You are on page 1of 8

GB Paper

University of Cambridge
No.18.B.29
GENERAL BOARD OF THE FACULTIES

Human Social Science Research Capability Programme (HSSRC)

Brief description:
To provide the Board with a proposal to apply for the final stage of a tender for the
Defence, Security and Technology Laboratory’s (DSTL) Human Social Science
Research Capability Programme (HSSRC).

Action(s) required:

The Board is asked to approve the proposal to apply for the tender, subject to
confirmation from ACBELA.

Other comments:
The tender is for the University, in collaboration with Frazer Nash Consultancy, to
become the Prime Contractor for the DSTL’s HSSRC Programme, a programme of
arts, humanities and social sciences research designed to inform UK Defence and
Security strategy, policy and capability.
The award will include up to £6.9m of funding over four years to Cambridge to
administer and, in collaboration with DSTL, conceptually develop, the HSSSRC
Programme including administering open competitive calls for research funding. In
addition, the tender will include expected funding within the Programme to support
£20m of research projects by researchers at Cambridge.
The role of Prime Contractor will also enable University researchers to shape the
Programme and position Cambridge to bid for competitive research funding from the
scheme which will be up to £42m over four years, with the potential for extension to a
larger seven year programme.

List of additional papers submitted with this coversheet:


Briefing paper on the proposal to apply for the Human Social Science Research
Capability Programme
Appendix 1: Scope of work and subject areas
Appendix 2: Identified contributors at Cambridge
Author/originating body:
Dr Peter Hedges, Head of the University Research Office
Dr Daniel Wunderlich, Assistant Director for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences,
University Research Operations Office
Dr David Feller, Senior Contracts Manager, Research Office
General Board

6 June 2018

Human Social Science Research Capability Programme

Purpose of this Paper: To request the approval of the General Board for the proposal to
apply to the final stage of the tender for the Defence, Security and Technology Laboratory’s
Human Science Research Capability Programme.
________________________________________________________________________

1. Background

1.1 The University of Cambridge has been invited to the final stage in a tender by the
Defence, Security and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) for the Human Social Science
Research Capability (HSSRC) Programme.

1.2 This tender has been issued by DSTL to appoint a contractor to jointly lead, manage
and partially deliver the HSSRC Programme, which will be DSTL’s primary programme
for arts, humanities and social science (AHSS) research.

1.3 The value of funds to be administered for the HSSRC programme is £69.4m over four
years. Out of these funds, the successful applicant will receive up to £6.9m of funding
over four years to administer and conceptually develop the scheme together with DSTL,
for the Ministry of Defence, and other UK Government departments.

1.4 The University’s bid will be in partnership with Frazer Nash Consultancy, who will
provide the primary interface with industry and cover work that requires higher levels of
security clearance.

2. The HSSRC Programme

2.1 DSTL envisages that the HSSRC programme “will deliver agile and robust human social
and behavioural sciences research… with an emphasis on scientific excellence,
innovation and collaboration”. The research produced by the programme will “be used to
shape current and future Defence and Security strategy, policy and capability. 1

2.2 The programme will explore and build understanding of broad questions that operating
and interacting in 21st Century society in the UK and globally present to the Armed
Forces, government and wider society. Examples of the topics that the programme will
cover include: the shifting nature of conflict in light of political, social and environmental
change; the challenges of rapidly developing information technologies and their impacts
on social interactions and cohesion within and across generations and cultures;
automation and cyber warfare, their influence on trust in technologies and democracy;
the role of emotions in intercultural interactions; staff welfare in the context of dispersed
family setups and remote working amongst others.

2.3 The programme will focus on six areas: 1) Personnel, 2) Training and Education, 3)
Humans in Systems, 4) Human Performance, 5) Understanding and Influencing Human
Behaviour and 6) Health, Well-being and Enhancing Medical Systems and Capabilities
(see Appendix 1 for more information).

1
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multi-million-pound-funding-available-for-human-and-social-
sciences-research
3. Benefits to Cambridge

3.1. The role of Prime Contractor offers a number of benefits to Cambridge as follows:
• Core funding of up to £6.9m of funding over four years to Cambridge to administer
and, in collaboration with DSTL, conceptually develop, the HSSSRC Programme
including administering open competitive calls for research funding. This core funding
will provide a significant surplus over the actual cost to the University of managing
the programme.
• The tender response includes expected funding within the Programme to support
approximately £20m of research projects by researchers at Cambridge that will be
costed at 120% FEC.
• In addition, the University’s role as Prime Contractor will enable University
researchers to shape the Programme and position Cambridge to bid for competitive
research funding from the scheme which will be up to £42m over four years, with the
potential for extension to a larger seven year programme.

3.2. In addition to the financial benefits, the University will be able, jointly with DSTL, to
shape the development of the HSSRC Programme, influencing the areas of research
explored and, as a result, embed AHSS thinking in the MoD research programme. It is
also anticipated that the Programme will provide many opportunities to develop future
REF Impact Case Studies.

