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141 Projects

  • UK Research and Innovation
  • UKRI|EPSRC
  • 2006
  • 2011

10
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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D068525/1
    Funder Contribution: 475,238 GBP

    Silicon Carbide (SiC) electronics and sensor technologies will play an important role in the energy and transport technologies of the 21st Century. Environmental pressures to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions coupled with diminishing fossil fuel resources will drive a continuing increase in the use of electricity as the preferred point-of-use energy delivery mechanism. The efficient and flexible conversion of electrical energy is increasingly accomplished through the use of power electronics, a technology and business area that is set to expand rapidly over the next decades. SiC, in common with other wide band-gap semiconductors, offers the potential for dramatic improvements in the efficiency and range of applications for power electronics. It is thus seen as an enabler for many innovative energy and transport developments, such as power-dense electronics for the more electric aircraft, hybrid/all-electric road vehicles and rail traction or for application to the electricity generation and distribution network, where high-speed high-voltage switches are needed.The principal aim of this Platform Grant is to facilitate long-term, innovative, generic research into technologies that will deliver SiC electronics and sensor technology to extreme environment applications. This aim will be achieved through three specific objectives. First and foremost the Platform Grant will facilitate the retention of a core of expert research staff and provide for their career development within a secure and stable employment environment. Secondly, it will complement current and planned research activities by allowing the Team to address speculative but strategically important issues associated with SiC electronics and sensors. Thirdly, it will address the wider development needs of the Team by providing funds for a range of international exchanges. We foresee an increasing international effort towards realising the benefits of SiC devices in real-life applications and systems and much of the proposed research is orientated in that direction. We plan major new investigations into applying advanced SiC devices coupled with new material fabrication methods to significant systems applications / in particular energy conversion (of crucial importance in all forms of renewable power) and new types of sensors for emerging areas such as real-time pollution monitoring in automobiles. Such developments will provide real benefit to society whilst opening up significant new commercial markets to those companies that can adopt these genuinely disruptive technologies. Alongside this system level perspective will be crucial developments in materials technologies (such as the application of new types of dielectric technology) and novel devices (SiC transistors fabricated using such dielectrics) that will underpin the dramatic improvements in system level performance that will arise from the application of such technologies.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/C535847/1
    Funder Contribution: 777,928 GBP

    The no-slip condition between the surface of an aircraft and the air in which it flies is responsible not only for drag, but for the lift as well. An obvious potentially huge benefit to a carbon-based economy is the reduction in fuel consumption of aircraft, road vehicles and ships. The technological goal of doing this, together with many others, constitutes an important area of research called flow control and the same techniques used to reduce drag may also be used to help control aircraft by improving their stability and manoeuvrability, that is producing additional lift or thrust when it is needed. This is often done by delaying separation, that is, by preventing stall that could otherwise occur when an aircraft is flying slowly or when it is manoeuvring near the limits of its flight envelope. Another way of doing this could be by introducing small perturbations into the jet that provides the thrust so making it deflect or break up more quickly. Such control of an aircraft would be especially useful if it were unmanned. What we wish to do here is to take advantage of recent developments in materials called polymers (the most often used polymer is PVC or plastic) some of which possess piezoelectric properties. By piezoelectric, we mean that the polymer can be made to expand or compress by applying a voltage or charge, and correspondingly, produce charge when the polymer is compressed. These are also called electroactive polymers or EAPS. If the polymer has the right properties and is designed optimally, it can be used in a great many applications such as the in the body as an artificial muscle. Obviously the most important 'muscle' in the body is the heart which is of course involved in the flow of blood around the body.Our specific application is to take the idea of a dimple on a golf ball and use it as an actuator, as the basis of changing the properties of the boundary layer flow around more-or-less any type of body. Dimples are, in fact, very efficient vortex generators and we have started using dimples that are made of EAP so that the dimple consists of a diaphragm that pops up and down either in a cyclic (or harmonic) fashion, or can be made to do so when required, a so-called ondemand vortex generator. In this case, we would wish the dimple to produce a single vortex of known strength for as long or as short as we would wish, and this requires an understanding of the basic fluid behaviour so that a model may be implemented. This means we have to sense the properties of the boundary layer and we can do this by taking advantage of the piezoelectric behaviour of the EAP. Then the polymer not only has an array of dimples for controlling the boundary layer, but it also has an array of pressure sensors so that the surface pressure signal may used to control the dimples. We can even develop a 'smat all-polymer skin that is made up of separate EAP layers where individual layers can be designed specifically to sense the forces of the skin, or to be actuated as an on-demand dimple actuator. Then we would be able to sense the pressure on the surface and actuate at the same position. Initially, we hope to control boundary layer by open-loop control only. In this case, the measured pressure is only used to diagnose the effect of the dimples. However, much more complicated (and potentially much more beneficial) is closed-loop control, in which the measured pressures are used to determine when and where the dimples should be actuated. This would require a control model, that is a clear expectation of how we would wish the flow to be. Each model would be very dependent on a great many conditions, not least the type of flow.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D036682/1
    Funder Contribution: 434,182 GBP

