EPSRC IAA Projects Funded in 2022
Our new EPSRC IAA for 2022-2025 commenced on 1st April 2022. Projects listed on this page include some funded under the previous 2017-2022 EPSRC IAA as well as the new award.
Featured project: Mitigation of Cybersickness and Motion Sickness in the Era of the Metaverse
Standard IAA Projects Awards
Ubiquitous Asset Management Using Hybrid RFID and IoT Technologies
The loss and underutilisation of company assets cost the private and public sectors millions of pounds each year. Particularly in sectors such as Universities, Hospitals and many more, typically large multi-floored sites with over 1000 physical assets, it’s a struggle to keep track of equipment with staff clocking up hours and miles just searching for unused devices or out of service equipment. Also, individuals have to communicate with many of their colleagues to find the necessary equipment for their work which burdens and consumes time in chasing up the asset. In this regard, improving visibility and location of essential equipment/physical assets can considerably improve operational performance. To use better real-time asset utilisation to keep track of individual items through the use RFID tags attached to them, Communication Sensing and Imaging Group have developed the system which identify and track assets automatically which is also an extended application of our innovative space management systems currently been deployed at various locations with the University of Glasgow.
Alan Turing Institute Network Development
Prof Ana Basiri, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences in collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute, The Data Lab, and The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) - £20,352
Aligned with The University of Glasgow Research Strategy 2020-2025, this project will enable UofG to initiate and expand collaborations with our national Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, The Alan Turing Institute (ATI), ATI’s programmes, and with ATI’s diverse community of partners and maximise the impacts of the recently awarded Turing Network Development Award (starting Feb 2022). This award will facilitate even further the delivery of UoG’s vision to be a Scottish sister hub for ATI in Glasgow that can bring and lead research within UoG and across Scotland, influence policymakers, target opportunities, and focus on new priorities align with the UK Government and Scotland AI strategies. In these ATI has a key role and expanding UofG’s relationships with ATI, as the UK’s National Institute for Data Science Institute, is particularly important to deliver this vision.
Computational Modelling of an MRI-Compatible In-vitro and In-vivo Stimulation System for Brain Cancer Treatment
Compared to other diseases, the incidence of brain tumours is low. However, the social and economic impact on society is disproportionately significant. Brain tumours result in loss of independence, suffering for patients and their loved ones, and loss of life. A 2018 parliamentary report estimated the UK economic costs of brain tumours to be £578 million each year, the third highest of all cancers despite the small numbers of patients with these diseases. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of brain cancer, with an average 5-year survival rate of just 3%, even after patients have undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy and tumour resection surgery as part of the standard of care. Recent phase III clinical trials have shown that electrical fields can help to slow tumour growth by preventing cell division when used alongside the standard of care, tripling 5-year survival rates to 12.8%. Manchester-based QV Bioelectronics are at the forefront of the push to develop a commercial neurostimulation device that can be used for the treatment of Glioblastoma. QV Bioelectronics are one of just a handful of companies commercialising implanted bioelectronics in the UK & Europe and have attracted >£1.5M in venture and grant funding since their foundation in 2018. They have a prototype medical device that is progressing in preclinical development ahead of a planned 1st in man trial in 2024. A major hurdle that needs to be overcome is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) compatibility - an encounter between a neurostimulation device and MRI can result in the complications such as exertion of force, voltage induction, heating and imaging artefacts. This is particularly problematic in neuro-oncology indications where a key clinical requirement is the ability to clearly view the peri-implant tissue on MRI scans. Ensuring the MRI-compatibility of implanted electrodes developed to treat brain tumours will be a key step in enabling the next phase of preclinical research to take place. This project aims to simulate the study of the MRI compatibility of the fabricated prototype by using Sim4Life. Sim4Life is a revolutionary simulation platform, combining computable human phantoms with the most powerful physics solvers and the most advanced tissue models, for directly analyzing biological real-world phenomena and complex technical devices in a validated biological and anatomical environment.
