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147 Projects

  • UK Research and Innovation
  • UKRI|EPSRC
  • 2009
  • 2011

10
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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G024979/1
    Funder Contribution: 358,962 GBP

    This proposal is concerned primarily with Diophantine equations in two variables, i.e., polynomial relations with integers coefficients for which one seeks to understand the collection of integer solutions. The history of such investigations reaches back to the tradition of Greek mathematics, while the twentieth century has seen spectacular applications of abstract modern machinery to the resolution of difficult old questions, such as Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem. The investigator proposes a new approach to studying these classical problems by incorporating fundamental ideas of topology and geometry that go beyond the principal developments of the twentieth century in that the relevant structures are, in the main, non-commutative and non-linear. An eventual goal is to construct methods for effectively resolving Diophantine equations in two-variables.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G006989/1
    Funder Contribution: 294,816 GBP

    The overall aim of the Flip project is to explore a novel way of helping young people learn how to program, while at the same time fostering their computational thinking skills. The concept of computational thinking skills is fairly recent. Although it comes from computer science, it describes a set of skills that are used in everyday life: making and carrying out a plan; sorting into categories; thinking in terms of the abstract rather than the concrete, etc. The importance of computational thinking is increasing, and it is recognised as an important part of many jobs, vocations and academic disciplines. Being able to think like a computer scientist has allowed for new, and sometimes revolutionary, advances in fields as diverse as law, biology, and the arts.As important as computational thinking skills may be, little research has been carried out on how to support them. Furthermore, the difficulties that many people experience when learning to program has led to a recent move to teach computational thinking without teaching programming, and it's not yet clear whether this is a positive move or not.The goal of the Flip project is to bring together programming and computational thinking within the context of game creation. Previous research suggests that young people find the creation of games to be highly motivating. Young people willingly engage in game creation as a leisure activity, and will spend many hours acquiring complex skills, including interactive storytelling, creating compelling game play sequences, and the creation and manipulation of multiple forms of media, including graphics and sound. However, one of the activities young people find most difficult in commercial game creation environments is the programming that is required in order to make their games interactive. The programming languages included in such environments were not designed for young people, nor were they designed to support people more generally as they learn to program. Therefore, we propose to design a programming language which will allow young people to create simple programs in two ways: using textual input, which is similar to the way they naturally express their story ideas when talking about them to others, and using graphical input, which includes the use of icons and colour to highlight the computational structures within the program. The language will be integrated within a commercial game creation toolkit which allows young people to create sophisticated role-playing games with a professional feel, which is in itself very motivating.The first stage of the project will be to work with a group of young people to determine how they naturally express their story ideas when creating a game. We will use this information in designing the textual component of the language, and will create successively sophisticated versions of the language, getting input from our target users at each stage. We will also work with these users to develop the graphical component of the language, and get their input on the ease of use of various graphical systems in helping them as they learn to program and develop computational thinking skills.Following this, we will look at ways of measuring computational thinking skills. Although there has been much talk of what computational skills are, there has been less discussion on how to measure these skills, and work is needed in this area to develop effective assessments, which will be of use both to this project, and more broadly.Finally, we will test the language in an empirical study designed to determine whether the language does in fact help young people to develop firstly, their programming skills and secondly, the associated higher level computational thinking skills. Additional questions we would like to answer are whether the graphical and textual components are used in different ways, and/or for different tasks.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/H002626/1
    Funder Contribution: 101,045 GBP

    Cyclobutanes are 4-carbon cyclic molecules that are found in many naturally occurring compounds with biological activities including antibiotics, antivirals and cytotoxics, and in insect pheromones, which can be used in agriculture to control pests. As a result, methods of preparing cyclobutanes are of great interest to chemists. Many syntheses have been developed but a large number involve the use of specialist equipment and hazardous reagents. This difficulty of synthesis means cyclobutane-containing molecules are rarely used in industry.This proposal aims to take a simple, but limited, method of forming the cyclobutane ring and extend it into a general route to prepare and attach a wide range of sidechains to the cyclobutane ring. These methods will find many applications in total synthesis of natural products, and the synthesis of molecules of interest to the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. As illustrations of these potential applications, we will be applying the new methods to, amongst other applications, the synthesis of a group of molecules with potential in the therapy of cancer.Each year, more than a quarter of a million people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer. Most commonly used cancer treatments cause serious side-effects which reduce the patients' quality of life. There is an urgent need to develop new medicines which do not cause these side-effects in the body. One way of doing this is to create drugs to act on receptors which are found at different levels on tumour cells compared to normal cells. One such class of receptor is the integrins; receptors which allow a cell to interact with its surroundings. Beta3 integrins are highly expressed in prostate, colon, cervical and breast cancers and malignant melanoma, among others, where they encourage growth and distribution of the tumour to new areas of the body. We have designed a library of cyclobutane-containing compounds that are expected to block the interaction between a beta3-expressing cancer cell and its surroundings. This compound library will be synthesised employing the methods developed in this proposal and used in other investigations to improve our knowledge of the role of beta3 integrins in cancer and the structural features required for integrin-targeted drugs to be safe and effective; information which could ultimately lead to new medicines for the treatment of cancer.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D07973X/2
    Funder Contribution: 189,899 GBP

