What is the need?

People working in different sectors, disciplines and international contexts talk about safety in complex systems in very different ways. This difference in vocabulary leads to barriers in communication which, in turn, stops much-needed collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Engineering X believes that a portfolio of case studies documenting key learnings from real-life events will help to create a common vocabulary for a diverse set of stakeholders.


What is the purpose?

  • To create a portfolio of written case studies that each examine a complex system failure or success (past, present or potential) to show how a specific approach to the design, management or governance of a complex system results in safe or unsafe outcomes. (For Stage 1A only case studies based on past events are eligible.)
  • To consider the underlying principles for success or failure in each approach, and to summarise this information as a set of generalised key learnings for each case study.
  • To widely share these important learnings across sectors and disciplines to help create safer practices in complex systems globally.


What do we mean by generalised key learnings?

Each case study will focus on a specific complex system failure or success. However, the key learnings that participants extract from each event should be widely transferrable and able to be widely understood far beyond the original context of the case study.

For more detail, please view these detailed guidance notes for this opportunity.


Call for case studies roadmap

This Call for case studies involves two phases of activity: Stage 1 and Stage 2


Stage 1 (Now open and inviting applications)

There are two possible pathways at Stage 1:

  • 1A (Collation) - interested participants should complete a short online form (up to 1 hour)
  • 1B (Research) - interested participants should submit a formal application (up to 3 hours)

Both of the above Stage 1 pathways require participants to produce the content for a
four-page written case study. In Stage 1A this four-page case study content will be the sole deliverable, whereas in Stage 1B this four-page case study content will be delivered alongside a longer, more in-depth piece of written research.

Participants are permitted to take either or both 1A and 1B pathways. Please note that participants interested in applying for Stage 1B (Research) do not need to apply for Stage 1A (Collation) as part of their application.


Stage 2 (Not yet launched; estimated to open in early 2021)

Stage 2 (Engagement tools) of this Call for Case Studies will generate creative engagement tools to communicate the generalised key learnings produced through Stage 1 to their target audience(s).

Stage 2 is not yet open for applications, but participants may express an interest in this opportunity when they apply for Stage 1. In order to be eligible for Stage 2 funding, participants must have completed Stage 1 of this Call for case studies.


How will case studies result in safer practice?

Case studies (containing generalised key learnings) will be shared with safety professionals in other sectors and disciplines to enable the learnings to be applied in new contexts. The target audiences for these case studies includes safety professionals in industry, academia, government and not-for-profit organisations globally.

Engineering X expects this Call for case studies to support the transfer of a successful approach from one sector to another (for example, the transfer of safety checklists from aviation to surgery), or the creation of new, safer approaches by combining two or more existing methods.


Who can apply?

Anyone is welcome to propose a case study. Engineering X particularly invites participants from industry, academia, media, regulation, policymaking, and not-for-profit organisations. We welcome responses from all countries, organisation types, sectors and disciplines. We encourage responses from women and other underrepresented groups in engineering.


How do I submit an application?

Applications are now open.

All applications must be submitted via the online grants system (you must register an account). Please read these guidance notes carefully before starting your application for the following schemes:

  • Safer Complex Systems - Call for Case Studies - Stage 1A (Collation)
  • Safer Complex Systems - Call for Case Studies - Stage 1B (Research)

If you have any questions relating to this opportunity please contact Shelley Stromdale.