search
388 Projects, page 1 of 39

  • 2021-2021
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • 2015

10
arrow_drop_down
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/N009614/1
    Funder Contribution: 7,586,770 GBP
    Partners: Lancaster University, TITAN NW Regional Organized Crime Unit

    The social sciences have made important contributions to our understanding of security threats and the skills and technologies that can mitigate them. However, these contributions have yet to achieve their full impact on practice for two reasons. First, they draw on a diverse set of disciplinary perspectives and epistemologies, and are rarely understood holistically. As a result, there remains much to be learned from their systematic integration. Second, many contributions have been made without a full appreciation of the challenges and constraints faced by the security and intelligence agencies. There is thus a need to facilitate researcher-stakeholder exchanges that promote understanding and empower researchers to make impactful contributions. The Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) will deliver a world-class, interdisciplinary portfolio of activity that maximises the value of social science to countering threats to national security. CREST brings together leading researchers from seven disciplines, government and industry stakeholders, and communication specialists to coordinate an international network of excellence that delivers five Agendas. These Agendas seek to enhance the skills and understanding of agency practitioners, develop capacity and capability in academia, build mutual understanding between stakeholders and academia, and maximise the impact of social science research and analysis. The KNOWLEDGE SYNTHESIS AGENDA will deliver state-of-the-art reviews that address key stakeholder questions by mapping out the evidence base and by providing policy and 'best practice' recommendations. Each participating Institution will lead one of five programmes: Actors and narratives; Ideas, beliefs and values in social context; Understanding and countering online behaviour; Eliciting information; and, Protective security and risk assessment. The ORIGINAL RESEARCH AGENDA will build on Knowledge Synthesis by generating theoretically motivated, high-quality new research that either addresses gaps identified in the existing literature, or demonstrates the operational relevance of existing knowledge to stakeholder contexts. As part of the Knowledge Synthesis and Original Research Agendas, £1.89m of CREST's funds will support COMMISSIONED ACTIVITIES, including synthetic reviews, workshops, toolkit development, and research projects. Funds will be allocated via a transparent and competitive process that delivers scientific excellence, stakeholder relevance, and value for money. With support from an Advisory Board and Programme Ambassadors, the COMMUNICATION AGENDA will use a range of innovative media (e.g. video briefings, interactive toolkits) to ensure that outputs from the Knowledge Synthesis and Original Research Agendas are communicated effectively to a range of audiences. Target audiences include intelligence officers to improve operational effectiveness, policy makers to support evidence-based policy, industry to help generate sector growth, and the public at large to increase awareness of the challenges faced within the UK. The NETWORKING AGENDA will deliver a range of events (e.g. workshops, 'hackathons') that support interaction between research and stakeholder communities at both strategic and grass-roots levels. These events will draw together a community of contributors leading to new and innovative contributions to theory and practice. The CAPACITY-BUILDING AGENDA will ensure the long-term sustainability of CREST while also delivering a step-change in capability in three areas: (1) the next generation of researchers and educators within the discipline (e.g. through PhD training); (2) the formal professional development of officers in the intelligence agencies (e.g. through online training, secondments); and, (3) the economic effectiveness of industry (e.g. SMEs) through knowledge exchange The funding for this grant comes in part from the UK security and intelligence agencies.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/N509103/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,957,400 GBP
    Partners: University of Cambridge

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at www.rcuk.ac.uk/StudentshipTerminology. Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/M024679/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,943,630 GBP
    Partners: University of Leicester

    One hundred and ten million primary surgical incisions occur globally every year, with those made in areas of high tension particularly prone to scarring. Scarring is the result of the natural process of wound repair, generated by excessive cell behaviour in the healing wound. Depending on the body location, wound scars can be emotionally (face) and physically (joint) debilitating. This is especially true for some patients who suffer significant darkening (hyperpigmentation) of the skin at the site of damage, making any injury particularly traumatic. In addition, the care of wound scars places a heavy financial burden on healthcare systems worldwide. An effective scar prevention treatment would benefit the millions of patients with skin injury, enhancing the patient's health and quality of life. There are currently no proven treatments available to prevent wound scarring. Salbutamol is a safe and well-tolerated pharmaceutical, which has been a mainstay of asthma therapy in the UK since 1968. Research in the Pullar lab and other labs has shown that salbutamol can modulate wound repair processes. Uniquely, when salbutamol is applied to the wound site, it alters the way the wound heals, curbing excessive cell behaviour and moving the healing process away from scarring and towards normal skin regeneration. In a pig wound model, salbutamol reduced scar area and hyperpigmentation by almost 50%, 56 days post-wounding, significantly improving scar appearance. Here, stable salbutamol and placebo gels will be manufactured for topical use in skin wounds in accordance with good manufacturing practices. Non-clinical studies will be performed in a pig wound model in accordance with good laboratory practices to ensure safety (pharmacokinetic (PK) studies and skin toxicology), to satisfy regulatory requirements and determine the optimum 1x dose for skin scar prevention in the first-in-human clinical trial (CT). To move towards therapeutic implementation, the phase I CT is designed as a within-volunteer, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled dose escalation trial. A robust recruitment plan will recruit 45 healthy volunteers who will be recruited into three groups of 0.5x, 1x (selected from the pre-CT) and 2x salbutamol formulation, starting with the lowest dose. The study, performed in accordance with good clinical practice, will be for 12 months. 2cm linear incisions will be made at the same anatomical location under each arm of volunteers and placebo and salbutamol dose will be randomised between left and right arms. Incisions will be treated daily for 60 days. The primarily trial objective will be to assess safety and tolerability of topical salbutamol when applied to linear incisions. Blood samples will be collected at day 0/1 after surgery to perform PK analysis to determine if peak salbutamol plasma levels are acceptable. Skin tolerance will be assessed at each site daily. Adverse events will be recorded. Interim analysis of safety will be provided after the 0.5x dose to progress to the higher dose. The secondary objective is to determine the optimal topical salbutamol dose for scar improvement. Wound healing and scar assessments will compare the active dose and placebo in each volunteer's paired, contralateral scars at 6, 9 and 12 months post-wounding, when scars are considered fully mature. The data will determine whether this study will pave the way for further CTs within patients with surgical procedures prone to scarring. In addition to the benefit to patients, this treatment would also benefit the surgeons and the NHS. Patients would heal better, leave hospital sooner and require less scar revision surgery, which would provide significant cost savings. Demonstrated efficacy in skin scar prevention could pave the way to the use of salbutamol to prevent excessive skin scarring (keloids - raised, progressively enlarging scars at the wound site) and fibrosis in other tissues.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ST/N504282/1
    Funder Contribution: 604,706 GBP
    Partners: University of Sheffield