    The I'DGO research consortium has a continuing overall aim to identify the most effective ways of ensuring that the outdoor environment is designed inclusively and with sensitivity to the needs and desires of older people, to improve their quality of life. In focusing on the changing needs of older people, the consortium will address issues that are relevant to a much wider range of people in society as a whole, including disabled people, frail or vulnerable people and those who care for them. The proposed research under I'DGO TOO combines the skills and experience of three research centres and academic colleagues across five academic institutions. It brings this expertise together with that of a range of collaborators from different organisations, agencies and groups, ranging from ODPM to Age Concern, who are keen to use the findings of the research and benefit from it,I'DGO TOO focuses on particular policies and strategies that are currently being promoted by government as part of the sustainability agenda / urban renaissance, integrated communities and inclusive environments / where the potentially important, practical implications for older people's lives have not fully been explored and tested. It investigates how well outdoor environments in certain types of development, built in line with these policies, contribute to older people's health and wellbeing. It does so through research at three different levels of detail. It explores the implications of denser urban living on open space in housing, pedestrian-friendly approaches (such as Home Zones) in street environments and the practical consequences of using tactile paving in the urban environment. A range of innovative methods, some of which have been developed in earlier research by the consortium, will be used to examine in detail how design, and older people's perceptions of the designed environment, make a difference. The voices of older people themselves are a key element in this research. I'DGO TOO recognises the great diversity and range of abilities, disabilities, aspirations, expectations and needs that are encompassed in the population of people over 65 years of age. From the beginning, older people will be involved in expressing what is important to them and in shaping the development of the programme. The approaches used treat older people and disabled people as co-researchers, rather than 'subjects', and the range of techniques place these people at the heart of the investigation. A number of different methods is used to ensure that diverse perspectives and evidence is collected to throw light on the questions and objectives of the research. The main issues to be addressed are: how residential outdoor space in higher-density 'urban renaissance' housing can best be delivered to optimise older residents' quality of life; whether Home Zones provide a good design solution in the context of an ageing population, and the implications of the design, siting, laying and use of tactile paving for older people.The implications of the findings will be important for policy-makers, planners, designers and other professionals working in the urban environment, as well as users of that environment. The research collaborators will help ensure that the outputs are useful and useable for the range of people and groups for whom this work is important. Guidance will be published in a range of formats and media, including attractive and accessible printed booklets as well as web-based publications targeted to suit the needs of different expert, academic, professional and lay audiences.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F068956/1
    Funder Contribution: 96,499 GBP

    Recently, researchers have considered the application of multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) techniques developed for wireless communication systems to the radar scenario. In MIMO systems, multiple antennas are employed at both transmitter and receiver to increase the data rate and reduce the effect of rapid changes in the radio channel with time. In the context of radar systems, mono-static or bi-static MIMO radars could be used to reduce the impact of scintillation effects, by illuminating the target from multiple transmit antennas but with the same total transmitter power budget. MIMO radars could also reduce the search time to find targets by transmitting multiple waveforms simultaneously, which allows more efficient searching of transmit angle. Further, MIMO processing increases the effective degrees of freedom in the radar system and may thus increase tolerance to echoes from the ground in radar systems and from the sea floor in sonar systems as well as deliberate man/made sources of interference. Since the emergence of MIMO radar concept international activity has focused both on the underlying theory, confirming the significant potential gains in detection and resolution performance that might be achieved, and on developing signal processing algorithms to facilitate these gains. What we propose here is to exploit the work we have already done in (i) methodologies for calculating detection performance in realistic MIMO radar or sonar scenarios; (ii) adaptive detection techniques for radar array-based signal processing that do not require secondary training data. We address the open research questions whose solution will facilitate industrial exploitation of the MIMO radar concept. In particular these are: (i) the design of correlation controlled constant amplitude MIMO waveforms; (ii) the development of adaptive receiver algorithms capable of working in environments of unknown clutter statistics and within the constraints of limited bandwidth communication channels between individual TR/RX pairs. A further novel aspect of the work will be the application of and assessment of MIMO concepts in sonar environments. What we propose is a rigorous generic approach to the understanding and application of MIMO detection. The results will be tested and validated in radar and sonar applications using detailed computer modelling techniques for both target and the medium. In the sonar case they will also be tested with measured data.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G056501/1
    Funder Contribution: 22,710 GBP