    This Platform Grant will sustain research being carried out at Newcastle University in strained Si/SiGe materials, technology and design. EPSRC, EC and industrial funding has been continuous in this field since 1994, resulting in the publication of more than 50 papers. The world market for semiconductors is counted in $100 Billion's per year and new innovations are now necessary to deliver the raw processing power needed to maintain Moore's Law in the future. Strained Si/SiGe CMOS technology has been pursued to meet this challenge. A thick layer of SiGe deposited on a Si wafer, so that it is relaxed, forms a virtual substrate. A thin layer of Si grown subsequently on the virtual substrate becomes tensile strained, while SiGe epitaxial layers may be either compressive (if the Ge content is above that of the virtual substrate) or tensile (if the Ge content is below that of the virtual substrate). The higher carrier mobility seen in strained Si/SiGe devices can be exploited through higher speed (without re-tooling), larger fan-out or lower power. Our long-term goal is to build an international centre of excellence in the area of synergy between new materials, devices and system design. Specific topics include: material growth, critical thickness, diffusion, defects, device scaling, strain budget design, MOSFET gate stacks, device and process modelling, electrical characterisation, strain characterisation, doping characterisation, robust design and variability in technology-driven design of circuits.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D506468/1
    Funder Contribution: 418,116 GBP

    Digital medical imaging technologies such as MRI, CT and ultrasound have transformed healthcare in the last 3 decades. Computational methods are now becoming available to measure very subtle changes in shape, structure and function of tissue and organs. This is changing the ways that we understand currently incurable diseases such as dementias, arthritis and cancer. These same technologies are allowing us to develop new ways of improving the ways we assess how well new treatments are working. Medical imaging provides information at the spatial scale of 1 mm or greater yet disease manifests itself by changes in molecular processes, cellular function and cellular distributions. Optical methods are becoming available to study these processes in-vivo and so we need methods to relate information at the micron scale to what we can see in medical imaging at the millimetre scale. With this information we will be able to develop new methods to use images to guide therapy and interventions in the treatment of cancer, brain diseases, disorders of bones and joints and cardiovascular diseases.This platform grant will provide is with resources to secure our excellent team of physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians. It will also give us the flexibility to tackle new avenues of research as they arise without the time delay in obtaining funding that would otherwise result. The resource will allow us to explore more speculative avenues of research at the interfaces between medical imaging and cellular and molecular biology; and opportunities for computational imaging at the interface of biology, nanotechnology and quantum physics.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D072751/1
    Funder Contribution: 493,831 GBP

