Living with environmental change strategy

Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) is a cross-government consortium of 22 partners, including DEFRA, the Department for Transport and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and is the main forum for joint working in the environmental sciences. Advice from across the partnership has informed EPSRC plans.

Engineering and physical sciences has a key contribution to make to the UK environmental change agenda. We will influence our LWEC partners to ensure they have a greater appreciation of the contribution that engineering and the physical sciences (EPS) can make towards the LWEC challenges.

We will significantly raise the visibility and impact of EPSRC activity relevant to the LWEC partnership to help the UK play its full part in tackling these urgent challenges, especially in the areas of water and infrastructure research.

We will help engineering and physical sciences researchers understand the relevance of their expertise to these areas and inspire and excite self-motivated people to identify innovative, creative and transformative solutions to the challenges we all face.

Effective ongoing stakeholder engagement is key to achieving real benefits and we will continue to explore and innovate to find the most productive ways to support stakeholder-influenced research and training.

Our ambition is to co-design and co-deliver activities where EPS has a key contribution to make or the potential for transformation or high impact. There is acknowledged urgency internationally on the need to implement the LWEC agenda given the increasing pressure on natural resources and the impacts of environmental change on the climate, land use, biodiversity and pollution.

There are six challenge areas within the LWEC partnership:

  • Climate challenge: to understand the risks of climate change and assess options for avoiding or managing such risks
  • Ecosystem challenge: to manage ecosystem services for human well-being and to protect the natural environment in a changing world
  • Resources challenge: to promote human well-being, alleviate poverty and minimise waste by ensuring a sustainable supply of water, food and other biological resources. This challenge will be a priority focus for our investment
  • Health challenge: to protect human health in a changing environment
  • Infrastructure challenge: to make infrastructure, the built environment and transport systems resilient to environmental change, less carbon intensive and more socially acceptable. This challenge will be a priority focus for our investment
  • Societal challenge: to understand the role of government, business and society in enabling all to live with environmental change.

EPS research has an important role in all of these challenges. However, in the first instance we are prioritising the Resources and Infrastructure challenges.

LWEC draws on a very broad range of engineering and physical sciences in addition to biological and medical sciences, environmental and economic and social sciences.

The role of Engineering, Manufacturing, Energy, ICT, Mathematical sciences and Physical sciences is particularly important in enabling progress in our initial priority areas of resilient infrastructure, water security and protection against high impact extreme events, including flooding.

EPSRC will invest additional resources in multidisciplinary research and place greater emphasis on realising the benefits from current and past funding.