3.3. The University’s leadership of the programme will also aim to develop DSTL’s interest in
developing interdisciplinary research based in AHSS in interface with technology,
physical, clinical and biological science that will help UK’s armed forces to better
understand and adapt to new challenges while also having wider applications.
Cambridge researchers and collaborators would bring world leading research in AHSS
to support the armed services in diverse areas such as rapid decision making in
complex situations and in improving the wellbeing of service personnel with regard to
recruitment, training and retention, family life and gender. The programme will also
offers opportunities for AHSS researchers to collaborate with STEM disciplines and
industry, creating further potential opportunities to shape and access research funding
and interactions that are usually limited for AHSS research.

4. Programme Governance and Risk Management

4.1. The HSSRC Programme will initially be manged by Professor Steven Connor; Director
of CRASSH, supported by six academic theme leaders from within and across
Cambridge. Dedicated administrative staff will be appointed to manage the programme
in collaboration with Frazer Nash, overseen by a Grade 10 full-time executive director.

4.2. Within the first twelve months, it is proposed that the Programme leadership will transfer
to a new Centre for Strategic Futures (CSF) that will operate as a stand-alone Research
Centre within the School of Arts and Humanities on the same basis as the Centre for the
Future of Intelligence. The CSF will be managed by a Steering Group under the
Chairmanship of the PVC for Enterprise and Industrial Relations and including the Head
of School of Arts and Humanities. The HSSRC Programme management team will be
based within the CSF with the longer term aim to explore the potential for this to be spun
out as profit generating programme management consultancy. A full time Academic
Director will be appointed to lead the CSF whose salary will be fully funded by the
Programme surplus/overheads.
4.3. The programme will administer projects up to security level of ‘secret’. Project classified
as ‘secret’ will be handled through Frazer Nash which has the highest levels of security
clearance. Research projects conducted at Cambridge would not exceed ‘official
sensitive’ as with other research projects currently funded through MoD programmes at
the University. Consultations with Estate Management, the University Security Officer at
UIS and implementing School IT teams indicate that required security standards can be
met and costs will be covered through the costing model.

4.4. The financial return from the programme will be significant through the combination of
the management fee and pricing of research projects at 120% FEC. The costing model
will also allow for the programme’s additional direct costs (e.g., HR, IT, Finance) to be
fully recovered.

4.5. DSTL has rated the grant programme as ‘low risk’ based on both the magnitude of risk
and the likelihood of occurrence. Project-based risk will be flowed down to sub-
contracting institutions and any potential financial liability will fall within the provisions of
the University’s existing insurance certificate.

4.6. The proposal is referred to ACBELA in order to consider reputational implications for the
University leading the HSSRC programme.

4.7. The role as Prime Contractor for the DSTL HSSRC programme will raise the
University’s profile with regard to the application of humanities and social science
research for the MoD and wider government. The potential reputational risks of this will
be mitigated by a targeted communications effort, fully funded through the programme,
to highlight the positive impact of the University’s involvement in the programme, most
importantly our ability to:
• contribute world-leading research and interdisciplinary collaborations around social,
political, organisational and other challenges of the 21st century;
• exert a positive influence on MoD research towards more theoretically informed
longer-term perspectives;
• influence policy makers, creating further opportunities for interdisciplinary research
development across arts, humanities and social sciences;

Dr Peter Hedges
Head of the University Research Office

Dr Daniel Wunderlich
Assistant Director, Research Operations Office

Dr David Feller
Senior Contracts Manager, Research Operations Office
Appendix 1 - Description of Research Areas under the Programme

(Source: Tender Document)

Total quantity or scope: This Competition is to appoint a Prime Contractor to deliver a


mechanism which will: 1— manage the delivery of cutting edge, world-leading, innovative
human capability research, to address both future focused, longer term requirements, and
nearer term more applied requirements, 2— adopt processes /an approach that will enable
agile, timely and flexible responses to human capability research needs across several
technical disciplines. This is to include rapid response to emerging and urgent operational
and surge requirements when required, 3— access and engage a diverse and vibrant
external supplier network for human, social and behavioural sciences, nationally and
internationally. Including refreshing, scaling, growing and reconfiguring the supply base
throughout the contract lifespan as required. Provide information regarding the external
human, social and behavioural sciences capability within industry and academia to support
Dstl in its capability stewardship role, 4— enable a collaborative and inter- /multi-disciplinary
approach to task delivery where appropriate and building links between industry, SMEs and
academia and facilitating effective partnerships, 5— act proactively to identify and capitalise
on connections /links across tasks in this contract and others, as appropriate, to support
coherence. 6— provide a robust and proportionate technical and quality assurance
mechanism as part of a wider assurance model. This should include the option to invite
independent external review of S&T outputs where appropriate, 7— enable the inward and
outward exchange /sharing of staff between Dstl and supplier organisations, including the
ability to work as a combined team where required in order to a) build and sustain capability
b) enable delivery of S&T tasks, 8— support suppliers to take part in international research
collaboration as panel /group representatives and /or as part of a research activity, with
MOD/Dstl agreement, 9— provide an open, transparent, fair and flexible mechanism for
selecting the supplier(s) to deliver research, 10— maximise the accessibility, exploitation
potential and impact of the S&T it delivers, including enabling S&T exploitation support
activities, 11— follow a thorough and transparent approach to knowledge and information
management, 12— provide human, behavioural, and social sciences service(s) when
required (such as running of “sandpits”, workshops, focus groups, upgrading databases and
models, conducting independent reviews, running trials), 13— facilitate the sharing and use
of Supplier and/or MoD/OGD research facilities within commercial parameters, 14— develop
opportunities to build and sustain human, social and behavioural sciences capability (e.g.
communities of practice), 15— provide regular technical reviews to ensure technical quality,
innovation, exploitation and supply chain capacity /capability, Technical requirement. The
prime contractor is to provide coherent, high quality, cutting-edge research, specialist
technical advice, services, and advanced development relating to human capability in a
number of inter-linked technical areas which includes those listed below.

