Glasgow, United Kingdom
Glasgow, United Kingdom

The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. The university was founded in 1451 and is often ranked in the world's top 100 universities in tables compiled by various bodies. In 2013, Glasgow moved to its highest ever position, placing 51st in the world and 9th in the UK in the QS World University Rankings.In common with universities of the pre-modern era, Glasgow educated students primarily from wealthy backgrounds, but was also, with the University of Edinburgh, a leading centre of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century. The University became a pioneer in British higher education in the 19th century by also providing for the needs of students from the growing urban and commercial middle classes. Glasgow served all of these students by preparing them for professions: the law, medicine, civil service, teaching, and the church. It also trained smaller but growing numbers for careers in science and engineering. In 2007, the Sunday Times ranked it as "Scottish University of the Year." The university is a member of the Russell Group which represents the highest-ranked public research-based universities in the UK. It is also a member of Universitas 21, the international network of research universities.Originally located in the city's High Street, since 1870 the main University campus has been located at Gilmorehill in the West End of the city. Additionally, a number of university buildings are located elsewhere, such as the University Marine Biological Station Millport on the Island of Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde and the Crichton Campus in Dumfries.Glasgow has departments of Law, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and Dentistry. Its submission to the most recent UK university research assessment was one of the broadest in the UK. Glasgow's financial endowment is the fifth largest among UK universities.Alumni or former staff of the University include philosopher Francis Hutcheson, engineer James Watt, economist Adam Smith, physicist Lord Kelvin, surgeon Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, seven Nobel laureates, two British Prime Ministers, several leaders of Britain's and Scotland's major political parties, and numerous leading figures from legal, scientific and business professions. Entry to the university is highly competitive; applications for each place on many of its courses run into double figures, and successful entrants have on average almost 485 UCAS points. This ranks as the 11th highest among UK higher education institutions . Wikipedia.


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Firestein G.S.,University of California at San Diego | McInnes I.B.,University of Glasgow
Immunity | Year: 2017

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common inflammatory arthropathy. The majority of evidence, derived from genetics, tissue analyses, models, and clinical studies, points to an immune-mediated etiology associated with stromal tissue dysregulation that together propogate chronic inflammation and articular destruction. A pre-RA phase lasting months to years may be characterized by the presence of circulating autoantibodies, increasing concentration and range of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and altered metabolism. Clinical disease onset comprises synovitis and systemic comorbidities affecting the vasculature, metabolism, and bone. Targeted immune therapeutics and aggressive treatment strategies have substantially improved clinical outcomes and informed pathogenetic understanding, but no cure as yet exists. Herein we review recent data that support intriguing models of disease pathogenesis. They allude to the possibility of restoration of immunologic homeostasis and thus a state of tolerance associated with drug-free remission. This target represents a bold vision for the future of RA therapeutics. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.


The kidney is centrally involved in blood pressure regulation and undergoes extensive changes during pregnancy. Hypertension during pregnancy may result in an altered urinary peptidome that could be used to indicate new targets of therapeutic or diagnostic interest. The stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHRSP) is a model of maternal chronic hypertension. Capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry was conducted to interrogate the urinary peptidome in SHRSP and the control Wistar–Kyoto strain at three time points: prepregnancy and gestational days 12 and 18. The comparison within and between the Wistar–Kyoto and SHRSP peptidome at all time points detected 123 differentially expressed peptides (fold change >1.5; P<0.05). Sequencing of these peptides identified fragments of collagen α-chains, albumin, prothrombin, actin, serpin A3K, proepidermal growth factor, and uromodulin. Uromodulin peptides showed a pregnancy-specific alteration in SHRSP with a 7.8-fold (P<0.01) and 8.8-fold (P<0.05) increase at gestational days 12 and 18, respectively, relative to the Wistar–Kyoto. Further investigation revealed that these peptides belonged to the polymerization-inhibitory region of uromodulin. Two forms of uromodulin (polymerization competent and polymerization incompetent) were found in urine from both Wistar–Kyoto and SHRSP, where the polymerization-incompetent form was increased in a pregnancy-specific manner in SHRSP. Nifedipine-treated pregnant SHRSP showed only polymerization-competent uromodulin, indicating that calcium may be mechanistically involved in uromodulin polymerization. This study highlights, for the first time, a potential role of uromodulin and its polymerization in hypertensive pregnancy.Hypertension is published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited. © 2017 American Heart Association, Inc


The intramolecular interaction of ketone triplet excited states with nucleophilic substituents is investigated by studying the electronic properties of phenalenone and a range of phenalenones functionalized in position 9 as a model system. In accordance with the literature, a (π,π) triplet excited state is predicted for phenalenone. Similarly, 9-fluoro-, 9-chloro-, and 9-methoxyphenalenone are calculated to have (π,π∗) lowest triplet excited states, whereas the lowest triplet states of 9-bromo-, 9-iodo, 9-methylthio, and 9-dimethylaminophenalenone are predicted to have (σ∗,π∗) character. As a result of the interaction between halogen and oxygen lone pairs increasing with increasing orbital size, the antibonding linear combination of substituent lone pairs with oxygen lone pairs sufficiently rises in energy to change the character of the lowest triplet excited state of the 9-substituted phenalenones from (π,π∗) to (σ∗,π∗). These unusual triplet excited states or exciplexes should essentially behave like (n,π∗) triplets states, but will differ from pure (n,π∗) states by showing significant spin densities at the substituent heteroatoms, predicted to reach values of 0.25 for 9-iodophenalenone, and ∼0.5 for 9-dimethylaminophenalenone. Vertical T1-T2 excitation energies calculated indicate that the stabilization of the (σ∗,π∗) relative to the (π,π∗) state can reach 1eV. Preliminary calculations on the triplet excited states of 2-iodobenzophenone, 4-iodo-2-butanone, and iodoacetone indicate that intramolecular triplet exciplex formation should be a general phenomenon, as long as the ring being formed is at least a five-membered ring. © 2017 CSIRO.


Meeks K.,University of Glasgow
Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics, LIPIcs | Year: 2017

Many combinatorial problems involve determining whether a universe of n elements contains a witness consisting of k elements which have some specified property. In this paper we investigate the relationship between the decision and enumeration versions of such problems: efficient methods are known for transforming a decision algorithm into a search procedure that finds a single witness, but even finding a second witness is not so straightforward in general. In this paper we show that, if the decision version of the problem belongs to FPT, there is a randomised algorithm which enumerates all witnesses in time f(k) · poly(n) · N, where N is the total number of witnesses and f is a computable function. This also gives rise to an efficient algorithm to count the total number of witnesses when this number is small. © 2016 Kitty Meeks.


Barnett S.M.,University of Glasgow
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2017

The desire to push recent experiments on electron vortices to higher energies leads to some theoretical difficulties. In particular the simple and very successful picture of phase vortices of vortex charge associated with units of orbital angular momentum per electron is challenged by the facts that (i) the spin and orbital angular momentum are not separately conserved for a Dirac electron, which suggests that the existence of a spin-orbit coupling will complicate matters, and (ii) that the velocity of a Dirac electron is not simply the gradient of a phase as it is in the Schrödinger theory suggesting that, perhaps, electron vortices might not exist at a fundamental level. We resolve these difficulties by showing that electron vortices do indeed exist in the relativistic theory and show that the charge of such a vortex is simply related to a conserved orbital part of the total angular momentum, closely related to the familiar situation for the orbital angular momentum of a photon. © 2017 authors. Published by the American Physical Society.


