Global - The Bristol Global Engagement Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Research and Enterprise Development


The University of Bristol is an international powerhouse of learning, discovery and enterprise. Its vision is of a university whose excellence is acknowledged locally, nationally and globally. International collaboration is key to realising our institutional mission, as outlined in our "Vision and Strategy 2009-2016"; to pursue and share knowledge and understanding, both for their own sake and to help individuals and society fulfil their potential. Our strategy for international research collaborations is founded upon the following guiding principles:

1) Excellence: developing the range of expert perspectives available;
2) Extent: increasing the reach and impact of the research undertaken;
3) Efficiency: the spreading of cost and the building of capacity for the collaborative partners;
4) Effectiveness: the ability to move more quickly and respond to new challenges.

The four-pronged Bristol Global Engagement Network outlined in this proposal will transform the way in which our scientists engage with global partners and will form the foundations upon which to capitalise on the practical benefits that accrue from vigorous international links: the tackling of global problems requiring global solutions; attracting world-leading international scientists and engineers to work in the UK; the benchmarking and raising of national UK standards that such collaborations implicitly define; adding value to the UK tax payer and funding bodies through the increased efficiency of pooling resources and the recruitment of the best young graduate students to become the next generation of leaders.
The proposed activity will more deeply embed a sustainable culture of global engagement into the University by encouraging our scientists and engineers to initiate and build upon international collaborations throughout all stages of their academic career. This will resonate particularly strongly with our junior researchers, including EPSRC-funded PhD students and research assistants, who will continue to engage with internationally excellent research groups throughout their time in research.

Planned Impact

The University of Bristol recognises the importance of partnering with internationally leading research institutions in order to produce high impact research outcomes of global significance.

Who might benefit from the activities outlined under the Bristol Global Engagement Network?

Collaboration by its very nature impacts on the parties involved; existing knowledge and the unique combination of specific expertise, skills, technologies and facilities greatly increases the potential for the generation of new knowledge and its outcomes. Each of the collaborations supported as part of the four-pronged Bristol Global Engagement Network will have an individual impact, which when taken as a whole will see beneficiaries beyond the academic community; in the public sector, private sector and in the wider public.

How might they benefit?

Strengthening partnerships with internationally leading research groups will open up new environments for impact and routes to market for commercially exploitable research outcomes. By embedding a sustainable culture of international engagement in research within our institution we will help to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of excellence in science and engineering. This will safeguard the national economy by encouraging international firms to invest in UK science through collaborative research programmes and the uptake of translational research outcomes. Strengthening research links with Japan in particular, where both an entrepreneurial culture and close interactions with the industrial sector are deeply embedded in the view of research, will have a profound influence on our understanding of how to maximise potential research impact, and will also provide numerous opportunities to engage and interact directly with a new pool of potential end users of research, including large multinational companies such as Rolls Royce, Canon and Nintendo. These impacts will resonate especially strongly with our young researchers, including EPSRC-funded PhD students and research assistants, who will continue to strive to engage with internationally excellent research groups throughout their time in research, thereby ensuring that the impacts of such global collaborations will continue to benefit the UK economy way beyond the scope of these activities. Coupled to these benefits to the UK and Global economies are the many impacts to society that will be brought about through the international collaborations outlined here. To highlight one of many examples; ideas generated through the collaboration between Bristol and Kyoto in the field of advanced testing methods for structures and infrastructure will present a very clear possibility to save lives, to prevent damage to the built environment and thereby to reduce the financial and societal costs following natural or man-made disasters.


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Booker A (2016) Simple zeros of degree 2 $L$-functions in Journal of the European Mathematical Society

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Booker A (2016) A converse theorem for GL(n) in Advances in Mathematics

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Gill S (2016) Impact of Controller Delays on the Nonlinear Dynamics of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics

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Giuggioli L (2013) Stigmergy, collective actions, and animal social spacing. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Description The Building Global Engagements in Research (BGER) grant exceeded original expectations, delivering an impressive range of collaborative outcomes and advancements. Four pathways helped to foster international research and the development of Bristol's global links and relationships:

Building on the institutional framework with Kyoto University

BGER supported the 1st Bristol-Kyoto symposium, a major event that hosted 90 Kyoto delegates. Continuing partnerships with Kyoto's Disaster Prevention Research Institute has developed several large projects. Collaborations in other areas of Bristol's EPSRC remit include the development of a global network, wider institutional links, broadening and cementing of researcher engagement.

