation and electrochemical reactions at interfaces.

Research into energy demand and its reduction through technical and socio-economic measures. It includes research in the context of the built environment, transport, heat, industrial processes and products.

Assesses the effects of decarbonisation on the existing energy supply and transmission networks and how future network technologies will deal with these challenges.

The study of materials and systems which store electrochemical, thermal or kinetic energy for later use.

Theories, methods and tools for generating, modelling, optimising, simulating and reasoning about complex engineered systems.

All aspects of fundamental fluid dynamics research applied to aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, turbulence and areas relevant to process engineering.

The study of fundamental, generic and applied concepts concerning the conversion of coal, oil and gas into electricity for grid use, and the integration of these technologies into the renewable sector.

The study of devices which generate electricity directly through the oxidation of fuel.

Synthesis, characterisation and theoretical understanding of functional ceramic and inorganic materials.

The study of shape and form, including algebraic geometry, algebraic topology, geometric topology and geometric group theory, differential geometry and geometric analysis.

Synthesis, characterisation and theoretical understanding of graphene, carbon nanotubes and other carbon-based nanomaterials.

Synthesis and manipulation of visual content, including augmented/virtual reality, animation, immersive technologies and novel ways of visualising data.

Understanding and tackling challenges relating to ground and underground structures, geotechnics and environmental/hazardous aspects of structures.

The study of how humans interact with each other and how an understanding of these interactions can improve the design and development of ICT.

The study of how humans interact with computers and how to design computer systems that are effective for people to use.

Generation, storage and utilisation of synthetic chemical energy carriers and synthetic fuels (e.g. hydrogen).

Aspects of enabling research that relate to the interconnectivity (wired or wireless) of computers, devices and sensors.

The theory and fundamental underpinning of Image and Vision Computing in both 2D and 3D, across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Management, retrieval and representation of information and knowledge.

Quantitative engineering research relating to the development of resilient infrastructure and urban systems.

Theoretical and experimental research in atom-light interactions, laser trapping, optical tweezers, spanners, traps and atomic optics.

Logic includes model theory, recursion theory, proof theory and set theory. Combinatorics is concerned with the study of discrete structures such as graphs and hypergraphs.

Technologies that will allow manufacturing processes, products and systems to function with high efficiency/reliability and appropriate precision/flexibility.

The study and research of devices and systems to capture and utilise the kinetic or oscillatory energy of bodies of water.

Understanding, modelling and processing ceramics with respect to the properties, performance, behaviour and development of novel materials.

Understanding, modelling and processing composites with respect to the properties, performance, behaviour and development of novel materials.

Understanding, modelling and processing of metals and alloys with respect to the properties and material behaviour and development of novel materials.

Synthesis, characterisation and theoretical understanding of functional materials to be used in energy applications.

Quantifying change, with a key role played by fundamental notions of continuity and approximation.

Development and application of state-of-the-art mathematical/statistical tools and techniques to investigate biological processes and systems.

Developing new mathematics inspired by, or relevant to, physics.

Research into medical imaging instruments and signals for therapeutic, monitoring and diagnostic purposes, and includes image analysis.

Research into electronic devices for processing information, including new applications, new materials and the integration of novel technologies into electronic components.

Research into all aspects of microelectronics design, from the development of novel designs to research into design tools, processes and design automation.

A broad spectrum of underpinning micro-engineering research aimed at developing novel miniaturised micro-structured devices.

Sound (including music and other natural and artificial sounds, except speech) and its intersection with computer science.

The exploration of computational techniques to learn, understand and produce human language content.

Research into the mathematical treatment of systems where the outputs are not directly proportional to the inputs.

The study of the generation of power by the process of nuclear fission and research into nuclear waste management, decommissioning, regulation, public acceptability, existing operations, new nuclear build, advanced reactor technology, the fuel cycle and geological waste disposal.

The study of the properties of integers, using the tools of modern mathematics to address many basic unanswered questions.

Research into the development, analysis and implementation of algorithms that harness numerical approaches to mathematical problems.

Development and application of analytical methods to support improved decision-making.

Novel techniques and systems for transporting information by fibre-guided or free-space photons, including analogue and digital signals.

Design, modelling, fabrication, processing and evaluation of new or improved devices and systems whose quantum unit is the photon.

Design, modelling, fabrication and processing of new or improved active semiconductor-based devices and systems that use electrons and photons.

Growth, formation, processing, measurement, characterisation and multi-scale modelling of dry or wet particulate systems and fluid-particle systems.

Development, analysis, monitoring and optimisation of mechanical structures and systems.

This research area refers to the integration of computing into everyday objects to create systems which support concepts such as the Internet of Things, edge computing and the tactile internet.

Synthesis, characterisation and theoretical understanding of materials  and nanostructures that emit or interact with electromagnetic radiation or quasiparticles with similar characteristics.

Research into both high-temperature, high-density plasmas magnetically confined or laser-produced, and low-temperature, low-density plasmas.

Synthesis, characterisation and theoretical understanding of novel Polymer Materials.

Design, operation, modelling, control and optimisation of chemical, physical and biological bulk-product processes that are conducted continuously or repeatedly.

Design of programming languages, development of the relevant mathematical theories, the processing of these and the generation of code.

Quantum devices, components and systems involve the creation, control and manipulation of quantum states to design systems with functionality that could not be achieved in a non-quantum world.

Theoretical and experimental study of superfluids (typically helium), encompassing investigation of a range of their properties.

Understanding and control of the behaviour and interactions of light and matter in terms of quantum mechanics in optical and atomic systems, and the fundamental science of generation, use and manipulation of quantum information.

Using the Earth's limited resources in a sustainable way.

Techniques and applications that utilise and propagate signals, and related research supporting future connected infrastructure.

Design and development of novel device architectures throughout the radio frequency, microwave, millimetre wave and terahertz domain.

The novel physical design and development of robotic systems, for both fundamental and applied purposes.

Development, optimisation and integration of devices that detect and measure changes in temperature, pressure, vibration and light, for example.

Research into the design, implementation and maintenance of software.

Research and development of devices to harness solar radiation, including solar heating/cooling and all photovoltaic (PV) technologies.

Recognition, understanding and synthesis of human speech, using a range of techniques and focusing on how systems recognise and generate the sounds of language.

The study of the property of electrons known as 'spin' and its potential exploitation in specially designed devices.

Statistical methodology and development of new probabilistic techniques inspired by applications.

Addressing the civil engineering challenges associated with construction materials, structural analysis, and extreme events and structural resilience.

Synthesis, characterisation and fundamental physics of superconducting materials and devices.

Understanding the structure, processes, dynamics and functionality of surfaces and interfaces, and how they determine chemical / physical properties.

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