Applications invited to set up new resilience engineering programme

Closing date: 10 March 2016

The Foundation is seeking a director and a host institution for a programme to build resilience in critical infrastructure. We anticipate committing £10 million to the international programme which will run for an initial period of five years.

Society depends on the proper functioning of essential services such as food and water, energy, transportation, telecommunications, the built environment and healthcare. These sectors are increasingly complex and interdependent, acting at a global scale, and making them susceptible to catastrophic and cascading failure under stress. The Foundation is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in an international effort to better understand, communicate and improve resilience towards safety of life and property and in the Foundation’s strategic sectors. 

This programme is one outcome of the Foundation’s Foresight review of resilience engineering: designing for the expected and the unexpected, which was published in October 2015. The review recommended the Foundation establish and lead a programme to build the resilience within and between critical global infrastructure sectors. This programme will also support work led elsewhere, interfacing with programmes building resilience in cities, countries and organisations, and supporting the application of technologies, knowledge and skills needed to build resilience in critical infrastructure sectors. 

About resilience engineering 

Resilience engineering is one of the research priorities identified in the Foundation’s strategy. It is an emerging research discipline which the Foundation can help to develop. At its heart is the concept of building systems, structures, infrastructures, organisations and associated human and social capacity which can respond appropriately (not catastrophically) to foreseen and unforeseen stresses. Such stresses might include physical (weather, flooding, explosions, impacts), economic (economic downturn, regulation, business model failure), social (management, poor training, criminal intent, labour actions) and technological (new materials, sensors, emergent properties of technological systems) factors. 

Programme to build resilience within and between critical global infrastructure sectors  

The programme’s primary aim is to build resilience within and between critical global infrastructure sectors, for example maritime industries, energy, food and water, transport, communications, healthcare.

To do this the programme might address:

  • governance: incentives, standards, rules, legal and financial instruments
  • capacity building and engagement: professional development, publications, communication and public engagement
  • data and supporting tools: shared datasets, modelling and simulation, decision support
  • international and global scale networks: studies of global systems, supply chains, knowledge networks. 

In addition to its primary aim, the programme has two secondary aims, interfacing with and supporting work led elsewhere. It will:

  • interface with organisations building resilience in cities, countries and organisations and 
  • support the application of technologies, knowledge and skills, developed through funding from elsewhere, needed to build resilience in critical infrastructure sectors and to mature the discipline of resilience engineering.

The programme will run for an initial period of five years.  The Foundation’s contribution to the programme is anticipated to be approximately £10 million GBP.

Contact:
The contact point for this call is Ruth Boumphrey, Head of Research Grants, Lloyd’s Register Foundation. For an opportunity to informally discuss this post or the call more broadly please email ruth.boumphrey@lrfoundation.org.uk to arrange a telephone call.  

Application deadline: 12 noon UK time on 10 March 2016.