Projects funded through EPSRC IAA - 2019

Standard IAA Projects

Dr Martin Lavery (PI), Prof Anthony Kelly, School of Engineering
Wide-angle fluorescent optical receiver for high capacity underwater communications (GlowComm) (£28,000)

Maintenance and monitoring of submersed equipment is a particularly difficult and dangerous component of Oil and Gas Production in deep-water offshore oil fields. In recent years, the utilisation of visible light communications (VLC) has become an emerging technology with the potential to complement and enhance the currently widely implemented ultrasound underwater communication technologies.

In conjunction with Teledyne Bowtech Ltd., a bespoke optical receiver component will be developed which allows for a dramatic increase in the optical collection efficiency of an already developed underwater communication prototype. This will allow the team to overcome major alignment hurdles that limit the current market size of the prototype.

Dr Karl Burgess,  MVLS
Developing the RTMet instrumentation for reliability and robustness (£32,000)

Batch failure in fermentations is a major cost in industries as diverse as biopharmaceuticals to brewing, and common to any industrial biotechnology process. Current techniques do not provide the detail required to fully understand a bioprocess, or the time-dependent changes in a microorganism’s biochemistry during growth or chemical production. Both the team and their collaborators Ingenza and Thermo Fisher Scientific, want to monitor the culture to allow optimisation of feedstocks, prevent batch loss due to toxin build up, and monitor the performance of strains to guide genetic improvements.

The aim of the project is to demonstrate that the prototype sampling system that the team have constructed can be used to couple a high value bioprocess fermentation directly to a high resolution mass spectrometer enabling hundreds of chemical read-outs to be recorded every minute.

Dr Larissa Naylor, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Dynamic Coast Downscaling: coastal assessment of Edinburgh’s Shoreline (£9,000)

University of Glasgow Dynamic Coast (Scotland’s National Coastal Change Assessment (NCCA)) research anticipates that rises in sea level, coastal erosion and coastal flooding will increasingly affect Scotland’s soft coastlines, presenting risks to property and infrastructure. Dynamic Coast Phase 2 (2018-2019) seeks to enhance the evidence base for adaptation along soft, rural to semi-rural coasts in Scotland but does not currently extend to urban areas.

By working alongside Scottish Natural Heritage and Edinburgh Adapts, this project seeks to identify social, natural and built assets locally at risk by downscaling data from Dynamic Coast Phase 2 in a key urban coastal area at risk: the City of Edinburgh.

Prof Jon Cooper (PI), Dr Arslan Khalid, Dr Julien Reboud, School of Engineering
iVisco (£40,000)

A stroke occurs every two seconds, leading to disability or death. The global burden of stroke is predicted to double within 15 years. Despite clinical evidence, blood viscosity is not routinely used as a marker for stroke (or to assess stroke risk), due to the difficulties associated with its measurement, requiring large, expensive and complex equipment. iVisco combines acoustic actuation of a finger-prick sample with non-contact optical analysis to detect clinically-significant viscosity changes down to ±0.1 mPa.s, (~10x the change reported in patients with stroke risk) in <1min.

In collaboration with Morgan Innovation and Technology Ltd, this project will finalise a lab-based ‘works-like’ prototype to validate the applicability of the technique in a clinical setting, a key de-risking milestone to unlock substantial investment.

Dr Amalio Fernández-Pacheco, School of Physics and Astronomy
3DPRINTIP: 3D-printed magnetic tip sensors (£31,000)

The objective of this project is to initiate the product development of a new type of 3D-printed magnetic sensors for advanced microscopy of magnetic devices. The project will be developed together with GETec Microscopy GmbH, a young world-leading company in correlative microscopy, which is now expanding their range of activities to magnetic imaging of nanoscale materials.

Dr Vihar Georgiev (PI), Prof Asen Asenov, School of Engineering
Nano-Electronic Simulation Software (NESS) - creating the first open source TCAD platform in the world (£36,000)

Technology Computer Aided Design (TCAD) tools are crucial for the success of the $380B semiconductor industry that enables the humanity transforming Information Technologies (IT) and the digital economy as a whole. TCAD reduces time to market and the development costs of the contemporary and future Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technologies, the integrated circuits and the corresponding products, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and processor farms and cloud computing.

Working with Semiwise Ltd and Quantum Base Ltd, the team aim to create the first Open Source Technology Computer Aided Design (TCAD) software platform where the industry and academia can freely collaborate to explore and optimise new devices and materials.

Prof Sandy Cochran, School of Engineering
Ultracap Microultrasound Imaging Development (£10,000)

In collaboration with Envision Design Ltd, this project seeks to assemble a working prototype of a microultrasound imaging cap to fit on existing endoscopes, upgrading them to allow high resolution microultrasound imaging, without impeding their ordinary optical and biopsy functions. This will help in diagnosis of cancer and precancerous conditions in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the colon, improving early intervention rates.

Prof Richard Hogg, School of Engineering
Enhancing Commercial Impact of University of Glasgow MBE (£34,000)

Molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) is a semiconductor crystal growth technique used in the production of a wide variety of electronic and opto-electronic devices such as lasers, photodetectors and high-speed transistors. The University of Glasgow has been working in this field for over 30 years and had built up a lab consisting of three MBE machines at the West of Scotland science park growing a wide range of structures.

