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News

Hexagonal alloys feature in key UK Government-sponsored Frontier Engineering funding

Engineering And Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) : 18 March, 2013  (Special Report)
New innovative engineering projects and an international partnership between the UK and US will bring leading engineers and scientists together to address some of the major engineering challenges facing the world.

Funding for the projects was announced by the UK’s Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, at the first Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS) in London. The event is organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the US National Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering and is proudly supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and other partners.

Five Frontier Engineering projects will receive £25 million in total, the successful applicants cover a range of topics that align with the themes of the Global Grand Challenges Summit. In addition, four large grants to UK universities, totalling £20 million, will go to projects that also match the Summit’s themes of Resilience, Health, and Technology & Growth. They will develop new diagnostic tools and therapies in health, explore the use of hexagonal structures in technology, and improve urban infrastructure planning and modelling.

Lastly, a new call for proposals from UK and US teams to research provision of clean water for all will have between £1-2 million to allocate. This will be issued via collaboration between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Willetts said: “Over the last two centuries engineering innovations have transformed lives, but we still face global challenges like tackling climate change, improving healthcare and meeting basic needs, like access to clean water. This significant investment recognises the vital role that the UK research base can have in providing solutions to these challenges.”

EPSRC’s Chief Executive, Professor David Delpy said: “The issues being explored at the Global Grand Challenges Summit highlight how important it is for the UK to fund engineering research in these areas and work with colleagues worldwide to develop both the people and projects to meet the demands of the twenty first century.”

The five successful applicants for Frontier Engineering Awards are:

  • Scaling up synthetic biology - led by Imperial College London - Grant ref EP/K038648/1 aligns with GGC themes of Technology & Growth, Enriching Life
  • Nature inspired engineering – led by University College London (UCL) – Grant ref EP/K038656/1 aligns with GGC Sustainability theme
  • Synthetic biology applications to water – led by Glasgow University – Grant ref EP/K0388885/1 aligns with GGC themes of Resilience, and Technology & Growth themes
  • Individualised multiscale simulation – led by the University of Sheffield – Grant ref EP/K03877X/1 aligns with GGC Health theme
  • Simulation of open engineered biological systems – led by Newcastle University – Grant ref EP/K038648 aligns with GGC themes of Sustainability and Enriching Life

Four Large Programme Grants have been awarded to:

Professor Ffion Dunne, Imperial College London - Heterogeneous mechanics in hexagonal alloys across length and time scales - This project aims to improve understanding, performance and application of hexagonal material systems used by the aero, energy and defence sectors.
It will involve academics from the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester. Industrial partners include Rolls-Royce, SERC and Westinghouse who will provide an extra £1.4 million support in cash and in-kind contributions.
Grant value £5 million. Grant reference EP/KP034332/1

Professor Chris Rogers, University of Birmingham - Assessing the underworld - an integrated model of city infrastructures. This project builds on the earlier Mapping the Underworld project. It will involve academics from the Universities of Bath, Leeds, Sheffield, Southampton, Newcastle University and NERC British Geological Survey. It also includes institutions in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and the US among its sixty three partners. Key players in utilities, construction, sensing and mapping have pledged an additional £17 million support in cash and in-kind contributions.
Grant value £5.9 million. Grant reference EP/KP021699/1

Professor Sandy Cochran, University of Dundee - Sonopill: minimally invasive gastrointestinal diagnosis and therapy - This project will explore the use of ultrasound imaging and therapeutic capabilities deployed in a capsule format in the gastro intestinal tract. It will involve academics from the University of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt University.
Grant value £5 million. Grant reference EP/K034537/1

Professor Alan Murray, University of Edinburgh - Implantable microsystems for personalised anti-cancer therapy (IMPACT) - This project seeks to develop sensory chips to be implanted in cancerous tumours to guide radiotherapy and ultimately act as a chemotherapy delivery device.
Grant value £4.2 million. Grant reference EP/K034510/1

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