    Modeling of corneal mechanical properties including corneal swelling and its interaction with its surronding biological environment is critical to our understanding of corneal function, particularly when important physiological parameters are refractory to experimental investigation. The cornea has unique mechanical characteristics which are not well represented by standard engineering material models and it can swell or shrink when the aqueous humour/tears becomes hypotonic or hypertonic. Corneal swelling can alter its mechanical properties, not only due to its thickness change but also due to the change of preexisting physiological stress which is related to the degree of stromal hydration. Refractive surgery disturbs the cornea as it simultaneously supports the intraocular pressure. This suggests that accurate models of the cornea should include the effect of the preexisting physiological stress state. This proposed project is an international travel grant proposal which is to support Dr Li's two international visits to develop the research collaboration with Stanford University and the University of Mississippi in USA. The research visits will focus on the development of triphasic biomechanics models for simulating the biomechanical behaviour of the human cornea. The triphasic model to be developed will include the interaction between the mechanical behaviour of the solid phase of the tissue, the flow of the liquid phase filled in the porous medium of the tissue, and the transport of the ionic species dissolved in the fluid phase. Nonlinear, anisotropic hyperelastic material constitutive models will be developed to simulate the mechanical behaviour of the tissue material in the solid phase. Fluid flow will be determined based on the fluid pressure and osmotic pressure in the fluid phase. The transport of ionic species will be determined based on the mechanisms of diffusion, migration and convection. The deformation of solid, flow of fluid and transport of ions are coupled each other by fluid pressure, osmotic pressure and variation of porosity. This project is to bring together a group of researchers with highly complementary expertise to work on a very complicated multi-disciplinary problem. The combination of world-leading expertise in different fields will make a unique contribution to this field.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G02703X/1
    Funder Contribution: 220,450 GBP

    Homogeneous catalysts offer several advantages over their heterogeneous counterparts; including the greater selectivity and controllability because their molecular nature ensures that only one type of active site is present. Furthermore, it is estimated that 85% of all chemical processes are run catalytically, with the ratio of applications of heterogeneous to homogeneous catalysis of ca. 75:25.However, continuous flow processes involving homogeneous catalysis present difficulties and many efficient systems in batch processes cannot be transferred to flow. A major problem is associated with separating the products from the catalyst. The group at Bath has recently prepared two types of catalyst consisting of either organometallic species or a metallic shell around superparamagnetic iron oxide cores. Preliminary results indicate that immobilized sulfonated phosphines or acetate ligands allow the coordination of rhodium or palladium complexes that efficiently catalyse (up to 100% conversion) the conjugate addition of boronic acids, and Suzuki and Heck coupling, as well as hydrogenation and dihydroxylation reactions. The catalysts retained activity after magnetic separation, in some cases even after 10 consecutive runs. In this proposal we wish to develop flow chemistry protocols for the palladium-catalysed coupling of aminoalkylboron reagents using new types of magnetically moveable and recoverable semi-homogeneous catalysts. Their size means that they operate in the same manner as homogeneous catalysts but they are easily recovered in a magnetic field. With a clear emphasis on developing methodology of broad application to the synthesis of medicinal compounds, we will focus on the catalytic aminomethylation of aryl/vinyl halides as a strategic alternative to reductive amination. Normally the magnetic properties of the nanoparticles have been used to facilitate separation from the reaction product(s). We wish to extend this by further exploitation of the magnetism to (i) entrap the nanoparticle catalyst within certain regions of a flow reactor and (ii) to apply alternating magnetic fields to manipulate and move the nanoparticles around the reactor, enhancing mass transfer. This new technology will offer a number of advantages, chiefly entrapment of the homogeneous catalyst in the reactor without necessity of separation from products.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F056648/2
    Funder Contribution: 311,093 GBP

    The development of cheap renewable energy sources is required to reduce the environmental effects associated with the use of conventional fossil fuel based energy sources. Of all the renewable energy technologies, solar energy has the greatest potential as a world power source. For this reason, solar photovoltaic (PV), the direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, is expected to play a significant role in future electricity supply. Here we focus on the development of photovoltaic devices based upon organic semiconducting materials. This project focusses on two issues that are widely recognized as being key for the development of low-cost efficient and stable photovoltaic devices: (i) the development of low cost alternatives to indium tin oxide (ITO) as the transparent conducting electrode and (ii) control of nanomorphology of the donor-acceptor interface. This project will involve the design and synthesis of new electrode materials and the use of molecular self-organization strategies to control the donor-acceptor film morphology at the nanometre length scale to deliver high efficiency organic solar cell that are capable of being scaled up cost effectively. This project will also lead to an improved fundamental understanding of device function. This multidisciplinary project brings together chemists, physicists, materials scientists and engineers with world-leading expertise in metal oxide electrode design, polymer synthesis and manufacturing. This project also involves collaboration with Pilkington Glass, Merck Chemicals and BP Solar.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: TS/G002002/1
    Funder Contribution: 173,957 GBP

