University of Exeter: Pivotal report identifies vision for tackling engineering research challenges

A pivotal new report has delivered a long-term vision for how engineering research will help to tackle some of the world’s key challenges.

The new report, called Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges (TERC), was produced following extensive engagement with the UK’s engineering community.

It aims to inform and inspire future strategies and solutions to ensure that engineering remains at the heart of technical revolutions.

The report was produced following a series of workshops, roundtable meetings and written contributions – in one of the UK’s largest engagement exercises amongst the engineering community.

It identified a number of broad cross-cutting themes which engineering will play a crucial role in addressing, including achieving net zero and sustainability; faster digital design; greater access and use of data; and harnessing disruptive, emerging technologies.

The report also explores the ambitious technological challenges for the next 10 to 15 years which engineering research will be crucial to addressing, such as transportation systems, robotics and artificial intelligence; responsible engineering; and health and wellbeing.

The report was facilitated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, the main UK funder of engineering research.

Professor Philipp Thies, Associate Professor in Renewable Energy at The University of Exeter, participated in the engagements leading up to and shaping the report.

Professor Thies said: This was a truly interdisciplinary effort, with colleagues from all engineering disciplines thinking outside their usual fields and exploring tomorrows’ s engineering opportunities to tackle challenges of the future.

“Grappling with questions of responsible, sustainable and efficient engineering in a digital, autonomous age and how to inspire the next generation of engineers. The report offers a glimpse into the future of engineering.”

The process and outcome was co-chaired by Dr Peter Bonfield OBE, FREng, Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Westminster and Professor Dame Helen Atkinson, DBE, FREng, Pro-Vice Chancellor, School of Aerospace, Transport Systems and Manufacturing, at Cranfield University.

Continuing community engagement, such as workshops to discuss the report and its recommendations, will take place later in the year.