    Nature has been ingenious in devising materials and devices to have specialised properties and to perform specific tasks in living matter. Not only must molecular building blocks be synthesised, they must also adopt the correct conformations and assemble themselves into functioning superstructures. At the same time, they must avoid interfering with all the other organisational processes occurring within the same space.Many tasks in living cells are performed by proteins. These molecules are chains of amino acids that fold into intricate structures dedicated to their particular function. Determining the structure is an important stage in unravelling a protein's function, and this is most often achieved by x-ray crystallography. To obtain a useful resolution it is necessary to purify the protein and grow defect-free crystals up to almost millimetre size. However, proteins have evolved to be difficult to crystallise, since aggregation of that sort would be deleterious to their function. Indeed, diseases like that of haemoglobin C arise from unwanted crystallisation. Accordingly, searching for physical conditions where adequate crystals can be grown is a difficult and time-consuming task.An important factor affecting the tendency of proteins to crystallise is the directionality of their interactions with each other due to the non-uniformity of their surfaces. Very little is known about the influence of directionality on crystallisation, and a major aim of the research proposed here is to investigate the effects using computer simulation. Although computer power continues to increase apace, it is nowhere near sufficient to treat an atom-by-atom representation of protein crystallisation. Instead of such a brute-force approach, we must devise coarse-grained models that embody the essential physics of protein interactions, and analyse them with sophisticated tools. In addition to being computationally tractable, these models have the advantage of revealing general underlying principles rather than case-specific answers.Proteins often organise themselves into discrete superstructures in order to accomplish a task. An elegant but pernicious example is the self-assembly of capsids, the coats of viruses that encapsulate their genetic material. About half of all viruses are roughly spherical (in fact, icosahedral) in shape, and are efficiently built from copies of a small number of proteins. The fact that many capsids can assemble reliably from their isolated subunits is remarkable and not easy to explain in detail. In particular, the ability to avoid construction errors and to form complete shells in favour of many partial fragments is poorly understood. Here again, simplified computer models can assist by elucidating possible pathways and the underlying thermodynamics of self-assembly. This knowledge could inspire antiviral therapy targeted at the assembly stage, rather than at infection itself. It could also be turned to positive uses by designing tiny containers to administer drugs.The coarse-grained modelling of biological molecules springs from techniques developed for colloid science. Colloids cover a broad range of dispersed nanoscale particles and everyday examples are as diverse as cream, ink and fog. In many human-made colloids, it is possible to exert fine control over the properties of the particles, thereby influencing their collective behaviour. Further projects in this proposal take up the idea of colloids as ``designer atoms.'' For example, how can rod-like molecules be encouraged to connect at low densities to make light-weight electrically conducting materials? What happens to colloidal gels and glassy materials if they are composed of mixtures of sizes and interactions rather than a uniform component? Computer simulations have a vital role to play in answering these questions.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E009735/1
    Funder Contribution: 818,335 GBP

    The aim of this proposal is to appoint an additional professor in the field of electrical energy and power systems at The University of Manchester. Since candidates for this position cannot hold a permanent academic position in the UK, his/her appointment will increase the pool of experienced researchers working in a field that has been recognised as being not only critical to the health of the UK economy and quality of life but also below the critical mass required for a sector undergoing a major transition.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D050618/1
    Funder Contribution: 784,416 GBP

    Current software engineering practice is a human-led search for solutions which meet needs and constraints under limited resources. Often there will be conflict, both between and within functional and non-functional criteria. Naturally, like other engineers, we search for a near optimal solution. As systems get bigger, more distributed, more dynamic and more critical, this labour-intensive search will hit fundamental limits. We will not be able to continue to develop, operate and maintain systems in the traditional way, without automating or partly automating the search for near optimal solutions. Automated search based solutions have a track record of success in other engineering disciplines, characterised by a large number of potential solutions, where there are many complex, competing and conflicting constraints and where construction of a perfect solution is either impossible or impractical. The SEMINAL network demonstrated that these techniques provide robust, cost-effective and high quality solutions for several problems in software engineering. Successes to date can be seen as strong pointers to search having great potential to serve as an overarching solution paradigm. The SEBASE project aims to provide a new approach to the way in which software engineering is understood and practised. It will move software engineering problems from human-based search to machine-based search. As a result, human effort will move up the abstraction chain, to focus on guiding the automated search, rather than performing it. This project will address key issues in software engineering, including scalability, robustness, reliability and stability. It will also study theoretical foundations of search algorithms and apply the insights gained to develop more effective and efficient search algorithms for large and complex software engineering problems. Such insights will have a major impact on the search algorithm community as well as the software engineering community.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D506859/1
    Funder Contribution: 438,077 GBP