    Oxy-Fuel Combustion is one of the key technologies considered for carbon capture. In recent years oxy-coal combustion with recycled flue gas has been strongly considered by the power generation industry as one of the possible options with a potential contribution to carbon dioxide mitigation strategies. CO2 emissions can be cut by the implementation of carbon capture technologies to existing boilers but the technical difficulties in implementing CO2 capture are formidable. The full-scale application of oxy-fuel technology is still under development but the production of SO3 is considered to be problematic for oxy-fuel and amine scrubbing technologies. Sorbent injection is more efficient for reducing SO3 than wet-FGD. Sorbent injection can therefore be used to advantage in series with FGD for both oxy-fuel combustion (to reduce the otherwise high concentration of SO3 - a corrosion inducing species) and for post combustion capture. In addition, interactions between mercury and other flue gas constituents are extremely complicated, and a variety of factors, including coals' chemical and mineralogical composition, combustion condition, plant configuration, other flue gas constituents, and time/temperature history of flue gas from combustion zone to stack, can affect mercury speciation in flue gas. It is believed that the transformations of mercury in post-combustion flue gas are kinetic limiting processes that involve both homogeneous gas-phase and heterogeneous reactions. The partitioning of mercury species in flue gas will depend on coal type, and mercury capture can be influenced by SO2 and SO3 concentration. Therefore the major issues concerning high concentrations of SO2 and SO3 on the performance of oxy-fuel systems including inhibition of mercury capture and whole life costs will be addressed in the project by combination of experimental and theoretical studies. The overarching goals of this project are as follows: The efficiency of sorbents in reducing SO3 will be assessed for the first time at pilot scale, previous studies having only concentrated on SO2, at conditions pertinent to oxy-fuel firing and post-combustion capture, (air firing conditions). This work will be carried out by our industrial partner. The Leeds research team will develop and validate an engineering computational code to provide a detailed engineering assessment of the potential application of oxy-fuel firing for electricity generation, and to develop an engineering capability and tool to assist with the design of oxy-fuel plants in the future.New physical models developed and validated in this project will be integrated into a commercial CFD code to predict the performance behaviour of oxy-fuel combustors and dry sorbent performance. The code will provide a useful tool for engineers to assess and optimise the SO3 removal for carbon capture application. In addition another objective of this project to be addressed by the Leeds research group is to understand the importance of gas- and solid-phase constituents in mercury oxidation reaction chemistry, and the effects of chlorine, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and ash particles on mercury oxidation will be investigated. Using the developed mercury oxidation reaction mechanism, the impact of high levels of SO2 in flue gas through anticipated interactions between Cl2 and SO2 on chlorine-promoted mercury transformation will be investigated.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/H007032/1
    Funder Contribution: 102,284 GBP

    The erosion, transport and deposition of sediment is an important phenomenon in many industrial, environmental and geophysical processes. Common examples include sewage filtration systems, sand drift and dust storms in deserts, and the transfer of sediments from land to oceans by the combined effects of coastal, river and wind erosion. For instance, the global flux of sediment into the oceans from the continents is estimated to be over 18 billion tons per year. Notably, less than 4% of this is caused by wind and coastal erosion, but over 64% is deposited due to suspended sediment loads carried by the World's rivers (with the largest depositers being rivers like the Amazon and Ganges).Predicting how a fluid (necessarily turbulent) transports or resuspends sediment requires specifying a relation giving the sediment flux in terms of the flow characteristics. Existing models characterise the flow in terms of spatially or temporally averaged quantities, such as the mean streamwise velocity or bed shear stress. In this way, the sediment flux is linked to parameters that are relatively easy to measure or predict. However, sediment entrainment and transport are neither driven by bed shear stress nor any other average flow characteristic, but instead by the fluctuating forces, such as lift and drag, exerted on individual sediment grains by the flow. Average flow parameters can only provide, at best, a parameterisation of the underlying physical controlling these processes. It is now widely recognised that clarification of the complex physics associated with the sediment-turbulence iteration is essential, not only to improve current understanding, but also to significantly improve accuracy of current sediment transport models and formula.This proposal describes experiments designed to investigate, in detail, how the range of motion scales within a fully turbulent flow act to move and resuspend sediment grains. Specifically, the experiments will study the sediment-turbulence interaction in the simplified context of zero-mean turbulence generated by an oscillating grid. Here, the turbulence is isolated from the effects of a mean flow, allowing for a simplified but detailed analysis of how the fluctuating turbulence components interact with, displace and resuspend the sediment. The controllable and repeatable nature of (statistically) steady grid turbulence also provides an ideal mechanism for accurately inducing the flow conditions required to initiate sediment transport and resuspension.Advanced time- and spatially-resolved measurement systems [Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV), Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV), high-speed cameras] will be used to obtain detailed measurements of the fluctuating turbulence velocity components in the region close to the sediment layer. By using a mixture of black and white sediment grains, the pattern-matching technology associated with PIV will also be further developed (by considering the black sediment particles as tracers) to measure the velocity and trajectory of sediment grains displaced by the action of the fluid flow. The data obtained will be analysed using a combination of spectral and time-correlation techniques to identify the dominant scales within the turbulence spectrum which cause sediment transport and resuspension, and to identify the important role coherent vortex structures (or energy-containing eddies) play in these processes.So that the effects of sediment type and bed roughness can be analysed, a range of different particle sizes and densities will be considered (mono- and poly-disperse) with diameters ranging between 150-4000micron and relative densities between 1.2 and 3.5. Notably, the apparatus is designed to allow the important effects of bed slope to also be analysed, in particular, as the bed slope approaches the repose limit. The experiments will focus on the critical flow conditions needed to initiate sediment movement and resuspension.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G024979/1
    Funder Contribution: 358,962 GBP