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at www.rcuk.ac.uk/StudentshipTerminology. Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/K010743/1
    Funder Contribution: 535,261 GBP
    Partners: Imperial College London

    The Earth is unique in our solar system in having abundant liquid water, plate tectonics and life. These properties are not unconnected; The evolution of life has depended heavily on water, and water is pumped around the planet by the plate tectonic cycle. Plate tectonics in turn, and its capacity to generate the very continents on which we live, also depends on the existence of water. Subduction zones are the most important "valve" in the plate tectonic system. They form where tectonic plates sink back into the mantle. Here water, along with other volatiles such as carbon dioxide and sulphur, are returned to the deep interior. However, the return is not wholesale. As the sinking plate is subjected to heat and pressure, a large fraction of the incoming volatiles is "sweated off" and added to the overlying mantle where it causes melting. These melts feed volcanoes at subduction zones which are characteristically dangerously explosive. When considered with the earthquakes triggered by the plates scraping past each other and the consequent tsunamis and landslides, it is clear that subduction zones are the most hazardous places on Earth. Yet, these regions also have benefits: the cocktail of fluids travelling with magmas at subduction zones is responsible for transporting and emplacing valuable metal deposits into the crust, and the fine ash distributed by the explosive volcanoes produces nutrient-rich, fertile soils. The importance of cycling volatiles through subduction zones is self-evident. However we still don't really know how it works and what the budgets are of volatiles delivered to the subduction zone, versus those recycled into the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere compared with those sequestered back into the deep mantle. We propose an innovative multidisciplinary experiment to track volatiles at a subduction zone. Questions to be answered include: How do volatiles influence the types and amounts of magmas generated? How do they control where volcanoes, such as Mt Pinatubo and Montserrat are located and how explosive they are? How do volatiles dictate where ore deposits are formed? How do volatiles mediate the seismogenic behaviour of subduction zones - whether there are large "megathrust" earthquakes like Japan and Sumatra or whether slip is less violent? Our focus area is the Lesser Antilles Arc, which is a special case, because it is one of only two Atlantic subduction zones. Plate formation processes at the slowly-spreading mid-Atlantic ridge produce a much more pervasively hydrated plate than those in the extensively studied Pacific. Furthermore, a laterally varying capacity to carry water in the plate and sediments subducting below the Antillean arc are a likely culprit for the arc's highly variable style and intensity of seismic and volcanic activity. By mapping structural differences along the arc we will be able to pinpoint the effects of variable water input. We plan to use novel seismic approaches complemented by geochemical analyses and integrated using numerical models to identify and quantify where volatiles are in the downgoing plate, where they are released at depth, and how they are transported from the subducting plate through the mantle wedge to the arc. We will use a unique suite of rocks from deep in the crust which have been carried up in volcanoes to help us understand how magmas evolve, and what allows them to concentrate ore metals. Mapped water pathways will be compared with seismic and volcanic activity, as well as with those inferred at other subduction zones. This large research project will be "bookended' on the one hand by an enormous amount of resource; data, samples, expertise and results from previous studies that will provide excellent value for money, and on the other hand a special focus on the societal benefits; informing natural hazard planning, and a better appreciation of how and where economic deposits form.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/M019454/1
    Funder Contribution: 753,510 GBP
    Partners: University of Bristol

