EPSRC Leader for Research in Digital Twinning for Decarbonising Transport
Closing Date: 08/02/2023
Funding to lead the establishment of a digital twinning research hub to support the decarbonisation and improved integration of the transport systems in the UK.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has launched this funding opportunity to support a leader to establish a digital twinning research hub to support the decarbonisation and improved integration of the transport systems in the UK.
The leader will:
- Network within academia, industry, policymakers and third sectors.
- Build an interdisciplinary consortium that will co-develop a research agenda and apply for the closed opportunity (up to £20 million) for a new digital twinning research hub.
- Lead the hub if the proposal is successful.
This is the first stage of a two-stage process designed to launch a new large-scale, interdisciplinary EPSRC research hub that will tackle key digital twinning research challenges, following a ‘learning by doing’ approach, to support and accelerate the UK transport systems’ transition to zero emissions, improve integration across the systems of transport and support economic growth.
The two stages are as follows:
- Stage 1: Digital twinning transport leader for the decarbonisation and integration of transport systems in the UK.
- Stage 2: Digital twinning research hub for the decarbonisation and integration of transport systems in the UK. Only the successful digital twinning transport research leader will be invited to submit to the second stage as principal investigator and director for the new interdisciplinary, digital twinning research hub to support the decarbonisation and integration of the transport systems in the UK.
This opportunity will specifically seek a leader or co-leaders, who will create a security-minded, cross-sector, interdisciplinary consortium and research plan for a single new EPSRC digital twinning research hub. The research hub is a five-year investment to undertake transformational and application driven research to address important digital twinning research challenges to support and accelerate the decarbonisation and integration of the transport systems in the UK.
This mission-led investment will form a key part of EPSRC’s contribution to the development of the national capability in digital twinning. The leader will need to build and lead the research hub to tackle key research challenges in digital twinning for decarbonising and improving the integration of UK transport systems.
The leader will be expected to:
- Partner with academia, government (local, regional and national), and industry to complement and build on existing and upcoming activities, infrastructure and investments in this space, including work taking place as part of the National Digital Twin Programme within Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
- Coordinate networking activity to ensure excellence is drawn in from different disciplines and places across the UK.
- Engage with all stakeholders to form a cross-sector, interdisciplinary consortium across digital twinning, net zero, transport expertise and beyond.
- Identify and understand the important research challenges across all modes of transport and develop an agenda for future digital twinning activity in this space, taking into consideration the wider international landscape.
- Lead the consortium in the design of a detailed proposal for the new digital twinning transport research hub.
- Explore and establish not only the technical, technological and scientific advances, but also the social, behavioural, ethical, security, environmental, economic, legal and regulatory understanding required to underpin a digital twinning capability for transport that will support decarbonisation and improve integration.
- Contribute to the wider national and international digital twinning research and innovation community, including being an equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) role model.
- Report to and create a plan of engagement with EPSRC and work with other UKRI investments in this space, such as a digital twinning use case for the energy grid, to maximise benefits and ensure alignment between investments.
- Create a plan of engagement with Department for Transport (DfT) and the Transport Research and Innovation Board (TRIB) member organisations, in order to identify and develop the digital twinning use cases and ensure alignment between investments.
- Create a plan of engagement with the National Digital Twin Programme in BEIS, in order to understand the work taking place within the programme and ensure that there will be alignment between investments.
- Develop communications, knowledge exchange, and wider stakeholder engagement plans to co-create activities, disseminate findings and network throughout the duration of the award.
The leader role is not solely about research facilitation and driving coordination across the digital twinning, decarbonisation transport agendas but is also outward facing in terms of engagement with stakeholders and understanding the political and research landscape. This could be through running series of workshops and activities to bring these communities together in an immersive way.
The leader will also work collaboratively with other EPSRC digital twinning, decarbonisation and related, research investments as part of a cohesive enterprise targeted at addressing nationally important challenges.
If the consortium proposal is successful, the appointed leader or co-leaders from this funding opportunity will establish and lead the EPSRC digital twinning research hub for the decarbonisation and integration of the UK transport systems. The leader will become the director of the research hub that will receive up to £20 million of EPSRC funding. They are expected to generate additional leverage to amplify this EPSRC investment.
The long-term goals for the leader are to:
- Provide leadership and coordination on digital twinning transport research, including through the design and delivery of a world-leading digital twinning research hub for the decarbonisation and integration of the UK transport systems (if the funding proposal is successful).
- Contribute towards the evidence base for digital twinning, informing strategies to meet the UK’s 2050 net zero target and broader global environmental and sustainability goals.
- Enhance utilisation and engagement with digital twinning research across society.
- Deliver digital twinning activity that will lead to real world solutions to decarbonise transport and enhance transport integration, codeveloped and coproduced with users.
- Ensure the work of the digital twinning research hub is conducted in a security-minded manner and that appropriate security is built into the outputs it generates.
- Deliver efficiencies in physical infrastructure management and proactive maintenance with digital twinning research activities, and as such reducing disruptions, costs and carbon emissions for the UK transport systems.
The successful leader needs to be available to start work in June 2023. The successful leader is expected to continue to deliver a leadership role between the end of stage 1 and start of stage 2.