    CBES aims to tackle the following three main issues:1. How to design, maintain and operate the built environment while minimising the emissions of greenhouse gases. 2. How to adapt the environment, fabric and services of existing and new buildings to climate change.3. How to improve the environment in and around buildings to provide better health, comfort, security and productivity.Initially, in the 1950's and 1960's, most building science research focused on applying physics, chemistry etc to the environment in buildings. Many of the problems that can be tackled by this single discipline approach have now been solved; the key remaining problems are multi-disciplinary. Hence, Bartlett research in this area expanded to involve multidisciplinary activities across the built environment, with building scientists working closely with planners, architects etc. In the 1980's and 1990's, much of this work still relied on individual disciplines using existing tools and techniques from their own discipline by simply applying them along with tools from other disciplines. More recently, the strategic direction of CBES has been shaped by the necessity for a truly multidisciplinary approach. The development of CBES is therefore very much in line with the recent key recommendation of the Second International Review of Engineering that academia, industry and government develop strategies to encourage increased linkage of engineering research to more basic mathematical, physical, chemical and biological sciences, so that scientific and engineering discoveries may stimulate even more and broader discoveries and their applications. The strategic development of CBES rests upon two key factors:1. The identification and development of innovative opportunities to advance academic and industrial collaboration beyond the traditional territories of the Built Environment. The group is already taking an international lead in work involving significant breakthroughs in health, energy and conservation issues related to environment in buildings. Its success in developing this multidisciplinary approach has been rewarded through increased and more diverse research funding (4.4M since 2000, 56% EPSRC funded). CBES have already developed a unique set of interdisciplinary projects, working with acarologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, chemists and conservators, in institutions across the UK and worldwide. However, there is considerable potential for new projects working with clinicians, climate physicists, neurologists, electrical engineers, nano-technologists, economists and crime scientists to tackle key questions which determine the physical environment in and around buildings. Working with these disciplines is vital in order to tackle such key problems as the impact that climate change is having on the urban heat island and environmental control in buildings, how occupants interact with the built environment to control and adapt their environment, how we neurologically assess the lit environment within buildings and the impact that the built environment is having on health.2. The development of the required theoretical cross disciplinary techniques to undertake these new challenges. CBES aims to work with the most appropriate discipline specialists and to provide the most appropriate techniques for solving the practical problems facing the built environment. For example, CBES feels there is considerable potential to adapt epidemiological techniques for the building stock as a whole. Also developments in complexity theory are applicable to many of the research challenges the research group is currently studying but so far have not been applied to these areas.If CBES is to fully achieve its planned strategic development, Platform funding is required to provide a step change in the way it undertakes research and works with new disciplines.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D05284X/1
    Funder Contribution: 425,797 GBP

    Coated metal products are of ubiquitous importance to each and every one of us. With the introduction of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive in 2004 it is now becoming impossible to use traditional pre-treatments and primers based on hexavalent chromium, which is both toxic and carcinogenic, in electronic goods. Increasingly, as the End of Life Vehicles (ELV) directive comes into full force by 2006, the same will be true in the automotive sector. This critical environmental legislation is being rolled out to other market sectors and will inevitably encompass all metallic products in all sectors including construction materials and aerospace. This makes establishing high performance chromium free coating technologies one of the most important research areas in corrosion. The importance of the work carried out at UWS to this industry sector is clear from the significant levels of government, industry and development agency funding attracted from 2002 to the present time. In order that UK steel manufacturing industry maintains and internationally leading position on coated products chromium free coating development must be combined with novel alloy coatings and coating technologies. This Platform proposal underpins consolidation and growth of the Corrosion and Coatings Research Group at UWS / which has already achieved a world-leading research reputation. Undoubtedly the key strength of the Group lies in the quality and experience of its Research Staff and the Platform Grant (in conjunction with current and anticipated Research Grants) will provide a secure base whereby four of these may be retained in continuous employment over a five year period. This will allow the Group to adopt a more ambitious research strategy and participate in potentially risky and adventurous collaborative programmes with leading university and industry groups world-wide. Core activities will include the development of powerful new combinatorial methodologies for the generation of metal alloy, conducting polymer and ion-exchange ceramic anti-corrosion coating component libraries. Also, the development of high-throughput, parallel, corrosion screening techniques based on scanning electrochemical instrumentation. These will permit the rapid evaluation of individual coating components, identify synergistic interactions between components and provide a wealth of fundamental kinetic and mechanistic information. State-of-the-art electron backscatter diffraction techniques will be also used to obtain a new and fundamental understanding of relationships between microstructure, grain orientation and corrosion resistance in metal and metal-alloy coatings. Scoping studies will include: mechanistic investigations of the interplay between photochemistry and electrochemistry in environmentally driven organic coating degradation, coating deposition using self-assembled conducting-polymer nanofibres, computational modelling of corrosion-driven coating failure, interphase engineering of coatings and investigating the practicality of PVD for metallic coil-coatings on steel. The management infrastructure already in place at UWS will ensure the programme delivers high-quality, technologically-relevant research, new materials and new methodologies which will be widely applicable.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E501621/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,069,240 GBP

    1. To train high quality scientists to apply state-of-the-art techniques from the mathematical/engineering/computer/physical sciences to solve genuine biological problems.2. To create a cohort of researchers working at the Life Sciences Interface who can act as a focus of interdisciplinary activities and disseminate the importance of such research throughout the UK. 3. To encourage more mathematical/engineering/computer/physical scientists to work in the Life Sciences Interface, and to stimulate new collaborations with life scientists.4. To identify new life sciences problems that will be of interest to mainstream mathematical/engineering/ computer/physical scientists.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D068525/1
    Funder Contribution: 475,238 GBP

