Bangor is a city in Gwynedd unitary authority, north west Wales, and one of the smallest cities in Britain. Historically in Caernarfonshire, it is a university city with a population of 17,575 at the 2011 census, not including around 10,000 students at Bangor University. It is one of only six places classed as a city in Wales, although it is only the 36th largest urban area by population. According to the 2001 census, 46.6% of the non-student resident population speak Welsh, which is low for Gwynedd but despite this, the language keeps a high profile in town. Wikipedia.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-08-2014 | Award Amount: 25.06M | Year: 2015
The TBVAC2020 proposal builds on the highly successful and long-standing collaborations in subsequent EC-FP5-, FP6- and FP7-funded TB vaccine and biomarker projects, but also brings in a large number of new key partners from excellent laboratories from Europe, USA, Asia, Africa and Australia, many of which are global leaders in the TB field. This was initiated by launching an open call for Expressions of Interest (EoI) prior to this application and to which interested parties could respond. In total, 115 EoIs were received and ranked by the TBVI Steering Committee using proposed H2020 evaluation criteria. This led to the prioritisation of 52 R&D approaches included in this proposal. TBVAC2020 aims to innovate and diversify the current TB vaccine and biomarker pipeline while at the same time applying portfolio management using gating and priority setting criteria to select as early as possible the most promising TB vaccine candidates, and accelerate their development. TBVAC2020 proposes to achieve this by combining creative bottom-up approaches for vaccine discovery (WP1), new preclinical models addressing clinical challenges (WP2) and identification and characterisation of correlates of protection (WP5) with a directive top-down portfolio management approach aiming to select the most promising TB vaccine candidates by their comparative evaluation using objective gating and priority setting criteria (WP6) and by supporting direct, head-to head or comparative preclinical and early clinical evaluation (WP3, WP4). This approach will both innovate and diversify the existing TB vaccine and biomarker pipeline as well as accelerate development of most promising TB vaccine candidates through early development stages. The proposed approach and involvement of many internationally leading groups in the TB vaccine and biomarker area in TBVAC2020 fully aligns with the Global TB Vaccine Partnerships (GTBVP).
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-01-2015 | Award Amount: 10.23M | Year: 2016
The objective of SponGES is to develop an integrated ecosystem-based approach to preserve and sustainably use vulnerable sponge ecosystems of the North Atlantic. The SponGES consortium, an international and interdisciplinary collaboration of research institutions, environmental non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, will focus on one of the most diverse, ecologically and biologically important and vulnerable marine ecosystems of the deep-sea - sponge grounds that to date have received very little research and conservation attention. Our approach will address the scope and challenges of ECs Blue Growth Call by strengthening the knowledge base, improving innovation, predicting changes, and providing decision support tools for management and sustainable use of marine resources. SponGES will fill knowledge gaps on vulnerable sponge ecosystems and provide guidelines for their preservation and sustainable exploitation. North Atlantic deep-sea sponge grounds will be mapped and characterized, and a geographical information system on sponge grounds will be developed to determine drivers of past and present distribution. Diversity, biogeographic and connectivity patterns will be investigated through a genomic approach. Function of sponge ecosystems and the goods and services they provide, e.g. in habitat provision, bentho-pelagic coupling and biogeochemical cycling will be identified and quantified. This project will further unlock the potential of sponge grounds for innovative blue biotechnology namely towards drug discovery and tissue engineering. It will improve predictive capacities by quantifying threats related to fishing, climate change, and local disturbances. SpongeGES outputs will form the basis for modeling and predicting future ecosystem dynamics under environmental changes. SponGES will develop an adaptive ecosystem-based management plan that enables conservation and good governance of these marine resources on regional and international levels.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 1.24M | Year: 2017
