EPSRC Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Research Hub

Closing Date: 20/03/2023

Funding to establish the Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Research Hub, which will convene and lead the research needed to reduce emissions through improved infrastructure and build resilience across UK transport networks.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has launched this opportunity with funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), UKRI’s research councils and Innovate UK (IUK) to establish a £10 million Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Research Hub. The initiative is a joint programme between UKRI and the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of the UKRI ‘building a green future’ strategic theme.

The hub will:

  • Build capacity and research critical mass in the UK.
  • Focus on the transport sector’s needs over the next 25 years, on the approach to 2050.
  • Focus on climate adaptation and mitigation solutions for the UK’s transport system across modalities and landscapes.
  • Take a systems approach to developing and implementing sustainable, low carbon, adaptation solutions for resilient transport infrastructure and streetscapes.

Adaptation of the UK’s transport system requires substantial research and policy progress. UKRI, DfT and partners have identified four priority areas that the hub will be expected to add value to by researching solutions to improve resilience, and deliver net zero solutions to improve the transport systems for the user including:

  • Building solutions for resilience in transport infrastructure including rethinking existing transport infrastructure to reduce emissions and increase resilience as well as the development of new low carbon and resilient transport infrastructure.
  • Changing how the following are considered:
    • Streetscapes
    • Maximising co-benefits from the transition such as wider access
    • Reduced inequality
    • Enhanced safety
    • Reduced waste
    • Greater levels of recycling
    • Improved air quality
    • Biodiversity
    • Economic growth
    • Environmental net gain
  • Modelling local climate and temperature change, sea-level rises, and extreme weather events to better understand climate impacts on the UK’s transport system and aid mitigation at the local level.
  • Bridging the gap between the transport system, infrastructure, research, and policy.

The hub is expected to create demonstrable leadership on an international scale focusing on net zero adaptation to climate change in the transport system. Its core focus should be the delivery of a series of interdisciplinary research work-packages, led by academics from across the hub’s institutional consortium.

This hub will provide a focus for the UK transport systems research community, working in close partnership with businesses, communities, government departments, and administrations throughout the UK to tackle research challenges linked to decarbonisation and adaptation of the sector. Applicants must therefore build a co-created interdisciplinary research consortium with stakeholders and network within academia, industry, policymakers and third sectors.

The hub should expect to actively support career development across all career stages in the transport sector. A key focus should be on early career researchers, including provision of targeted flexible funding opportunities.

There will be an expectation on the hub to deliver skills outputs, support capacity and capability growth with the transport systems UK research community. A critical feature of the hub will be its ability to convene the main actors in the transport research and innovation landscape. The hub is expected to engage proactively with other major complementary investments looking at decarbonising transport, linked adaptation, sustainable choices and energy research and development landscape. It is also expected to engage with any relevant research and innovation investments made by UKRI and other public funders, including innovation investments funded by Innovate UK.

The hub should be co-delivered with stakeholders and users to address critical issues where further research and innovation is required. Governance arrangements will include engagement of the DfT and cross-government Transport Research and Innovation Board.

Funding is available for up to 43 months. The hub will have a fixed start date of 1 September 2023 and an end date of 31 March 2027.

Funding body Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Maximum value £10,000,000
Reference ID S24774
Category Natural Environment
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Fund or call Fund