    This proposal is concerned primarily with Diophantine equations in two variables, i.e., polynomial relations with integers coefficients for which one seeks to understand the collection of integer solutions. The history of such investigations reaches back to the tradition of Greek mathematics, while the twentieth century has seen spectacular applications of abstract modern machinery to the resolution of difficult old questions, such as Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem. The investigator proposes a new approach to studying these classical problems by incorporating fundamental ideas of topology and geometry that go beyond the principal developments of the twentieth century in that the relevant structures are, in the main, non-commutative and non-linear. An eventual goal is to construct methods for effectively resolving Diophantine equations in two-variables.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G006989/1
    Funder Contribution: 294,816 GBP

    The overall aim of the Flip project is to explore a novel way of helping young people learn how to program, while at the same time fostering their computational thinking skills. The concept of computational thinking skills is fairly recent. Although it comes from computer science, it describes a set of skills that are used in everyday life: making and carrying out a plan; sorting into categories; thinking in terms of the abstract rather than the concrete, etc. The importance of computational thinking is increasing, and it is recognised as an important part of many jobs, vocations and academic disciplines. Being able to think like a computer scientist has allowed for new, and sometimes revolutionary, advances in fields as diverse as law, biology, and the arts.As important as computational thinking skills may be, little research has been carried out on how to support them. Furthermore, the difficulties that many people experience when learning to program has led to a recent move to teach computational thinking without teaching programming, and it's not yet clear whether this is a positive move or not.The goal of the Flip project is to bring together programming and computational thinking within the context of game creation. Previous research suggests that young people find the creation of games to be highly motivating. Young people willingly engage in game creation as a leisure activity, and will spend many hours acquiring complex skills, including interactive storytelling, creating compelling game play sequences, and the creation and manipulation of multiple forms of media, including graphics and sound. However, one of the activities young people find most difficult in commercial game creation environments is the programming that is required in order to make their games interactive. The programming languages included in such environments were not designed for young people, nor were they designed to support people more generally as they learn to program. Therefore, we propose to design a programming language which will allow young people to create simple programs in two ways: using textual input, which is similar to the way they naturally express their story ideas when talking about them to others, and using graphical input, which includes the use of icons and colour to highlight the computational structures within the program. The language will be integrated within a commercial game creation toolkit which allows young people to create sophisticated role-playing games with a professional feel, which is in itself very motivating.The first stage of the project will be to work with a group of young people to determine how they naturally express their story ideas when creating a game. We will use this information in designing the textual component of the language, and will create successively sophisticated versions of the language, getting input from our target users at each stage. We will also work with these users to develop the graphical component of the language, and get their input on the ease of use of various graphical systems in helping them as they learn to program and develop computational thinking skills.Following this, we will look at ways of measuring computational thinking skills. Although there has been much talk of what computational skills are, there has been less discussion on how to measure these skills, and work is needed in this area to develop effective assessments, which will be of use both to this project, and more broadly.Finally, we will test the language in an empirical study designed to determine whether the language does in fact help young people to develop firstly, their programming skills and secondly, the associated higher level computational thinking skills. Additional questions we would like to answer are whether the graphical and textual components are used in different ways, and/or for different tasks.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/H002626/1
    Funder Contribution: 101,045 GBP

    Cyclobutanes are 4-carbon cyclic molecules that are found in many naturally occurring compounds with biological activities including antibiotics, antivirals and cytotoxics, and in insect pheromones, which can be used in agriculture to control pests. As a result, methods of preparing cyclobutanes are of great interest to chemists. Many syntheses have been developed but a large number involve the use of specialist equipment and hazardous reagents. This difficulty of synthesis means cyclobutane-containing molecules are rarely used in industry.This proposal aims to take a simple, but limited, method of forming the cyclobutane ring and extend it into a general route to prepare and attach a wide range of sidechains to the cyclobutane ring. These methods will find many applications in total synthesis of natural products, and the synthesis of molecules of interest to the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. As illustrations of these potential applications, we will be applying the new methods to, amongst other applications, the synthesis of a group of molecules with potential in the therapy of cancer.Each year, more than a quarter of a million people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer. Most commonly used cancer treatments cause serious side-effects which reduce the patients' quality of life. There is an urgent need to develop new medicines which do not cause these side-effects in the body. One way of doing this is to create drugs to act on receptors which are found at different levels on tumour cells compared to normal cells. One such class of receptor is the integrins; receptors which allow a cell to interact with its surroundings. Beta3 integrins are highly expressed in prostate, colon, cervical and breast cancers and malignant melanoma, among others, where they encourage growth and distribution of the tumour to new areas of the body. We have designed a library of cyclobutane-containing compounds that are expected to block the interaction between a beta3-expressing cancer cell and its surroundings. This compound library will be synthesised employing the methods developed in this proposal and used in other investigations to improve our knowledge of the role of beta3 integrins in cancer and the structural features required for integrin-targeted drugs to be safe and effective; information which could ultimately lead to new medicines for the treatment of cancer.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/D07973X/2
    Funder Contribution: 189,899 GBP

