Resilience Beyond Observed Capabilities - RBOC Network Plus

Resilience Beyond Observed Capabilities - RBOC Network Plus


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and DST

Total value of project

£2,287,443 with an additional £1,710,325 Contribution from project partners

£1,829,947 EPSRC Funding

Project team

Professor David McIlhatton, Professor Elena Gaura, Professor Rachel Monaghan

Partners - Co-Investigators

Professor Martin Innes, Cardiff University, Professor Mark Levine, Lancaster University, Professor Duncan Shaw, Professor Emma Barrett and Dr Nuno Pinto, University of Manchester, Professor Joan Condell, University of Ulster, Mr James Sullivan, Royal United Services Institute


Cambridge Consultants Ltd, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Improbable Defence, Lancashire County Council, PA Consultancy Services Ltd, WHITESPACE VENTURES LIMITED, BAE Systems (UK), International Leadership Association, Ordnance Survey

Duration of project

21/03/2022 – 20/03/2025 (36 months)


Project overview

The RBOC (Resilience Beyond Observed Capabilities) Network Plus will create new knowledge, new capabilities and new opportunities for collaboration to help the UK prepare for security threats in the coming decades. The starting point is a scenario of a catastrophic attack on digital and energy networks in the year 2051. RBOC N+ will convene some of the UK's leading experts in engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, health sciences, social and behavioural sciences, arts and humanities, and cross-disciplinary topics such as AI, security studies and urban planning, together with government and industry, to refine, deepen and test this scenario and to use it to create immersive simulations.

Project objectives

In responding to the scenario, the RBOC Network+ will investigate what capabilities, techniques and vulnerabilities could be exploited by adversaries to mount high-impact attacks against the UK, and what capabilities (technological, organisational, legal and behavioural) could be used by public authorities (central government, local authorities, first responders) to prepare for and respond to such attacks.

To develop, accelerate and apply these capabilities to prepare for, respond to, recover, and mitigate threats, the RBOC Network+ will lead and facilitate the production of original research using novel combinations of disciplines and methods, and build new relationships between researchers and policy makers and practitioners in government and industry. It will also develop a ‘safe-space’ simulator for modelling the scenario with outputs providing insight to policy and practice implications, impacts and research gaps.

  1. New knowledge from interdisciplinary research on potential capabilities available to adversaries and how government can prepare and respond.
  2. New collaborations between academics, industry and government - including partners new to the defence and security sectors – to share knowledge and apply it to emerging and  potential  security threats and challenges.
  3. Identifying requirements for and initiating the development of new capabilities for managing security threats.
  4. The delivery of tools and applications for government and academia, including an application for immersive simulation of threat and response scenarios.
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023