    Silicon Carbide (SiC) electronics and sensor technologies will play an important role in the energy and transport technologies of the 21st Century. Environmental pressures to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions coupled with diminishing fossil fuel resources will drive a continuing increase in the use of electricity as the preferred point-of-use energy delivery mechanism. The efficient and flexible conversion of electrical energy is increasingly accomplished through the use of power electronics, a technology and business area that is set to expand rapidly over the next decades. SiC, in common with other wide band-gap semiconductors, offers the potential for dramatic improvements in the efficiency and range of applications for power electronics. It is thus seen as an enabler for many innovative energy and transport developments, such as power-dense electronics for the more electric aircraft, hybrid/all-electric road vehicles and rail traction or for application to the electricity generation and distribution network, where high-speed high-voltage switches are needed.The principal aim of this Platform Grant is to facilitate long-term, innovative, generic research into technologies that will deliver SiC electronics and sensor technology to extreme environment applications. This aim will be achieved through three specific objectives. First and foremost the Platform Grant will facilitate the retention of a core of expert research staff and provide for their career development within a secure and stable employment environment. Secondly, it will complement current and planned research activities by allowing the Team to address speculative but strategically important issues associated with SiC electronics and sensors. Thirdly, it will address the wider development needs of the Team by providing funds for a range of international exchanges. We foresee an increasing international effort towards realising the benefits of SiC devices in real-life applications and systems and much of the proposed research is orientated in that direction. We plan major new investigations into applying advanced SiC devices coupled with new material fabrication methods to significant systems applications / in particular energy conversion (of crucial importance in all forms of renewable power) and new types of sensors for emerging areas such as real-time pollution monitoring in automobiles. Such developments will provide real benefit to society whilst opening up significant new commercial markets to those companies that can adopt these genuinely disruptive technologies. Alongside this system level perspective will be crucial developments in materials technologies (such as the application of new types of dielectric technology) and novel devices (SiC transistors fabricated using such dielectrics) that will underpin the dramatic improvements in system level performance that will arise from the application of such technologies.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/C535847/1
    Funder Contribution: 777,928 GBP

    The no-slip condition between the surface of an aircraft and the air in which it flies is responsible not only for drag, but for the lift as well. An obvious potentially huge benefit to a carbon-based economy is the reduction in fuel consumption of aircraft, road vehicles and ships. The technological goal of doing this, together with many others, constitutes an important area of research called flow control and the same techniques used to reduce drag may also be used to help control aircraft by improving their stability and manoeuvrability, that is producing additional lift or thrust when it is needed. This is often done by delaying separation, that is, by preventing stall that could otherwise occur when an aircraft is flying slowly or when it is manoeuvring near the limits of its flight envelope. Another way of doing this could be by introducing small perturbations into the jet that provides the thrust so making it deflect or break up more quickly. Such control of an aircraft would be especially useful if it were unmanned. What we wish to do here is to take advantage of recent developments in materials called polymers (the most often used polymer is PVC or plastic) some of which possess piezoelectric properties. By piezoelectric, we mean that the polymer can be made to expand or compress by applying a voltage or charge, and correspondingly, produce charge when the polymer is compressed. These are also called electroactive polymers or EAPS. If the polymer has the right properties and is designed optimally, it can be used in a great many applications such as the in the body as an artificial muscle. Obviously the most important 'muscle' in the body is the heart which is of course involved in the flow of blood around the body.Our specific application is to take the idea of a dimple on a golf ball and use it as an actuator, as the basis of changing the properties of the boundary layer flow around more-or-less any type of body. Dimples are, in fact, very efficient vortex generators and we have started using dimples that are made of EAP so that the dimple consists of a diaphragm that pops up and down either in a cyclic (or harmonic) fashion, or can be made to do so when required, a so-called ondemand vortex generator. In this case, we would wish the dimple to produce a single vortex of known strength for as long or as short as we would wish, and this requires an understanding of the basic fluid behaviour so that a model may be implemented. This means we have to sense the properties of the boundary layer and we can do this by taking advantage of the piezoelectric behaviour of the EAP. Then the polymer not only has an array of dimples for controlling the boundary layer, but it also has an array of pressure sensors so that the surface pressure signal may used to control the dimples. We can even develop a 'smat all-polymer skin that is made up of separate EAP layers where individual layers can be designed specifically to sense the forces of the skin, or to be actuated as an on-demand dimple actuator. Then we would be able to sense the pressure on the surface and actuate at the same position. Initially, we hope to control boundary layer by open-loop control only. In this case, the measured pressure is only used to diagnose the effect of the dimples. However, much more complicated (and potentially much more beneficial) is closed-loop control, in which the measured pressures are used to determine when and where the dimples should be actuated. This would require a control model, that is a clear expectation of how we would wish the flow to be. Each model would be very dependent on a great many conditions, not least the type of flow.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D036682/1
    Funder Contribution: 434,182 GBP