The spinal dorsal horn receives input from primary afferent axons, which terminate in a modality-specific fashion in different laminae. The incoming somatosensory information is processed through complex synaptic circuits involving excitatory and inhibitory interneurons, before being transmitted to the brain via projection neurons for conscious perception. The dorsal horn is important, firstly because changes in this region contribute to chronic pain states, and secondly because it contains potential targets for the development of new treatments for pain. However, at present, we have only a limited understanding of the neuronal circuitry within this region, and this is largely because of the difficulty in defining functional populations among the excitatory and inhibitory interneurons. The recent discovery of specific neurochemically defined interneuron populations, together with the development of molecular genetic techniques for altering neuronal function in vivo, are resulting in a dramatic improvement in our understanding of somatosensory processing at the spinal level. © The Author(s) 2017.


Franke-Arnold S.,University of Glasgow
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences | Year: 2017

Any coherent interaction of light and atoms needs to conserve energy, linear momentum and angular momentum. What happens to an atom's angular momentum if it encounters light that carries orbital angular momentum (OAM)? This is a particularly intriguing question as the angular momentum of atoms is quantized, incorporating the intrinsic spin angular momentum of the individual electrons as well as the OAM associated with their spatial distribution. In addition, a mechanical angular momentum can arise from the rotation of the entire atom, which for very cold atoms is also quantized. Atoms therefore allow us to probe and access the quantum properties of light's OAM, aiding our fundamental understanding of light- matter interactions, and moreover, allowing us to construct OAM-based applications, including quantum memories, frequency converters for shaped light and OAM-based sensors. © 2017 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


Last A.,University of Glasgow
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space | Year: 2017

Both new and historical materialisms have attracted a reputation for leading to ‘bad politics’. Historical materialisms have been accused of reducing too much to material relations and their production, whereas new materialisms have been accused of avoiding politics completely. This article reads the critique directed at materialisms against Hannah Arendt’s exceptional distrust of matter. Focusing on her concept of ‘worldliness’, it grapples with the question ‘why do we need an attention to matter in the first place?’ The attempted re-reading takes place through a feminist and postcolonial lens that draws out the contributions and failures of Arendt’s (anti)materialist framework in its banishing of matter from politics. Arendt’s focus on the prevention of dehumanisation further serves as a means to discuss materialism’s risk in negotiating the tension between deindividuation and dehumanisation. © 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


McLean H.,University of Glasgow
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space | Year: 2017

This article takes up the challenge of extending and enhancing the literature on arts interventions and creative city policies by considering the role of feminist and queer artistic praxis in contemporary urban politics. Here I reflect on the complicities and potentialities of two Toronto-based arts interventions: Dig In and the Dirty Plotz cabaret. I analyse an example of community based arts strategy that strived to ‘revitalise’ one disinvested Toronto neighbourhood. I also reflect on my experience performing drag king urban planner, Toby Sharp. Reflecting on these examples, I show how market-oriented arts policies entangle women artists in the cultivation of spaces of depoliticised feminism, homonormativity and white privilege. However, I also demonstrate how women artists are playfully and performatively pushing back at hegemonic regimes with the radical aesthetic praxis of cabaret. I maintain that bringing critical feminist arts spaces and cabaret practice into discussions about neoliberal urban policies uncovers sites of feminist resistance and solidarity, interventions that challenge violent processes of colonisation and privatisation on multiple fronts. © 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


Biankin A.V.,University of Glasgow
Nature Genetics | Year: 2017

The ultimate goal of precision medicine is to use population-based molecular, clinical and other data to make individually tailored clinical decisions for patients, although the path to achieving this goal is not entirely clear. A new study shows how knowledge banks of patient data can be used to make individual treatment decisions in acute myeloid leukemia.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

ZIKA virus is set to return to the fore once the mosquito season starts again in the coming months, and it looks like it could spread further and do more damage than we thought. Cases of Zika virus – and the neurological disorders it causes in babies – have been declining across the Americas in recent months, in part because of a drop in mosquito numbers during winter. There is also evidence that people in affected countries are developing immunity to the virus – although this may be short-lived if the virus evolves, or as newly vulnerable people are born or move to affected areas. Yet while Zika may have gone quiet, research into the virus has continued in earnest. It was assumed that only a few species of mosquito could spread Zika, including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, found in tropical regions across the globe. But now it seems many more species could carry the virus, including 26 not previously considered a threat (eLife, doi.org/b2ps). Some are found in more northerly reaches of the US, to which Zika hasn’t yet spread. The onset of warmer weather in the US could bring many more cases, as mosquitoes begin to breed and feed on blood. Meanwhile, other means of transmission may further propagate the virus. Gabriela Paz-Bailey and her colleagues at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been investigating how long Zika can remain in human body fluids. It seems to linger in semen the longest; of the 55 infected men who have donated semen samples so far, half had cleared the virus within a month, but 5 per cent still had traces three months later. Bailey presented her findings at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle last month. “Only a handful of sexually transmitted cases have been identified so far, but there are probably more” Although only a handful of sexually transmitted cases have been identified, there are probably more out there, says Laurent Hébert-Dufresne at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. What’s more, the discovery that Zika survives for so long in semen means that men who have sex with men are at particular risk of becoming infected and spreading the virus. They are also less likely to be tested for the virus, Hébert-Dufresne adds. Testing is offered during pregnancy as babies born to infected women are at risk of microcephaly, which causes them to have small heads, along with nervous system disorders. Last week, the CDC reported a 20-fold increase in such birth defects in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Georgia. Even babies that appear healthy at birth can develop neurological problems down the line, and it may be a while before the full impact of the virus is known. Those aren’t the only possible side effects of Zika infection in the womb. Problems with vision, limb development, hearing, digestion and breathing are beginning to emerge in babies exposed to Zika. Around 42 per cent of infected pregnant women have babies with at least one of these issues (JAMA Pediatrics, doi.org/b2qz). “It does more than microcephaly,” says Catherine Spong, deputy director of the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Zika may have consequences for adults, too. A handful of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which a person’s immune system attacks their own nerves, have been reported. Research in mice also suggests the virus may affect the growth of neurons in adult brains, and potentially shrink the testicles. Other question marks surround the presence of the virus in South East Asia; we don’t yet know if it is as dangerous, or how it might spread. “We see Zika there, but we’re not sure if it’s the same, or if there could be larger outbreaks,” says Alain Kohl at the University of Glasgow in the UK. Globally, efforts are under way to control the virus by destroying mosquito habitats, killing the insects or using genetically modified insects to drive them into oblivion. Several groups are also working on vaccines for the virus, one of which appears to protect mice and monkeys. For now, though, there are no treatments available. “Until we get to a situation where we can treat it effectively, we need to be worried about it,” says Kohl. This article appeared in print under the headline “Dormant Zika is back for round two”