    Autonomous robots, capable of independent and intelligent navigation through unknown environments, have the potential to significantly increase human safety and security. They could replace people in potentially hazardous tasks, for instance search and rescue operations in disaster zones, or surveys of nuclear/chemical installations. Vision is one of the primary senses that can enable this capability, however, visual information processing is notoriously difficult, especially at speeds required for fast moving robots, and in particular where low weight, power dissipation and cost of the system are of concern. Conventional hardware and algorithms are not up to the task. The proposal here is to tightly integrate novel sensing and processing hardware, together with vision, navigation and control algorithms, to enable the next generation of autonomous robots. At the heart of the system will be a device known as a 'vision chip'. This bespoke integrated circuit differs from a conventional image sensor, including a processor with each pixel. This will offer unprecedented performance. The massively parallel processor array will be programmed to pre-process images, passing higher-level feature information upstream to vision tracking algorithms and the control system. Feature extraction at pixel level results in an extremely efficient and high speed throughput of information. Another feature of the new vision chip will be the measurement of 'time of flight' data in each pixel. This will allow the distance to a feature to be extracted and combined with the image plane data for vision tracking, simplifying and speeding up the real-time state estimation and mapping capabilities. Vision algorithms will be developed to make the most optimal use of this novel hardware technology. This project will not only develop a unique vision processing system, but will also tightly integrate the control system design. Vision and control systems have been traditionally developed independently, with the downstream flow of information from sensor through to motor control. In our system, information flow will be bidirectional. Control system parameters will be passed to the image sensor itself, guiding computational effort and reducing processing overheads. For example a rotational demand passed into the control system, will not only result in control actuation for vehicle movement, but will also result in optic tracking along the same path. A key component of the project will therefore be the management and control of information across all three layers: sensing, visual perception and control. Information share will occur at multiple rates and may either be scheduled or requested. Shared information and distributed computation will provide a breakthrough in control capabilities for highly agile robotic systems. Whilst applicable to a very wide range of disciplines, our system will be tested in the demanding field of autonomous aerial robotics. We will integrate the new vision sensors onboard an unmanned air vehicle (UAV), developing a control system that will fully exploit the new tracking capabilities. This will serve as a demonstration platform for the complete vision system, incorporating nonlinear algorithms to control the vehicle through agile manoeuvres and rapidly changing trajectories. Although specific vision tracking and control algorithms will be used for the project, the hardware itself and system architecture will be applicable to a very wide range of tasks. Any application that is currently limited by tracking capabilities, in particular when combined with a rapid, demanding control challenge would benefit from this work. We will demonstrate a step change in agile, vision-based control of UAVs for exploration, and in doing so develop an architecture which will have benefits in fields as diverse as medical robotics and industrial production.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/M016587/1
    Funder Contribution: 5,079,620 GBP
    Partners: University of Oxford

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 3rd most common cancer in the UK, with >40,000 new cases in 2011. While there have been improvements in CRC treatment, it remains a significant killer, with 16,000 deaths in 2011. Research by ourselves/others has revealed that a "one size fits all approach" will not work, as genetic changes in their CRC cells can cause treatments to fail in particular patients. This increased understanding has given rise to the concept of "stratified medicine", where testing a patient's sample prior to treatment can indicate which therapy works in this particular patient. This "stratified" approach also allows patients who will not respond to be spared the often toxic side effects. Recognising the need to provide treatments leading to better survival/Quality of Life (Qol), a group of researchers, clinicians, patient groups and industry have formed a consortium (S-CORT), harnessing its members expertise to develop new approaches to stratify patients to improve outcomes, thus delivering real benefit for CRC patients. S-CORTs objectives are to: 1. Create a consortium united in the common goal to employ stratified medicine to yield better survival and QoL for CRC patients 2. Build on discoveries by S-CORT researchers to identify particular stratification approaches for patients receiving different therapies for CRC. Three priorities have been established a. While the drug Oxaliplatin has increased our options for treating CRC, approximately 50% of patients don't respond and develop side effects that can affect their nervous system and reduce their QoL. Being able to decide in advance which patients respond, allows those patients to receive the drug while sparing non-responders the toxic side effects b. ChemoRadiotherapy (CRT) is used in the treatment of rectal cancer, but 40% of patients with locally advanced disease gain no benefit. A stratification approach may not only indicate which patients to treat, but also allow design of new approaches to make RT more effective c. In early disease, some patients can have aggressive cancer which invades other parts of the body. Identifying these patients in advance of treatment would allow them to receive more extensive surgery/RT while those with less aggressive disease can be treated with local rectal preserving treatment 3. Establish a more complete understanding of the precise changes that occur in the genes and proteins of CRC cells and use this information to provide novel therapies for patients 4. Develop our best candidates into clinical tests that select patients for the therapies that have the greatest chance of success and/or with the fewest side effects in their particular disease 5. Bring together all our research into a database that will be a vital resource for future research, within and outside this consortium 6. Ensure that the patient is at the centre of all activities in S-CORT, helping with the design of studies, participating in focus groups, meetings and conferences and contributing to the communication of the activities of S-CORT to healthcare and research professionals, patient groups and the public at large 7. Publish our research findings in the best scientific journals and present our results at national and international conferences, thus demonstrating the quality of S-CORT's research 8. Examine how tests that we are developing will perform in the hospital for CRC patients and evaluate the health, economic and societal benefits of this approach 9. Ensure S-CORT's long term sustainability, thus driving implementation of new stratification approaches for CRC patients over the next decade, both in the UK and globally Delivering these ambitious objectives will allow development of new clinical tests to predict success/ failure of new therapies which, coupled with our increased knowledge of CRC biology will drive a new treatment vision where stratified medicine approaches can significantly benefit our patients.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/L013185/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,598,000 GBP
    Partners: University of London

