Complex Systems

Technology, innovation and globalisation have transformed the world in we live in. The systems we have created to supply the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the homes we live in are truly marvellous and complex; however, these systems are sometimes fragile, and can be a source of pollution.

The role of our Complex Systems team is to explore further solutions to mitigate their effects, supporting the development of a circular economy.

The team focuses on mission-oriented innovation and embraces a systems thinking approach, focusing on:

Space applications and geospatial data to support UK’s Net Zero ambitions

Advanced Robotics to increase food quality and security

Intelligent Systems to support the global effort to clean and recycle plastics

Ethical AI to increase business productivity, advanced Security systems to keep families safe at work, rest or play

Industrial Maths to help reduce food waste and food poverty.


Click here to see open funding opportunities in the above sectors.

Our current focus in this area

From Healthcare to Legaltech, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are significant globalised technologies that can be applied in many sectors. The extensive industrial and academic research base in the UK can support both the national and global markets in addressing key challenges impacting societies today.

The Intelligent Systems Team applies their deep expertise to create a better, fairer and more resilient economy, utilising the capabilities of machines to perceive and respond to the world around them. This includes anything from surgical robots in healthcare, to drones flying over fields with AI enabled cameras to analyse images and implement solutions in near-real time.

Space is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK, with the ambition to capture 10% of the world market by 2030. Currently, the UK manufactures over 20% of the satellites in orbit and has established a path towards launching satellites from UK soil by 2021.

The world is powered by data; turning data into information helps us make decisions across all sectors of the economy. Innovate UK Business Connect hosts an innovation network that focuses on connecting the data holders and data processors with the people that can benefit from the insight geospatial data can provide.

Innovate UK Business Connect’s Industrial Maths team harnesses the power of mathematics to meet the needs of business, government and not-for-profit organisations, helping a wide range of sectors express problems and challenges in an accessible way. We also facilitate new partnerships with an extensive network of mathematical science practitioners and diverse institutions across the UK.

The UK is committed to spending a minimum 2% of GDP on defence over the next decade, and at least 20% of that spending on equipment. This commitment represents spending some £186bn on defence equipment and support in the 10 years from 2018/19. The UK is also the second largest defence exporter, winning defence orders worth £14bn in 2018.

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