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Scientists have taken inspiration from how animals’ eyes work to create a new way for computer-controlled cameras to ‘see’.   In a new paper published in the journal Science Advances, University of Glasgow researchers describe a new method for creating video using single-pixel cameras. They have found a way to instruct cameras to prioritise objects in images using a method similar to the way brains make the same decisions. The eyes and brains of humans, and many animals, work in tandem to prioritise specific areas of their field of view. During a conversation, for example, visual attention is focused primarily on the other speaker, with less of the brain’s ‘processing time’ given over to peripheral details. The vision of some hunting animals also works along similar lines.    The team’s sensor uses just one light-sensitive pixel to build up moving images of objects placed in front of it. Single-pixel sensors are much cheaper than dedicated megapixel sensors found in digital cameras, and are capable of building images at wavelengths where conventional cameras are expensive or simply don’t exist, such as at the infrared or terahertz frequencies.   The images the system outputs are square, with an overall resolution of 1,000 pixels. In conventional cameras, those thousand pixels would be evenly spread in a grid across the image. The team’s new system instead can choose to allocate its ‘pixel budget’ to prioritise the most important areas within the frame, placing more higher resolution pixels in these locations and so sharpening the detail of some sections while sacrificing detail in others. This pixel distribution can be changed from one frame to the next, similar to the way biological vision systems work, for example when human gaze is redirected from one person to another.   Dr David Phillips, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy, led the research.   Dr Phillips said: “Initially, the problem I was trying to solve was how to maximise the frame rate of the single-pixel system to make the video output as smooth as possible.   “However, I started to think a bit about how vision works in living things and I realised that building a programme which could interpret the data from our single-pixel sensor along similar lines could solve the problem. By channelling our pixel budget into areas where high resolutions were beneficial, such as where an object is moving, we could instruct the system to pay less attention to the other areas of the frame.    “By prioritising the information from the sensor in this way, we’ve managed to produce images at an improved frame rate but we’ve also taught the system a valuable new skill.    “We’re keen to continue improving the system and explore the opportunities for industrial and commercial use, for example in medical imaging.”


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Scientists have taken inspiration from how animals' eyes work to create a new way for computer-controlled cameras to "see." In a new paper published today in the journal Science Advances, University of Glasgow researchers describe a new method for creating video using single-pixel cameras. They have found a way to instruct cameras to prioritize objects in images using a method similar to the way brains make the same decisions. The eyes and brains of humans, and many animals, work in tandem to prioritize specific areas of their field of view. During a conversation, for example, visual attention is focused primarily on the other speaker, with less of the brain's "processing time" given over to peripheral details. The vision of some hunting animals also works along similar lines. The team's sensor uses just one light-sensitive pixel to build up moving images of objects placed in front of it. Single-pixel sensors are much cheaper than dedicated megapixel sensors found in digital cameras, and are capable of building images at wavelengths where conventional cameras are expensive or simply don't exist, such as at the infrared or terahertz frequencies. The images the system outputs are square, with an overall resolution of 1,000 pixels. In conventional cameras, those thousand pixels would be evenly spread in a grid across the image. The team's new system instead can choose to allocate its "pixel budget" to prioritize the most important areas within the frame, placing more higher resolution pixels in these locations and so sharpening the detail of some sections while sacrificing detail in others. This pixel distribution can be changed from one frame to the next, similar to the way biological vision systems work, for example when human gaze is redirected from one person to another. David Phillips, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow's School of Physics and Astronomy, led the research. "Initially, the problem I was trying to solve was how to maximize the frame rate of the single-pixel system to make the video output as smooth as possible," said Phillips. "However, I started to think a bit about how vision works in living things and I realized that building a program which could interpret the data from our single-pixel sensor along similar lines could solve the problem. By channeling our pixel budget into areas where high resolutions were beneficial, such as where an object is moving, we could instruct the system to pay less attention to the other areas of the frame. "By prioritizing the information from the sensor in this way, we've managed to produce images at an improved frame rate but we've also taught the system a valuable new skill. "We're keen to continue improving the system and explore the opportunities for industrial and commercial use, for example in medical imaging." The research is the latest in a string of single-pixel-imaging breakthroughs from the University's Optics Group, led by Miles Padgett, which include creating 3-D images, imaging gas leaks, and "seeing" through opaque surfaces.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Just as paleontologists study dinosaur bones to learn when these prehistoric creatures lived and died, biologists are examining DNA to find out when ancient viruses were at their peak, and how they met their demise. New research from The Rockefeller University has uncovered how our ancestors may have wiped out a primordial virus around 11 million years ago. Published in the journal eLife, the findings suggest that our primate ancestors evolved a defense mechanism that involved manipulating the function of one of the virus's genes, turning the virus against itself. "Analyzing viral fossils can provide a wealth of insight into events that occurred in the distant past," says senior author Paul Bieniasz, head of the Laboratory of Retrovirology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. "In particular, this study is an example of how viruses themselves can provide the genetic material that animals use to combat them, sometimes leading to viral extinction." Retroviruses, a class of viruses that include the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are abundant in nature and can leave lasting traces of their existence if they infect cells of the germ line. Unlike other viruses, they include a step in their life cycle where their genetic material is integrated into the genome of their host -- creating a genetic fossil record that can be preserved in the genomes of the host and its evolutionary descendants. To examine how extinct viral lineages could once have been eliminated, Bieniasz and colleagues analyzed retroviral fossils left by human endogenous retrovirus T (HERV-T), which replicated in our primate ancestors for approximately 25 million years before it was eradicated about 11 million years ago. Working with Robert Gifford from the University of Glasgow, the team first compiled a near-complete catalog of HERV-T fossils in old-world monkey and ape genomes. They then reconstructed the HERV-T retrovirus' outer envelope protein--a molecule that allows a virus particle to bind to cells and begin the viral replication cycle. "Our analyses suggested that HERV-T likely used a cell-surface protein called MCT-1 to bind to cells and infect ancient old-world primates," says first author Daniel Blanco-Melo, a former graduate student in the Bieniasz lab. The researches also identified a fossilized HERV-T gene in the genomes of contemporary humans that was absent in more distantly-related primate genomes. They found that this gene encodes a well-preserved envelope protein that can block retroviral infection by depleting MCT-1 from cell surfaces. "It appears this gene was integrated into the ancestral primate genome around 13 to 19 million years ago, and we believe it was around this time that the function of this gene switched," says Blanco-Melo. "Ancestral hominids evolved a defense mechanism against HERV-T, using the virus's own gene against itself, eventually leading to its extinction."