    Haemophilia A is a bleeding disease in males due to very low levels of coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) in the blood. The major effect on health in severely affected patients is spontaneous (in the absence of trauma or injury) repeated bleeds into joints like the knee, hip, ankles and elbows, cause joint damage and chronic disability. Rarely, the disease causes death due to bleeding into the brain or other important organs. The current treatment is intravenous injection of FVIII clotting factor protein concentrates, in response to bleeding. Regular injection of FVIII clotting factor protein concentrates three times a week prevents spontaneous bleeds and joint damage. This study plans to use a virus called adeno-associated virus (AAV), which in nature causes no disease, and can be engineered to deliver the human FVIII gene (AAV8-HLP-codop-hFVIII-V3) to the liver, where FVIII is normally made. We have recently used this type of AAV vector for gene therapy of haemophilia B, a related condition with identical clinical manifestation, except that it arises because of low levels of a different protein called factor IX. In this study stable expression of FIX at levels 1-6% of normal were observed in all 10 participants without long lasting toxicity, resulting in significant patient benefit. Following extensive preclinical studies, a single dose of AAV vector containing a novel more potent human clotting factor VIII variant (AAV8-HLP-codop-hFVIII-V3) will be administered into a peripheral vein of adult patients with severe Haemophilia A. We propose to test three dose levels: 2e11, 6e11 and 2e12 vector genomes per kg body weight, which is the same dose range tested in the Haemophilia B clinical trial. The main objective will be to establish the safety and to do so we have established a comprehensive monitoring plan which includes an array of clinical and laboratory tests. Enrolment of each subject will proceed only after the previous subject has been observed for at least 28 days for acute toxicity. Enrolment will be suspended if serious adverse toxicity is observed in one subject. The other objective is to determine the dose of vector that results in expression of FVIII at more than 5% in peripheral blood. This level of expression can significantly reduce the frequency of severe bleeding episodes. The reason why human studies are critical is because our haemophilia B gene therapy trial, as well as other gene therapy studies in the field, have shown that animal models are poor predictors of outcome in humans. Successful Haemophilia A gene therapy will transform the treatment paradigm for this disease and will also support the development of gene therapy for other diseases affecting the liver including lysosomal storage disorders and hepatocellular carcinoma.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/N014499/1
    Funder Contribution: 2,004,300 GBP
    Partners: University of Salford, Liverpool Health Partners, PHE, Mirada Medical UK, North West Coast Academic Health Sci Nwk, Liverpool Women's Hospital, Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust, Durham University, Carl Zeiss Ltd, BioQ8 Ltd...

    As quality of life constantly improves, the average lifespan will continue to increase. Underlining this improvement is the vast amount of the UK government's support to NHS (£133.5 billion in year 2011/12) and the UK pharmaceutical industry's R&D large investment (4.9 billion to R&D in year 2011/12). The expectation of quality healthcare is inevitably high from all stakeholders. Fortunately recent advances in science and technology have enabled us to work towards personalised medicine and preventative care. This approach calls for a collective effort of researchers from a vast spectrum of specialised subjects. Advances in science and engineering is often accompanied by major development of mathematical sciences, as the latter underpin all other sciences. The UoL Centre will consist of a large and multidisciplinary team of applied and pure mathematicians, and statisticians together with healthcare researchers, clinicians and industrialists, collaborating with 15 HEIs and 40 NHS trusts plus other industrial partners and including our strongest groups: MRC Centre in Drug Safety Science, Centre for Cell imaging (CCI for live 3D and 4D imaging), Centre for Mathematical Imaging Techniques (unique in UK), Liverpool Biomedical EM unit, MRC Regenerative Medicine Hub, NIHR Health Protection Research Units, MRC Hub for Trials Methodology Research. Several research themes are highlighted below: Firstly, an improved understanding of the interaction dynamics of cells and tissues is crucial to developing effective future cures for cancer. Much of the current work is in 2D, with restrictive assumptions and without access to real data for modelling. We shall use the unparalleled real data of cell interactions in a 3D setting, generated at UoL's CCI. The real-life images obtained will have low contrast and noise and they will be analysed and enhanced by our imaging team through developing accurate and high resolution imaging models. The main imaging tools needed are segmentation methods (identifying objects such as cells and tissues regions in terms of sizes, shapes and precise boundaries). We shall propose and study a class of new 3D models, using our imaging data and analysis tools, to investigate and predict the spatial-temporal dynamics. Secondly, better models of how drugs are delivered to cells in tissues will improve personalised predictions of drug toxicity. We shall combine novel-imaging data of drug penetration into 3D experimental model systems with multi-scale mathematical models which scale-up from the level of cells to these model systems, with the ultimate aim of making better in-vitro to in-vivo predictions. Thirdly, there exist many competing models and software for imaging processing. However, for real images that have noise and are of low contrast, few methods are robust and accurate. To improve the modelling, applied and pure mathematicians team up to consider using more sophisticated tools of hyperbolic geometry and Riemann surfaces and fractional calculus to meet the demand for accuracy, and, applied mathematicians and statisticians will team up to design better data fidelity terms to model image discrepancies. Fourthly, resistance to current antibiotics means that previously treatable diseases are becoming deadly again. To understand and mitigate this, a better understanding is needed for how this resistance builds up across the human interaction networks and how it depends on antibiotic prescribing practices. To understand these scenarios, the mathematics competition in heterogeneous environments needs to be better understood. Our team links mathematical experts in analysing dynamical systems with experts in antimicrobial resistance and GPs to determine strategies that will mitigate or slow the development of anti-microbial resistance. Our research themes are aligned with, and will add value to, existing and current UoL and Research Council strategic investments, activities and future plans.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/M010996/1
    Funder Contribution: 7,407,580 GBP
    Partners: University of Edinburgh

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at www.rcuk.ac.uk/StudentshipTerminology. Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.

