The Engineering X Pandemic Preparedness programme, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, has launched its first two initiatives to support the UK and global engineering communities in learning from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Engineering X is an international collaboration, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, that brings together some of the world’s leading problem-solvers to address the great challenges of our age. Its Pandemic Preparedness programme aims to facilitate global sharing of lessons on disruptive solutions and best practice approaches in the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from pandemics. To start this process, Engineering X is inviting immediate participation in two initial activities:

  1. A grant call to support global networks and communities to develop highly novel, engineering-centred research projects and/or innovations with disruptive potential to tackle the most pressing challenges of pandemics and their rapid deployment to areas in most need in the UK and in low- and middle-income countries globally. Applicants are invited for two strands with different application criteria but which are both initially open for projects led by applicants with an existing relationship with the Royal Academy of Engineering. Up to £20k each is available for proposals that meet the relevant criteria. The deadline for applications is 1 June 2020 and we expect funding decisions to be made by 22 June.
  2. A survey to assess the role of engineers around the world in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and gather information on life-saving lessons, methods and technologies that they are able to share. Engineering X aims to assist engineers in all parts of the world to access the networks and information they need to respond most effectively to the pandemic. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and the results will be used to guide delivery of programmes supporting the international engineering response to the pandemic.

Professor Peter Guthrie FREng, Chair of the Engineering X Pandemic Preparedness Programme Board, said, “Our priority is to support projects with real potential for significant impact where engineers can bring innovative approaches to known and emerging pandemic-related challenges. We also want to generate an evidence base of engineering interventions that can help the world prepare for future pandemics and similar systemic shocks. We must not only aim to understand and address the current global COVID-19 crisis, but also ensure that we are then in better shape to navigate other global shocks in the future.”

This latest initiative from Engineering X has benefited from input gained from meetings the Academy has hosted for international networks of science and engineering academies (CAETS and Euro-CASE) to share insight into how engineers are responding to the pandemic across the world, and connect organisations and individuals delivering critical solutions and products. The Academy intends to build on this work with similar collaborations.


Notes for editors

  1. Engineering X is a new international collaboration, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, that brings together some of the world’s leading problem-solvers to address the great challenges of our age. Our global network of expert engineers, academics and business leaders is working in partnership to share best practice, explore new technologies, educate and train the next generation of engineers, build capacity, improve safety and deliver impact. From gathering evidence to implementing standards, Engineering X is working hard to identify and solve problems on a global scale.
  2. As international markets and systems become ever more complex and intertwined, we believe that collaboration, shared responsibility and mutual support between diverse communities is the only way to safeguard our future and drive change. The Engineering X Pandemic Preparedness Programme is being led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. There are two streams to this programme.
    • Stream 1 is funded under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and is aimed at tackling global or local pandemic-related challenges that manifest in countries approved as recipients of UK aid funding. A list of eligible countries can be found in this link. This call is open to lead applicants in DAC list countries or the UK with an existing relationship with the Royal Academy of Engineering – this may be as a current or previous grant award holder, collaborator, partner or member of the Fellowship.
    • Stream 2 aims to fund innovation projects in UK universities. It is funded by the Investment in Research Talent Fund of the the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This call is open to awardees and other affiliates of the Academy who may collaborate with partners internationally.
  3. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

    In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.

    Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

What we do


We’re growing talent by training, supporting, mentoring and funding the most talented and creative researchers, innovators and leaders from across the engineering profession.

We’re developing skills for the future by identifying the challenges of an ever-changing world and developing the skills and approaches we need to build a resilient and diverse engineering profession.



We’re driving innovation by investing in some of the country’s most creative and exciting engineering ideas and businesses.

We’re building global partnerships that bring the world’s best engineers from industry, entrepreneurship and academia together to collaborate on creative innovations that address the greatest global challenges of our age.



We’re influencing policy through the National Engineering Policy Centre – providing independent expert support to policymakers on issues of importance.

We’re engaging the public by opening their eyes to the wonders of engineering and inspiring young people to become the next generation of engineers.


For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: +44 (0)20 7766 0636