The University of Bristol has been awarded £2m to come up with novel ways of approaching engineering 'problems'.
"Making it Real" will address tasks as varied as controlling epileptic fits, making robots walk like humans and understanding why things rattle.
Professor John Hogan, leading the project, said: "This funding is a huge endorsement of our approach to applying mathematics to practical problems.
The four-year project will employ research assistants and post graduates.
The challenges will be addressed using a new form of mathematics to be developed by researchers based in the Bristol Centre for Applied Nonlinear Mathematics.
"(The grant)will allow us to attract the world's top researchers in the field to come and work with us in Bristol on some very challenging real-world problems," said Professor Hogan.