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Safer Complex Systems Programme - Royal Academy of Engineering

2019-10-25 14:52 | Daniel Muller (Administrator)

Shelley Stromdale, is the manager of the new Safer Complex Systems programme at the Royal Academy of Engineering. Through this programme, the Academy has launched three opportunities to determine the regions and activities that will receive funding to increase the safety of complex systems globally.

She wants to hear from all countries, the full breadth of engineering, all sectors and organisation types. She particularly encouragesresponses from women and other underrepresented groups in engineering.

1. International Call for Ideas

Do you know of a complex system with safety risks? What are the key safety challenges? Which activities should the Academy fund to increase safety within these complex systems? This survey is an opportunity for people anywhere in the world to influence the scope and strategy of the Safer Complex Systems programme: your responses will help determine what activities we fund and where. From humanitarianism, health, food supply and cybersecurity, to voting systems, climate change, AI and machine learning, we are interested in the safety of all complex systems at this early stage, so all ideas are most welcome.

Please note that this programme is able to fund a broad range of activities as long as they increase the safety of complex systems (e.g. research (not PhD), public engagement campaigns, training, knowledge dissemination, new regulation, engineering innovation) there are lots of possibilities so I would encourage you to think as broadly as possible. Wherever possible try to emphasise how your suggestions or work will translate into practice to make a real, tangible difference to improving people’s lives.

2. Invitation to Tender: Global Foresight Review on the Safety of Complex Systems

The Academy and Lloyd’s Register Foundation are seeking to commission a report(s) to generate clear priorities for a grant funding programme to increase the safety of complex systems globally.

The report(s) must meet one or more of the below objectives:

  • To develop conceptual clarity on ‘safety’ and ‘complex systems’ and to develop a common way to communicate about the safety of complex systems across sectors and between different levels of expertise globally;
  • To develop understanding of the existing methods available for the design, management and governance of complex systems (including those developed in academia that have not yet been implemented);
  • To outline emerging challenges and opportunities with significant disruptive potential (negative or positive) with regards to the safety of complex systems.

We welcome submissions from UK and non-UK organisations. Indicative budget: £100,000 - £150,000. Deadline for submissions: 21 October 2019 – if required, please contact to discuss a possible short extension.

3. Call for Case Studies (Call for Abstracts - Deadline 11 November 2019)

The Academy have launched this Call for Case Studies to gather tangible case studies from all over the world that demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to the design, management and governance of complex systems. These case studies will support the global community to learn from one another, to improve practices, and to increase safety in complex systems globally. We will publish these case studies in a free, online library to enable widespread dissemination of good practice from successful systems and lessons learned following systems failure. The Academy is asking Academia and Industry to help develop these case studies.

From the submitted Abstracts, the Academy will select the case studies they believe will be most helpful to a diverse, global community. If required, the Academy will provide funding to develop the Abstract into a full piece of research, to produce a full case study. The Academy will publish the final case studies both online and offline. There may also be opportunities to develop the case studies into creative resources (e.g. films, animations, media articles, interactive tools, and/or documentaries) to better inform members of the public on the issues raised.

Please contact  if you have any general thoughts or comments about the programme or if you would like any more information.

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