Urban water management becomes progressively more challenging in the view of population growth and increasing complexity of water management infrastructure. In this line, there is an ever increase demand from the water providers and public authorities perspective to critically evaluate the existing water ecosystems at city level in respect to the water supply, waste water treatment, reuse potential and the effect the growing population has on the water ecosystem and endangered species. To enable effective decision making at the entire city level, both surface water and groundwater should be viewed as part of the overall urban water ecosystem with its spatio-temporal availability, quantity and quality and competing uses being taken into account. The Water4Cities project will rely on sensor technologies, data and visual analytics to enable localization, visualization and analysis of urban water (both surface water and groundwater) at a holistic urban setting providing services to multiple water stakeholders. More specifically, the Water4Cities project aims to develop the necessary models and associated platform that will enable water providers and relevant stakeholders to a) monitor in real-time the urban water resources; b) support their decisions for optimal urban water management causing minimal environmental impact and c) involve policy makers, corporations and the public to provide the support for sound and balanced decision-making. Beyond the scientific results, Water4Cities will target the exchange of knowledge among project partners. The Water4Cities project requires the collaboration of researchers in different research areas, i.e., water management, urban infrastructure management, sensor networks, data mining, data visualization, system integration, urban planning. Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the project, staff exchanges will allow partners working closely together to deliver high quality results.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 3.98M | Year: 2017
SUMCASTEC explores radically new approach for cancer stem cells (CSCs) real time isolation (i.e. within minutes vs current 40 days) and neutralization. A novel micro-optofluidic lab-on-chip (LOC) platform will be developed through a joint and iterative effort by biologists, clinicians and engineers. For the first time, a single LOC will be capable of delivering ultra-wide broadband radiation to compare cell spectral signatures, image subcellular features, and hence modulate CSCs microenvironment conditions with unprecedented space and time resolution. It will be driven to isolate CSCs from heterogeneous differentiated and stem cell populations, and force CSCs differentiation, ultimately inducing sensitivity to anticancer treatments. Extensive in vitro and in vivo testing along with biophysical modelling will validate the approach and establish the proof-of-principle within the project life-time, while laying the groundwork for further development of future electrosurgical tools that will be capable CSCs neutralization in tissue. This will not only establish a new line of treatment for brain cancers such as Glioblastoma Multiforme and Medulloblastoma, whose initiation and recurrence were linked to CSCs, and that claim tremendous human and economic tolls, worldwide; it will also push the current boundaries of microbiological analysis by enabling microenvironment characterization/manipulation and real-time ionic channels monitoring without cytotoxic patch-clamping or electron microscopy. By investing in efforts such as SUMCASTECs, Europe will stand at the forefront of global biomedical innovation and push through a similar miniaturization trend as the one that propelled mobile communications, yet with much deeper societal impact. All the required competences are gathered within this consortium. The ambitious objectives of the project are planned over 42 months with a requested grant of 3 978 517,5 .
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-11a-2014 | Award Amount: 8.56M | Year: 2015
BioMOre describes a New Mining Concept for Extracting Metals from Deep Ore Deposits using Biotechnology. The concept is to use hydrofracturing for stimulation and bioleaching for winning of ores. The final process will consist of a so-called doublet, which is two deviated and parallel wells. In order to avoid high costs for drilling from the surface, the BioMOre approach is divided into two phases. Phase 1 will be research on the intended bioleaching process whereas phase 2 will aim at a pilot installation to demonstrate the applicability of the process in large scale including hydro-fracturing and access of the deposit from surface. The first phase should cover the intended work of the current BioMOre approach without drilling from surface. The BioMOre project aims at extracting metals from deep mineralized zones in Europe (Poland-Germany, Kupferschiefer deposit as a test case) by coupling solution mining and bioleaching. Selected sustainability indicators based on regulatory requirements of the European Commission will be applied for feasibility considerations. The main objective of the BioMOre first phase is to design and build an underground test facility for testing the concept of combined hydro-fracturing and bioleaching. The test facility will comprise a 100 m ore block, where boreholes will be drilled horizontally using standard equipment. All necessary equipment for testing different parameters of the intended bioleaching process will be established underground. The intention is to test the bioleaching process in high detail in an in-situ environment at the same time avoiding time consuming and risky permission procedures. On the other hand, the application for the permission of underground test operation must contain detailed information about monitoring of tests and all material controls. No harmful substances will remain in the mine after the tests are completed. Further to that, predictive numerical modelling of a pilot installation should be done.
