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SFPE Foundation’s Grand Challenges initiative seeks public input for advancing fire engineering


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The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Foundation, a philanthropic body dedicated to broadening the scientific comprehension of fire and its interaction with the social, natural, and built environments, is encouraging public input on four strategic research and education papers.

These papers, integral to their Grand Challenges initiative, aim to promote advancements in fire engineering. To access these papers, visit the SFPE’s website.

Public insight on Grand Challenges initiative

Published in July 2023, these four papers focus on the Grand Challenges initiative and propose ten-year strategic cooperation plans in research and education to improve fire engineering.

They cover the critical areas of Climate Change, Digitalisation, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity, Energy and Infrastructure, and Resilience and Sustainability.

The Foundation has requested all comments by October 31, 2023.

Grand Challenges addressing global issues

Dr Leslie Marshall, Director of the SFPE Foundation, remarked: “For us to meet the grand challenges that face society on a global scale, we need to strategically invest in the research, education, and outreach initiatives that will advance fire engineering as it relates to climate change; digitalisation, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity; energy and infrastructure; and resilience and sustainability.”

She highlighted the role of the 33 GCI Founding Partner organisations and 80 GCI Working Group members and emphasised that community feedback is essential for ensuring alignment and improvement in the future priorities identified in these papers.

Encouraging wide participation in the Grand Challenges initiative

To encourage community participation and feedback, the SFPE Foundation has organised a series of free virtual Grand Challenges initiative meetings taking place on July 25, 27, and August 2, 3, 2023.

The aim is to provide further understanding of the research, education, and outreach priorities identified in the papers. The meetings will be available for on-demand viewing afterwards.

Moreover, the SFPE Foundation will also be sharing updates and seeking feedback in person at the SFPE Annual Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C./Bethesda, and at the SFPE Engineering Solutions Symposium for Fire Safety and Sustainable Building Design in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Grand Challenges initiative and its supporters

Launched in 2022, the Grand Challenges initiative by the SFPE Foundation prioritises global challenges where fire safety science and engineering can contribute significantly to discussions that impact billions of people daily.

The initiative, including the four recently released papers, is led by experts in four working groups and supported financially by SFPE, Fire Safety Research Institute/UL Research Institutes, Code Red Consultants, FM Global, Harrington Group, Jensen Hughes, and other corporate, academic, and research partners.

For more details about the SFPE Foundation, its ‘Grand Challenges’ initiative, and the public comments on these four papers, visit

IFSJ Comment

This highlights the SFPE Foundation’s efforts to advance fire engineering, which is critical for public safety and the resilience of our built environments.

By soliciting public feedback on its Grand Challenges initiative, the Foundation is promoting a more inclusive, cooperative, and strategic approach to tackling the global challenges of fire safety and engineering.

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