Call – Public reaction to nationwide power failure

Pilot Project 4:

Public reaction to nationwide power failure

Applications are invited to undertake a collaborative project to explore public behavioural responses following a widespread power failure.

Widespread power failure is amongst the highest priority risks in the UK Government’s annual National Risk Assessment. This ranking is due to the combination of the event’s likelihood plus its impacts, including serious economic, societal and reputational consequences.  Accordingly, the UK is currently running a long term, cross-sector programme to identify and prioritise the impacts that a widespread power loss would precipitate.

To date, behavioural analysis has been restricted to understanding the public reaction on a sector by sector basis i.e. how will demand for transport be affected. However, analysis based on an overall, cross-sector understanding of impacts is vital to ensuring an accurate as possible picture of the effects is gained.  An assessment of public behaviour should ideally take into account the type of underlying support networks and dynamics that exist in society and how the existence (or lack) of these networks might affect how people react. For example, it would be useful to consider not just how the public might behave as individuals but also as discrete sets i.e. community, familial or socio-economic groupings.  In addition, with a widespread power failure likely to result in disrupted supply to parts of the country for up to 7 days, dependent on damage to the network, it would be instructive to consider how public behaviour might change and evolve over time.

The aim of the project is to gain insight into potential changes in public behaviour following such an event, and consider how that reaction might best be influenced to mitigate any further negative impacts.

The CRUISSE network will be able to provide assistance in obtaining relevant data or contacts.


Up to £15,000 is available for this initiative. Applicants should provide a 4 page A4 document setting out how they would approach the task and why they think they are suitable to carry it out. They should provide details of grant administration, finances, time line and deliverables (and an indication of supervisory responsibility for junior researchers if applicable).

The proposal will include ideas about the kinds of information needed for the study, how it will be analysed and followed up, and the types of outcomes that may be expected.

It is envisaged that a senior academic, postdoc or research student will apply to conduct the project themselves or to obtain funds to employ someone else suitable to conduct the work under their supervision over a period of about 6 months starting as soon as possible.

The PI, Co-I or other core members of the CRUISSE Network will be available for consultation and expect to receive informal updates on progress occasionally during the project as well as any formal deliverables specified by the applicant.

The project will probably require social or psychological science expertise and methodology but the network will consider any good ideas for achieving the project aims.

Before the project commences, the successful applicant in collaboration with the project partners will be expected to draw up a brief (maximum 2 page) summary of the expected

outcomes and impacts of the work. This document should also set out the expected level of interaction between the applicant and the project partners, and an approximate timeline for the work.

Eligibility and Evaluation

Applications for Project 4 should be sent to

Applicants must be staff (including current postdocs and PDRA’s) working at an eligible UK institution. Please refer to the EPSRC Eligibility of organisations webpage to check your institution’s eligibility:


The proposals will be reviewed and evaluated quickly within the CRUISSE Network.

Deadline for Applications: 20th December 2017