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Global Research Challenge 2019

Global Research Challenge 2019

Research has been at the core of Arup since its founding. Our design solutions are often expected to push into uncharted territory. The Arup Global Research Challenge was created to focus attention on what we believe are some of the world’s most intricate challenges, both present and future.

We believe that multi-disciplinary collaboration is the key to the successful exploration of these challenges. Each year, we choose one challenge to focus upon. Past themes have included designing within the limits of the planetary boundaries and machine learning for the built environment.

We have committed to aligning our firm with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We believe that this is the only way forward for our industry and how we can shape a better world. This year’s call for collaborative research proposals explores the use of digital design, engineering and construction to achieve a sustainable future.

Digital design and engineering processes create new opportunities to rethink the design of the built environment to be socially, economically and environmentally regenerative. Sustainable design is no longer enough.


How can new carbon capture techniques be integrated into building materials?

How can the long-term value of all materials in an asset be accounted for?

How can machine learning improve the sustainable management of land sources?

How could autonomous robots be used for construction in hazardous environments?

How could additive manufacturing enable located production and reduce waste?


Submit your expression of interest here


Who can apply and how to enter

The Global Research Challenge is open to academic, industry collaborators and Arupians from around the world. Successful research teams must have at least one Arup member 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

Successful project proposals must have at least three partners. The project must suggest how the anticipated research outcomes will impact all the UN SDGs. Submissions will be judged on clarity of purpose, methodology and feasibility. Preference will be given to projects that demonstrate multidisciplinary collaboration and can be delivered within 1-2 years with measurable impact. An Arup panel of expert reviewers will adjudicate all submissions.



The selected projects will receive funding up to £50,000 over a period of one to two years. The second year’s funding is dependent upon progress and perceived value of continuing the project. Arup will provide both funding and access to experts as deemed appropriate by the Global Research team.


Indicative schedule

22 February             Launch

1 April                       Stage 1: Deadline for expression of interest

15 April                     Shortlist announced

3 May                        Stage 2: Deadline for proposals

20 May                     Projects and funding announced


Stage 1 – Applicants submit an expression of interest by 1 April 2019. The survey asks applicants to briefly explain the project scope. Shortlisted submissions will be announced on 15 April 2019 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 research.arup.com before midnight (GMT) 3 May 2019. Applicants will collaborative 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 2019 grantees is expected on 20 May 2019. The selected projects will launch as soon as contractual negotiations are complete.


Submit your expression of interest here.

Contact: research@arup.com


Arup Global Research

Dr David Gerber

Global Research Leader


Dr Agnieszka Krzyzaniak

Senior Research Coordinator


Dr Bella Nguyen

Senior Research Consultant