    The I'DGO research consortium has a continuing overall aim to identify the most effective ways of ensuring that the outdoor environment is designed inclusively and with sensitivity to the needs and desires of older people, to improve their quality of life. In focusing on the changing needs of older people, the consortium will address issues that are relevant to a much wider range of people in society as a whole, including disabled people, frail or vulnerable people and those who care for them. The proposed research under I'DGO TOO combines the skills and experience of three research centres and academic colleagues across five academic institutions. It brings this expertise together with that of a range of collaborators from different organisations, agencies and groups, ranging from ODPM to Age Concern, who are keen to use the findings of the research and benefit from it,I'DGO TOO focuses on particular policies and strategies that are currently being promoted by government as part of the sustainability agenda / urban renaissance, integrated communities and inclusive environments / where the potentially important, practical implications for older people's lives have not fully been explored and tested. It investigates how well outdoor environments in certain types of development, built in line with these policies, contribute to older people's health and wellbeing. It does so through research at three different levels of detail. It explores the implications of denser urban living on open space in housing, pedestrian-friendly approaches (such as Home Zones) in street environments and the practical consequences of using tactile paving in the urban environment. A range of innovative methods, some of which have been developed in earlier research by the consortium, will be used to examine in detail how design, and older people's perceptions of the designed environment, make a difference. The voices of older people themselves are a key element in this research. I'DGO TOO recognises the great diversity and range of abilities, disabilities, aspirations, expectations and needs that are encompassed in the population of people over 65 years of age. From the beginning, older people will be involved in expressing what is important to them and in shaping the development of the programme. The approaches used treat older people and disabled people as co-researchers, rather than 'subjects', and the range of techniques place these people at the heart of the investigation. A number of different methods is used to ensure that diverse perspectives and evidence is collected to throw light on the questions and objectives of the research. The main issues to be addressed are: how residential outdoor space in higher-density 'urban renaissance' housing can best be delivered to optimise older residents' quality of life; whether Home Zones provide a good design solution in the context of an ageing population, and the implications of the design, siting, laying and use of tactile paving for older people.The implications of the findings will be important for policy-makers, planners, designers and other professionals working in the urban environment, as well as users of that environment. The research collaborators will help ensure that the outputs are useful and useable for the range of people and groups for whom this work is important. Guidance will be published in a range of formats and media, including attractive and accessible printed booklets as well as web-based publications targeted to suit the needs of different expert, academic, professional and lay audiences.

    more_vert
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F068956/1
    Funder Contribution: 96,499 GBP

    Recently, researchers have considered the application of multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) techniques developed for wireless communication systems to the radar scenario. In MIMO systems, multiple antennas are employed at both transmitter and receiver to increase the data rate and reduce the effect of rapid changes in the radio channel with time. In the context of radar systems, mono-static or bi-static MIMO radars could be used to reduce the impact of scintillation effects, by illuminating the target from multiple transmit antennas but with the same total transmitter power budget. MIMO radars could also reduce the search time to find targets by transmitting multiple waveforms simultaneously, which allows more efficient searching of transmit angle. Further, MIMO processing increases the effective degrees of freedom in the radar system and may thus increase tolerance to echoes from the ground in radar systems and from the sea floor in sonar systems as well as deliberate man/made sources of interference. Since the emergence of MIMO radar concept international activity has focused both on the underlying theory, confirming the significant potential gains in detection and resolution performance that might be achieved, and on developing signal processing algorithms to facilitate these gains. What we propose here is to exploit the work we have already done in (i) methodologies for calculating detection performance in realistic MIMO radar or sonar scenarios; (ii) adaptive detection techniques for radar array-based signal processing that do not require secondary training data. We address the open research questions whose solution will facilitate industrial exploitation of the MIMO radar concept. In particular these are: (i) the design of correlation controlled constant amplitude MIMO waveforms; (ii) the development of adaptive receiver algorithms capable of working in environments of unknown clutter statistics and within the constraints of limited bandwidth communication channels between individual TR/RX pairs. A further novel aspect of the work will be the application of and assessment of MIMO concepts in sonar environments. What we propose is a rigorous generic approach to the understanding and application of MIMO detection. The results will be tested and validated in radar and sonar applications using detailed computer modelling techniques for both target and the medium. In the sonar case they will also be tested with measured data.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G056501/1
    Funder Contribution: 22,710 GBP