Neal R.D.,Bangor University
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2015
Background:It is unclear whether more timely cancer diagnosis brings favourable outcomes, with much of the previous evidence, in some cancers, being equivocal. We set out to determine whether there is an association between time to diagnosis, treatment and clinical outcomes, across all cancers for symptomatic presentations.Methods:Systematic review of the literature and narrative synthesis.Results:We included 177 articles reporting 209 studies. These studies varied in study design, the time intervals assessed and the outcomes reported. Study quality was variable, with a small number of higher-quality studies. Heterogeneity precluded definitive findings. The cancers with more reports of an association between shorter times to diagnosis and more favourable outcomes were breast, colorectal, head and neck, testicular and melanoma.Conclusions:This is the first review encompassing many cancer types, and we have demonstrated those cancers in which more evidence of an association between shorter times to diagnosis and more favourable outcomes exists, and where it is lacking. We believe that it is reasonable to assume that efforts to expedite the diagnosis of symptomatic cancer are likely to have benefits for patients in terms of improved survival, earlier-stage diagnosis and improved quality of life, although these benefits vary between cancers.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 3 March 2015; doi:10.1038/bjc.2015.48 www.bjcancer.com. © 2015 Cancer Research UK
Johnson D.B.,Bangor University
Current Opinion in Biotechnology | Year: 2014
The abilities of acidophilic chemolithotrophic bacteria and archaea to accelerate the oxidative dissolution of sulfide minerals have been harnessed in the development and application of a biotechnology for extracting metals from sulfidic ores and concentrates. Biomining is currently used primarily to leach copper sulfides and as an oxidative pretreatment for refractory gold ores, though it is also used to recover other base metals, such as cobalt, nickel and zinc. Recent developments have included using acidophiles to process electronic wastes, to extract metals from oxidized ores, and to selectively recover metals from process waters and waste streams. This review describes the microorganisms and mechanisms involved in commercial biomining operations, how the technology has developed over the past 50 years, and discusses the challenges and opportunities for mineral biotechnologies in the 21st century. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Fonseca V.G.,Bangor University
Nature communications | Year: 2010
Biodiversity is of crucial importance for ecosystem functioning, sustainability and resilience, but the magnitude and organization of marine diversity at a range of spatial and taxonomic scales are undefined. In this paper, we use second-generation sequencing to unmask putatively diverse marine metazoan biodiversity in a Scottish temperate benthic ecosystem. We show that remarkable differences in diversity occurred at microgeographical scales and refute currently accepted ecological and taxonomic paradigms of meiofaunal identity, rank abundance and concomitant understanding of trophic dynamics. Richness estimates from the current benchmarked Operational Clustering of Taxonomic Units from Parallel UltraSequencing analyses are broadly aligned with those derived from morphological assessments. However, the slope of taxon rarefaction curves for many phyla remains incomplete, suggesting that the true alpha diversity is likely to exceed current perceptions. The approaches provide a rapid, objective and cost-effective taxonomic framework for exploring links between ecosystem structure and function of all hitherto intractable, but ecologically important, communities.