search
388 Projects, page 1 of 39
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/N009614/1
    Funder Contribution: 7,586,770 GBP
    Partners: Lancaster University, TITAN NW Regional Organized Crime Unit

    The social sciences have made important contributions to our understanding of security threats and the skills and technologies that can mitigate them. However, these contributions have yet to achieve their full impact on practice for two reasons. First, they draw on a diverse set of disciplinary perspectives and epistemologies, and are rarely understood holistically. As a result, there remains much to be learned from their systematic integration. Second, many contributions have been made without a full appreciation of the challenges and constraints faced by the security and intelligence agencies. There is thus a need to facilitate researcher-stakeholder exchanges that promote understanding and empower researchers to make impactful contributions. The Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) will deliver a world-class, interdisciplinary portfolio of activity that maximises the value of social science to countering threats to national security. CREST brings together leading researchers from seven disciplines, government and industry stakeholders, and communication specialists to coordinate an international network of excellence that delivers five Agendas. These Agendas seek to enhance the skills and understanding of agency practitioners, develop capacity and capability in academia, build mutual understanding between stakeholders and academia, and maximise the impact of social science research and analysis. The KNOWLEDGE SYNTHESIS AGENDA will deliver state-of-the-art reviews that address key stakeholder questions by mapping out the evidence base and by providing policy and 'best practice' recommendations. Each participating Institution will lead one of five programmes: Actors and narratives; Ideas, beliefs and values in social context; Understanding and countering online behaviour; Eliciting information; and, Protective security and risk assessment. The ORIGINAL RESEARCH AGENDA will build on Knowledge Synthesis by generating theoretically motivated, high-quality new research that either addresses gaps identified in the existing literature, or demonstrates the operational relevance of existing knowledge to stakeholder contexts. As part of the Knowledge Synthesis and Original Research Agendas, £1.89m of CREST's funds will support COMMISSIONED ACTIVITIES, including synthetic reviews, workshops, toolkit development, and research projects. Funds will be allocated via a transparent and competitive process that delivers scientific excellence, stakeholder relevance, and value for money. With support from an Advisory Board and Programme Ambassadors, the COMMUNICATION AGENDA will use a range of innovative media (e.g. video briefings, interactive toolkits) to ensure that outputs from the Knowledge Synthesis and Original Research Agendas are communicated effectively to a range of audiences. Target audiences include intelligence officers to improve operational effectiveness, policy makers to support evidence-based policy, industry to help generate sector growth, and the public at large to increase awareness of the challenges faced within the UK. The NETWORKING AGENDA will deliver a range of events (e.g. workshops, 'hackathons') that support interaction between research and stakeholder communities at both strategic and grass-roots levels. These events will draw together a community of contributors leading to new and innovative contributions to theory and practice. The CAPACITY-BUILDING AGENDA will ensure the long-term sustainability of CREST while also delivering a step-change in capability in three areas: (1) the next generation of researchers and educators within the discipline (e.g. through PhD training); (2) the formal professional development of officers in the intelligence agencies (e.g. through online training, secondments); and, (3) the economic effectiveness of industry (e.g. SMEs) through knowledge exchange The funding for this grant comes in part from the UK security and intelligence agencies.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/N509103/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,957,400 GBP
    Partners: University of Cambridge

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at www.rcuk.ac.uk/StudentshipTerminology. Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/M024679/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,943,630 GBP
    Partners: University of Leicester

    One hundred and ten million primary surgical incisions occur globally every year, with those made in areas of high tension particularly prone to scarring. Scarring is the result of the natural process of wound repair, generated by excessive cell behaviour in the healing wound. Depending on the body location, wound scars can be emotionally (face) and physically (joint) debilitating. This is especially true for some patients who suffer significant darkening (hyperpigmentation) of the skin at the site of damage, making any injury particularly traumatic. In addition, the care of wound scars places a heavy financial burden on healthcare systems worldwide. An effective scar prevention treatment would benefit the millions of patients with skin injury, enhancing the patient's health and quality of life. There are currently no proven treatments available to prevent wound scarring. Salbutamol is a safe and well-tolerated pharmaceutical, which has been a mainstay of asthma therapy in the UK since 1968. Research in the Pullar lab and other labs has shown that salbutamol can modulate wound repair processes. Uniquely, when salbutamol is applied to the wound site, it alters the way the wound heals, curbing excessive cell behaviour and moving the healing process away from scarring and towards normal skin regeneration. In a pig wound model, salbutamol reduced scar area and hyperpigmentation by almost 50%, 56 days post-wounding, significantly improving scar appearance. Here, stable salbutamol and placebo gels will be manufactured for topical use in skin wounds in accordance with good manufacturing practices. Non-clinical studies will be performed in a pig wound model in accordance with good laboratory practices to ensure safety (pharmacokinetic (PK) studies and skin toxicology), to satisfy regulatory requirements and determine the optimum 1x dose for skin scar prevention in the first-in-human clinical trial (CT). To move towards therapeutic implementation, the phase I CT is designed as a within-volunteer, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled dose escalation trial. A robust recruitment plan will recruit 45 healthy volunteers who will be recruited into three groups of 0.5x, 1x (selected from the pre-CT) and 2x salbutamol formulation, starting with the lowest dose. The study, performed in accordance with good clinical practice, will be for 12 months. 2cm linear incisions will be made at the same anatomical location under each arm of volunteers and placebo and salbutamol dose will be randomised between left and right arms. Incisions will be treated daily for 60 days. The primarily trial objective will be to assess safety and tolerability of topical salbutamol when applied to linear incisions. Blood samples will be collected at day 0/1 after surgery to perform PK analysis to determine if peak salbutamol plasma levels are acceptable. Skin tolerance will be assessed at each site daily. Adverse events will be recorded. Interim analysis of safety will be provided after the 0.5x dose to progress to the higher dose. The secondary objective is to determine the optimal topical salbutamol dose for scar improvement. Wound healing and scar assessments will compare the active dose and placebo in each volunteer's paired, contralateral scars at 6, 9 and 12 months post-wounding, when scars are considered fully mature. The data will determine whether this study will pave the way for further CTs within patients with surgical procedures prone to scarring. In addition to the benefit to patients, this treatment would also benefit the surgeons and the NHS. Patients would heal better, leave hospital sooner and require less scar revision surgery, which would provide significant cost savings. Demonstrated efficacy in skin scar prevention could pave the way to the use of salbutamol to prevent excessive skin scarring (keloids - raised, progressively enlarging scars at the wound site) and fibrosis in other tissues.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ST/N504282/1
    Funder Contribution: 604,706 GBP
    Partners: University of Sheffield

