EPSRC: 20 years of Pioneering research and skills

The Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) was split into discipline specific areas after a review carried out by the then Director General of the Research Councils in 1993. This resulted in the formation of EPSRC by Royal Charter in 1994. A Supplemental Charter was granted in 2003. This timeline celebrates some of the many innovations and impacts achieved over the last 20 years.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

1994-04-01 00:00:00

EPSRC is launched

Chairman Dr Alan Rudge outlines the 3 objectives for the new research council

1994-04-15 09:05:17

Artemis Intelligent Power

Formed to commercialise EPSRC-supported research into Digital Displacement® hydraulic wave energy technology

1994-09-23 09:05:17

Innovative Manufacturing

EPSRC launches its Innovative Manufacturing programme which aims to bring industry and academia together for the benefit of British manufacturing

1994-10-28 09:05:17

Independent Advice

EPSRC sets up two independent advisory panels to advise on future research priorities

1995-03-01 00:00:00

Intelligent Energy

EPSRC support for research into hybrid battery/fuel cell power source for road vehicles leads to the formation of Intelligent Energy six years later

1995-06-23 12:05:57

Peer Review

EPSRC starts its new system for the peer review of grant applications by independent experts

1995-08-31 12:05:57

Full Charge

An EPSRC-supported research team led by Professor Peter Bruce from St Andrews University develops a rechargeable lithium battery prototype

1995-09-29 09:05:17

Lionel Tarassenko

Dr Tarassenko, an EPSRC-funded researcher from the University of Oxford, develops the core technology behind the world's first 'smart' microwave oven

1996-05-31 09:05:17

Alf Adams

Professor Alf Adams research into infrared lasers, supported by EPSRC's predecessor, SERC, paved the way for CD and DVD players

1996-05-31 09:05:17

On the rails

Professor Harry Bhadeshia from the University of Cambridge and supported by EPSRC develops a new steel alloy for railway tracks

1996-09-28 04:38:56

Electronic submission

EPSRC begins trials that will lead to the introduction of full electronic submission of research proposal forms

1997-02-08 04:38:56

Thrust Supersonic Car

EPSRC-supported researchers play a crucial role in the success of the Thrust Supersonic Car which breaks the sound barrier at 763 mph

1997-08-29 04:38:56

Faraday Partnerships

EPSRC introduces the Faraday Partnerships, part of an initiative run by the DTI, aimed at improving the interaction between research and industry

1998-02-04 09:05:17

Kevin Shakesheff

Professor Shakesheff, from the University of Nottingham, is awarded an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship and co-founds the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society

1998-10-29 13:20:18

Award winning laser technique

A team led by Professor Julian Jones at Heriot-Watt University develop an award-winning technique to control focus for laser welding which is rapidly growing in importance across the manufacturing sector

1999-10-29 13:20:18

Imaging Solutions

Professor Mike Brady from the University of Oxford launches a start-up software company, Mirada, to commercialise his EPSRC-supported research

2000-01-28 12:05:57


EPSRC co-invests £40 million in five new Interdisciplinary Research Collaborations (IRCs)

2000-03-31 00:00:00

Plastic Logic

Professor Richard Friend, Professor Henning Sirringhaus and Stuart Evans form Plastic Logic to commercialise their research

2001-03-29 13:20:18


SUPERGEN, the UK's flagship initiative in sustainable power generation and supply is launched

2001-08-31 12:05:57


After ten years of ground-breaking research led by Professor William Bonfield, Apatech is formed to commercialise a type of synthetic bone material

2001-08-31 12:05:57

Doctoral Training Accounts

EPSRC introduces Doctoral Training Accounts to offer a more flexible approach to the way it funds doctoral training

2001-08-31 12:05:57


The appointment of John O'Reilly as EPSRC's Chief Executive is announced

2002-01-31 00:00:00

Chris Hull

Former EPSRC Senior Research Fellow, Professor Chris Hull, is awarded the prestigious Dirac medal for his research into superstring and M-therory. The Dirac Medal is awarded annually by the Institute of Physics for outstanding contributions to theoretical (including mathematical and computational) physics

2002-08-30 12:05:57

Centres for Doctoral Training

EPSRC launches its first Centres for Doctoral Training, a major initiative focused on training the interdisciplinary researchers of tomorrow

2003-06-21 09:05:17

Nobel Prize

Professor Peter Mansfield is jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning MRI

