The RCUK Global Uncertainties programme is one of six RCUK priority themes and brings together the activities of all seven UK Research Councils to better integrate current research investments as well as support new multi-disciplinary research in security.

The programme fosters collaboration between academic partners and funders and a range of national and international policy makers, public bodies, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and the public.

The Global Uncertainties programme focuses on six core areas: Ideologies and beliefs; Terrorism; Transnational organised crime; Cybersecurity; Threats to infrastructures; Proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) weapons and technologies. The programme runs from 2008 to 2018. The Economic and Social Research Council is leading the programme on behalf of the Research Councils, which has so far granted £384 million for research and activities relevant to Global Uncertainties.

In April 2013 Dr Tristram Riley-Smith was appointed as the External Chmapion for the programme. His job is to support and enhance the delivery of impact from GU research and to facilitate engagement with stakeholders in Government, Industry and Civil Society.

So far Tristram has met with researchers from institutions all over the UK, including the GU Leadership Fellows and all the Research Councils, and with dozens of stakeholders. He has put together a group of leading academics to contribute to a G8+1 workshop – led by the FCO - considering future proliferation threats. He has run National Security Fellowship Schemes, with Government officials meeting over 50 researchers from around the country to help them address security challenges. And he has appointed an academic to spend three months in the new National Crime Agency, to help them identify research requirements.

Last, but not least, he has piloted a triage process to identify a small number of research projects from within the GU portfolio (over 1,100 of them) where there is untapped potential. This has already delivered impact, with ACPO, CCS, DCLG, DFID, the FCO and the Home Office just some of the Government Departments that have engaged with researchers from UEL, Cambridge, Nottingham, Liverpool, Essex and Sussex.


Dr Tristram Riley-Smith

External Champion, RCUK Global Uncertainties