    This Platform Grant will sustain research being carried out at Newcastle University in strained Si/SiGe materials, technology and design. EPSRC, EC and industrial funding has been continuous in this field since 1994, resulting in the publication of more than 50 papers. The world market for semiconductors is counted in $100 Billion's per year and new innovations are now necessary to deliver the raw processing power needed to maintain Moore's Law in the future. Strained Si/SiGe CMOS technology has been pursued to meet this challenge. A thick layer of SiGe deposited on a Si wafer, so that it is relaxed, forms a virtual substrate. A thin layer of Si grown subsequently on the virtual substrate becomes tensile strained, while SiGe epitaxial layers may be either compressive (if the Ge content is above that of the virtual substrate) or tensile (if the Ge content is below that of the virtual substrate). The higher carrier mobility seen in strained Si/SiGe devices can be exploited through higher speed (without re-tooling), larger fan-out or lower power. Our long-term goal is to build an international centre of excellence in the area of synergy between new materials, devices and system design. Specific topics include: material growth, critical thickness, diffusion, defects, device scaling, strain budget design, MOSFET gate stacks, device and process modelling, electrical characterisation, strain characterisation, doping characterisation, robust design and variability in technology-driven design of circuits.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D506468/1
    Funder Contribution: 418,116 GBP

    Digital medical imaging technologies such as MRI, CT and ultrasound have transformed healthcare in the last 3 decades. Computational methods are now becoming available to measure very subtle changes in shape, structure and function of tissue and organs. This is changing the ways that we understand currently incurable diseases such as dementias, arthritis and cancer. These same technologies are allowing us to develop new ways of improving the ways we assess how well new treatments are working. Medical imaging provides information at the spatial scale of 1 mm or greater yet disease manifests itself by changes in molecular processes, cellular function and cellular distributions. Optical methods are becoming available to study these processes in-vivo and so we need methods to relate information at the micron scale to what we can see in medical imaging at the millimetre scale. With this information we will be able to develop new methods to use images to guide therapy and interventions in the treatment of cancer, brain diseases, disorders of bones and joints and cardiovascular diseases.This platform grant will provide is with resources to secure our excellent team of physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians. It will also give us the flexibility to tackle new avenues of research as they arise without the time delay in obtaining funding that would otherwise result. The resource will allow us to explore more speculative avenues of research at the interfaces between medical imaging and cellular and molecular biology; and opportunities for computational imaging at the interface of biology, nanotechnology and quantum physics.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D072751/1
    Funder Contribution: 493,831 GBP

