The Institution funds research via three grant schemes and sets priority themes for funding under the Industry Focussed Research Challenge. It also organises the annual Young Researchers’ Conference for PhD students.

The Institution would like to thank members for their contributions to the Research Fund which is managed by the Research Panel. Read more about the Research Panel.

Applications for grants to support research projects can be made to the Research Panel through three different schemes:


The Industry Focussed Research Challenge means that research funding available through the Institution’s established schemes can be focussed on research that is well aligned with the current challenges faced by the profession. Applications through the established schemes that address the priorities of the industry focussed research challenge will receive additional credit in the initial selection of grant winners however, grants can still be awarded to high quality applications on other topics.

The Challenge is built around research themes that aim to encourage and facilitate collaboration between industry and researchers and to raise awareness of the industry needs.

The Research Panel has set the following themes: “Construction materials”, “Loading on buildings”, "Solutions for developing countries", "Designing for resilience", "Systems thinking" and "Digital Engineering". Applications for funding are encouraged through the existing award schemes that are closely aligned to one or more of the points below:

Construction materials
  • Advanced engineering materials
  • Durable materials considering life-cycle issues
  • New materials and materials used in other industries
  • Reflections on ‘old materials’
  • Additive manufacturing / 3D printing
Loading on buildings
  • Imposed loading on floors
  • Assessment of actual loading on structures
  • Designing buildings for being adaptable to load levels
  • Combinations of loading and a review/evaluation of international practice
  • Sub-themes for "Loading on buildings"
Solutions for developing countries
  • Locally led solutions (i.e. research carried out at a local university or local industry)
  • Enabling local societal security
  • Use of accessible technology
  • Resilience to natural hazards and/or climate change
Designing for resilience
  • Learning from failures
  • Resilience of elements, structures and systems
  • Learning from performance/inspection of built infrastructure
  • Learning from Edinburgh schools
  • Robustness of tall timber structures
  • Importance of fixings and competent installation
Systems thinking
  • Learning from other sectors
  • Removing waste and lean thinking
  • Communication and collaboration in construction
  • Enhancement in production/construction/efficiency/cost savings
  • Minimising defects / quality assurance
  • Off-site and modular construction
  • Procurement processes
  • Independent challenge and review of research by industry
Digital engineering
  • Analysis of large datasets
  • Use of digital engineering, virtual reality
  • Optimisation
  • Digital workflow
  • Learning from BIM and structural health monitoring data
  • Cloud computing
  • Competency in the use of computer models
FURTHER SUGGESTED RESEARCH TOPICS - separate to the Industry Focussed Research Challenge

The Research Panel lists topics here for the benefit of:
  • Researchers
  • Academics who may be looking for ideas for student projects
  • Those who wish to engage in discussion about particular research needs.
Concrete - read about four particular issues that have been identified by The Concrete Centre involving lap failures, compression anchorages, bearing stresses and sway structures.

Tall Buildings - see The Roadmap on the Future Research Needs of Tall Buildings by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The structural topics are from pages 45 to 51.

Structural safety - Visit for reports on issues around structural failures that may point to research needs. Structural-Safety works with the professions, industry and government on safety matters concerned with the design, construction and use of building and civil engineering structures.

Various Click here for topics raised at the 2016 Young Researchers Conference by senior industry figures as needing research. 


Further information on grant schemes, and the Industry Focussed Research Challenge themes: 
Contact: the Technical Department


Find out more...


Research Fund

All of the pages on this website are the copyright © of The Institution of Structural Engineers.

The Institution of Structural Engineers, International HQ, 47-58 Bastwick Street, London, EC1V 3PS, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7235 4535 Fax: +44 (0)20 7235 4294
Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales No. 233392 and in Scotland No. SC038263
Follow us on: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Youtube The Structural Engineer Jobs