New and emerging areas in ICT

The New and emerging areas cross-theme priority is to encourage researchers to work on truly transformative concepts and technologies within and beyond currently recognisable as ICT and which will be recognised as ICT in the future.

To be 'new and emerging' an area needs to comprise something more than an advance, however significant, within an established field. It must be genuinely disruptive, offering real potential to significantly alter current practise in research or industry. Broadly speaking we might see new and emerging ideas in ICT arising in two ways: grown within the ICT research landscape or introduced into it from other themes.

Implementation of the Priority

The New and emerging areas priority has been successful in the sense that it has led to the Quantum Technology Theme and has informed the discussions currently underway on 'Human-like Computing'. However, beyond this, the number of grants which address the aims of this priority are low and little comes forward in the way of applications.

We recognise that encouraging and facilitating the emergence of new areas is not straightforward and so for the period of this Delivery Plan we will be exploring this cross-ICT priority in more detail in order to improve our approach to how we work with researchers seeking to address this priority, . This will include producing guidance for applicants, monitoring the development of the portfolio and engaging in discussions with the research community

What does this mean for applicants?

In considering how to address this priority researchers should bear in mind the diversity for support mechanisms on offer. Support for a topic under this theme need not necessarily be project based. For example, the topic may need further exploration in order to determine what research is necessary. Under such circumstances rather than project support it might be more appropriate to seek funding for workshops or networks to explore the area in more detail and provide advice for the research community and EPSRC taking them forward.