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at www.rcuk.ac.uk/StudentshipTerminology. Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/K010743/1
    Funder Contribution: 535,261 GBP
    Partners: Imperial College London

    The Earth is unique in our solar system in having abundant liquid water, plate tectonics and life. These properties are not unconnected; The evolution of life has depended heavily on water, and water is pumped around the planet by the plate tectonic cycle. Plate tectonics in turn, and its capacity to generate the very continents on which we live, also depends on the existence of water. Subduction zones are the most important "valve" in the plate tectonic system. They form where tectonic plates sink back into the mantle. Here water, along with other volatiles such as carbon dioxide and sulphur, are returned to the deep interior. However, the return is not wholesale. As the sinking plate is subjected to heat and pressure, a large fraction of the incoming volatiles is "sweated off" and added to the overlying mantle where it causes melting. These melts feed volcanoes at subduction zones which are characteristically dangerously explosive. When considered with the earthquakes triggered by the plates scraping past each other and the consequent tsunamis and landslides, it is clear that subduction zones are the most hazardous places on Earth. Yet, these regions also have benefits: the cocktail of fluids travelling with magmas at subduction zones is responsible for transporting and emplacing valuable metal deposits into the crust, and the fine ash distributed by the explosive volcanoes produces nutrient-rich, fertile soils. The importance of cycling volatiles through subduction zones is self-evident. However we still don't really know how it works and what the budgets are of volatiles delivered to the subduction zone, versus those recycled into the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere compared with those sequestered back into the deep mantle. We propose an innovative multidisciplinary experiment to track volatiles at a subduction zone. Questions to be answered include: How do volatiles influence the types and amounts of magmas generated? How do they control where volcanoes, such as Mt Pinatubo and Montserrat are located and how explosive they are? How do volatiles dictate where ore deposits are formed? How do volatiles mediate the seismogenic behaviour of subduction zones - whether there are large "megathrust" earthquakes like Japan and Sumatra or whether slip is less violent? Our focus area is the Lesser Antilles Arc, which is a special case, because it is one of only two Atlantic subduction zones. Plate formation processes at the slowly-spreading mid-Atlantic ridge produce a much more pervasively hydrated plate than those in the extensively studied Pacific. Furthermore, a laterally varying capacity to carry water in the plate and sediments subducting below the Antillean arc are a likely culprit for the arc's highly variable style and intensity of seismic and volcanic activity. By mapping structural differences along the arc we will be able to pinpoint the effects of variable water input. We plan to use novel seismic approaches complemented by geochemical analyses and integrated using numerical models to identify and quantify where volatiles are in the downgoing plate, where they are released at depth, and how they are transported from the subducting plate through the mantle wedge to the arc. We will use a unique suite of rocks from deep in the crust which have been carried up in volcanoes to help us understand how magmas evolve, and what allows them to concentrate ore metals. Mapped water pathways will be compared with seismic and volcanic activity, as well as with those inferred at other subduction zones. This large research project will be "bookended' on the one hand by an enormous amount of resource; data, samples, expertise and results from previous studies that will provide excellent value for money, and on the other hand a special focus on the societal benefits; informing natural hazard planning, and a better appreciation of how and where economic deposits form.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/M019454/1
    Funder Contribution: 753,510 GBP
    Partners: University of Bristol

