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Thomas Ashton Institute for Risk and Regulatory Research

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

20 February 2024

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, 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.

Dr Kirkham said, “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.”

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.”

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, investing £8 billion annually spanning all disciplines and all sectors. We are nine councils, drawing on our unique breadth and depth of expertise to work with government and other stakeholders to enrich lives, by increasing our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, supporting innovative businesses and public services, and creating high-quality jobs throughout the UK.

About Building a Secure and Resilient World

Building a Secure and Resilient World is one of five strategic themes in UKRI’s five-year plan, Transforming Tomorrow Together. Through this focus UKRI aims to harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges, encouraging working across disciplines and building on existing investment and activity. 

Building a Secure and Resilient World aims to strengthen security and resilience in areas of personal vulnerability, community fragility and national risk, across a range of social and economic areas at the heart of daily life. 

Read more about the programme: SALIENT - Thomas Ashton Institute for Risk and Regulatory Research

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