About the Programme

In Summer 1998, the EPSRC launched the Systems Integration Programme. This programme is funded jointly by the Engineering and Information Technology Programme Areas of the EPSRC. It comprises both a Managed Research Programme and a Responsive Mode element. The Managed Research Programme will receive 4.5 million annually from EPSRC for at least three years. It is meant to be very different in style from other research programmes, with an ambition both to break new intellectual ground and to contribute to industrial and commercial development through significant manufacturing and service sector industrial partnerships. The third call for proposals closed October 31st 2000 and the final projects to be supported will be announced shortly (as of April 2001).

This initiative seeks to improve the competitiveness of UK Manufacturing and Services by funding research proposals that will lead to an increased capability in Systems Integration. The term "Systems Integration" is used here to encompass all life-cycle activities of products and services including requirements elicitation, specification, design, engineering, manufacturing and construction, product support, customer care and recycling. It refers not only to discrete products but especially to large scale initiatives in the broad range of manufacturing and service sectors within EPSRC’s remit.

The integration of heterogeneous systems of systems require architectures, organisational structures and processes which support interoperability. There is a need for Systems Integration approaches that can help the understanding, reduction and management of the ever-growing complexity of product and process.

Many industrial and service enterprises are re-engineering fundamental business processes, and both individual enterprises and whole sectors, are undergoing repeated restructuring. Systems Integration principles and methods are needed to help understand and address the issues of people, process and technology in the continual evolution of organisations.

Complexity and Integration issues are not well formulated or understood: we need both practical tools and supporting theory.

If you want to sound out any ideas for proposals, contact Bob at bobm@ideo.co.uk

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