Global Grand Challenges

Engineering Grand Challenges

EPSRC’s Engineering Grand Challenges were inspired by the themes of the Global Grand Challenges Summit in 2013 and further developed at a special two day event in 2014 involving academics from many disciplines alongside representatives from industry and government. In February 2015, we published a call aiming to support multidisciplinary research consortia to advance the following EPSRC Engineering Grand Challenge areas:

  • Challenge one:
    Sustainable engineering solutions to provide water for all
  • Challenge two:
    Future Cities: engineering approaches that restore the balance between engineered and natural systems
  • Challenge three:
    Engineering across length scales, from atoms to applications
  • Challenge four:
    Identifying risk and building resilience into engineered systems

To address these Grand Challenges, EPSRC provided £21 million to support five ambitious research programmes and two networks involving 19 UK universities and 80 partners, where industry contributed an additional £11 million investment.

In September 2019, at the Global Grand Challenges Summit, which was held at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, EPSRC exhibited a selection of the research projects funded back in 2013 to showcase the impact the research has received so far.

Frontier Engineering

Announced at the 2013 Global Grand Challenges Summit, EPSRC’s Frontier Engineering Awards were aimed at delivering ambitious and long-term engineering research, based around a thematic focus, which enhanced existing capabilities. The five centres who received Frontier Engineering Awards built on and extended existing institutional research strengths in engineering.

Global Challenges Research Fund

In 2016, EPSRC put out a call, supported through our Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) allocation. The aim was to support an internationally leading programme of research, centred around engineering and digital technologies, to tackle the challenges faced by the developing world with an emphasis on:

  • Sustainable infrastructure development
  • Engineering for disaster resilience
  • Engineering for humanitarian aid