The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is a British Research Council that provides government funding for grants to undertake research and postgraduate degrees in engineering and the physical sciences, mainly to universities in the United Kingdom. EPSRC research areas include mathematics, physics, chemistry, artificial intelligence and computer science, but exclude particle physics, nuclear physics, space science and astronomy (which fall under the remit of the Science and Technology Facilities Council). Since 2018 it has been part of UK Research and Innovation, which is funded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
|Predecessor||Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC)|
|Type||Non-departmental government body|
|Purpose||Funding of science and engineering research|
North Star Avenue,
|Affiliations||RCUK, AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, TSB, UKSA|
|£898 million (2015–2016)|
EPSRC was created in 1994. At first part of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), in 2018 it was one of nine organisations brought together to form UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Its head office is in Swindon, Wiltshire in the same building (Polaris House) that houses the AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, MRC, Natural Environment Research Council, Science and Technology Facilities Council, TSB, Research Councils UK and the UK Space Agency.
Paul Golby, Chair of EngineeringUK, was appointed as the Chairman of the EPSRC from 1 April 2012 for four years. He succeeded Sir John Armitt.
From 2007 to March 2014, the chief executive and deputy chair of EPSRC was David Delpy FREng FRS, a medical physicist and formerly vice provost at University College London.
He'd been succeeded in April 2014 by Philip Nelson, former University of Southampton pro vice-chancellor for research and enterprise. In April 2016 Professor Tom Rodden was appointed as the Deputy CEO of EPSRC, a new position created to work alongside Philip Nelson while he also acts as Chair of RCUK Strategic Executive. Rodden joins the EPSRC on secondment from the University of Nottingham where he is currently Professor of Computing and Co-Director of Horizon Digital Economy Research.
In October 2018 Nelson was succeeded by Lynn Gladden CBE FRS FRSC FInstP FREng in the new role of Executive Chair.
In addition to funding academic research projects, the EPSRC also funds Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs). These deliver four-year doctoral training programmes to cohorts of PhD students and EngD research engineers studying within UK universities, and are funded to target specific areas of research for which there is recognised need. In 2008, the EPSRC announced funding for 44 new CDTs spanning its entire remit.
The EPSRC also funds or joint-funds 'Innovation and Knowledge Centres'. These are university-based business incubators which support commercialisation of emerging technologies. Between 2007 and 2016, the EPSRC funded seven centres:
Since 2013, the ESPRC has funded i-Sense, an interdisciplinary research collaboration which develops early warning sensing systems for infectious diseases.
In 2020, ESPRC received £22 million from UKRI to be used (alongside money from industry and the universities involved) to fund five "next stage digital economy" centres. Projects will be run by the universities of Bath, Newcastle, Northumbria, Nottingham, Surrey and Lancaster.
In 2014 the ESPRC established its RISE awards – Recognising Inspirational Scientists and Engineers. The awards recognise inspirational leaders of innovation as RISE Leaders; those who are fellows of the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering or Academy of Medical Sciences as RISE Fellows; future leaders nominated by RISE Leaders as Rising Stars; and EPSRC-supported researchers with an interest in policy and evidence-based decision making as RISE Connectors. As of October 2020[update], those named as RISE leaders are: