Studying in Complexity Science
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What opportunities are there in complexity science?



Fully-funded PhD places are available at the new Center for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling. The CDT pursues computational modelling research spanning engineering, computer science, mathematics, and the physical, natural and life sciences.


Training and employment

The activities of the research councils (below) and initiatives from the universities are beginning to produce the channels necessary to train the next generation of engineers and scientists that will have to face the complexity challenges of the future (see Courses). Graduates trained in systems thinking and techniques for handling and exploiting the properties of complex systems are desperately needed (see Careers).

Research funding

In response to the complexity challenges that industry is facing, the UK research councils have funded an amazing number of new activities in complexity science.

The main research council for these activities is the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Some of the activities that they have funded include:
  • Investment of £12 million in Novel Computation: coping with complexity.
  • Development with industry for a 5-year, £9 million centre in large scale complex IT systems. The research centre will address issues of complexity with the IT and communications industry and there will be an associated Engineering Doctorate programme to train researchers to doctoral level.
  • Commissioning of specialised postgraduate training in complexity science, through a capacity building call for proposals: two centres, £4 million each.
  • Postgraduate studentships in complexity science, funded through capacity building call, will be starting in 2007.
  • £600,000 for short courses in complexity science to run during 2006.
  • Aims to have an established £6 million research portfolio in complexity science, funded through responsive mode and strategic activities.

For more information see the EPSRC website.

Another important research council for complexity funding in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The BBSRC is funding activities in systems biology and these provide an important complement to the research funded by EPSRC. The main activity here is the establishment of Centres for Integrative & Systems Biology (CISB):

"The aim of the Centres for Integrative & Systems Biology (CISB) initiative is to establish a number of Centres for Integrative Systems Biology in partnership with relevant universities. These centres are to possess the vision, breadth of intellectual leadership and research resources to integrate traditionally separate disciplines such as biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics in a programme of international quality research in quantitative and predictive systems biology''. Taken from the BBSRC website.

These aims are a vital part of the 10-year strategic vision of the BBSRC (see Bioscience for society: a ten-year vision, BBSRC (2003) and UK Biosciences: The next ten years, BBSRC (2004)). Funding from the BBSRC includes:

  • 3 Centres for Integrative Systems Biology at an indexed cost of £19.25M, including £3M from the EPSRC.
  • Training and capacity building in Systems Biology is identified as one of the BBSRC’s Targeted Studentship Priorities.
  • ‘Exploiting Systems Biology’ identified as one of the priorities in BBSRC’s Technology Strategy
  • BBSRC involvement in Systems Biology in Microorganisms (SysMO) at a cost of £3M over 4 years.
  • Establishment by EBS Committee of networks for Mathematics in Systems Biology at a cost of £400K over 3 years

For more information see the BBSRC website, specifically link1 and link2.

Activities like these funded by EPSRC and BBSRC support courses across the UK.