1) Personnel – S&T to provide evidence to shape and underpin novel interventions and
approaches to support delivery of a sufficient, capable, motivated and cost-efficient
workforce and address future workforce challenges and opportunities.
2) Training and education – S&T to explore, develop and test approaches to ensure that
the whole force is invested with the right knowledge, skills and experience throughout
their careers to succeed on operations and wider departmental business now and in
the future. Achieved through provision of evidence to underpin effective, efficient and
future-proofed learning analysis, design, delivery and assurance. Optimising training
systems development to reduce cost and improve capability.
3) Humans in systems – S&T to support integration of people, technology and
organisations to support the design, development, operation and defence of effective
and efficient defence and security systems. This spans the full range of socio-
technical systems in the four environments (Air, Land, Maritime, Space) across the
physical, information (including cyber) and social domains.
4) Human Performance – S&T to optimise human cognitive and physical performance in
the defence and security environment, at the individual, team and organisational
levels. Includes a focus on individual protection and injury prevention, and cognitive
agility.
5) Understanding and influencing human behaviour – S&T to inform and enable overt,
legal and proportionate: i— information activities and outreach, defence engagement
and strategic communications as the non-kinetic components of military full spectrum
effects, and ii— communications and messaging of UK domestic and Defence
internal audiences that promote the attraction, health, welfare and resilience of our
People (military and civilian). Includes develop the testing, refinement and validation
of workable concepts, tools, techniques and methods to enable analysis of audiences
to inform planning of appropriate activities, synchronised delivery of these activities
measurement of their effectiveness.
6) Health, well-being and enhancing medical systems and capabilities – S&T to provide
evidence to: develop strategies and interventions to maintain and improve
psychological and physical health (operational and occupational); optimise
performance to prevent or mitigate injury on military duties; design and integrate
innovative systems to enhance military medical responses in theatres of operation or
deployment. Inter /multi-disciplinary working across as well as within technical
boundaries is required to address some requirements. The technical scope listed
above is indicative and technical areas may be amended throughout the life of the
contract, within the scope of human capability S&T. The main focus of this framework
is on human, social and behavioural sciences; however, it may be necessary to draw
upon a wider range of disciplines and capabilities to address some of the research
requirements. For example, bringing together human scientists and technologists.
Appendix 2 - List of Researchers engaged with the HSSRC bid
Title First Name Faculty
English/CRASSH [designated Programme
Prof Steven Connor Director of the HSSRC Centre]
Dr Emily So Architecture
Prof Manuel Eisner Criminology
Dr Justice Tankebe Criminology
Dr Rob Doubleday CSaP
Dr Tim Jenkins Divinity
Rev Dr Michael Banner Trinity College
Dr Edward Gallo Economics
Dr Chryssi Giannitsarou Economics
Dr Sirya Iyer Economics
Dr Julia Shvets Economics
Dr Flavio Toxvaerd Economics
Dr Michelle Ellefson Education
Prof Geoff Hayward Education
Prof Jan Vermunt Education
Prof Hans Van de Ven FAMES
Dr Alex Jeffrey Geography
Dr Stephen John HPS
Dr Kishore Sengupta JBS
Prof Michael Barrett \
JBS
Prof Mark De Rond JBS
Dr Duncan Astle MRC Brain Cognition Unit
Dr Arif Ahmed Philosophy
Prof Huw Price Philosophy/CFI
Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
Dr Hannah Clarke (PDN)
Dr James Fraser PDN
Dr Andrew Murray PDN
Dr Christof Schweining PDN
Prof Barbara Sahakian Psychiatry
Prof John Suckling Psychiatry
Prof Diane Coyle POLIS
Prof Michael Kenny POLIS
Dr Kun-Chin Lin POLIS
Dr Stefano Recchia POLIS
Prof Claire Hughes Psychology
Prof Zoe Kourtzi Psychology
van der
Dr Sander Linden Psychology
Dr Ella McPherson Sociology
Prof John Thompson Sociology