The SPRITE+ team are excited to announce that we have been successful in our bid to secure a further four years of funding, enabling us to extend SPRITE+ from the end of the current grant in 2023 to August 2027. This £2.6 million follow-on award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will be supplemented by £2.3 million from institutional contributions and project partner in-kind commitments. The funds will support SPRITE+ to consolidate its existing work, and further develop its reach and impact through an ambitious programme of activities.
SPRITE+ was created in 2019, as part of the EPSRC’s Digital Economy programme, to foster engagement between academic and non-academic communities and provide a platform for building interdisciplinary collaborations to address challenges related to the future of digital trust, identity, privacy, and security (TIPS). Our activities include workshops, showcase events, research funding, and other community-building activities across disciplines and sectors.
Since our launch, SPRITE+ has attracted over 750 members from academia, industry, government, law enforcement and civil society organisations, and the support of eighteen Project Partners. Currently, 75% of our members are academic researchers from technical, scientific, arts/humanities and social science disciplines, with over ninety HEIs represented from the UK and beyond. Learn more about the benefits of SPRITE+ membership here.
In its second phase, SPRITE+ will be led by Professor Mark Elliot from the University of Manchester, with Professor Stacey Conchie (Lancaster University), Professor Deeph Chana (Imperial College London), Professor Vladimiro Sassone (University of Southampton), and Professor Sakir Sezer (Queen’s University Belfast). The current SPRITE+ Director, the University of Manchester’s Professor Emma Barrett, will remain as part of the Management Team for phase two.
The additional funding from 2023 will enable SPRITE+ to deliver an ambitious programme of activities, which will be supported by twenty-four Project Partners representing a diverse range of organisations from academia, big business, SMEs, government and the third sector. We will continue to build our membership and expand the breadth and depth of our innovation to deliver impact within the TIPS research community and beyond.
Community building. We will continue our active programme of networking and community building events to facilitate engagement between academic researchers and between academics and stakeholders. This will include continuation of our annual Expert Fellows meetings, showcase events and thematic workshops focussed on building communities of interest around key TIPS challenge areas in collaboration with related organisations and networks.
Commissioning research. Using our increased research fund (~£1M), we will enhance our research support programme to include the continuation of our existing sandpit programme as well as the introduction of new schemes such as funding calls to tackle industry-led challenges, ‘deep dive’ research projects and horizon scanning exercises. This programme will provide new opportunities for academic researchers to engage with stakeholder organisations to enhance knowledge exchange and deliver impact.
Early Career Researchers (ECRs). Our programme of ECR-focused activities will help to equip PhD students, post-docs, and first-time lecturers with skills in research collaboration and end-user engagement through invaluable guidance, mentoring, training, and opportunities to network across sectors and disciplines. ECRs will benefit from enhanced opportunities to develop their skills via our PhD poster presentation days, annual ECR conference, career events, mentor clinics and student engagement programme.
International engagement. We will harness the expertise and collaborative potential of the national and international TIPS communities by building new collaborations. We will host joint workshops and fund researcher exchanges with key partners in Canada, Australia, South Korea and the USA. The launch of our Global South Fellowship awards will support and amplify the voices of scholars from the Global South, which will allow the SPRITE+ community to learn from other approaches to digital TIPS.
“Security, privacy, identity, and trust are vital in defining the type of societies we will be living in as we move through the 21st century. To enable the best outcomes, we need joined-up interdisciplinary research across the breadth of those four areas. SPRITE+ has been a fabulous initiative, building the interdisciplinary network, creating spaces for innovation to flourish and establishing ourselves as the go-to point of contact to engage with the broadest UK network of interdisciplinary, cross- sector digital TIPS experts. For the next phase, our vision is to expand the influence of the network through building partnerships and driving innovation in research.”
Professor Mark Elliot, Incoming Director, SPRITE+
Phase two of SPRITE+ will begin on 1 September 2023 and continue for four years.
Call for Events is now open! We're supporting Members and Expert Fellows to lead activities that explore aspects of TIPS in the Digital Economy. We will help to organise the activity with up to £5,000 to cover the associated costs.