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 252.53K | Year: 2017
The UK produces 58% of its own vegetables which have an estimated economic value of £1.2 billion annually. Many of these are produced on the lowland fen peatlands within the East Anglia region. This is particularly the case for field-grown salad vegetables with these peatlands supplying the majority of salad vegetables to all the major UK supermarkets. While these soils are recognised as being super-productive, they are also highly susceptible to damage which is threatening their long term economic future. For example, the average rate of soil loss from a combination of wind erosion and microbial breakdown of the peat lies in the region 1-2 cm depth per year. It is also widely predicted that the rate of loss is likely to increase with climate change making it a fragile resource. Some of the more shallow peats have already been completely lost, while the deeper peats have a finite lifetime estimated to be in the region of 75-125 years unless something is done to reduce the rate of soil loss. The recent House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report on Soil Health identified the loss of soil from cultivated peatlands as one of the greatest threats to soil security in the UK. In response to this, our project aims to work with the horticultural industry and other key organisations to investigate new ways to save these peatlands from further rapid degradation and a loss of natural capital. We will focus on trying to reduce both the biologically-mediated loss of soil carbon and also the physical wind erosional loss of soil. We hypothesise that active management of the water table at strategic times of the year (e.g. during winter when there is no crop in the ground) can be used to reduce microbial activity in the soil and reduce losses of peat in the form of CO2. However, this must be done in such a way that it doesnt increase the release of other greenhouse gases (CH4, N2O) or result in other negative impacts on productivity or on soil quality. In addition, usin outdoor mesocosm trials, we will explore other potential synergistic strategies that may complement water table intervention as a soil conservation measure (e.g. use of nitrification inhibitors, cover crops etc). As our knowledge of the amount of soil lost by wind erosion remains poor, we will also use field monitoring and controlled wind tunnel experiments to get a better quantitative estimate of this loss pathway. This will allow growers to decide on whether to invest in protective technologies that might reduce erosional losses (e.g. soil physical binding agents, winter cover). While this project will generate lots of fundamental knowledge on peatland behaviour under different management scenarios, it is important that the research also recognises the socioeconomic context in which these agricultural systems operate. A key part of this project will therefore be to evaluate the social, economic and environmental impacts of the alternative strategies and compare these against the business-as-usual scenario. To facilitate this, a stakeholder workshop at the start of the project with representatives from industry, environmental regulators and policymakers, local drainage boards and conservation bodies will be used to actively steer the project towards outcomes that are both practical, economically viable and provide the best environmental outcome. This will be complemented by a final engagement workshop towards the end of the project where the barriers to technology adoption are explored. This will lead to the production of a grower- and policy-orientated roadmap for future preservation of this fragile soil resource and will have a focus on balancing economic and environmental sustainability. Ultimately, the research simultaneously aims to protect this soil resource for generations to come whilst maintaining profitability, productivity, and UK governments desire for sustainable intensification, greater food security and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-STG | Phase: ERC-StG-2015 | Award Amount: 1.81M | Year: 2016
Understanding how we perceive and interact with others is a core challenge of social cognition research. This challenge is poised to intensify in importance as the ubiquity of artificial intelligence and the presence of humanoid robots in society grows. By innovatively combining psychology, neuroscience and robotics, the SOCIAL ROBOTS project helps prepare us for this future by (1) establishing a new approach for understanding how the human brain processes and responds to interactive robots; (2) delineating the factors influencing how representations of robots and humans are shared at brain and behavioural levels; and (3) exploring how these findings inform the now-rapid development of social robots. To achieve this, we first investigate how young adults perceive and interact with humans vs. robots, the role of physical features and training experience, and the extent to which brain regions mediating social interaction with humans also support robot interaction. Next, to test the role of experience-dependent plasticity on social cognition, we assess how brain and behavioural flexibility toward robots manifests among young children and older adults. Finally, we explore cultural influences on shared representations of humans and robots by extending the first project phase to Japan, the worlds most robotics-rich nation. The SOCIAL ROBOTS project tests a dominant hypothesis of social cognition and is expected to lead to a novel conception of the neurocognitive architecture supporting human-robot interaction. Neuroimaging and behavioural measures will offer detailed and nuanced insights into how brain mechanisms supporting social engagement with people are used when interacting with robots, and how different kinds of experience (e.g., training, lifespan, cultural) influence such engagement. The planned studies and those generated during the project will enable the SOCIAL ROBOTS team to become a world-leading group bridging social cognition, neuroscience and robotics.