This project sparked a joint venture in III-V epitaxy between the University of Glasgow, Gas Sensing Solutions and Compound Semiconductor Technology Global, developing new epitaxy based products outside of the standard devices and systems typically produced.

Dr Andrew Jamieson, School of Chemistry
Practical and Scalable Asymmetric Synthesis of Fmoc-amino Acid Building Blocks (£33,000)

Amino acids are vital molecular building blocks required by the pharmaceutical and agrichemical industries. Unnatural, non-proteinogenic amino acids are of particular importance to facilitate the synthesis of stable, potent peptide ligands and drugs. Demand for unnatural amino acids compatible with Fmoc/tBu solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) is increasing as more peptides and peptidomimetics reach clinical trials and the market.

The objective of this project was to extend this Fmoc amino acid compound library to include new analogues. The team further developed their methodology through automation to facilitate the scalable synthesis of Fmoc amino acids in quantities from grams to kilograms. If successful, the IP associated with these methodology developments will be protected, the new chemistry in high impact academic journals will be reported and the novel Fmoc amino acids will be commercialised in partnership with IRIS Biotech.

Dr Aleksandra Vuckovic
Market Validation, Business Plan and Investor Engagement for a Neurotechnology Spin Out (£20,000)

The team have developed and clinically tested therapeutic and diagnostic software applications based on electroencephalographic (EEG) measurements of brain activity.

These IAA funds supported the development of a business plan and investor proposition in order to launch an EEG Neurofeedback spin-out venture. This business will be a software development company that can provide pain prediction and management tools which can be partnered with a range of non-clinical and clinical hardware devices.


Research Associate Call IAA Projects

Dr Samadhan Patil, School of Engineering
Multicorder Clinical validation (for myocardial infarction and stroke) (£20,000)

As part of the multicorder programme, a CMOS based multimetabolite sensing platform was developed, with the capacity to detect 4 metabolite biomarkers simultaneously in real time in less than 2 minutes. 

As a part of this project, the team will collaborate with clinicians working in the area of ischaemic heart disease and stroke. This will enable the team to work on metabolites that are clinically relevant, and detect these
metabolites in clinical samples from patients. This would establish the ability of the developed device for use in clinical samples and will pave a way for the device as a point-of-care diagnostic device through the clinical validation process.

Dr Adetunmise Charles Dada, School of Engineering 
Daylight quantum key distribution at 2 microns: a field test (BroadDayQComm) (£18,000)

Satellite-based quantum communication promises to be a feasible way to achieve global-scale quantum-secure networks, addressing the security requirements of the next generation of global communications. A critical challenge preventing the wide-spread usage of space-to-ground quantum key distribution (QKD) is the presence of a strong solar background, blinding the single-photon detectors required to exchange quantum cryptographic keys, and limiting satellite QKD to only night time. 

This project, in collaboration with Chromacity Ltd. and Covesion Ltd., establishes the conditions in which a free space optical link between University buildings can sustain quantum key distribution in broad daylight.

Dr Oana Dobre, School of Engineering
Development of new bioinks for the efficient presentation of the growth factors for tissue engineering applications (£10,500)

Bioprinting is a precise technology to create complex three-dimensional (3D) tissue structures for biological and clinical applications that incorporates cells, biomaterials and/or bioactive molecules. Depending on the applications, there are different techniques that can be used, but all of them share the same technical challenges, including the lack of biocompatibility and printability of the bioink formulations. Bioinks are very versatile materials with the potential to recreate the complexity of the tissue in-vivo.

This IAA funding allowed for a collaboration with CELLINK to combine a proven ultralow dose growth factor presentation and protein-based hydrogel technology, with company expertise in the formulation, development and testing of universally printable bioinks.

Dr Yusuf Sambo, School of Engineering
Application of Advanced Cooling Technology To High Integrity 5G Communication Systems (£11,750)

There has been a tremendous evolution in mobile communications over the past few decades driven by the quest for high data rates and multimedia services, leading to the 5th generation of mobile networks (5G). 5G will rely on ultra-dense deployment of small cells by bringing the network closer to users in order to meet its ambitious KPI targets. However, network densification will result in a substantial increase in the energy consumption and carbon emissions of 5G networks, which would have a significant effect on the economic and environmental sustainability of mobile communications.

The Communications, Sensing and Imaging group (CSI), in collaboration with TCS, aimed to test and implement a use case for the revolutionary TEC system developed by TCS and evaluate its performance in a real network deployment scenario.

Fast Track Projects

Dr Richard Taylor, School of Engineering
Photonic crystal surface emitting lasers: Industry engagement (£2,400)

Dr Craig MacDonald, School of Computing Science
Towards Fairness and Transparency in Digital Sensitivity Review (£2140)

Dr Elijah Nazarzadeh, School of Engineering
Synthetic Cell Workshop (£1000)

Dr Vihar Georgiev, School of Engineering
AVS International Symposium and Exhibition (£2250)

Prof Ravinder Dahiya, School of Engineering
3D Touch Interactive Hologram (£1600)

Dr Martin Lavery, School of Engineering
MarineComm: Workshop on communication technology transfer for Ocean Science (£2100)

Prof Alice Miller, School of Computing Science
Optimisation of prediction models for red blood cell demand (£1500)

Dr Cristina Medina Bailon, School of Engineering
Development boost for the Device Modelling Group open-source NESS computational framework (£2860)