This is an archive site for ERPem. For more up to date information about research partnership work, see Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering (ERPe) and Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences

ERPem Vision

The Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering and Mathematics (ERPem) is a vehicle to drive forward research quality and competitiveness in the associated institutions. The creation of Joint Research Institutes (JRIs) will enable us to augment the capabilities of the individual institutions and create a larger, more vibrant research activity which has a higher chance of attracting external funding and, because of its wider set of capabilities, is more attractive for prospective new academic staff, PDRAs and PG students.

This proposal aligns directly with Recommendation 5 of the Scottish Science Advisory Committees first annual report (January 2004) that there should be reshaping of the science base in Scotland with "new integrated structures that would lead to the creation of Scottish Centres of Excellence". The specific plans for these JRIs and their individual research visions are thus contained in the accompanying outline descriptions of each of the institutes.

In addition, the involvement of additional high quality researchers from external partners, including the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) and the PPARC Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC) demonstrates the enhancement of the scale and intensity of our research and related postgraduate activities.

There is a shared belief, corroborated by an international review panel, in the capacity of the universities to operate joint research and associated activities in selected topic areas, to yield substantial benefit and added value for the staff and postgraduate student population of each university, and to the national research base as a whole. Scotland, the UK, and society in general will benefit from the concentration of world class researchers operating across traditional subject boundaries with an increased capacity to address ‘grand challenges’, where successful outcomes will produce major positive impacts on societal quality of life.

Two of the three Universities are in the UK top 20 in terms of grant awards from EPSRC (the most relevant Research Council for the ERPem research portfolio). The combination in the ERPem will give a combined funding from EPSRC which puts us in the top five for total value of funds secured. Our robust appraisal is that the JRI research topic areas are well-aligned with UK government research priorities, as reflected by the EPSRC portfolio. Evidence for this includes the recent International Review of Engineering Research where more than half of the JRI topic areas were selected by EPSRC to host formal visits by the International Panel, and the earlier International Review of Mathematics, where the Maths JRI was similarly selected to host Panel Visits, and where some of its key subject specialities were defined as priorities by the Review.

The individual research vision and outline plans for each of these JRIs are contained in the accompanying Links to each JRI website. In addition to providing the collaborative framework within which to embed the JRIs, the ERPem Postgraduate School will also enable the delivery of generic courses and services for PhD research students. This will permit the efficient provision of high quality courses in transferable skills, knowledge transfer and other ‘training’ elements of modern postgraduate education that are increasingly demanded by research councils, industry and other providers of PG research student support funds, and by students themselves.

The ERPem Postgraduate School also offers the opportunity to develop Masters level teaching as a postgraduate activity that provides a high degree of symbiosis with the enhancement of international quality research in the JRIs. This affords the opportunity for the efficient development of new income streams to enhance the sustainability of the ERPem as a whole. It aims to address the global market for graduate students, seeking to exploit the growing research reputation of Edinburgh’s universities and to utilise progressive delivery platforms as appropriate for efficient, student-centred postgraduate education.


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