Glanadair Business Strategy
Glanadair is a University spin-out fully established and registered in April 2020, but with restricted development due to the pandemic. Glanadair’s specialist area is the application of atmospheric plasma discharges to surface decontamination, building on experience gained from commercial operations in Anacail Ltd. The primary focus of Glanadair will be in the medical and care sectors, for which Glanadair has developed several innovative prospects, ranging from re-usable disinfecting wipes to full sterilisation of heat-labile devices. Glanadair has had encouraging feedback from investors, but with the caveat that clarity and focus is needed on Glanadair’s commercialisation strategy and planning. Therefore an experienced external consultant has been invited to offer professional business advice to help facilitate the planning of Glanadair’s next business phase. The consultation and facilitation will culminate in a business plan, inclusive of product and market strategy and financial considerations, that can be used to secure investment for the next business phase.
Compact Field Prototypes for Wee-g Gravimeter
Gravimetry is an extremely effective geophysical tool as it allows us to understand hidden subsurface density anomalies by detecting subtle changes in gravity (often <1 parts-per-billion). However, its wider utilisation is severely limited due to the high upfront costs of commercial devices (>£100k) and the practicality of surveying a large surface area with one device. Wee-g, a MEMS gravimeter provides the benefits of reduced size, weight, power, and costs (<£15k) when compared to commercial gravimeters and can be used in applications such as volcano warning systems, sink-hole detection, mineral prospecting, and security and defence. The current versions of the prototypes are currently being deployed on Mt Etna for volcano monitoring. As the Wee-g 1.0 prototypes are designed as per the Newton-g project requirements, these are not really suitable for carrying out short microgravity surveys. To develop a practical instrument, it is essential to design and test the next generation of the Wee-g enclosure that is more portable, has features that enhance user experience, and works well in both short-term survey and long-term monitoring scenarios. This EPSRC IAA award is providing the opportunity to make new demonstrators for the next generation of Wee-g devices that include various hardware and instrumental upgrades. The proposed upgrades, many of which have been suggested by our collaborators and end-users, will not only improve the performance of the device but further strengthen the commercialisation argument of Wee-g, therefore, targeting the £1bn gravity sensing market and shifting the locus of gravimeter manufacturing from the US to Scotland.
Visualisation Tools for Facilitating Policy Engagement with Complex Spatiotemporal Statistical Models
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has driven major necessity for tools to help inform policy makers in making decisions under uncertainty. One of those decisions is in the implementation of interventions, both pharmaceutical and community-based/non-pharmaceutical. In order to inform that decision making process, statistical models expressing the current state of the pandemic are vitally important. One of the major challenges, however, is in transferring information over the frequent knowledge gap between statisticians and modellers and the policy makers that rely on their modelling. The complexities of the statistical models themselves may not be of interest. However, it is vital to understand the choices made as part of the modelling process, and how these might affect interpretation of the results. We have developed an R shiny app in previous work that provides a visual presentation of the modelling of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection across the districts of Bangladesh for various different modelling choices. We would like to develop this work further, through producing documentation, and extending the work to compare the spatial spread of infection during times of different variants dominating. The initial app is in working order, but this additional work is required to help end-users understand the choices and their consequences, so that the app can be used in the field.
GKN Aerospace is developing a novel, electric, zero-emissions vertical take-off and landing vehicle under their SkyBus project. This is a novel concept and aims to provide mass transportation, in contrast to mainstream vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles that are limited to <6 passengers. The size of the vehicle makes the project challenging but its usefulness (SkyBus serves large number of people ~40-60) makes the challenge worthy. SkyBus started as a concept vehicle and its design is undergoing refinement. GKN needs expertise in rotorcraft Aerodynamic performance, Acoustics and Aeroelasticity that is exactly the AAA approach UofG is pioneering with the HMB3 (Helicopter Multi-Block 3) set of tools. UofG is to start from the current vehicle design and using HMB3 will aim for improved performance. This is a challenging task because of the size of the vehicle (17,000 kg of take-off mass) and calls for advanced design and optimisation tools with high fidelity methods. Using more mainstream design tools instead of HMB3 is not going to give any more insight into how the SkyBus vehicle flies and performs and what needs to be done to have high performance and safe operations. The first-principles, high-fidelity approach of HMB3 is the right tool for this task and is expected to provide new, optimal blade shapes, and a better overall vehicle configuration via optimisation and computer simulation.