    Nature has been ingenious in devising materials and devices to have specialised properties and to perform specific tasks in living matter. Not only must molecular building blocks be synthesised, they must also adopt the correct conformations and assemble themselves into functioning superstructures. At the same time, they must avoid interfering with all the other organisational processes occurring within the same space.Many tasks in living cells are performed by proteins. These molecules are chains of amino acids that fold into intricate structures dedicated to their particular function. Determining the structure is an important stage in unravelling a protein's function, and this is most often achieved by x-ray crystallography. To obtain a useful resolution it is necessary to purify the protein and grow defect-free crystals up to almost millimetre size. However, proteins have evolved to be difficult to crystallise, since aggregation of that sort would be deleterious to their function. Indeed, diseases like that of haemoglobin C arise from unwanted crystallisation. Accordingly, searching for physical conditions where adequate crystals can be grown is a difficult and time-consuming task.An important factor affecting the tendency of proteins to crystallise is the directionality of their interactions with each other due to the non-uniformity of their surfaces. Very little is known about the influence of directionality on crystallisation, and a major aim of the research proposed here is to investigate the effects using computer simulation. Although computer power continues to increase apace, it is nowhere near sufficient to treat an atom-by-atom representation of protein crystallisation. Instead of such a brute-force approach, we must devise coarse-grained models that embody the essential physics of protein interactions, and analyse them with sophisticated tools. In addition to being computationally tractable, these models have the advantage of revealing general underlying principles rather than case-specific answers.Proteins often organise themselves into discrete superstructures in order to accomplish a task. An elegant but pernicious example is the self-assembly of capsids, the coats of viruses that encapsulate their genetic material. About half of all viruses are roughly spherical (in fact, icosahedral) in shape, and are efficiently built from copies of a small number of proteins. The fact that many capsids can assemble reliably from their isolated subunits is remarkable and not easy to explain in detail. In particular, the ability to avoid construction errors and to form complete shells in favour of many partial fragments is poorly understood. Here again, simplified computer models can assist by elucidating possible pathways and the underlying thermodynamics of self-assembly. This knowledge could inspire antiviral therapy targeted at the assembly stage, rather than at infection itself. It could also be turned to positive uses by designing tiny containers to administer drugs.The coarse-grained modelling of biological molecules springs from techniques developed for colloid science. Colloids cover a broad range of dispersed nanoscale particles and everyday examples are as diverse as cream, ink and fog. In many human-made colloids, it is possible to exert fine control over the properties of the particles, thereby influencing their collective behaviour. Further projects in this proposal take up the idea of colloids as ``designer atoms.'' For example, how can rod-like molecules be encouraged to connect at low densities to make light-weight electrically conducting materials? What happens to colloidal gels and glassy materials if they are composed of mixtures of sizes and interactions rather than a uniform component? Computer simulations have a vital role to play in answering these questions.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E009735/1
    Funder Contribution: 818,335 GBP

    The aim of this proposal is to appoint an additional professor in the field of electrical energy and power systems at The University of Manchester. Since candidates for this position cannot hold a permanent academic position in the UK, his/her appointment will increase the pool of experienced researchers working in a field that has been recognised as being not only critical to the health of the UK economy and quality of life but also below the critical mass required for a sector undergoing a major transition.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D050618/1
    Funder Contribution: 784,416 GBP

    Current software engineering practice is a human-led search for solutions which meet needs and constraints under limited resources. Often there will be conflict, both between and within functional and non-functional criteria. Naturally, like other engineers, we search for a near optimal solution. As systems get bigger, more distributed, more dynamic and more critical, this labour-intensive search will hit fundamental limits. We will not be able to continue to develop, operate and maintain systems in the traditional way, without automating or partly automating the search for near optimal solutions. Automated search based solutions have a track record of success in other engineering disciplines, characterised by a large number of potential solutions, where there are many complex, competing and conflicting constraints and where construction of a perfect solution is either impossible or impractical. The SEMINAL network demonstrated that these techniques provide robust, cost-effective and high quality solutions for several problems in software engineering. Successes to date can be seen as strong pointers to search having great potential to serve as an overarching solution paradigm. The SEBASE project aims to provide a new approach to the way in which software engineering is understood and practised. It will move software engineering problems from human-based search to machine-based search. As a result, human effort will move up the abstraction chain, to focus on guiding the automated search, rather than performing it. This project will address key issues in software engineering, including scalability, robustness, reliability and stability. It will also study theoretical foundations of search algorithms and apply the insights gained to develop more effective and efficient search algorithms for large and complex software engineering problems. Such insights will have a major impact on the search algorithm community as well as the software engineering community.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D506859/1
    Funder Contribution: 438,077 GBP

