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

This team within KTN harnesses the power of mathematics to meet business needs and help a wide range of industries express problems in an accessible way. We also facilitate new partnerships with an extensive network of mathematical scientists and institutions across the UK.

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.

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 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 £186 billion on defence equipment and support in the ten years from 2018/19. In addition, the UK is the second largest defence exporter, winning defence orders worth £14 billion (2018).

The world is powered by data; turning data into information helps us make decisions across all sectors of the economy. Innovate UK KTN 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.

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.

Current Complex Systems funding opportunities

High Altitude Intelligence: Cross Sector Innovation Challenge

Opens: 18/07/2022 Closes: 02/09/2022

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4 million for projects up to £2 million in size to develop payloads and solutions for data processing, evaluation and dissemination to complement ongoing High Altitude Pseudo Satellites. Your proposal must show utility in…

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iX Challenge: Magnetic Measurements for a Fusion Power Plant

Opens: 08/08/2022 Closes: 09/09/2022

UKAEA is searching for innovators who have expertise in magnetic measurement systems that can operate in harsh environments in a fusion reactor, accelerating the development of a prototype fusion reactor plant and the UK’s transition to net zero.

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iX Challenge: Novel Sensor Payloads for Asset Inspection Drones

Opens: 05/08/2022 Closes: 30/09/2022

The Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside Futureworx to find novel sensors and/or data processing techniques that can be deployed in scenarios offering relatively low Size-Weight-Power-Cooling (SWAPC) budgets. These will initially be aimed at demanding industrial environments, such as t

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Related Events and Recordings


Can maths help support businesses in plastic reuse?

14.00 - 15.30 | Online

Watch Now

Mathematical Modelling for Next Generation Formulated Products: Food & Drink

12.00 - 14.00 | Online

Recording coming soon

Trusted Research for Industry Series – Emerging and Enabling, Complex Systems

12.00 - 13.30 | Online

Watch Now
See all events

Our Experts

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For general enquiries regarding our Complex Systems sector contact us now