Global Research Challenge 2018

Global Research Challenge: deadline extended to 16 April 

Due to many requests, we have decided to extend the deadline of the Global Research Challenge to 16 April (midnight GMT). The deadline extension will give all possible entrants a chance to submit their proposals.  Submit your expression of interest here.

Dream big, explore and collaborate.

The Arup Global Research Challenge inspires new ideas and innovations to help solve some of the world’s most intricate challenges.

The annual challenge aims to foster innovation, exploration and multi-disciplinary collaboration to help us deepen our understanding of these global challenges and their implications for shaping a better world.

Applications are accepted in the following two themes: Artificial Intelligence – designing and engineering for the built environment, and Global Planetary Boundary Cities – towards restorative practices.

Artificial Intelligence: designing and engineering in the built environment

Enabling the control of systemic consequences is essential to the design and engineering of the future of our cities, smart infrastructure, ecosystems, financial systems and organisations. Major advances in computation, including high-performance computing, robotics and machine learning, Big Data and the Internet of Things has enabled complex system modelling with non-deterministric approaches.

Arup is seeking innovative solutions that demonstrate the application of complex adaptive systems across the disciplines involved in the design and engineering of the built environment.

Global Planetary Boundary Cities: towards restorative practices

The world is urbanising at an exponential rate, with over half of the global population now living in cities. This process is propelling us towards the brink of irreparable damage to the Earth’s finite resources and balance. To sustain humanity, we must research and develop novel design and engineering methods for our cities, systems, buildings and ecologies within the limits of the natural systems: the nine planetary boundaries.

Arup is seeking regenerative design solutions that rethink the design and engineering of our built environment, and reduce the negative environmental impacts of urbanisation.


Who can apply and how to enter

The Global Research Challenge is open to academia, industry collaborators and Arup staff from around the world. Successful research teams require at least one Arup employee as a collaborator or participant.

Don’t know anyone at Arup? External organisations are encouraged to submit an expression of interest and reach out to potential Arup collaborators early in the proposal development process.


Successful projects and funding

An Arup panel of expert reviewers will adjudicate the submissions based on novelty, relevance, quality, potential business impact and value of collaboration. Submissions will also be judged on clarity of purpose, methodology and feasibility. Preference will be given to projects that demonstrate multidisciplinary collaboration and that can be explored within 1-2 years.

The challenge will provide expert support to 3-5 projects. The selected projects will receive funding up to £50,000 over a period of 1-2 years.


Past projects

Previous challenge winners have explored topics ranging from mobilising healthy living, utilising drones in façade design, and managing thermal comfort in buildings. Find out more here.


Indicative schedule

22 February               Launch
16 April                     Stage 1: Deadline for expression of interest
21 May                      Shortlist announced
11 June                       Stage 2: Deadline for proposals
2 July                        Projects and funding announced


Stage 1 – Applicants submit an expression of interest by completing an online survey by 16 April 2018. The survey asks applicants to briefly explain the project scope. Shortlisted submissions will be announced on 21 May 2018 when the project teams will be invited to submit a full proposal for Stage 2.

Stage 2 – Shortlisted applicants are invited to submit a full proposal using an online portal on before midnight (GMT) 11 June 2018. Applicants will collaborate with Arup team members to develop a detailed proposal, including objectives, expected value, and potential social, economic and environmental impacts.

We look forward to receiving your submissions. The official announcement of 2018 grantees is expected on  2 July 2018. Selected projects will launch in July 2018.

Submit your expression of interest here


Arup Global Research team

Dr David Gerber
Global Research Manager

Dr Agnieszka Krzyzaniak
Senior Research Coordinator

Dr Bella Nguyen
Senior Research Consultant

Dr Caroline Karmann
Senior Research Scientist