    CBES aims to tackle the following three main issues:1. How to design, maintain and operate the built environment while minimising the emissions of greenhouse gases. 2. How to adapt the environment, fabric and services of existing and new buildings to climate change.3. How to improve the environment in and around buildings to provide better health, comfort, security and productivity.Initially, in the 1950's and 1960's, most building science research focused on applying physics, chemistry etc to the environment in buildings. Many of the problems that can be tackled by this single discipline approach have now been solved; the key remaining problems are multi-disciplinary. Hence, Bartlett research in this area expanded to involve multidisciplinary activities across the built environment, with building scientists working closely with planners, architects etc. In the 1980's and 1990's, much of this work still relied on individual disciplines using existing tools and techniques from their own discipline by simply applying them along with tools from other disciplines. More recently, the strategic direction of CBES has been shaped by the necessity for a truly multidisciplinary approach. The development of CBES is therefore very much in line with the recent key recommendation of the Second International Review of Engineering that academia, industry and government develop strategies to encourage increased linkage of engineering research to more basic mathematical, physical, chemical and biological sciences, so that scientific and engineering discoveries may stimulate even more and broader discoveries and their applications. The strategic development of CBES rests upon two key factors:1. The identification and development of innovative opportunities to advance academic and industrial collaboration beyond the traditional territories of the Built Environment. The group is already taking an international lead in work involving significant breakthroughs in health, energy and conservation issues related to environment in buildings. Its success in developing this multidisciplinary approach has been rewarded through increased and more diverse research funding (4.4M since 2000, 56% EPSRC funded). CBES have already developed a unique set of interdisciplinary projects, working with acarologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, chemists and conservators, in institutions across the UK and worldwide. However, there is considerable potential for new projects working with clinicians, climate physicists, neurologists, electrical engineers, nano-technologists, economists and crime scientists to tackle key questions which determine the physical environment in and around buildings. Working with these disciplines is vital in order to tackle such key problems as the impact that climate change is having on the urban heat island and environmental control in buildings, how occupants interact with the built environment to control and adapt their environment, how we neurologically assess the lit environment within buildings and the impact that the built environment is having on health.2. The development of the required theoretical cross disciplinary techniques to undertake these new challenges. CBES aims to work with the most appropriate discipline specialists and to provide the most appropriate techniques for solving the practical problems facing the built environment. For example, CBES feels there is considerable potential to adapt epidemiological techniques for the building stock as a whole. Also developments in complexity theory are applicable to many of the research challenges the research group is currently studying but so far have not been applied to these areas.If CBES is to fully achieve its planned strategic development, Platform funding is required to provide a step change in the way it undertakes research and works with new disciplines.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D05284X/1
    Funder Contribution: 425,797 GBP

    Coated metal products are of ubiquitous importance to each and every one of us. With the introduction of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive in 2004 it is now becoming impossible to use traditional pre-treatments and primers based on hexavalent chromium, which is both toxic and carcinogenic, in electronic goods. Increasingly, as the End of Life Vehicles (ELV) directive comes into full force by 2006, the same will be true in the automotive sector. This critical environmental legislation is being rolled out to other market sectors and will inevitably encompass all metallic products in all sectors including construction materials and aerospace. This makes establishing high performance chromium free coating technologies one of the most important research areas in corrosion. The importance of the work carried out at UWS to this industry sector is clear from the significant levels of government, industry and development agency funding attracted from 2002 to the present time. In order that UK steel manufacturing industry maintains and internationally leading position on coated products chromium free coating development must be combined with novel alloy coatings and coating technologies. This Platform proposal underpins consolidation and growth of the Corrosion and Coatings Research Group at UWS / which has already achieved a world-leading research reputation. Undoubtedly the key strength of the Group lies in the quality and experience of its Research Staff and the Platform Grant (in conjunction with current and anticipated Research Grants) will provide a secure base whereby four of these may be retained in continuous employment over a five year period. This will allow the Group to adopt a more ambitious research strategy and participate in potentially risky and adventurous collaborative programmes with leading university and industry groups world-wide. Core activities will include the development of powerful new combinatorial methodologies for the generation of metal alloy, conducting polymer and ion-exchange ceramic anti-corrosion coating component libraries. Also, the development of high-throughput, parallel, corrosion screening techniques based on scanning electrochemical instrumentation. These will permit the rapid evaluation of individual coating components, identify synergistic interactions between components and provide a wealth of fundamental kinetic and mechanistic information. State-of-the-art electron backscatter diffraction techniques will be also used to obtain a new and fundamental understanding of relationships between microstructure, grain orientation and corrosion resistance in metal and metal-alloy coatings. Scoping studies will include: mechanistic investigations of the interplay between photochemistry and electrochemistry in environmentally driven organic coating degradation, coating deposition using self-assembled conducting-polymer nanofibres, computational modelling of corrosion-driven coating failure, interphase engineering of coatings and investigating the practicality of PVD for metallic coil-coatings on steel. The management infrastructure already in place at UWS will ensure the programme delivers high-quality, technologically-relevant research, new materials and new methodologies which will be widely applicable.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E501621/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,069,240 GBP

    1. To train high quality scientists to apply state-of-the-art techniques from the mathematical/engineering/computer/physical sciences to solve genuine biological problems.2. To create a cohort of researchers working at the Life Sciences Interface who can act as a focus of interdisciplinary activities and disseminate the importance of such research throughout the UK. 3. To encourage more mathematical/engineering/computer/physical scientists to work in the Life Sciences Interface, and to stimulate new collaborations with life scientists.4. To identify new life sciences problems that will be of interest to mainstream mathematical/engineering/ computer/physical scientists.

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