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Engineering X launches Pandemic Preparedness programme

Engineering X, an international collaboration founded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the Royal Academy of Engineering, has launched the first two initiatives of its Pandemic Preparedness programme to support the UK and global engineering communities in learning from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Engineering X brings together some of the world’s leading problem-solvers to address the great challenges of our age. Its Pandemic Preparedness programme aims to facilitate global sharing of lessons on disruptive solutions and best practice approaches in the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from pandemics. To start this process, Engineering X is inviting immediate participation in two initial activities:

  1. A grant call to support global networks and communities to develop highly novel, engineering-centred research projects and/or innovations with disruptive potential to tackle the most pressing challenges of pandemics and their rapid deployment to areas in most need in the UK and in low- and middle-income countries globally. Applicants are invited for two strands with different application criteria but which are both initially open for projects led by applicants with an existing relationship with the Royal Academy of Engineering. Up to £20k each is available for proposals that meet the relevant criteria. The deadline for applications is 1 June 2020 and we expect first funding decisions to be made by 22 June.
  2. A survey to assess the role of engineers around the world in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and gather information on life-saving lessons, methods and technologies that they are able to share. Engineering X aims to assist engineers in all parts of the world to access the networks and information they need to respond most effectively to the pandemic. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and the results will be used to guide delivery of programmes supporting the international engineering response to the pandemic.

Prof Peter Guthrie FREng, Chair of the Engineering X Pandemic Preparedness Programme Board, said, “Our priority is to support projects with real potential for significant impact where engineers can bring innovative approaches to known and emerging pandemic-related challenges. We also want to generate an evidence base of engineering interventions that can help the world prepare for future pandemics and similar systemic shocks. We must not only aim to understand and address the current global Covid-19 crisis, but also ensure that we are then in better shape to navigate other global shocks in the future.”

This latest initiative from Engineering X has benefited from input gained from meetings the Academy has hosted for international networks of science and engineering academies (CAETS and Euro-CASE) to share insight into how engineers are responding to the pandemic across the world, and connect organisations and individuals delivering critical solutions and products. The Academy intends to build on this work with similar collaborations.

Engineering X is a new international collaboration, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, that brings together some of the world’s leading problem-solvers to address the great challenges of our age. Their global network of expert engineers, academics and business leaders is working in partnership to share best practice, explore new technologies, educate and train the next generation of engineers, build capacity, improve safety and deliver impact. From gathering evidence to implementing standards, Engineering X is working hard to identify and solve problems on a global scale.

As international markets and systems become ever more complex and intertwined, Engineering X believes that collaboration, shared responsibility and mutual support between diverse communities is the only way to safeguard our future and drive change.

The Engineering X Pandemic Preparedness Programme is being led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. There are two streams to this programme:

Stream 1 is funded under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and is aimed at tackling global or local pandemic-related challenges that manifest in countries approved as recipients of UK aid funding. A list of eligible countries can be found in this link. This call is open to lead applicants in DAC list countries or the UK with an existing relationship with the Royal Academy of Engineering – this may be as a current or previous grant award holder, collaborator, partner or member of the Fellowship.

Stream 2 aims to fund innovation projects in UK universities. It is funded by the Investment in Research Talent Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This call is open to awardees and other affiliates of the Academy who may collaborate with partners internationally.

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