Amputees who wear prosthetic limbs could soon have a much better alternative, which will give them a sense of touch, as well as temperature and texture. The new technology is a solar-energy powered prosthetic limb, which will entirely replace batteries. The research responsible for this new technology was published, March 22, in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Functional Materials. Generally, prosthetics are powered by batteries, but a new prototype created by researchers from the University of Glasgow created the possibility of "solar-powered skin," which would also come with sensory enhancements compared to the existing technology. "If an entity is going out in a sunny day, then they won't need any battery. They can feel, without worrying about battery," noted Ravinder Dahiya, research fellow at the university and lead author of the research. As the new technology is capable of producing its own energy from natural sources, this type of electronic skin could last longer than similar products currently available on the market. A battery-based prosthetic limb would also come with limited portability, which is another advantage of the solution proposed by the British researchers. As part of the study, the engineers attached a layer of power-generating photovoltaic cells on the back of the sensor-laden prosthetic limb. They used graphene in creating the sensors, which is a material with higher strength than steel, and is transparent and electrically conductive. The transparency of the touch-sensitive layer is believed to be a main feature allowing the technology to be fully functional because it allows the sunlight to get to the sensors and effectively replace batteries, according to the team of researchers. "Transparency of the touch sensitive layer is considered a key feature to allow the photovoltaic cell to effectively harvest light. Moreover, ultralow power consumed by the sensitive layer further reduces the photovoltaic area required to drive the tactile skin," noted the research. At the same time, the new prosthetic limb produces responses to sensors for both dynamic and static stimuli, which are evaluated by performing different tasks, from grabbing soft objects to simple touching, allowing the entity wearing it to feel more accurately. The new technology could also improve the functionality of robots, which would now have the capacity to better understand the external environment they interact with, according to the researchers. Provided that robots would have touch-sensitive limbs that react to pressure, they would act in a more coordinated manner, being much less likely to injure humans in their interactions. The team of researchers now wishes to further develop the prototype in the following two years. A further step would be managing to power the entire motors of the prosthetic limbs with renewable energy, and not just the skin. Previous scientific innovative prosthetic limb was created by researchers at Pat Starace Research & Development. They created a fully functional prototype of a prosthetic hand, in the form of a 3D-printed glove stylized after Iron Man's. The researchers aimed to make kids who lost their arms feel like superheroes, understanding how emotionally devastating such an event can be for a child. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Scientists have taken inspiration from how animals’ eyes work to create a new way for computer-controlled cameras to ‘see’.   In a new paper published in the journal Science Advances, University of Glasgow researchers describe a new method for creating video using single-pixel cameras. They have found a way to instruct cameras to prioritise objects in images using a method similar to the way brains make the same decisions. The eyes and brains of humans, and many animals, work in tandem to prioritise specific areas of their field of view. During a conversation, for example, visual attention is focused primarily on the other speaker, with less of the brain’s ‘processing time’ given over to peripheral details. The vision of some hunting animals also works along similar lines.    The team’s sensor uses just one light-sensitive pixel to build up moving images of objects placed in front of it. Single-pixel sensors are much cheaper than dedicated megapixel sensors found in digital cameras, and are capable of building images at wavelengths where conventional cameras are expensive or simply don’t exist, such as at the infrared or terahertz frequencies.   The images the system outputs are square, with an overall resolution of 1,000 pixels. In conventional cameras, those thousand pixels would be evenly spread in a grid across the image. The team’s new system instead can choose to allocate its ‘pixel budget’ to prioritise the most important areas within the frame, placing more higher resolution pixels in these locations and so sharpening the detail of some sections while sacrificing detail in others. This pixel distribution can be changed from one frame to the next, similar to the way biological vision systems work, for example when human gaze is redirected from one person to another.   Dr David Phillips, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy, led the research.   Dr Phillips said: “Initially, the problem I was trying to solve was how to maximise the frame rate of the single-pixel system to make the video output as smooth as possible.   “However, I started to think a bit about how vision works in living things and I realised that building a programme which could interpret the data from our single-pixel sensor along similar lines could solve the problem. By channelling our pixel budget into areas where high resolutions were beneficial, such as where an object is moving, we could instruct the system to pay less attention to the other areas of the frame.    “By prioritising the information from the sensor in this way, we’ve managed to produce images at an improved frame rate but we’ve also taught the system a valuable new skill.    “We’re keen to continue improving the system and explore the opportunities for industrial and commercial use, for example in medical imaging.”


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Governments should do all they can to encourage active commuting, say experts Active commuting by bicycle is associated with a substantial decrease in the risk of death from all causes, cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD), compared with non-active commuting by car or public transport, finds a study in The BMJ today. Walking is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but the risk of death from cancer was no different than non-active commuting, the results show. Many studies have shown that cycling and walking are linked with health benefits, but there is still some debate about the strength of these associations. So researchers at the University of Glasgow set out to investigate the association between active commuting and incident CVD, cancer, and all cause mortality. The study involved 264,377 participants (average age 53 years) recruited from the UK Biobank - a database of biological information from half a million British adults. Participants were asked to record the types of transport they used to get to and from work on a typical day. Options included walking, cycling and non-active (car or public transport). During an average five year follow-up period, information on hospital admissions and deaths were recorded. After adjusting for several influential factors, commuting by walking was associated with a lower risk of CVD incidence and mortality. However, commuting by cycling was associated with the lowest risk of these - as well as lower risks of all cause mortality and cancer. Mixed-mode commuting (a combination of active and non-active transport) was also associated with some benefits, but only if the active component comprised cycling. Furthermore, a lower risk for CVD incidence was only evident among the walking commuters who covered more than six miles a week (equivalent to two hours of weekly commuting by walking at a typical pace of three miles an hour). The researchers point out that this is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, and they outline some limitations could have introduced bias. Nevertheless, they conclude that "the findings, if causal, suggest population health may be improved by policies that increase active commuting, particularly cycling, such as the creation of cycle lanes, cycle hire or purchase schemes, and better provision for cycles on public transport." In a linked editorial, Professor Lars Bo Andersen at the Western Norwegian University of Applied Sciences, says active commuting has the potential to substantially reduce the costs of cardiovascular disease (estimated at £15bn each year in the UK) and to save many lives. He argues that the UK has neglected to build infrastructure to promote cycling for decades and the potential for improvements to increase cycling and the safety of cycling is huge. "The findings from this study are a clear call for political action on active commuting, which has the potential to improve public health by preventing common (and costly) non-communicable diseases," he writes. "A shift from car to more active modes of travel will also decrease traffic in congested city centres and help reduce air pollution, with further benefits for health."