Early-Stage Clinical Development of LW223 for Future Commercialisation
This project aims to achieve a highly impactful license to LMI by early/mid-2023 by conducting first-in-human clinical trials of a commercially exciting new positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer, known as LW223, which fulfils an unmet market need. LMI is a leading molecular imaging firm and has shown strong interest in commercialising LW223 if these clinical trials show promise. LMI believes the radiotracer has a significant revenue generating potential. The trials will be conducted in collaboration with the nuclear medicine department at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich, Germany.
Fast Track Project Awards
Single-cycle THz Fields Electro-optical Sampling with Single-photon Detectors
Funding to present recent ground-breaking work in Single-cycle THz fields electro-optical sampling with single-photon detectors at IEEE Photonics Conference in 2022. The opportunity to present to a selected audience and discuss how to develop and implement the proposed technology will increase the potential impact of our research. Discussions with companies’ representatives will also be invaluable to foster the development of the proposed technology. We will meet with BT, Cycle GmbH, Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications and IOF.
Addressing Technical Shortfalls and Assessing Future End-user Needs in the Treatment of the UK’s Civil Plutonium
Follow-on from previous IAA award helping to address project challenges emerging as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Synthesis of Organic Materials for Downconverters
The synthesis all new organic materials will developed by the University of Glasgow in Professor Peter Skabara’s labs. During this project the facilities available in Professor Skabara’s labs will be used for the synthesis and purification of new materials (glassware, hotplates, rotary evaporators, preparative GPC equipment), their routine characterisation by NMR, mass spectrometry, elemental analysis, TGA and DSC. The study of optical properties will be carried out by UV absorption and emission spectroscopy.
MetaCare: Partnership Development for Mitigation of Cybersickness and Motion Sickness in the Era of the Metaverse
The Metaverse ecosystem, led by Meta (Facebook) and other tech giants, is making consumer-friendly head-mounted immersive virtual reality (IVR) become the industry standard, particularly for the fields of healthcare and education as well as the automotive sector. However, currently the benefits of IVR are limited to those who do not experience motion sickness (a self-protective syndrome caused by the conflict between the visual and vestibular systems) or cybersickness (a kind of visually-induced motion sickness). This is especially pertinent given that approximately, 40-70% of the general population may experience some level of cybersickness and 50-60% for conventional motion sickness. Therefore, cybersickness and motion sickness are core challenges for the widespread acceptance of IVR-centric Metaverse applications, and developing techniques that can solve these challenges may have huge opportunities for commercialization. We will focus on the market of IVR uses in vehicles with the aim to innovatively use combined biosensing and non-invasive vestibular system masking technology (n-VSM) to detect and mitigate motion sickness caused by the use of IVR in a moving vehicle so as to ultimately enrich a passenger’s journey experience.
AI-driven Antenna Design Exploration Software Tool Development
Follow-on from previous IAA award helping to address project challenges emerging as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prototyping a Flexible Implantable Optogenetic Device
NHS expenditure on neurological disorders amounted to £4.4 bn in 2012/13, and related social care cost £2.4 bn. The number of hospital admissions annually in the UK for conditions in this category is in the millions, and numbers have been rising rapidly in recent years (Neuro Number 2019, The Neurological Alliance). New effective treatments for these disorders are sorely needed to improve the health and quality of life for sufferers, and prevent pre-mature death. Optogenetics is a neuromodulation technique which in the last decade has led to an ‘explosion of new findings in systems neuroscience’. It has the potential to translate from neuroscience research tool to a game-changing medical treatment for neurological conditions like chronic pain, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Major hurdles remain however, the most challenging to which is to minimise the invasiveness of any device, so that it is suitable for long-term, safe implantation. The ultimate goal of my current work is to prototype a next-generation implanted optogenetic device which overcomes the remaining hurdles in the following ways: eliminate protruding wires and optical fibres using wireless power transfer and control, reduce invasiveness and immune response by using thin, flexible substrates and fully encapsulate using a biocompatible polymer, and reduce device heating below regulatory limits using efficient ultrathin microLEDs. This EPSRC IAA funding will enable the production of this prototype through access to the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC).
Research Associate IAA Project Awards
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Other IAA Calls for Proposals - Awards
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