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SCF Alliances for Research Challenges (ARCs) – Call for Expressions of Interest

The first steps of a new approach to research collaboration in Scotland have been marked today by the announcement of funding for three initial partnerships.

Alliances for Research Challenges (ARCs) will now be established for brain health, energy and food. The alliances will each receive up to £600,000 over the next four years from the Scottish Funding Council. The investment will enable them to create multi-disciplinary, cross-sector teams to strengthen and accelerate bids for major research grants, including funding from overseas.

The challenges each alliance will address include some of the biggest questions facing governments across the world, such as how to manage food supply chains, how to cope with the transition to new sustainable sources of energy and how to help people have good cognitive health in old age. Also in development is an alliance to examine the best uses of emerging quantum technologies in areas such as computing, communications and healthcare.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Higher Education Minister, Jamie Hepburn, said:

“ARCs will connect Scotland’s research excellence to national challenges and will build on our unique collaborative ethos and world-class universities to prime the Scottish landscape to respond to challenge-focused research funding opportunities.

“I look forward to hearing more about the innovative solutions being developed in areas ranging from healthy ageing, quantum technologies, managing our food systems, and energy transition and sustainability as the ARCs progress.”

Helen Cross, SFC’s Director of Research and Innovation, said:

“ARCs will make exciting and dynamic links between people, institutions and disciplines. In doing so they will place Scottish research in a strong position to generate new funding through successful bids to research grants in the UK, Europe and beyond.

“The ARCs are also designed to connect the priorities of the Scottish Government with areas of strength within our publicly funded research system.”

Looking to the future, the Scottish Funding Council sees ARCs as a fundamental part of a research system that includes universities, industry partners, research institutes, third-sector collaborators, Research Pools, Innovation Centres and policymakers.

More information is available in the research collaboration area of the SFC website.