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.nature.com

Ronald (Ron) Drever was a hands-on physicist with a child-like joy for experimentation. He co-invented several important techniques to directly detect gravitational waves — ripples in space-time created by accelerating masses. He co-founded the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project, which announced the first direct detection of those long-sought waves in 2016. Drever, who died aged 85 in Scotland on 7 March, was an intuitive and imaginative physicist who thought primarily in pictures. Those pictures — of concepts or devices — gave him an elegant way to circumvent a lot of analytical reasoning, and provided a way to think about problems that often resulted in an invention. As a child in Scotland, guided by an engineer uncle, Drever assembled a television receiver from parts left over from the Second World War. He did not do well in preparatory school, but came into his own at the University of Glasgow, UK. There he studied nuclear physics, including particle detectors and their electronics. His 1958 PhD thesis was on radiation counters for nuclear decay. As a lecturer at Glasgow, Drever tested an idea newly proposed by theorists. This was that objects on Earth might have one inertial mass when travelling in the plane of the Milky Way, and another when travelling perpendicular to it, owing to the uneven distribution of the Galaxy's mass. He and a scientist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, independently checked the motions of nuclei in lithium atoms to see whether they were affected by the orientation of the nuclei relative to the Galactic plane. Drever did his experiment in his parents' back garden, away from the magnetic disturbances of the university, using equipment borrowed from the teaching labs. Neither saw any effect, thereby establishing the uniformity of space to an unprecedented precision. It was a landmark result. The work took Drever into cosmology and astrophysics. When pulsars were discovered in 1967, he searched for γ-rays that might accompany the radio-wave pulsations. After researchers announced in 1969 that they had detected gravitational waves coming from the Galactic Centre (a result later found to be spurious), Drever hunted for radio pulses coming from the same location. And he began a new research programme at Glasgow for the detection of gravitational waves. First, Drever devised a more-sensitive and broader-band version of the 'acoustic bar' gravitational-wave detector that others were using at the time to try to replicate the 1969 result. But in the early 1970s, several groups were exploring a technique that involved laser interferometers. The idea was to measure the distortions of space-time caused by gravitational waves by timing how long laser light took to travel between mirrors in an interferometer. Drever, as well as experimenters in Germany, showed that scattered laser light made noise that restricted the sensitivity of the interferometer. One solution was to stabilize the frequency of the laser. On a sabbatical to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1979, Drever learned about a method devised during the Second World War to stabilize the frequencies of microwaves for radar by reflecting them with a resonant cavity. Drever and his colleagues adapted the technique for lasers and optical cavities, creating what is now called Pound–Drever–Hall cavity stabilization. That has become a central technique in precision optical systems, including LIGO. Other ideas further improved laser interferometer detectors in the 1970s. Drever, with colleagues in Germany and Glasgow, came up with systems for power and signal recycling to increase the sensitivity of the interferometer and to adjust its response. Both systems involved adding more partially reflecting mirrors to the input and output components of the instrument. By this time, Drever was working at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, having been invited by US theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. There, he initiated plans for a 40-metre prototype gravitational-wave detector. Meanwhile, a German group started up a 30-metre prototype, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge also began a study of the science, concept and cost of a device. In 1983, the Caltech and MIT research groups joined forces to build and operate a full-scale device: LIGO. The collaboration was initially directed by a committee of Drever, Thorne and myself. But we had different visions and were unable to make decisions. In 1987, the project moved forward under a single director, Rochus Vogt, who helped us to write a definitive proposal that attracted the funds to design and construct the initial detector. The project — the largest ever funded by the US National Science Foundation — consisted of two L-shaped detectors, each with arms 4 kilometres long, in Washington state and Louisiana. Drever was a strong contributor to the conceptualization of LIGO. But he struggled to move from the freedom of table-top science to the rigorous schedule and firm decision-making necessary to pin down a large-scale project. In such projects, thorough engineering practice and careful analysis take priority over intuition and pictorial reasoning. In 1994, LIGO's then-director Barry Barish supported a decision made at Caltech to give Drever a separate laboratory, where he could develop new ideas and techniques for future gravitational-wave detectors. LIGO started collecting data in 2002, and detected gravitational waves from a pair of colliding black holes in 2015. This led to many prizes and awards for Drever and his colleagues. It is well known that Drever and I had different views about the direction for technical development for LIGO. I disagreed with him about the use of optical cavities; it turned out he was right. I held out for a solid-state laser while he insisted on a green argon one; Drever was wrong on that one. But we always respected each other's views, and as LIGO's construction progressed we became close colleagues and friends.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Scientists have uncovered how our ancestors may have wiped out an ancient retrovirus around 11 million years ago. Retroviruses, which include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are abundant in nature. Unlike other viruses, which do not usually leave a physical trace of their existence, retroviruses include a step in their life cycle where their genetic material is integrated into the genome of their host. This integration has created a genetic fossil record of extinct retroviruses that is preserved in the genomes of modern organisms. Writing in the journal eLife, researchers from the Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), US, set out to discover how extinct viral lineages could have been eliminated. To do this, they analysed retroviral fossils left by human endogenous retrovirus T (HERV-T), which replicated in our primate ancestors for approximately 25 million years before it was eradicated about 11 million years ago. Working with Robert Gifford from the University of Glasgow, the team first compiled a near-complete catalog of HERV-T fossils in old-world monkey and ape genomes. They then reconstructed the HERV-T retrovirus' outer envelope protein - a type of protein that allows a virus particle to bind to cells and begin the viral replication cycle. "Our analyses first suggested that HERV-T likely used a cell-surface protein called MCT-1 to bind to cells and infect ancient old-world primates," says first author Daniel Blanco-Melo, who carried out the study at the Rockefeller University but is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. "Next, we identified one particular fossilised HERV-T gene in the human genome that encodes an unexpectedly well-preserved envelope protein. This gene was absent in non-hominid primate genomes, but was integrated into an ancestral hominid genome around 13 to 19 million years ago. We believe its function may have been switched around this time so that it could block infection by causing MCT-1 depletion from cell surfaces." Taken together, these findings suggest a scenario in which HERV-T began to infiltrate primate germlines (series of cells that are seen as continuing through successive generations of an organism) using MCT-1 as a receptor. Ancestral hominids later evolved a defence mechanism whereby they switched a HERV-T gene to serve as an antiviral gene against itself. "Broadly speaking, this study shows how analysing viral fossils can provide a wealth of insight into events that occurred in the distant past," says senior author Paul Bieniasz, HHMI Investigator and Professor of Retrovirology at the Rockefeller University. "In particular, it represents an example of how viruses themselves can provide the genetic material that animals use to combat them, sometimes leading to their own extinction." The paper 'Co-option of an endogenous retrovirus envelope for host defense in hominid ancestors' can be freely accessed online at http://dx. . Contents, including text, figures and data, are free to reuse under a CC BY 4.0 license. eLife is a unique collaboration between the funders and practitioners of research to improve the way important research is selected, presented, and shared. eLife publishes outstanding works across the life sciences and biomedicine -- from basic biological research to applied, translational, and clinical studies. All papers are selected by active scientists in the research community. Decisions and responses are agreed by the reviewers and consolidated by the Reviewing Editor into a single, clear set of instructions for authors, removing the need for laborious cycles of revision and allowing authors to publish their findings quickly. eLife is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust. Learn more at elifesciences.org.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

According to a doctoral dissertation being examined at the University of Helsinki, Chinese people of a higher socioeconomic status are on average in better physical and cognitive condition at baseline. According to a doctoral dissertation being examined at the University of Helsinki, Chinese people of a higher socioeconomic status are on average in better physical and cognitive condition at baseline. However, socioeconomic status does not protect people from age-related decreases in the ability to function. The results indicate insufficient financial resources and healthcare services correlated with a decreased ability to function in China. High levels of education and domestic income levels predicted better cognitive skills for Chinese people 65 years of age and older. A high income level was also linked to higher ability to function in terms of daily chores. The study used the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy and Longevity Survey (CLHLS) which was conducted in China between 2002 and 2011. CLHLS is the most extensive population-level study of Chinese people aged 65 years and older. It is based on internationally comparable survey forms, and yielded comprehensive data on socioeconomic status, family structure and background, living arrangements, daily activities, lifestyle and health. According to the dissertation, cohabiting with a highly educated spouse or child was connected to lower mortality. Highly educated spouses reduced mortality among seniors, particularly among men. Highly educated children were linked to reduced mortality, both for men and women. "In addition, men and women who were less educated but who cohabited with more educated children, were healthier. It seems that the health impact of education among seniors is partially influenced by the education level of the children," says Lei Yang, doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki. People in the higher social classes were healthier on average and had lower mortality than lower classes. However, it is not clear whether these differences become less pronounced later in life. "There is still limited data about this in China, even though it has the largest population of seniors in the world," Yang explains. Unlike in western countries, Chinese seniors typically live with their children, and family members play an important role in their healthcare. "The social standing of the family members seems to have even more impact on the health of the senior population in China than it does in western societies," Yang states. The main objective of the study was to investigate the trajectories of health in later life by means of different indicators of socioeconomic status, and to assess how the socioeconomic status of family members affects the health and mortality risk of elderly people in China. The specific aim was to find out whether elderly people with a higher socioeconomic status have better physical and cognitive functioning and a lower rate of decline with age. MSocSc Lei Yang will defend the doctoral dissertation entitled "Socioeconomic status and health among the elderly Chinese people - A longitudinal study" on 5 May 2017 at 12.15 at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Social Sciences. The public defence of the dissertation will take place in Auditorium XIII of the University of Helsinki Main Building. The opponent will be Professor Alastair Leyland, University of Glasgow, and the custos, Professor Pekka Martikainen. The dissertation will be published in the series Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences 50 (2017). The dissertation is also available in electronic.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.treehugger.com

A big British study, recently published, tracked a over a quarter of a million British commuters over five years and found significant reductions in deaths from Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and found that deaths from cancer were halved. The summary, published in the BMJ: In other words, governments and citizens should be doing everything that they can to get more people out of cars and on to bikes. The lead researcher, Dr. Jason Gill from the University of Glasgow, told the BBC: This is really clear evidence that people who commute in an active way, particularly by cycling, were at lower risk. You need to get to work every day so if you built cycling into the day it essentially takes willpower out of the equation. What we really need to do is change our infrastructure to make it easier to cycle - we need bike lanes, to make it easier to put bikes on trains, showers at work. © Hazard ratio for all cause mortality The graph shows the association between commuting mode and outcomes; the non-active base reference at the top represents commuters in cars. Those who cycled all the way to work had the best outcomes generally, although people who walked to work had significantly reduced heart disease. The cancer reductions are calculated after adjusting for diet, smoking and body mass index, but the study notes that “the risk reductions associated with active commuting are likely to be related to their contribution to overall daily physical activity, and potentially to cardiorespiratory fitness, for which the associations with lower mortality, CVD incidence, and cancer incidence are well established” The study’s key findings and recommendations: This is precisely why we go on the need for safe bike infrastructure, and why we need to stop scaring people off bikes. Because “the findings suggest population health may be improved by policies that increase active commuting, particularly cycling, such as the creation of cycle lanes, cycle hire or purchase schemes, and better provision for cycles on public transport.”