    Autonomous robots, capable of independent and intelligent navigation through unknown environments, have the potential to significantly increase human safety and security. They could replace people in potentially hazardous tasks, for instance search and rescue operations in disaster zones, or surveys of nuclear/chemical installations. Vision is one of the primary senses that can enable this capability, however, visual information processing is notoriously difficult, especially at speeds required for fast moving robots, and in particular where low weight, power dissipation and cost of the system are of concern. Conventional hardware and algorithms are not up to the task. The proposal here is to tightly integrate novel sensing and processing hardware, together with vision, navigation and control algorithms, to enable the next generation of autonomous robots. At the heart of the system will be a device known as a 'vision chip'. This bespoke integrated circuit differs from a conventional image sensor, including a processor with each pixel. This will offer unprecedented performance. The massively parallel processor array will be programmed to pre-process images, passing higher-level feature information upstream to vision tracking algorithms and the control system. Feature extraction at pixel level results in an extremely efficient and high speed throughput of information. Another feature of the new vision chip will be the measurement of 'time of flight' data in each pixel. This will allow the distance to a feature to be extracted and combined with the image plane data for vision tracking, simplifying and speeding up the real-time state estimation and mapping capabilities. Vision algorithms will be developed to make the most optimal use of this novel hardware technology. This project will not only develop a unique vision processing system, but will also tightly integrate the control system design. Vision and control systems have been traditionally developed independently, with the downstream flow of information from sensor through to motor control. In our system, information flow will be bidirectional. Control system parameters will be passed to the image sensor itself, guiding computational effort and reducing processing overheads. For example a rotational demand passed into the control system, will not only result in control actuation for vehicle movement, but will also result in optic tracking along the same path. A key component of the project will therefore be the management and control of information across all three layers: sensing, visual perception and control. Information share will occur at multiple rates and may either be scheduled or requested. Shared information and distributed computation will provide a breakthrough in control capabilities for highly agile robotic systems. Whilst applicable to a very wide range of disciplines, our system will be tested in the demanding field of autonomous aerial robotics. We will integrate the new vision sensors onboard an unmanned air vehicle (UAV), developing a control system that will fully exploit the new tracking capabilities. This will serve as a demonstration platform for the complete vision system, incorporating nonlinear algorithms to control the vehicle through agile manoeuvres and rapidly changing trajectories. Although specific vision tracking and control algorithms will be used for the project, the hardware itself and system architecture will be applicable to a very wide range of tasks. Any application that is currently limited by tracking capabilities, in particular when combined with a rapid, demanding control challenge would benefit from this work. We will demonstrate a step change in agile, vision-based control of UAVs for exploration, and in doing so develop an architecture which will have benefits in fields as diverse as medical robotics and industrial production.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/M016587/1
    Funder Contribution: 5,079,620 GBP
    Partners: University of Oxford

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 3rd most common cancer in the UK, with >40,000 new cases in 2011. While there have been improvements in CRC treatment, it remains a significant killer, with 16,000 deaths in 2011. Research by ourselves/others has revealed that a "one size fits all approach" will not work, as genetic changes in their CRC cells can cause treatments to fail in particular patients. This increased understanding has given rise to the concept of "stratified medicine", where testing a patient's sample prior to treatment can indicate which therapy works in this particular patient. This "stratified" approach also allows patients who will not respond to be spared the often toxic side effects. Recognising the need to provide treatments leading to better survival/Quality of Life (Qol), a group of researchers, clinicians, patient groups and industry have formed a consortium (S-CORT), harnessing its members expertise to develop new approaches to stratify patients to improve outcomes, thus delivering real benefit for CRC patients. S-CORTs objectives are to: 1. Create a consortium united in the common goal to employ stratified medicine to yield better survival and QoL for CRC patients 2. Build on discoveries by S-CORT researchers to identify particular stratification approaches for patients receiving different therapies for CRC. Three priorities have been established a. While the drug Oxaliplatin has increased our options for treating CRC, approximately 50% of patients don't respond and develop side effects that can affect their nervous system and reduce their QoL. Being able to decide in advance which patients respond, allows those patients to receive the drug while sparing non-responders the toxic side effects b. ChemoRadiotherapy (CRT) is used in the treatment of rectal cancer, but 40% of patients with locally advanced disease gain no benefit. A stratification approach may not only indicate which patients to treat, but also allow design of new approaches to make RT more effective c. In early disease, some patients can have aggressive cancer which invades other parts of the body. Identifying these patients in advance of treatment would allow them to receive more extensive surgery/RT while those with less aggressive disease can be treated with local rectal preserving treatment 3. Establish a more complete understanding of the precise changes that occur in the genes and proteins of CRC cells and use this information to provide novel therapies for patients 4. Develop our best candidates into clinical tests that select patients for the therapies that have the greatest chance of success and/or with the fewest side effects in their particular disease 5. Bring together all our research into a database that will be a vital resource for future research, within and outside this consortium 6. Ensure that the patient is at the centre of all activities in S-CORT, helping with the design of studies, participating in focus groups, meetings and conferences and contributing to the communication of the activities of S-CORT to healthcare and research professionals, patient groups and the public at large 7. Publish our research findings in the best scientific journals and present our results at national and international conferences, thus demonstrating the quality of S-CORT's research 8. Examine how tests that we are developing will perform in the hospital for CRC patients and evaluate the health, economic and societal benefits of this approach 9. Ensure S-CORT's long term sustainability, thus driving implementation of new stratification approaches for CRC patients over the next decade, both in the UK and globally Delivering these ambitious objectives will allow development of new clinical tests to predict success/ failure of new therapies which, coupled with our increased knowledge of CRC biology will drive a new treatment vision where stratified medicine approaches can significantly benefit our patients.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/L013185/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,598,000 GBP
    Partners: University of London