    Modeling of corneal mechanical properties including corneal swelling and its interaction with its surronding biological environment is critical to our understanding of corneal function, particularly when important physiological parameters are refractory to experimental investigation. The cornea has unique mechanical characteristics which are not well represented by standard engineering material models and it can swell or shrink when the aqueous humour/tears becomes hypotonic or hypertonic. Corneal swelling can alter its mechanical properties, not only due to its thickness change but also due to the change of preexisting physiological stress which is related to the degree of stromal hydration. Refractive surgery disturbs the cornea as it simultaneously supports the intraocular pressure. This suggests that accurate models of the cornea should include the effect of the preexisting physiological stress state. This proposed project is an international travel grant proposal which is to support Dr Li's two international visits to develop the research collaboration with Stanford University and the University of Mississippi in USA. The research visits will focus on the development of triphasic biomechanics models for simulating the biomechanical behaviour of the human cornea. The triphasic model to be developed will include the interaction between the mechanical behaviour of the solid phase of the tissue, the flow of the liquid phase filled in the porous medium of the tissue, and the transport of the ionic species dissolved in the fluid phase. Nonlinear, anisotropic hyperelastic material constitutive models will be developed to simulate the mechanical behaviour of the tissue material in the solid phase. Fluid flow will be determined based on the fluid pressure and osmotic pressure in the fluid phase. The transport of ionic species will be determined based on the mechanisms of diffusion, migration and convection. The deformation of solid, flow of fluid and transport of ions are coupled each other by fluid pressure, osmotic pressure and variation of porosity. This project is to bring together a group of researchers with highly complementary expertise to work on a very complicated multi-disciplinary problem. The combination of world-leading expertise in different fields will make a unique contribution to this field.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G02703X/1
    Funder Contribution: 220,450 GBP

    Homogeneous catalysts offer several advantages over their heterogeneous counterparts; including the greater selectivity and controllability because their molecular nature ensures that only one type of active site is present. Furthermore, it is estimated that 85% of all chemical processes are run catalytically, with the ratio of applications of heterogeneous to homogeneous catalysis of ca. 75:25.However, continuous flow processes involving homogeneous catalysis present difficulties and many efficient systems in batch processes cannot be transferred to flow. A major problem is associated with separating the products from the catalyst. The group at Bath has recently prepared two types of catalyst consisting of either organometallic species or a metallic shell around superparamagnetic iron oxide cores. Preliminary results indicate that immobilized sulfonated phosphines or acetate ligands allow the coordination of rhodium or palladium complexes that efficiently catalyse (up to 100% conversion) the conjugate addition of boronic acids, and Suzuki and Heck coupling, as well as hydrogenation and dihydroxylation reactions. The catalysts retained activity after magnetic separation, in some cases even after 10 consecutive runs. In this proposal we wish to develop flow chemistry protocols for the palladium-catalysed coupling of aminoalkylboron reagents using new types of magnetically moveable and recoverable semi-homogeneous catalysts. Their size means that they operate in the same manner as homogeneous catalysts but they are easily recovered in a magnetic field. With a clear emphasis on developing methodology of broad application to the synthesis of medicinal compounds, we will focus on the catalytic aminomethylation of aryl/vinyl halides as a strategic alternative to reductive amination. Normally the magnetic properties of the nanoparticles have been used to facilitate separation from the reaction product(s). We wish to extend this by further exploitation of the magnetism to (i) entrap the nanoparticle catalyst within certain regions of a flow reactor and (ii) to apply alternating magnetic fields to manipulate and move the nanoparticles around the reactor, enhancing mass transfer. This new technology will offer a number of advantages, chiefly entrapment of the homogeneous catalyst in the reactor without necessity of separation from products.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F056648/2
    Funder Contribution: 311,093 GBP

    The development of cheap renewable energy sources is required to reduce the environmental effects associated with the use of conventional fossil fuel based energy sources. Of all the renewable energy technologies, solar energy has the greatest potential as a world power source. For this reason, solar photovoltaic (PV), the direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, is expected to play a significant role in future electricity supply. Here we focus on the development of photovoltaic devices based upon organic semiconducting materials. This project focusses on two issues that are widely recognized as being key for the development of low-cost efficient and stable photovoltaic devices: (i) the development of low cost alternatives to indium tin oxide (ITO) as the transparent conducting electrode and (ii) control of nanomorphology of the donor-acceptor interface. This project will involve the design and synthesis of new electrode materials and the use of molecular self-organization strategies to control the donor-acceptor film morphology at the nanometre length scale to deliver high efficiency organic solar cell that are capable of being scaled up cost effectively. This project will also lead to an improved fundamental understanding of device function. This multidisciplinary project brings together chemists, physicists, materials scientists and engineers with world-leading expertise in metal oxide electrode design, polymer synthesis and manufacturing. This project also involves collaboration with Pilkington Glass, Merck Chemicals and BP Solar.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: TS/G002002/1
    Funder Contribution: 173,957 GBP