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but at least there’s now a map to get you there. The map is the first to show the whereabouts of almost 100 massive remnants of what were once tectonic plates, but which long ago sank into the bowels of our planet through a process called subduction. “We’re pioneering the first map of the underworld,” says Wim Spakman of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who unveiled plans to launch the atlas at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna. “We will make our Atlas of the Underworld public for everyone to use, criticise and supplement with new data once our supporting work is published, which is imminent.” Knowing the positions of huge, ancient slab remnants could prove invaluable for geological research and exploration, says Spakman – and could bring us closer to forecasting earthquakes. So far, 98 slabs strewn throughout Earth’s upper and lower mantles have been mapped. Some are found at depths of 2900 kilometres, and with ages of up to 350 million years. All the slabs originated at or near Earth’s surface. Through collisions with other plates, or other tectonic activity, they all at some point began heading downwards, first through the upper mantle, then through the much more viscous lower mantle, which starts at around 660 kilometres down. Some have reached the outer core at 2900 kilometres. Spakman and his colleagues detected the positions and sizes of the plates through an echolocation technology called seismic tomography. The slabs conduct sound faster than surrounding magma, and so give a telltale seismic signature of their existence. The team combined their measurements with extensive pre-existing research on subducted slabs to corroborate and chart the geological history of each slab found. “We worked our way from the top, where we know and agree on the origins of slabs, to deeper, previously unknown ones,” says Spakman. “We’ve given them all a geographic name to make them easy to recognise.” For example, Spakman and his colleagues Douwe van Hinsbergen and Douwe van der Meer have used their data to explore the history of individual slabs, including one they have called the Aegean plate. This sank 120 million years ago below what is now the Aegean Sea, a key event in the formation of the Tethys Ocean that once separated Africa and Europe. Now, they are moving on to deeper slabs. “We’re looking into the early history of the Pacific Ocean around the ancient land mass of Pangea, and we’ve already found subduction remnants all around the present day Pacific, whose predecessor at the time was the Panthalassa Ocean,” says Spakman. “We can build much tighter connections between how tectonic plates moved around the globe in relation to what was going on in the mantle,” says Spakman. Until now, the main method of doing this has been to analyse ancient subducted rocks brought to the surface again by volcanic plumes. “Now, we can add new information about what once occurred through mapping the geological history of these subduction remnants,” he says. Knowing how subducted slabs might contribute to friction in the mantle could also help our understanding of and ability to forecast earthquakes, as well as how plate tectonics could raise sea level by raising the sea floor. “It could also help us find huge mineral deposits,” says Spakman. Other geologists are enthusiastic about the atlas. “Knowing where all the subducted oceanic crust has gone over the past 300 million years will allow us to play back the movie of plate tectonics in reverse,” says Steve Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Illinois. Jacobsen, who previously discovered evidence for massive water deposits in the deep mantle, says the atlas would also allow calculation of the amounts of water and carbon recycled by the planet over the past few million years. “Such a database would certainly be useful because plate tectonics ultimately controls most of what happens at Earth’s surface, from continent building and weathering rates to volcanism and much more,” says Matthew Dodd at University College London. “So knowing where ancient subduction zones were, how fast and old they were, will help geologists answer a plethora of scientific questions, including the long-term habitability of our planet through time, as well as natural resource exploration.” It might also help us study Earth’s origins, says Lydia Hallis at the University of Glasgow in the UK. “Information relating to the location of past and present subduction zones will help establish whether there are likely to be areas in the deep mantle that are totally unaffected by subduction, and hence maintain Earth’s original mantle composition,” she says. “These areas would provide the best targets for researchers studying Earth’s formation.”


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

According to Glasgow and HSE/Northumbria researchers, repetition of non-verbs as well as verbs can boost the effect of syntactic priming, i.e. the likelihood of people reproducing the structure of the utterance they have just heard. The way the human brain works makes people prone to repeating the syntactic structures they have recently heard or uttered. In psycholinguistics, this phenomenon is called the syntactic priming effect. Until recently, it was believed that repetition of verbs in particular could enhance this effect. University of Glasgow researchers Christoph Scheepers and Claudine Raffray, in collaboration with Andriy Myachykov (representing HSE and Northumbria University), have shown in their experiments that this is not necessarily true, and that repetition of other parts of speech, not only verbs, can influence the magnitude of the syntactic priming effect. Their findings are published in the Journal of Memory and Language in the article "The lexical boost effect is not diagnostic of lexically-specific syntactic representations". The priming effect, i.e. people's ability to unconsciously reproduce prior experience - something that they have seen, heard, etc. - is well documented in psychology. Priming can manifest itself in simple things, such as the unconscious repetition of gestures, intonations or body poses of others, and in more complex behavioural patterns. This happens because perceptions tend to 'warm up' the brain, preparing it for similar experiences. For example, someone who has just spent an hour solving mathematical problems can handle another mathematical problem faster than someone who has been cooking or reading War and Peace. Classical priming studies have often focused on basic elements of perception, such as processing similar visual stimuli. Having seen a round pizza image, a subject will react faster to a coin image, because it has a similar shape. Yet at a deeper level, the same effect manifests itself in the perception and reproduction of content and meaning. "People tend to repeat their own and others' behaviour. It is the foundation of priming. This effect, according to the interactive alignment theory, is more than just experimental curiosity or the reflection of very primitive behavioural patterns. In fact, it is an important subconscious mechanism that underlies children's linguistic and broader cognitive development, allowing us to signal to each other that 'we are of the same blood' and helps reduce everyone's cognitive burden, since people no longer need to control their every word and gesture and invent something new all the time," the researches explain. Verbal or linguistic priming, i.e. the tendency to reproduce one's own or other person's linguistic patterns at different levels - lexical (words), semantic (meanings) and syntactic (sentence structures) - is the main theme of the study. The syntactic priming effect was first demonstrated in the 1980s. It was shown, for example, that after reading a sentence with a certain syntactic structure, a person will perceive and process the next sentence with a similar structure much faster and will be more likely to repeat the syntactic frame of the sentence just heard. Scheepers, Raffray, and Myachykov offer the following example of syntactic priming. "Imagine someone describing an event in which a girl handed a ball to a boy. This event can be described in more than one way. One can say, 'the girl gave the boy a ball' or 'the girl gave a ball to the boy'. Let's say the person you are talking to uses the first option, 'the girl gave the boy a ball'. Let's call this sentence a prime. Let's assume that now you need to describe an event to the other person, in which an artist shows an easel to a child. Let's call this sentence a target. It turns out that you are more likely to say, 'the artist showed the child an easel' than 'the artist showed an easel to the child', repeating the syntactic structure of the prime. While, of course, it does not work every time, the tendency to repeat a syntactic structure from one utterance to the next is real and forms the basis of syntactic priming." It was initially assumed that the syntactic priming effect is autonomous and not subject to external influences, such as the repetition of words or their meanings between prime and target. Then, in the late nineties, papers began to appear showing a 'lexically boosted' syntactic priming effect. Specifically, it was shown that if prime and target utterances both contain the verb give, the likelihood of re-using the syntactic structure of the prime in the target increases even more than if the prime contains the verb give and the target the verb show. Curiously, the question of whether repeated nouns could produce comparable lexical boosts to structural priming had been largely ignored in past research. "Indeed, our research reveals that repetition of any content word of a sentence - noun or verb - can boost the syntactic priming effect, and that the more words are repeated, the stronger syntactic priming turns out to be," say the authors. In the target trials of their experiments, subjects were asked to produce sentences from randomly arranged words on screen; these target trials were preceded by prime trials in which subjects had to read out complete sentences. Across conditions, the authors systematically varied the numbers and types of content words shared between the primes and the targets. These findings are of academic significance in the context of the theory of syntax and simple sentence theories. "While there is consensus that the verb plays a pivotal role in determining the syntactic structure of a sentence, our research shows that the lexical boost to syntactic priming is not bound to repetition of verbs," the researchers explain, adding "Contrary to previously held views, the lexical boost effect is not a very good diagnostic of lexicalised syntax."


