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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
PredecessorScience and Engineering Research Council (SERC)
TypeNon-departmental government body
PurposeFunding of science and engineering research
HeadquartersPolaris House,
North Star Avenue,
Region served
United Kingdom
Executive Chair
Lynn Gladden
Main organ
EPSRC Council
Parent organisation
£898 million (2015–2016)[1]
Websiteepsrc.ukri.org Edit this at Wikidata

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.


EPSRC was created in 1994. At first part of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC),[citation needed] in 2018 it was one of nine organisations brought together to form UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).[2][3]

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.

Key people[edit]

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, a medical physicist and formerly vice provost at University College London.[4]

He'd been succeeded in April 2014 by Philip Nelson, former University of Southampton pro vice-chancellor for research and enterprise.[5] 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[6] in the new role of Executive Chair.[7]


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.[8]

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:[9]

Since 2013, the ESPRC has funded i-Sense, an interdisciplinary research collaboration which develops early warning sensing systems for infectious diseases.[10]

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.[11]


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.[12] As of October 2020, those named as RISE leaders are:[12]


  1. ^ Budget and finances, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, archived from the original on 29 August 2020, retrieved 29 August 2020
  2. ^ "Our councils". UKRI. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  3. ^ "John Kingman to lead creation of new £6 billion research and innovation body". GOV.UK. Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  4. ^ New Chief Executive for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, 30 May 2007, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0705/07053002
  5. ^ "Professor Philip Nelson announced as next EPSRC CEO - EPSRC". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  6. ^ Anon (2017). "Gladden, Prof. Lynn Faith". Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). Oxford: A & C Black. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.4000454. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ "Professor Lynn Gladden selected as Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council". Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  8. ^ New Centres for Doctoral Training – December 2008 Archived 2013-07-06 at archive.today, from EPSRC's site
  9. ^ "Innovation and knowledge centres – EPSRC website". www.epsrc.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  10. ^ "About us". i-sense.org.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  11. ^ "UKRI to invest £29m to boost digital revolution and online safety". governmentcomputing.com. 29 October 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  12. ^ a b "RISE: Recognising inspiration". epsrc.ukri.org. EPSRC. Retrieved 5 October 2020.

External links[edit]