    Oxy-Fuel Combustion is one of the key technologies considered for carbon capture. In recent years oxy-coal combustion with recycled flue gas has been strongly considered by the power generation industry as one of the possible options with a potential contribution to carbon dioxide mitigation strategies. CO2 emissions can be cut by the implementation of carbon capture technologies to existing boilers but the technical difficulties in implementing CO2 capture are formidable. The full-scale application of oxy-fuel technology is still under development but the production of SO3 is considered to be problematic for oxy-fuel and amine scrubbing technologies. Sorbent injection is more efficient for reducing SO3 than wet-FGD. Sorbent injection can therefore be used to advantage in series with FGD for both oxy-fuel combustion (to reduce the otherwise high concentration of SO3 - a corrosion inducing species) and for post combustion capture. In addition, interactions between mercury and other flue gas constituents are extremely complicated, and a variety of factors, including coals' chemical and mineralogical composition, combustion condition, plant configuration, other flue gas constituents, and time/temperature history of flue gas from combustion zone to stack, can affect mercury speciation in flue gas. It is believed that the transformations of mercury in post-combustion flue gas are kinetic limiting processes that involve both homogeneous gas-phase and heterogeneous reactions. The partitioning of mercury species in flue gas will depend on coal type, and mercury capture can be influenced by SO2 and SO3 concentration. Therefore the major issues concerning high concentrations of SO2 and SO3 on the performance of oxy-fuel systems including inhibition of mercury capture and whole life costs will be addressed in the project by combination of experimental and theoretical studies. The overarching goals of this project are as follows: The efficiency of sorbents in reducing SO3 will be assessed for the first time at pilot scale, previous studies having only concentrated on SO2, at conditions pertinent to oxy-fuel firing and post-combustion capture, (air firing conditions). This work will be carried out by our industrial partner. The Leeds research team will develop and validate an engineering computational code to provide a detailed engineering assessment of the potential application of oxy-fuel firing for electricity generation, and to develop an engineering capability and tool to assist with the design of oxy-fuel plants in the future.New physical models developed and validated in this project will be integrated into a commercial CFD code to predict the performance behaviour of oxy-fuel combustors and dry sorbent performance. The code will provide a useful tool for engineers to assess and optimise the SO3 removal for carbon capture application. In addition another objective of this project to be addressed by the Leeds research group is to understand the importance of gas- and solid-phase constituents in mercury oxidation reaction chemistry, and the effects of chlorine, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and ash particles on mercury oxidation will be investigated. Using the developed mercury oxidation reaction mechanism, the impact of high levels of SO2 in flue gas through anticipated interactions between Cl2 and SO2 on chlorine-promoted mercury transformation will be investigated.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/H007032/1
    Funder Contribution: 102,284 GBP

    The erosion, transport and deposition of sediment is an important phenomenon in many industrial, environmental and geophysical processes. Common examples include sewage filtration systems, sand drift and dust storms in deserts, and the transfer of sediments from land to oceans by the combined effects of coastal, river and wind erosion. For instance, the global flux of sediment into the oceans from the continents is estimated to be over 18 billion tons per year. Notably, less than 4% of this is caused by wind and coastal erosion, but over 64% is deposited due to suspended sediment loads carried by the World's rivers (with the largest depositers being rivers like the Amazon and Ganges).Predicting how a fluid (necessarily turbulent) transports or resuspends sediment requires specifying a relation giving the sediment flux in terms of the flow characteristics. Existing models characterise the flow in terms of spatially or temporally averaged quantities, such as the mean streamwise velocity or bed shear stress. In this way, the sediment flux is linked to parameters that are relatively easy to measure or predict. However, sediment entrainment and transport are neither driven by bed shear stress nor any other average flow characteristic, but instead by the fluctuating forces, such as lift and drag, exerted on individual sediment grains by the flow. Average flow parameters can only provide, at best, a parameterisation of the underlying physical controlling these processes. It is now widely recognised that clarification of the complex physics associated with the sediment-turbulence iteration is essential, not only to improve current understanding, but also to significantly improve accuracy of current sediment transport models and formula.This proposal describes experiments designed to investigate, in detail, how the range of motion scales within a fully turbulent flow act to move and resuspend sediment grains. Specifically, the experiments will study the sediment-turbulence interaction in the simplified context of zero-mean turbulence generated by an oscillating grid. Here, the turbulence is isolated from the effects of a mean flow, allowing for a simplified but detailed analysis of how the fluctuating turbulence components interact with, displace and resuspend the sediment. The controllable and repeatable nature of (statistically) steady grid turbulence also provides an ideal mechanism for accurately inducing the flow conditions required to initiate sediment transport and resuspension.Advanced time- and spatially-resolved measurement systems [Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV), Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV), high-speed cameras] will be used to obtain detailed measurements of the fluctuating turbulence velocity components in the region close to the sediment layer. By using a mixture of black and white sediment grains, the pattern-matching technology associated with PIV will also be further developed (by considering the black sediment particles as tracers) to measure the velocity and trajectory of sediment grains displaced by the action of the fluid flow. The data obtained will be analysed using a combination of spectral and time-correlation techniques to identify the dominant scales within the turbulence spectrum which cause sediment transport and resuspension, and to identify the important role coherent vortex structures (or energy-containing eddies) play in these processes.So that the effects of sediment type and bed roughness can be analysed, a range of different particle sizes and densities will be considered (mono- and poly-disperse) with diameters ranging between 150-4000micron and relative densities between 1.2 and 3.5. Notably, the apparatus is designed to allow the important effects of bed slope to also be analysed, in particular, as the bed slope approaches the repose limit. The experiments will focus on the critical flow conditions needed to initiate sediment movement and resuspension.

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