    Haemophilia A is a bleeding disease in males due to very low levels of coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) in the blood. The major effect on health in severely affected patients is spontaneous (in the absence of trauma or injury) repeated bleeds into joints like the knee, hip, ankles and elbows, cause joint damage and chronic disability. Rarely, the disease causes death due to bleeding into the brain or other important organs. The current treatment is intravenous injection of FVIII clotting factor protein concentrates, in response to bleeding. Regular injection of FVIII clotting factor protein concentrates three times a week prevents spontaneous bleeds and joint damage. This study plans to use a virus called adeno-associated virus (AAV), which in nature causes no disease, and can be engineered to deliver the human FVIII gene (AAV8-HLP-codop-hFVIII-V3) to the liver, where FVIII is normally made. We have recently used this type of AAV vector for gene therapy of haemophilia B, a related condition with identical clinical manifestation, except that it arises because of low levels of a different protein called factor IX. In this study stable expression of FIX at levels 1-6% of normal were observed in all 10 participants without long lasting toxicity, resulting in significant patient benefit. Following extensive preclinical studies, a single dose of AAV vector containing a novel more potent human clotting factor VIII variant (AAV8-HLP-codop-hFVIII-V3) will be administered into a peripheral vein of adult patients with severe Haemophilia A. We propose to test three dose levels: 2e11, 6e11 and 2e12 vector genomes per kg body weight, which is the same dose range tested in the Haemophilia B clinical trial. The main objective will be to establish the safety and to do so we have established a comprehensive monitoring plan which includes an array of clinical and laboratory tests. Enrolment of each subject will proceed only after the previous subject has been observed for at least 28 days for acute toxicity. Enrolment will be suspended if serious adverse toxicity is observed in one subject. The other objective is to determine the dose of vector that results in expression of FVIII at more than 5% in peripheral blood. This level of expression can significantly reduce the frequency of severe bleeding episodes. The reason why human studies are critical is because our haemophilia B gene therapy trial, as well as other gene therapy studies in the field, have shown that animal models are poor predictors of outcome in humans. Successful Haemophilia A gene therapy will transform the treatment paradigm for this disease and will also support the development of gene therapy for other diseases affecting the liver including lysosomal storage disorders and hepatocellular carcinoma.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/N014499/1
    Funder Contribution: 2,004,300 GBP
    Partners: University of Salford, Liverpool Health Partners, PHE, Mirada Medical UK, North West Coast Academic Health Sci Nwk, Liverpool Women's Hospital, Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust, Durham University, Carl Zeiss Ltd, BioQ8 Ltd...

    As quality of life constantly improves, the average lifespan will continue to increase. Underlining this improvement is the vast amount of the UK government's support to NHS (£133.5 billion in year 2011/12) and the UK pharmaceutical industry's R&D large investment (4.9 billion to R&D in year 2011/12). The expectation of quality healthcare is inevitably high from all stakeholders. Fortunately recent advances in science and technology have enabled us to work towards personalised medicine and preventative care. This approach calls for a collective effort of researchers from a vast spectrum of specialised subjects. Advances in science and engineering is often accompanied by major development of mathematical sciences, as the latter underpin all other sciences. The UoL Centre will consist of a large and multidisciplinary team of applied and pure mathematicians, and statisticians together with healthcare researchers, clinicians and industrialists, collaborating with 15 HEIs and 40 NHS trusts plus other industrial partners and including our strongest groups: MRC Centre in Drug Safety Science, Centre for Cell imaging (CCI for live 3D and 4D imaging), Centre for Mathematical Imaging Techniques (unique in UK), Liverpool Biomedical EM unit, MRC Regenerative Medicine Hub, NIHR Health Protection Research Units, MRC Hub for Trials Methodology Research. Several research themes are highlighted below: Firstly, an improved understanding of the interaction dynamics of cells and tissues is crucial to developing effective future cures for cancer. Much of the current work is in 2D, with restrictive assumptions and without access to real data for modelling. We shall use the unparalleled real data of cell interactions in a 3D setting, generated at UoL's CCI. The real-life images obtained will have low contrast and noise and they will be analysed and enhanced by our imaging team through developing accurate and high resolution imaging models. The main imaging tools needed are segmentation methods (identifying objects such as cells and tissues regions in terms of sizes, shapes and precise boundaries). We shall propose and study a class of new 3D models, using our imaging data and analysis tools, to investigate and predict the spatial-temporal dynamics. Secondly, better models of how drugs are delivered to cells in tissues will improve personalised predictions of drug toxicity. We shall combine novel-imaging data of drug penetration into 3D experimental model systems with multi-scale mathematical models which scale-up from the level of cells to these model systems, with the ultimate aim of making better in-vitro to in-vivo predictions. Thirdly, there exist many competing models and software for imaging processing. However, for real images that have noise and are of low contrast, few methods are robust and accurate. To improve the modelling, applied and pure mathematicians team up to consider using more sophisticated tools of hyperbolic geometry and Riemann surfaces and fractional calculus to meet the demand for accuracy, and, applied mathematicians and statisticians will team up to design better data fidelity terms to model image discrepancies. Fourthly, resistance to current antibiotics means that previously treatable diseases are becoming deadly again. To understand and mitigate this, a better understanding is needed for how this resistance builds up across the human interaction networks and how it depends on antibiotic prescribing practices. To understand these scenarios, the mathematics competition in heterogeneous environments needs to be better understood. Our team links mathematical experts in analysing dynamical systems with experts in antimicrobial resistance and GPs to determine strategies that will mitigate or slow the development of anti-microbial resistance. Our research themes are aligned with, and will add value to, existing and current UoL and Research Council strategic investments, activities and future plans.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/M010996/1
    Funder Contribution: 7,407,580 GBP
    Partners: University of Edinburgh

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at www.rcuk.ac.uk/StudentshipTerminology. Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.

Send a message
How can we help?
We usually respond in a few hours.