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Decision Making Under Uncertainty Call for Networks

The AHRC is partnering with the EPSRC, ESRC and NERC, and other Research Councils, on a joint call to support networking of researchers from different disciplines relating to the topic of decision making under uncertainty.

The purpose of this call is to develop and build widespread linkages between disciplines related to decision making under uncertainty and grow a multidisciplinary community in this space. The network(s) will be expected to work with user organisations (policy-makers, industry, and/or civil society organisations) to analyse real world systems and identify where multi-disciplinary research can develop new approaches to improve decision making under uncertainty.

There is provision within this activity to fund small scale pilot studies. A key objective of such pilot studies and the networks in general will be to identify and demonstrate the potential synergies and benefits of multi-disciplinary work in addressing real-world problems and to identify key priorities for further research and knowledge translation initiatives should these be justified by the findings of the networks.

This call builds on a number of past activities in this field by the Research Councils. These include an AHRC Risk Roundtable (July 2014) (which contributed to the Government Chief Scientific Advisor’s 2014 report Innovation: Managing Risk, Not Avoiding it) and a highlight notice in 2015 for inter-disciplinary applications (in which ‘risk’ was one of a number of highlighted topics) under AHRC’s Research Networking Scheme. It also complements a number of responsive mode grants as well as research agendas under several AHRC themes such as Science in Culture.

The aims of the networks are to:

  • Grow a community which is passionate & capable of working in multidisciplinary environments to consider problems in the area decision making under uncertainty
  • Identify ambitious multi-disciplinary challenges which can form an agenda for research in the area
  • Cover a wide range of thematic & sector-based research areas
  • Develop a mechanism for sustained engagement with user organisations (government, industry, regulators, civil society) to analyse real world systems where multi-disciplinary research could be initiated or applied
  • Enable multi-disciplinary collaborations which lead to novel research or approaches which are applied to real world decisions
  • Identify a broad range of funding sources to further develop the areas that the networks are in
  • Demonstrate the value of multi-disciplinary research in addressing real world issues related to decision making under uncertainty and identify priorities for subsequent research initiatives in this area
  • Encourage the two-way transfer of knowledge and expertise both between disciplines as well as between academia and user organisations.

The funding partners have a budget of up to £750,000 for this activity and we anticipate funding a maximum of up to two networks, which can include support for small scale pilot projects, for two years. The AHRC will consider co-funding network proposals containing a strong arts and humanities element.

EPSRC is leading and managing the call on behalf of the other funders.