2003-09-19 04:38:56

Chair of EPSRC

Professor Dame Julia Higgins takes over as Chair of EPSRC

2003-11-21 09:05:17

For the first time the UK and US link supercomputers for experiment

The 'TeraGyroid' experiment was jointly funded by EPSRC and the National Science Foundation and was the first demonstration of the 'Grid'

2004-08-05 12:05:57


Professor Andre Geim and colleagues at the University of Manchester discover graphene despite theory telling them that materials just one atom thick couldn’t be made

2004-09-25 09:05:17


EPSRC holds its first Sandpit - an intensive discussion forum encouraging free thinking to delve deep into problems and uncover innovative solutions

2005-09-25 09:05:17

Researchers go into action after tsunami

EPSRC-sponsored researchers undertake immediate work collecting and assessing appropriate structural, topographical and tsunami related data

2005-09-25 09:05:17

First awards in Science and Innovation programme

The first awards in the Science and Innovation Awards programme aims to directly build the UK’s research base in diverse areas

2005-12-30 12:05:57

Council Open Forum

EPSRC holds its first open forum at the Royal Institution opening the floor to anyone who wants to put questions to members of EPSRC's Council

2006-01-12 12:05:57

Periodic Table

Professor Martyn Poliakoff receives a science and engineering award and develops a periodic table of videos with 350,000 YouTube subscribers

2006-12-30 12:05:57

EPSRC and Procter and Gamble form Strategic Partnership

EPSRC and Procter and Gamble announce a Strategic Partnership.

2007-01-26 12:05:57


Science and Innovation Minister, Malcolm Wicks, announces the appointment of Professor David Delpy as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of EPSRC

2008-08-29 12:05:57


£113 million HECToR is officially opened by the Chancellor, Alistair Darling

2008-08-29 12:05:57

EPSRC and The Wellcome Trust announce a joint £45 million initiative

The joint £45 million initiative boosts innovation in medical engineering within the UK, funding a number of multidisciplinary centres of excellence

2008-08-29 12:05:57

Research Councils UK India is launched

Major collaborative research partnership between all UK Research Councils and Indian agencies, addresses some of the biggest challenges facing the world

2008-12-05 12:05:57

Centres for Doctoral Training

Minister of State for Science and Innovation, Lord Drayson, announces £250 million initiative to create 44 training centres across the UK and generate over 2000 PhD students

2009-08-27 12:05:57

Launch of KTAs

EPSRC invests £55 million over the next three years to better exploit EPSRC-funded research.

2009-08-27 12:05:57

First sustainable Formula 3 racing car

An EPSRC-supported team from the University of Warwick, led by Dr Kerry Kirwan, design and build the world’s first fully sustainable Formula 3 racing car

2010-08-27 12:05:57

Nobel Prize for Graphene

EPSRC-funded Manchester University scientists Professor Andre Geim and Dr Konstantin Novoselov are awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their ground-breaking work with graphene

2010-08-27 12:05:57


EPSRC is a founding sponsor of the Bloodhound SSC project, helping to build the fastest car in the world

2010-08-27 12:05:57

EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing are launched

Three state-of-the-art EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing are launched under a new £70 million EPSRC investment to help UK businesses develop the technology products of the future and underpin manufacturing growth

2011-07-16 13:20:18

New technique for affordable LED lightbulbs

Researchers at University of Cambridge develop a new technique that paves the way for the UK manufacture of affordable LED light bulbs

2011-07-16 13:20:18

The world’s first synthetic organ transplant

World’s first synthetic organ transplant using a windpipe ‘grown’ from the patient’s stem cell is developed by EPSRC-sponsored researchers

2012-07-16 13:20:18

Zero carbon taxis used at the Olympics

Intelligent Energy technology is used to create a fleet of zero carbon fuel cell London taxis for London Olympics

2012-07-16 13:20:18

Vince Cable announces £60 million boost for science innovation

Impact Acceleration Accounts will help support universities’ best scientists and engineers to deliver greater collaboration with industry

2013-04-01 07:18:46

Simpleware company wins The Queen's Award for Enterprise

Simpleware, a company set up to commercialise EPSRC-supported research wins The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the second year running

2013-07-16 13:20:18

£39 million for UK energy centres

EPSRC co-funds one of the biggest Research Council investments to support UK energy efficiency

EPSRC: 20 years of Pioneering research and skills

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