The history of Systems research within the Engineering Faculty at the University of Bristol dates back to the early 1990’s when we started to research and advocate systems-based approaches for engineering applications, particularly in relation to safety, risk and uncertainty management.
Our approach to Systems research is unique because it explicitly recognises that all engineered ‘hard’ technical systems are embedded within ‘soft’ socio-economic systems, that is the human system, and optimum results are achieved when the relationship between these systems is fully appreciated.
Our success in these new themes of fundamental and applied transdisciplinary research in Systems led us establishing the Systems Centre in 2009-2010 to lead in application of Systems Thinking to complex engineering problems.
A key foundation of our research focus is through our EPSRC funded Industrial Doctoral Centre in Systems, hosted by the Systems Centre at the University of Bristol, was established in collaboration with the University of Bath in 2006. Since its inception the IDC has partnered with more than 55 enthusiastic and proactive companies to recruit over 100 Research Engineers across a range of disciplines. The IDC has established itself as an internationally competitive, research-intensive enterprise which is committed to the transfer of knowledge and the provision of a world-class education.
In addition to our IDC we continue to actively and collaboratively pursue further research opportunities presented by UK Research Councils (e.g. EPSRC’s Redistributed Manufacturing and the Resilient, Sustainable City (ReDReSC), RCUK/Innovate UK Urban Living Partnership, and, the International Centre for Infrastructure Futures), the European Union (e.g. Systems Thinking for Efficient Energy Planning (STEEP) and REnaissance of PLaces with Innovative Citizenship And Technology (REPLICATE).
The Systems Centre is supporting the development of the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC).
The Engineering and Systems Design Research Group provides a useful forum for us and plan, share and develop our research approaches.