Manchester resilience researchers awarded £4.2 million to help build a secure world

Manchester’s researchers are on a mission to tackle some of the UK’s most challenging resilience and security problems. 

Backed by a £4.2 million funding award from UK Research and Innovation’s building a secure and resilient world strategic theme, the University team will drive a Research and Coordination Hub in confronting pressing risks and threats both online and in the world around us.  

Led by Dr Richard Kirkham, Deputy Director of the Thomas Ashton Institute for Risk and Regulatory Research at The University of Manchester, the project known as SALIENT (Secure And ResiLIENT), will bring Manchester academics together with partners from the universities of Bath, Exeter and Sussex, to catalyse, convene and conduct research and innovation in support of the UK's national security and resilience. 

SALIENT will drive interdisciplinary research to tackle some of the UK's most challenging security problems. Their focus will be on robust and secure supply chains, global order in a time of change, technologies used for security and defence, behavioural and cultural resilience, and strengthening resilience in our natural and built environments.  

“With SALIENT we’re aiming to enhance security across our virtual and physical environments, and strengthen the country’s societal and economic resilience, by improving awareness around the key risks and threats we might be facing, and informing UK decision-making and preparedness. Ultimately, we’re working towards change being understood as a force for good. 

“SALIENT will adopt a human-centred systems approach through a portfolio of devolved funded activity. To achieve this, we particularly encourage research proposals that promote the arts and humanities in the national conversation on resilience.”   

Dr Richard Kirkham

This ambitious five-year investment, following a highly competitive selection process, will enable the SALIENT team to build strong connections across a broad group of stakeholders in central and local government, the devolved administrations and crucially, the public.

Dr Kirkham continued: “Our approach will promote a culture of genuine interdisciplinarity, co-production and citizen engagement, ensuring that the research we do is relevant, timely and represents value for money.” 

Duncan Shaw, Professor of Operational Research and Critical Systems at The University of Manchester, added: “Enhancing the resilience of systems and society is an epic ambition, one that has challenged the UK for years. SALIENT amasses an impressive multidisciplinary team that we will expand with policy and practice subject matter experts. Together we will pursue an exciting endeavour to make a real difference to resilience at home and create transferable lessons of global significance.” 

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