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Leeds, United Kingdom

Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 4.52M | Year: 2014

Moores Law states that the number of active components on an microchip doubles every 18 months. Variants of this Law can be applied to many measures of computer performance, such as memory and hard disk capacity, and to reductions in the cost of computations. Remarkably, Moores Law has applied for over 50 years during which time computer speeds have increased by a factor of more than 1 billion! This remarkable rise of computational power has affected all of our lives in profound ways, through the widespread usage of computers, the internet and portable electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, Moores Law is not a fundamental law of nature, and sustaining this extraordinary rate of progress requires continuous hard work and investment in new technologies most of which relate to advances in our understanding and ability to control the properties of materials. Computer software plays an important role in enhancing computational performance and in many cases it has been found that for every factor of 10 increase in computational performance achieved by faster hardware, improved software has further increased computational performance by a factor of 100. Furthermore, improved software is also essential for extending the range of physical properties and processes which can be studied computationally. Our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Methods for Materials Science aims to provide training in numerical methods and modern software development techniques so that the students in the CDT are capable of developing innovative new software which can be used, for instance, to help design new materials and understand the complex processes that occur in materials. The UK, and in particular Cambridge, has been a pioneer in both software and hardware since the earliest programmable computers, and through this strategic investment we aim to ensure that this lead is sustained well into the future.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-33-2015 | Award Amount: 30.12M | Year: 2016

The vision of EU-ToxRisk is to drive a paradigm shift in toxicology towards an animal-free, mechanism-based integrated approach to chemical safety assessment. The project will unite all relevant disciplines and stakeholders to establish: i) pragmatic, solid read-across procedures incorporating mechanistic and toxicokinetic knowledge; and ii) ab initio hazard and risk assessment strategies of chemicals with little background information. The project will focus on repeated dose systemic toxicity (liver, kidney, lung and nervous system) as well as developmental/reproduction toxicity. Different human tiered test systems are integrated to balance speed, cost and biological complexity. EU-ToxRisk extensively integrates the adverse outcome pathway (AOP)-based toxicity testing concept. Therefore, advanced technologies, including high throughput transcriptomics, RNA interference, and high throughput microscopy, will provide quantitative and mechanistic underpinning of AOPs and key events (KE). The project combines in silico tools and in vitro assays by computational modelling approaches to provide quantitative data on the activation of KE of AOP. This information, together with detailed toxicokinetics data, and in vitro-in vivo extrapolation algorithms forms the basis for improved hazard and risk assessment. The EU-ToxRisk work plan is structured along a broad spectrum of case studies, driven by the cosmetics, (agro)-chemical, pharma industry together with regulators. The approach involves iterative training, testing, optimization and validation phases to establish fit-for-purpose integrated approaches to testing and assessment with key EU-ToxRisk methodologies. The test systems will be combined to a flexible service package for exploitation and continued impact across industry sectors and regulatory application. The proof-of-concept for the new mechanism-based testing strategy will make EU-ToxRisk the flagship in Europe for animal-free chemical safety assessment.

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