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  • UKRI|EPSRC
  • 2009
  • 2011

  • 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/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/F068956/1
    Funder Contribution: 96,499 GBP

    Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

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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: 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/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/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/H006249/1
    Funder Contribution: 132,769 GBP

    The complexity and pervasiveness of software in society is growing exponentially. It is generally agreed that theonly realistic way to manage this complexity, and to continue to provide software benefits to the public at large, is todevelop software using appropriate methods of abstraction. Today, the state-of-the-art in software abstraction ismodel-driven engineering (MDE) - that is, the systematic use of models as primary artefacts during a softwareengineering process. MDE includes various model-driven approaches to software development, including model-drivenarchitecture, domain-specific modelling, and model-integrated computing.Although MDE claims many potential benefits - chiefly, gains in productivity, portability, maintainability andinteroperability - it has been developed largely without the support of empirical data to test these claims. As a result,decisions whether or not to use MDE are based mainly on expert opinion rather than hard empirical data; and theseopinions often diverge. The lack of empirical results on MDE is a problem for two reasons.Firstly, industry invests millions in the development and application of MDE tools. Without empiricalevidence of the efficacy of these tools, there is a danger that resources are being wasted. Whether or not the currentbrand of MDE tools succeeds, the notion of abstract models is crucial to the future of software. Empirical evaluationsare needed to ensure that future software tools will match the way that software developers think.Secondly, academia also invests significantly in MDE in the form of PhD theses and research papers. This research israrely informed by empirical evidence, which means that it is difficult for funding bodies to properly assess theusefulness of research results. One issue is that early-career researchers lack the multidisciplinary knowledge that isinherently required - that is, knowledge both of MDE and the psychological know-how of conducting experiments.Another problem is simply that empirical evaluation in MDE is hard. Rigorous evaluations ought to engage industryover lengthy periods of time, but industry is often reluctant to get involved because it cannot see immediate benefits of anovel research technique.The proposed research will address these two problems by developing a framework for empirical evaluation of MDEthat is informed by current industry practice and needs and is available to researchers to use and adapt it as necessary.The overall goal of the research is to address fundamental questions as to how empirical evaluations can best beintegrated with MDE research and practice as well as to provide steps toward a scientific foundation for MDEevaluation and adoption.This is a 12 month pilot project. This is for the following reason. The challenges of empiricallyevaluating MDE are fundamentally hard. Since there has been very little research in this area, a feasibility study wouldbe beneficial before investing further resources. We will use this pilot phase to map out the MDE evaluation landscapeand to develop an initial evaluation framework. We view the pilot as phase I of a two phase effort to provide a scientificfoundation for MDE evaluation. We plan to use the results of the pilot to support a follow-on phase II effort that willpropose: a theory of software modellers' cognitive processes; a more detailed evaluation framework; and a newgeneration of MDE tools.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G064105/1
    Funder Contribution: 337,980 GBP

    There is a need on environmental grounds to reduce the energy requirements of radio access networks. From an operator perspective, reduced energy consumption translates directly to the bottom line - lower Operating Expenditure (OPEX). These are the key drivers of the Green Radio programme. Both wide area public networks (traditionally cellular ) and local area private networks (traditionally wireless LAN ) will be considered, recognizing that the structure of a Green Radio Network may differ from today's radio networks. Thus in essence, the specific objective of the Green Radio programme is to investigate and create innovative methods for the reduction of the total power needed to operate a radio access network and to identify appropriate radio architectures which enable such power reduction.

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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/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.

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

    Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

    more_vert
  • 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: 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.

    more_vert
  • 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/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.

    more_vert
  • 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/H006249/1
    Funder Contribution: 132,769 GBP

    The complexity and pervasiveness of software in society is growing exponentially. It is generally agreed that theonly realistic way to manage this complexity, and to continue to provide software benefits to the public at large, is todevelop software using appropriate methods of abstraction. Today, the state-of-the-art in software abstraction ismodel-driven engineering (MDE) - that is, the systematic use of models as primary artefacts during a softwareengineering process. MDE includes various model-driven approaches to software development, including model-drivenarchitecture, domain-specific modelling, and model-integrated computing.Although MDE claims many potential benefits - chiefly, gains in productivity, portability, maintainability andinteroperability - it has been developed largely without the support of empirical data to test these claims. As a result,decisions whether or not to use MDE are based mainly on expert opinion rather than hard empirical data; and theseopinions often diverge. The lack of empirical results on MDE is a problem for two reasons.Firstly, industry invests millions in the development and application of MDE tools. Without empiricalevidence of the efficacy of these tools, there is a danger that resources are being wasted. Whether or not the currentbrand of MDE tools succeeds, the notion of abstract models is crucial to the future of software. Empirical evaluationsare needed to ensure that future software tools will match the way that software developers think.Secondly, academia also invests significantly in MDE in the form of PhD theses and research papers. This research israrely informed by empirical evidence, which means that it is difficult for funding bodies to properly assess theusefulness of research results. One issue is that early-career researchers lack the multidisciplinary knowledge that isinherently required - that is, knowledge both of MDE and the psychological know-how of conducting experiments.Another problem is simply that empirical evaluation in MDE is hard. Rigorous evaluations ought to engage industryover lengthy periods of time, but industry is often reluctant to get involved because it cannot see immediate benefits of anovel research technique.The proposed research will address these two problems by developing a framework for empirical evaluation of MDEthat is informed by current industry practice and needs and is available to researchers to use and adapt it as necessary.The overall goal of the research is to address fundamental questions as to how empirical evaluations can best beintegrated with MDE research and practice as well as to provide steps toward a scientific foundation for MDEevaluation and adoption.This is a 12 month pilot project. This is for the following reason. The challenges of empiricallyevaluating MDE are fundamentally hard. Since there has been very little research in this area, a feasibility study wouldbe beneficial before investing further resources. We will use this pilot phase to map out the MDE evaluation landscapeand to develop an initial evaluation framework. We view the pilot as phase I of a two phase effort to provide a scientificfoundation for MDE evaluation. We plan to use the results of the pilot to support a follow-on phase II effort that willpropose: a theory of software modellers' cognitive processes; a more detailed evaluation framework; and a newgeneration of MDE tools.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G064105/1
    Funder Contribution: 337,980 GBP

    There is a need on environmental grounds to reduce the energy requirements of radio access networks. From an operator perspective, reduced energy consumption translates directly to the bottom line - lower Operating Expenditure (OPEX). These are the key drivers of the Green Radio programme. Both wide area public networks (traditionally cellular ) and local area private networks (traditionally wireless LAN ) will be considered, recognizing that the structure of a Green Radio Network may differ from today's radio networks. Thus in essence, the specific objective of the Green Radio programme is to investigate and create innovative methods for the reduction of the total power needed to operate a radio access network and to identify appropriate radio architectures which enable such power reduction.

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