EPSRC announces funding opportunity for research into more sustainable digital technologies

Digital technologies offer huge potential to accelerate efforts to both increase environmental sustainability and achieve a more circular economy – but of course they do have a significant environmental cost. The need to find solutions which improve the sustainability of such digital technologies is becoming critical.

Recognising that we need to increase the environmental sustainability of electronic and digital technologies, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have announced a funding opportunity intended to do just that by bringing together academics, industry and SMEs to collaboratively build solutions that deliver against UK net zero, environmental, and digital futures targets.

The call follows a meeting earlier this month at the Henry Royce Institute at the University of Leeds, which was held in collaboration with EPSRC and which brought together materials researchers who are working in, or passionate about, moving towards an environmentally sustainable digital future.

This meeting engaged researchers, RTOs, policy makers and those working in industry within the advanced materials community in an active discussion about a materials focus for a sustainable digital future.

Through this funding opportunity, EPSRC is now looking to invest in two interlinked areas of research:

  • sustainable information communication technology (ICT), research addressing novel approaches to the development of more environmentally sustainable and circular digital and communication technologies
  • Digitally enabled circular economy (CE), research developing digital solutions to enable a circular economy. Research in this strand may support a circular economy in any sector and is not limited to the digital sector

Proposed research may integrate the two areas into one research programme.

The Royce Atoms to Devices Research Area embraces the development of electronic materials for the energy transition to meet net zero carbon targets by 2050, including important work into low-loss electronics.

More information on the funding opportunity  Research for a digitally enabled circular economy and sustainable digital technologies – UKRI