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​​​​Research Themes


Initial Technical Scope: Leading recruitment and selection research, informing policy, and management of change across the MOD. The ‘New Employment Model’ for the Armed Services will be a key driver for this research theme.

Personnel.pngCurrent key drivers in the Personnel space are the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the Service Personnel Strategy, the New Employment Model, and the Armed Forces Covenant. The SDSR includes a number of priorities for the future that will be dependent on MOD’s ability to “retain and develop high-quality and highly motivated people” (SDSR page 28) at a time when the future nature of conflict is changing, and when “doing more with less” in terms of funding and resources is required. MOD will need to consider new and existing personnel practices to maximise operational readiness and effectiveness, and to evaluate these as appropriate. In part as a response to this challenge, the Armed Forces are currently drawing up a New Employment Model, aimed at providing ways of managing personnel that will be suited to the needs of the Forces to 2020, and Future Reserves 2020 (FR20). At the same time, the Government has committed to an Armed Forces Covenant, enshrining in law the principle that personnel, families, and veterans should not be disadvantaged by service.

Relevant research areas may include:

  1. Creating a flexible force, with a large proportion at high readiness;
  2. The creation of the New Employment Model;
  3. Rebuilding and formalisation of the Armed Forces Covenant;
  4. Co-operation between agencies; and
  5. Cyber capability transformation​.

Tri-Service Training & Education

​Initial Technical Scope: Ensuring cost effective joint, collective and coalition training. Establishing the most effective live/synthetic training balance. Measuring training effectiveness. Supporting changes to the education and training in support of Future Force 2020.

Training.pngCurrent key drivers in the Training space are as follows:

  • The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR);
  • The Defence Training, Simulation and Infrastructure (DTS&I) Change / Transformation Programme;
  • The MOD's Strategy for Defence;
  • The Service Personnel Strategy;
  • The need to rebalance the existing mix of foundation and mission specific training to reflect the end of combat operations in Afghanistan (c2015); and
  • The need to manage the uncertainty regarding the future size and shape of the armed forces that will require training and the military tasks that they will be asked to train for (c2020).

The DTS&I Change Programme was initiated in 2010 in response to the SDSR with the key over-arching themes of improved agility, effectiveness and efficiency in training with the “provision of Training, mission preparation and evaluation at point of need and time of need”.

The DTS&I Programme generated a considerable body of information which spans the Defence Enterprise (planning, delivery, generation, and Industry and Simulation and Training (S&T) communities). A review and analysis of this literature from the Human Capability perspective underlines the considerable breadth of relevant and strategic research topics for investigation in relation to this key theme:

  1. Individual, team, collective and joint and combined training requirements specification and acceptance through life;
  2. Objective and subjective training effectiveness metrics for individual, team, collective and joint training and the integration of evidence from lessons identified and Test and Evaluation;
  3. The appropriate management of training technology insertion and disposal / disinvestment;
  4. The human capability considerations relating to the Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) blends for training provision;
  5. Cultural change relating to changing behaviour and mindsets and “evolving confidence” given the goals of increasing synthetic/simulation-based training;
  6. Identifying and integrating ‘non-technology solutions’ within training and development;
  7. The development of a Systems Approach to the effective management of competence retention and management of skill fade; and
  8. The investigation of the risks and benefits of International collaboration in the design, delivery and evaluation of training​.

Health &​ Well-Being

Initial Technical Scope: Supporting the health and well-being of MOD personnel across a broad range of areas including, for example, mental health, rehabilitation and vibration.

Health.pngWork in the Armed Forces makes considerable demands on military personnel. Many are expected to spend extended periods away from home; they may be deployed rapidly and unexpectedly and for indeterminate periods. In the battlefield they may face danger, fear and deprivation as well as being exposed to harsh environmental conditions posing extreme physical and moral challenges, not least, laying down their lives. Hence, they must have courage, moral fibre and the mental and physical agility to undertake hazardous and unpredictable tasks. In addition, they are also expected to maintain high standards of conduct and abide by civil and military law.

In return for these exceptional demands service personnel and their families are provided with, and have the right to expect, MOD and the Services to manage them with care. Care includes the provision of adequate levels of support both on and off duty to ensure that the demands placed on them and their families are reasonable in order to mitigate the dangers, stresses and difficulties associated with Service life.

Relevant research areas may include:

  1. Occupational health and Duty of Care;
  2. Welfare;
  3. Veteran and injured and bereaved;
  4. Physiology;
  5. Psychology (mental health care);
  6. Rehabilitation and social health; and
  7. Nutrition​.

Informa​tion Activities & Outreach

Initial Technical Scope: Achievement of strategic national goals through influence and persuasion techniques to supplement or obviate the need for traditional fighting (kinetic) techniques.

Information.pngThe 2010 UK National Security Strategy (NSS) outlines, as one of its core objectives, the goal of “shaping a stable world...acting to reduce the likelihood of risks affecting the UK or our interests overseas” (p.22). In doing so, it emphasises the vital importance of supporting, and in some cases leading, activity to promote the short and long term stability of fragile states, and a primary focus on the prevention of threat from international military crises, while retaining the ability to respond should they nevertheless materialise. In line with this, the importance of the UK Government and military forces’ ability to effectively exert influence across the globe, at all levels of command, organisation and society, cannot be understated. Indeed, the centrality and significance of influence is stated clearly elsewhere across prominent government strategy and documentation including the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), MOD Security and Stabilisation Doctrine (JDP 3-40) and the Future Character of Conflict (FCOC) paper.

Relevant research areas may include:

  1. Developing and evaluating influence tools, techniques and approaches for operators at all levels of command and developing a robust evidence base to support this;
  2. Enhancing MOD's ability to assess and measure the effectiveness of their actions in exerting influence at all levels of command;
  3. Building a robust cyber influence capability; and
  4. Developing pragmatic and usable planning processes that cater for uncertainty (of audiences & information environment), unclear & changeable goals and adaptive responses​.

Humans in Systems

Initial Technical Scope: Studies and advice in all areas of the interaction of Humans and Equipment in the MOD. Advice on appropriate tools and techniques and to inform policy formulation.

Humans.pngThe Humans in Systems theme is represented by seven inter-related domains: Human Factors Engineering, Training, Manpower, Personnel, System Safety, Health Hazards and Social and Organisation. These domains are applicable across all Defence Lines of Development (DLOD).

Relevant research areas may include:

  1. Creating an effective, efficient and sustainable Humans in Systems approach;
  2. Creating relevant and 'future-proofed' Humans in Systems advice, tools and methodologies;
  3. Capturing, managing and exploiting Humans in Systems evidence;
  4. Developing effective Human-Systems Interfaces; and
  5. Supporting emerging Front Line research requirements​.

Human Component in Cybe​r (HCIC)

The Strategic Defence Review and National Security Strategy recognise the need for influence to sit at the heart of future UK military operations. The goal is to tackle security risks at source and in advance of crises spilling over into conflict, through earlier engagement and more effective use of 'soft power' to shape behaviour and exert UK influence in international affairs. Key to this is an understanding of the complex human terrain in which our armed forces must operate, and giving them the capability to promote the UK's messages and values over those of our adversaries in a global information environment that is connected, congested and contested.

Part of the Cyber Programme of research, The HCIC Project focuses on building UK military capability to assess and understand target audiences in cyberspace, and to exploit the cyber environment in Information Activities. The HCIC project also aims to build understanding in how individuals, groups and communities engage with technology and how they react to problems that occur in cyberspace. This knowledge will support UK military and government ability to identify human vulnerabilities, and defend against cyber attacks.​