NEWS - Changes to Research Award

Following the high number of quality applications to the 2016 Research Award scheme the Research Panel has decided to change the scheme to enable more applicants to be funded. In future the scheme will run biennially. This will provide more flexibility in the number of awards that can be made in any one round of applications. The scheme will be open for applications again in January 2018.

About the scheme

The Research Award is the largest set of grants the Institution makes. Grants of £6000 are available biennially, funded by the Institution’s Research Fund.
The Award supports the highest quality research in structural engineering. We’re looking for innovative research ideas, or ideas to develop further strands of ongoing research. Applications are particularly encouraged that fulfil the Industry Focussed Research Challenge themes.
These projects must be a collaboration between industry and academia.

Winners of the 2016 Awards

Three awards of £6000 were made in 2016:

Professor Ahmed Y. Elghazouli and Dr Dan Bompa of Imperial College London will undertake research to provide much-needed guidance on the seismic performance requirements for using mechanical reinforcement couplers in reinforced concrete structures. The researchers will work with coupler manufacturer Dextra Group, code committees and design staff at Atkins to ensure the results are of value to designers, material testing standards committees, and seismic design code committees.

View more details of Professor Ahmed Y. Elghazouli’s project.

Dr Wendel Sebastian and Joshua Mudie of University of Bristol will partner with Arup to investigate hybrid timber-concrete floors. This lightweight, low-carbon floor system has tremendous potential for prefabrication which will speed-up construction work on site. It is hoped that this project will spawn a much larger (EPSRC) project, the output of which would keep the UK at the leading edge of low-carbon construction globally. View more details of Dr Wendel Sebastian’s project.

Dr Stylianos Yaitros and Professor Brennan of Cranfield university partnered with Ramboll to perform vibration testing of steel foam sandwich components to explore new applications for this material which can absorb vibrations and mitigate buckling at the same time, and hence improve fatigue life. The intention is that this pilot study will lead to further research and development of multifunctional wind turbine stiffeners, giving UK industry and academia an edge. View the results of Dr Stylianos Yiatros’ project.

The Research Award scheme will open for entries again in January 2018


Who can apply?

To be eligible for an award, the research must be conducted in a university with an industrial partner. The application can be submitted either by the university researcher or by the industrial partner. Applicants do not need to be a member of the Institution. You can apply for support for work that forms part of a larger project. However, in this case the application must state exactly what part of the project the Award would fund.

Assessment criteria

All applications are assessed on technical quality and the extent to which the project develops a working relationship (new or existing) between researcher(s) and an industrial partner(s). Additional assessment criteria (projects should meet at least 1 or 2 of the following);

  • Impact to industry
  • Benefit to members of the Institution
  • Value for money
  • Benefit to society
  • Themes of the Industry Focused Research Challenge.
  • A pilot study that may not attract conventional Research Council funding.

The Research Award can be used for materials, test equipment, software, modest travel costs (less than £1000), and salary for researcher or lab technicians

Conditions for research applicants

  • Researchers must be based in a university
  • You must have industrial support for your project. This support can take a variety of forms, such as additional funding, use of equipment or materials, or mentoring and supervising work
  • You must submit a formal letter of support from the industrial partner with the application
  • Projects must start within six months of the Award being made
  • You must write a report about the research after the project has finished
  • You must give a presentation about the project or display poster at a Regional Group evening technical meeting.

The Award is paid in two stages: £5000 upfront and £1000 on delivery of a project summary for the Institution website and the Regional Group presentation.

You may be asked to present your research at additional Institutional events, although this is not a condition of the award.

Guidance for industrial partners

Industrial partners must submit a formal letter of support highlighting the nature of their involvement in the project and what they hope to gain from the collaboration. Letters must be submitted with the application form to the Technical Department by the closing date.

How do I apply?

Just fill out our application form and return it (along with your industry partner letter) to the Technical Department.

When will I hear?

All applicants will be advised of the outcome by the end of July 2018.

For further information about the Research Award contact Berenice Chan at

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