Developing existing bilateral partnerships

There was a unique high impact trip by Centre of Quantum Photonics to Boston, MIT and Harvard. A major 5 year grant between Bristol, Tsinghua and Zhejiang Universities around photonics has been awarded whilst access to Bristol's PhD training programmes by Electronic and Information Science and Engineering students from Zhejiang is under consideration. A delegation by NSQI to Japan has led to Bristol hosting the prestigious 7th Annual Nanobiotechnology Symposium later this year.

Promoting nascent partnerships by supporting projects through a competitive internal fund

28 projects across Bristol's EPSRC research portfolio demonstrated the advantages of embedding researchers in overseas labs and the benefits of global interactions to young researchers.

Developing multilateral networks in key University of Bristol research areas

The Energy Aware Computing Network attended by 36 academic and industry participants opened up opportunities for future collaboration, including staff and student exchange and a widening scope of the network across the EU community

Overall Benefits

The grant led to significant collaborative partnerships across the EPSRC remit, enabling Bristol researchers to advance their work. It also provided rare opportunities for young researchers and students to engage with international experts, increasing their skills, techniques and understanding.

A universally reported theme was how the international engagements provided essential resources and access to leading labs, and reciprocally offered opportunities for the profile and expertise of Bristol researchers to be exploited on a global stage.

Among the sustainable pathways for ongoing collaboration are student exchange, Skype, conferences, workshops, projects and grant applications. Unexpected collaborations were reported as well as the strengthening of existing links. For some, international engagement either enabled or precipitated multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research.

BGER in numbers

• 54 principal investigators were supported, many more through formal or informal networking.

• 18 early career researchers and 33 PhD students were directly involved in the projects.

• 4 grants awarded, 8 submitted and 22 in development

• 19: the number of future visits confirmed and personnel exchange programmes being developed

• 28 papers in preparation with 19 either published or submitted already

• 87 external partners from 16 countries were involved in the activities

• 6 departments, 5 schools and 8 centres or institutes were engaged in the projects

• 1st Bristol-Kyoto symposium involved over 90 delegates from Kyoto with more than 150 Bristol personnel engaged in 13 parallel workshops.
Exploitation Route .
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Other

Description CRUST: Cascading Risk and Uncertainty assessment of earthquake Shaking and Tsunami
Amount £627,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M001067/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2014 
End 07/2017
Description Leverhulme Early Carrer Fellowship (Dr Anne Roudaut)
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2015 
End 04/2018
Description Multi-hazard Modelling of Large Subduction Earthquakes: Strong Motion & Tsunami
Amount £6,000 (GBP)
Funding ID IE130628 
Organisation Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 09/2015
Description Postdoctoral Fellowship for North American and European Researchers - Dr Félice van 't Wout (University of Bristol)
Amount ¥800,000 (JPY)
Organisation Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) 
Sector Public
Country Japan
Start 07/2016 
End 08/2016
Description Standard Research (Katsu Goda PI)
Amount £501,474 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M001067/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 10/2017
Description BGER ACCIS-IMDEA seminars 
Organisation Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies of Materials
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution BGER ACCIS-IMDEA seminars: ACCIS hosted Prof. Javier Llorca and Dr. Carlos Gonzalez from IMDEA Materials (Madrid) for a one day visit. Both visitors gave seminars and visited NCC.
Start Year 2014
Description Collaboration on tsunami prediction 
Organisation University of Kyoto
Department Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI)
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Dr. Mori and Dr. Yasuda on tsunami simulation. This work is funded by the Bristol-Kyoto Strategic Fund and the Royal Society International Exchange Awards.
Start Year 2014
Description Macquarie University 
Organisation Macquarie University
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Following on from Dr Graham Marshall's grant Bristol has a PhD student who is co-funded by the National Physical Laboratory and who has developed an optical system based on the work Dr Marshall originally performed at Macquarie. Bristol has further formalised a Cotutelle PhD programme agreement with Macquarie University which was assisted by Dr Marshall's grant and the strengthening of the relationship that the grant enabled.
Collaborator Contribution research contribution and ongoing phd programme agreement
Impact publications due later in 2018/19. phd programme agreement.
Start Year 2012
Description Research collaboration and invited visit at KAUST 
Organisation King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
Country Saudi Arabia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Prof Martin Mai at KAUST on earthquake source modelling
Start Year 2014
Description University of Southern California 
Organisation University of Southern California
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution As a result of the strengthened links between respective groups ex Bristol undergrad is now a PhD student at USC. ,
Collaborator Contribution USC academic will visit Bristol in the autumn and USC and Bristol academics are co-chairing the scientific committee of a Royal Society of Chemistry Faraday Discussion that will be held in Ventura, California in April 2019.
Impact co-chairing the scientific committee of a Royal Society of Chemistry Faraday Discussion that will be held in Ventura, California in April 2019.
Start Year 2012