Public Release: 

Long term engagement reaps earth moving research

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

A three-year programme of engagement and collaboration between the academic community, engineering industries and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), has today borne fruit with the announcement of £4.7 million funding for new engineering research.

Three new projects will help improve the understanding and prediction of earth movements to protect major infrastructure; provide greater confidence in the durability of composite materials for use in civil engineering industries and develop new self-healing materials for construction.

The projects are:

  • ISMART led by Newcastle University - Grant number EP/K027050/1
  • Providing Confidence in Durable Composites (DURACOMP) led by the University of Warwick - Grant number - EP/K026925/1
  • Materials for Life (M4L): Biomimetic multi-scale damage immunity for construction materials - led by Cardiff University - EP/K026631/1

Over twenty other institutions and industry partners will collaborate with the research.

The path to these projects started in 2009 when EPSRC commissioned a review of academic research into the area of ground and structural engineering. This was published in 2010 and among its recommendations was for more adventurous research with a community driven agenda. EPSRC then funded two one-year networks FIF and LimesNet to formulate ideas. Last year, out of these networks, emerged a call for proposals based on the networks' aims.

Welcoming the funding, Professor Barry Clarke, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Professor of Civil Engineering Geotechnics at the University of Leeds, and a member of the team that reviewed the state of research in the field said:

"I am very pleased to welcome this funding. These projects will look at issues which are both current and emerging and can improve the sustainability of our infrastructure and buildings. This is a positive example of the community and research councils working closely together."

EPSRC's Chief Executive, Professor David Delpy said: "These grants will support vital underpinning research that will help the UK deliver major infrastructure projects and help us plan maintenance in the context of climate change. Likewise, developing new composites and self-healing materials will help us prolong the life and integrity of new buildings as well as enabling the retrofitting of older ones."

The announcement of these grants comes ahead of the inaugural Global Grand Challenges Summit in London, 12-13 March 2013 which EPSRC is proud to be supporting.

The event is being organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering in collaboration with EPSRC and other partners.


For media enquiries contact:

Richard Tibenham at the EPSRC Press Office, tel: 01793 444 404, e-mail:

Notes to Editors:

1. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

2. Other institutions and partners working on the projects are:

ISMART - NERC British Geological Survey, Durham University, University of Southampton, Loughborough University, Queen's University of Belfast. Atkins UK, CIRIA, Department for Regional Development NI, Geotechnics Ltd, Golder Associates, Highways Agency, Mott Macdonald UK Ltd, Network Rail Ltd, Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and Translink. Providing Confidence in Durable Composites (DURACOMP) - University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of Glasgow, University of Leeds, Newcastle University. Aquamarine Power Ltd, Formax UK Ltd, Highways Agency and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Materials for Life (M4L): Biomimetic multi-scale damage immunity for construction materials - University of Bath, University of Cambridge. Alun Griffiths Ltd, Arup Group Ltd, Atkins UK, BRE, Costain Group PLC, Laing O'Rourke plc, Mott Macdonald UK Ltd, National Grid, URS Infrastructure and Environment Ltd, Parsons Brinckerhoff, TRL Limited, Shell Global Solutions UK, and Schlumberger (France).

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