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

How can we search for life on other planets when we don’t know what it might look like? One chemist thinks he has found an easy answer: just look for sophisticated molecular structures, no matter what they’re made of. The strategy could provide a simple way for upcoming space missions to broaden the hunt. Until now, the search for traces of life, or biosignatures, on other planets has tended to focus mostly on molecules like those used by earthly life. Thus, Mars missions look for organic molecules, and future missions to Europa may look for amino acids, unequal proportions of mirror-image molecules, and unusual ratios of carbon isotopes, all of which are signatures of life here on Earth. But if alien life is very different, it may not show any of these. “I think there’s a real possibility we could miss life if [resembling Earth life is] the only criterion,” says Mary Voytek, who heads NASA’s astrobiology programme. Now Lee Cronin, a chemist at the University of Glasgow, UK, argues that complexity could be a biosignature that doesn’t depend on any assumptions about the life forms that produce it. “Biology has one signature: the ability to produce complex things that could not arise in the natural environment,” Cronin says. Obviously, an aircraft or a mobile phone could not assemble spontaneously, so their existence points to a living – and even intelligent – being that built them. But simpler things like proteins, DNA molecules or steroid hormones are also highly unlikely to occur without being assembled by a living organism, Cronin says. Cronin has developed a way to measure the complexity of a molecule by counting the number of unique steps – adding chemical side groups or ring structures, for example – needed for its formation, without double-counting repeated steps. To draw an analogy, his metric would score the words “bana” and “banana” as equally complex, since once you can make one “na” it is trivial to add a second one. Any structure requiring more than about 15 steps is so complex it must be biological in origin, he said this week at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Mesa, Arizona. Cronin thinks he may be able to make that criterion simpler still, by specifying a maximum molecular weight for compounds that can assemble spontaneously. Astrobiologists welcome Cronin’s suggestion. “I appreciate Lee for developing a biosignature that has minimal assumptions about the biology,” says Voytek. In practice, though, Voytek notes that a detector compact enough to travel on an interplanetary mission would probably need to be designed to look for carbon-based life. And even if Cronin’s method works, no scientist would risk claiming to have found extraterrestrial life on the basis of just one line of evidence, says Kevin Hand of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and project scientist for the Europa Lander mission now being developed by NASA. That means that future missions will still need to look for multiple biosignatures.


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

METTLER TOLEDO’s Rainin TerraRack pipette tip racks are proving advantageous for the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Cell Engineering, where scientists are investigating cell differentiation and behavior on a variety of materials. Dr. Monica Tsimbouri, a research fellow at the university, explained: “Our research involves growing bone marrow cells onto different materials – for example, plastics, titanium, nanopillars or nanoPEGs – and investigating how the cells differentiate. We use a wide range of techniques – such as GPCRs, In-Cell Westerns™ – metabolomics and next generation sequencing, to study biomarkers related to the tissue lineage at various time points, monitoring how the cells behave on different nanopatterns.” “The new TerraRack tip racks from METTLER TOLEDO were recently recommended to us. We find the Rainin BioClean Filter Pipette Tips, which contain hydrophobic filters, ideal for our purposes. As no liquid is retained in the tip, there is no loss of pipetting volume, even when transferring as little as a microliter. The unit’s hinged lids ensure that the tips remain clean and free from contaminants and, as they are smaller than our other tip boxes and use less material, the amount of waste is reduced. I would recommend them to anybody.”


