This EPSRC-funded Network Plus (UKAN+) brings together the UK’s acoustics research community providing a wide variety of opportunities for research collaboration
In November 2017, the EPSRC provided funding to bring together a formerly disparate and disjointed acoustics community in the UK. The UK Acoustics Network (UKAN) was created and was remarkably successful, boasting 1226 members from a rich diversity of backgrounds by the end of the project (31.03.2021).
The first of April 2021 saw the birth of UKAN+, which will create strategic connections between the Acoustics, Societal and Industry challenges through pilot studies leading to large-scale grant proposals for research projects involving the wider community. The Network was awarded £1.4M of funding with the explicit objective to support adventurous pilot studies, translation projects and to fund other types of ongoing research, network activities and knowledge transfer (KT).
UKAN+ covers all areas of acoustics and it is now uniquely placed to coordinate UK exploratory activity in acoustic related research.
In March 2021, the government revisited its Industry Strategy providing our Network with flexibility to align our Research Priorities with broader EPSRC research Themes. Through discussions within the UKAN+ investigators team it was agreed that these Themes should be: (i) Well-being; (ii) Manufacturing and Transport; (iii) Sustainability (Net-Zero); (iv) AI. An internal review produced acoustic priorities that were mapped onto the themes.
The 21 Higher Order Acoustics Research Priorities should guide applications for explorative (pilot) cross-disciplinary research projects between industry, government, third-sector organisations and academia that UKAN+ will support. These are also important to guide full-scale grant applications which will be developed by the research community in the next 10 years.
The UK Acoustics Network Plus List of Acoustic Research Priorities 2021 can be viewed here.
Aims and Objectives
The aim of UKAN+ is to create strategic connections between the Acoustics, Societal and Industry Challenges and to tackle these challenges through pilot studies leading to large-scale grant proposals for research projects involving the wider community. The new UKAN+ will take the UKAN community to the next stage with the following objectives:
- To develop new priorities for acoustics research.
- To facilitate explorative (pilot) cross-disciplinary research projects between industry, government, third-sector organisations and academia following on from the agreed roadmap.
- To use the results from the explorative projects to develop full-scale, high-quality responsive mode applications to the UKRI, and other funders.
- To set up a National Centre for Coordination of Acoustics Research (including coordination activities in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)) and to achieve full sustainability for UKAN+.
Our Commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
“Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have drawn major attention to inequalities in our society and have raised questions about the effectiveness of plans and approaches to promote EDI.”
Diversity enriches the field of acoustics, and the health of acoustics as a discipline depends on attracting and nurturing the widest range of talent from across the UK and beyond.
Our network is committed to equality of treatment, to increasing diversity and participation in acoustics of under-represented groups, and to providing an inclusive and supportive environment for all network members. Over the duration of the UKAN+ project we will look to implement interventions through our strategies, policies, processes, and activities as a network.
Concretely, support for EDI will include:
- Work to understand the existing diversity of our UKAN+ membership and monitor this over time.
- In all our funding calls we will seek to mainstream EDI through: name-blind assessment processes; requiring attention to EDI in funding applications; monitoring diversity, with respect to gender, age, disability status, and race/ethnicity, of participation and success rates.
- Attention to diversity of representation, for example in our selection of invited speakers, at all our events, online and face-to-face, and in the composition of our key committees. *
- Supporting activities to making acoustics more accessible to everyone, for example best-practice sharing in EDI as part of our programmes of activities and workshops, coordinating as we do this with other EPSRC networks and with other acoustics organisations including the Institute of Acoustics.
*To support 3, following work to understand the diversity of our network, the Academic Management Team has endorsed the following policy at its meeting on 24 Feb 2022:
Policy on Diversity of Speakers. In all our events (workshops, seminars, webinars) we will pay attention to diversity of speakers, especially in the invitations we make. In particular, in our selection of speakers for the UKAN+ Webinars (and for seminar series organised by our SIGs) we will think through and aim for diversity of gender, race and ethnicity, and career stage, expecting to invite each year at least 30% speakers of both male and female gender, and at least 30% of speakers who are at an earlier career stage.
For further details, including guidance on implementation, please see this resource.