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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I005943/1
Title: IDEAS Factory - Resilient Futures
Principal Investigator: Bullock, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Rigg, Professor J Dawson, Professor RJ Timmis, Professor Jon
Fussey, Professor P Rogers, Dr B Dainty, Professor ARJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr BA Searle
Project Partners:
Arup Group Ltd British Red Cross BT
Cabinet Office CH2M Hill (Halcrow) Costain
Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Institution of Civil Engineers Leicestershire Fire & Rescue
Local Government Group London Underground Ltd National Youth Agency
Newcastle City Council Public Health England Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Tamworth Borough Council Tyne and Wear Emergency Planning Unit
Department: Electronics and Computer Science
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2010 Ends: 31 March 2014 Value (£): 1,429,319
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Information & Knowledge Mgmt Sustainable Energy Networks
Transport Ops & Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
What will the UK's critical infrastructure look like in 2030? In 2050? How resilient will it be? Decisions taken now by policy makers, NGOs, industrialists, and user communities will influence the answers to these questions. How can this decision making be best informed by considerations of infrastructural resilience? This project will consider future developments in the UK's energy and transport infrastructure and the resilience of these systems to natural and malicious threats and hazards, delivering a) fresh perspectives on how the inter-relations amongst our critical infrastructure sectors impact on current and future UK resilience, b) a state-of-the-art integrated social science/engineering methodology that can be generalised to address different sectors and scenarios, and c) an interactive demonstrator simulation that operationalises the otherwise nebulous concept of resilience for a wide range of decision makers and stakeholders.Current reports from the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Council for Science and Technology, and the Cabinet Office are united in their assessment that achieving and sustaining resilience is the key challenge facing the UK's critical infrastructure. They are also unanimous in their assessment of the main issues. First, there is agreement on the main threats to national infrastructure: i) climate change; ii) terrorist attacks; iii) systemic failure. Second, the complex, disparate and interconnected nature of the UK's infrastructure systems is highlighted as a key concern by all. Our critical infrastructure is highly fragmented both in terms of its governance and in terms of the number of agencies charged with achieving and maintaining resilience, which range from national government to local services and even community groups such as local resilience forums. Moreover, the cross-sector interactions amongst different technological systems within the national critical infrastructure are not well understood, with key inter-dependencies potentially overlooked. Initiatives such as the Cabinet Office's new Natural Hazards Team are working to address this. The establishment of such bodies with responsibility for oversight and improving joined up resilience is a key recommendation in all four reports. However, such bodies currently lack two critical resources: (1) a full understanding of the resilience implications of our current and future infrastructural organisation; and (2) vehicles for effectively conveying this understanding to the full range of relevant stakeholders for whom the term resilience is currently difficult to understand in anything other than an abstract sense. The Resilient Futures project will engage directly with this context by working with relevant stakeholders from many sectors and governance levels to achieve a step change in both (1) and (2). To achieve this, we will focus on future rather than present UK infrastructure. This is for a two reasons. First, we intend to engender a paradigm shift in resilience thinking - from a fragmented short-termism that encourages agencies to focus on protecting their own current assets from presently perceived threats to a longer-term inter-dependent perspective recognising that the nature of both disruptive events and the systems that are disrupted is constantly evolving and that our efforts towards achieving resilience now must not compromise our future resilience. Second, focussing on a 2030/2050 time-frame lifts discussion out of the politically charged here and now to a context in which there is more room for discussion, learning and organisational change. A focus on *current resilience* must overcome a natural tendency for the agencies involved to defend their current processes and practices, explain their past record of disruption management, etc., before the conversation can move to engaging with potential for improvement, learning and change.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk