Welcome to SALIENT

Led by Dr Richard Kirkham, Deputy Director of the Thomas Ashton Institute for Risk and Regulatory Research, the programme brings University of Manchester academics together with partners from the universities of Bath, Exeter, and Sussex, to catalyse, convene and conduct research and innovation in support of the UK’s national security and resilience.

This ambitious five-year investment, funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s building a secure and resilient world strategic theme, will enable the SALIENT team to build strong connections across a broad group of stakeholders in central and local government, the devolved administrations and crucially, the public.

“Our approach will promote a culture of genuine interdisciplinarity, co-production and citizen engagement, ensuring that the research we do is relevant, timely and represents value for money. Ultimately, we’re working towards change being understood as a force for good”

Dr Richard Kirkham
Principal Investigator


SALIENT will deliver internationally significant and transformative research that supports the UK’s efforts to contribute to a secure and resilient world. We will contribute to the national conversation through impactful, methodologically rigorous, and accessible research that informs policy making at all levels and complements wider UKRI ‘building a secure and resilient world’ (BSRW) investments.

Transforming Tomorrow Together
Understanding the global strategic environment is crucial to our national resilience. The UK’s research contribution is potentially powerful, but it requires identification and coordination of world-leading research to enable translational benefits for society, the economy, and our environment.

Building a Secure and Resilient World (BSRW) is one of five strategic themes in UKRI’s five-year strategy: transforming tomorrow together. BSRW aims to strengthen security and resilience in areas of personal vulnerability, community fragility and national risk, across a range of social and economic areas at the heart of daily life.

Our approach

Future policy making capable of delivering the Government Office for Science’s vision in ‘Rebuilding a Resilient Britain’ requires a highly co-ordinated research programme to deliver rigorously gathered evidence into government. SALIENT will address this challenge through a dynamic programme, led by the Thomas Ashton Institute (TAI).

SALIENT will catalyse, conduct and commission innovative, timely and relevant research targeted at evidence gaps across the five BSRW priority themes:

  • Global order in a time of change
  • Technologies for resilience, security, and defence
  • Resilient and secure supply chains
  • Behavioural and cultural resilience
  • Strengthening resilience in natural and built environments

“SALIENT will adopt a human-centred systems approach through a portfolio of devolved funded activity. To achieve this, we particularly encourage research proposals that promote the arts and humanities in the national conversation on resilience.”

Dr Richard Kirkham
Principal Investigator

The team and our partners

SALIENT aims to be an internationally unique UK asset. Our multidisciplinary team of researchers will build strong connections across a broad group of stakeholders in central and local government, the devolved administrations and crucially, the public to deliver a set of core research work packages addressing priority topics to make a real difference to resilience at home and create transferable lessons of global significance.

SALIENT is proud to be supported by partners from a range of sectors including government departments, arms-length bodies, STEM futures systems thinking and reliability hubs.

The SALIENT Research Programme

Research Projects

We anticipate 50-70 projects with at least ten per work-package in five rounds of funding.

Each round will last for ten months, and commissioned projects will last between six and nine months. All applicants will be expected to show how their studies will align with the continuation strategy.

A transparent approach to assessing proposal quality and alignment with the aims of the UKRI’s Building a secure and resilient world strategic research theme will govern the selection processes.

We will embody equity, diversity, and inclusion by the judicious scheduling of activities, milestones, and events to promote and support work-life balance and ensure that potential applicants with caring responsibilities etc, are not disenfranchised from the opportunities presented by the hub.

We will fund three types of projects:

Theoretically motivated projects (e.g. research that draws upon theory as the basis for enquiry, or as a means of researching a question, position, or relationship).

Empirically derived projects (e.g. research that is based on measurement and observation of real-world phenomena).

A distinct stream of Early Career Researcher (ECR) led projects (applicants may locate their proposals in either of the two modes described above), as a means of promoting development and community building for new scholars.

Fuding calls will be released throughout the length of the project, so please check the site regularly.

Summer Internships
We will operate a scheme of summer internships, which will be offered on an annual basis to create opportunities for students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, who may be interested in postgraduate research training.

We will support the development of the Early Career Research community to ensure sustainability. Actions will also be taken to identify potential cross over research synergies and opportunities for transfer of research between sectors and disciplines, both within and external to SALIENT. Additionally, a communication plan will support the community towards exploitation and commercialisation, where appropriate.

About UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, investing £8 billion annually spanning all disciplines and all sectors. UKRI are nine councils, drawing on a unique breadth and depth of expertise to work with government and other stakeholders to enrich lives, by increasing understanding of world around us, supporting innovative businesses and public services, and creating high-quality jobs throughout the UK.