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.spie.org

Advanced optical coatings for the discovery of gravitational waves Highly uniform coatings of novel Bragg-reflector materials decrease the optical losses and increase the sensitivity of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory mirrors. The first detection of gravitational waves (GWs) was made on 14 September 2015 and announced by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)–Virgo collaboration on 11 February 2016. This achievement is thought to represent one of the most challenging feats and important milestones in physics, and has given rise to a new branch of science (gravitational wave astronomy).1 Furthermore, because the effects of GWs are mechanical (i.e., bodies are deformed by the passage of a GW), by detecting this phenomenon we now have the ability to ‘listen’ to the universe rather than just gaze at it. Although the LIGO project began in 1992, the direct detection of GWs was not possible with the original LIGO setup because the instruments were not sufficiently sensitive. The LIGO interferometer setup consists of two perpendicular ‘arms’ (each 4km long) that are optical Fabry-Pérot cavities. A laser beam is shone along these arms and reflected by mirrors at each end (a total of about 70 times, equal to a path length of about 300km). As a GW passes through the observatory's line of sight, it can be detected because the strain of space causes the arms of the interferometer to very slightly lengthen and shorten. The laser beam traveling between the mirrors thus travels different distances and the two beams are no longer in step, which gives rise to the measured interference patterns. The sensitivity of the original LIGO setup, however, was limited by the optical losses suffered by the mirrors. These optical losses had a number of sources, including absorption by the surface materials of the mirrors, aberrations that occur at each of the 70 reflections, as well as several internal and external noise sources. The most limiting of those noise sources was thermal noise in the cavity mirrors, which occurs in the most sensitive frequency band of the detector. This noise originates from the random rearrangement of molecules (structural relaxations) in the mirror materials when they are activated by thermal energy. In this work we outline our efforts to develop advanced optical coatings to reduce the optical and mechanical losses of the LIGO mirrors.2, 3 We have conducted this work at the Laboratoire des Matériaux Avancés (LMA), France, after winning the contract to design the required optical and mechanical features for the Advanced LIGO (i.e., the LIGO upgrade that eventually led to the detection of GWs4) cavity optics. For this project, we thus built a 10m3 ion beam sputtering coating chamber (known as the Grand Coater) in which we can host two mirrors simultaneously (see Figure 1). In this chamber, the mirrors are subjected to a circular motion to ensure that the coating deposition on each mirror is alike and that the two cavities of each detector are therefore extremely symmetric. Indeed, to limit the aberrations that occur at each of the 70 LIGO mirror reflections, the uniformity of the coating thickness (over a 200mm diameter) must be within 0.1% (about 6nm) of the total thickness. Figure 1. Photograph of two Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) cavity mirrors. These mirrors were treated in the ‘Grand Coater’ of the Laboratoire des Matériaux Avancés. The mirrors have a diameter of 35cm and a substrate (synthetic fused silica) thickness of 20cm. The large diameter (and a proper aspect ratio) is required to limit the thermal noise, and a large mass is necessary to limit the effect of radiation pressure fluctuations (caused by the quantum nature of light). To achieve a roundtrip power loss for the arm cavities of less than 75ppm with the LIGO mirrors, their reflecting surfaces cannot be made of metal (because the optical loss caused by absorption would be at least 10,000ppm). As an alternative, a Bragg reflector coating for the mirrors is used. This coating consists of a stack of alternating layers of two glasses that have different refractive indices (see Figure 2). The glasses we use in our coatings are silica and a low-noise titania-doped tantalum oxide that we proposed and then optimized in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, UK.5 This mixture of glasses experiences fewer thermally activated structural relaxations than pure tantalum or titanium oxides. Moreover, the constructive interference of all reflected beams at each interface of the stack produces the desired reflectivity, with an extremely low absorption. We have also collaborated with researchers from the University of Sannio (Italy) to optimize the thickness of our coating layers so that we reduce the amount of the high-index material (i.e., titanium oxide/tantalum oxide) with respect to the low-index material (silica) as much as possible.6, 7 Figure 2. Scanning electron microscope image showing alternating layers of two glasses that are similar to those used in the LIGO mirror coatings. The darker layer is silica and the brighter layer is titania-doped tantalum oxide. In total, this highly reflecting stack consists of 36 layers and has a thickness of about 5.9μm. (Image provided courtesy of the Consortium Lyon Saint-Etienne de Microscopie.) The coating thickness uniformity we achieve for the mirrors is illustrated in Figure 3. Our combined use of masking and circular motion during the coating process means that we create a spiral pattern—see Figure 4(a)—with a peak-to-valley amplitude of about 1.5nm and a spatial periodicity of 8mm. The consequent aberration of the reflected wavefront, although very small, gives rise to a scattering cone that couples one cavity mirror to the other (via reflection from the non-seismic isolated vacuum tube baffles). In this way, excess phase noise on the light is introduced inside the interferometer: see Figure 4(c). To solve this problem, we thus make two spiral patterns that destructively interfere (i.e., by shifting one by 4mm with respect to the other): see Figure 4(b).8 The final absorption in all our coated mirrors is well below 1ppm (see Figure 5), i.e., the limit required for the Advanced LIGO project. Figure 3. Relative variation of the coating thickness (total thickness is about 5.9μm) measured along the diameter of one highly reflecting mirror. Figure 4. Wavefront distortion measured (with a ZYGO interferometer) on a 150mm-diameter coated mirror before (a) and after (b) the spiral pattern was reduced. The spiral pattern in (a) can cause the coupling of two mirrors via noisy light reflection, as illustrated in (c). This scattering pattern causes light to leak out and enter into the optical path. Figure 5. Map of absorption with the central (160mm-diameter) area of a highly reflecting LIGO mirror (measured using the thermo-optic mirage effect). The average absorption value is 0.27ppm. In summary, we have developed state-of-the-art Bragg-reflector coatings that can be used to reduce the optical losses of mirrors. In particular, the coatings we have produced have been used to increase the sensitivity of detection for the Advanced LIGO and have thus enabled the recent groundbreaking observation of gravitational waves. In our ongoing work, we are developing the coatings that will be used on the mirrors for the Japanese Kamioka Gravitational Wave Detector project. In this case, our coatings will operate at cryogenic temperatures and will involve the use of sapphire substrates. We have also started to investigate new materials and processes that may be suitable for our coatings, as well as the origin of thermal noise in amorphous materials. In addition, we continue to improve the thickness uniformity and optical control of deposition we can achieve with our coating technique.9 Laboratoire des Matériaux Avancés (LMA) National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3), CNRS Gianpietro Cagnoli is a professor of physics at Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University and the director of the LMA. His expertise is in the fields of thermal noise in mechanical experiments and of low-noise materials. Laurent Pinard is the chief engineer and the head of the metrology service at LMA. He is an expert on optical metrology and coating development. He is also the coordinator of the Advanced Virgo detector subsystem, and in charge of its mirrors. Christophe Michel is responsible for the infrastructure of LMA (and head of the laboratory's process service) and for the coating of the main optics in the gravitational wave detectors. His main expertise is in coating development. Benoit Sassolas is an expert in the simulation of coating deposition and coating development. At LMA he is the coordinator of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope activity. Jérôme Degallaix is a physics researcher, with expertise in optical simulation. He is also the coordinator of the Advanced Virgo Optical Design and simulation detector system. Massimo Granata is a research engineer. He is an expert on the mechanical characterization of coatings and thermal-noise-related issues. Danièle Forest is an assistant engineer and an expert on optical metrology, spectrophotometry, absorption, point defect detection, and roughness. 1. B. P. Abbott, R. Abbott, T. D. Abbott, M. R. Abernathy, F. Acernese, K. Ackley, C. Adams, et al., Observation of gravitational waves from a binary black hole merger, Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, p. 061102, 2016. 3. L. Pinard, C. Michel, B. Sassolas, L. Balzarini, J. Degallaix, J. Dolique, R. Flaminio, et al., The mirrors used in the LIGO interferometers for the first-time detection of gravitational waves, Opt. Interfer. Coatings, p. MB.3, 2016. doi:10.1364/OIC.2016.MB.3 6. A. E. Villar, E. D. Black, R. DeSalvo, K. G. Libbrecht, C. Michel, N. Morgado, L. Pinard, et al., Measurement of thermal noise in multilayer coatings with optimized layer thickness, Phys. Rev. D 81, p. 122001, 2010. 7. L. Pinard, S. Sassolas, R. Flaminio, D. Forest, A. Lacoudre, C. Michel, J. L. Montorio, N. Morgado, Toward a new generation of low-loss mirrors for the advanced gravitational waves interferometers, Opt. Lett. 36, p. 1407-1409, 2011. 8. B. Sassolas, N. Straniero, J. Degallaix, C. Michel, L. Pinard, J. Teillon, L. Balzarini, et al., Mitigation of the spiral pattern induced by the planetary motion, Opt. Interfer. Coatings, p. MB.6, 2016. doi:10.1364/OIC.2016.MB.6 9. D. Hofman, B. Sassolas, C. Michel, L. Balzarini, L. Pinard, J. Teillon, E. Barthelemy-Mazot, B. David, B. Lagrange, G. Cagnoli, Broadband optical monitoring of optical thin films in large ion-beam sputtering machine, Opt. Interfer. Coatings, p. WC.4, 2016. doi:10.1364/OIC.2016.WC.4


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

(Reuters) - Europe’s top tech hubs tend to radiate from massive capital cities like London, Berlin and Paris. But the heart of European innovation isn’t a major metropolis –it’s a small city in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders. That’s the conclusion of Reuters’ second annual ranking of Europe’s Most Innovative Universities, a list that identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies, and help drive the global economy. The most innovative university in Europe, for the second year running, is Belgium’s KU Leuven. This nearly 600-year-old institution was founded by Pope Martin V, but today it’s better known for technology than theology: KU Leuven maintains one of the largest independent research and development organizations on the planet. In fiscal 2015, the university’s research spending exceeded €454 million, and its patent portfolio currently includes 586 active families, each one representing an invention protected in multiple countries. How does a relatively small Catholic university out-innovate bigger, better-known institutions across Europe? KU Leuven earned its first-place rank, in part, by producing a high volume of influential inventions. Its researchers submit more patents than most other universities on the continent, and outside researchers frequently cite KU Leuven inventions in their own patent applications. Those are key criteria in Reuters ranking of Europe’s Most Innovative Universities, which was compiled in partnership with Clarivate Analytics, and is based on proprietary data and analysis of indicators including patent filings and research paper citations. The second most innovative university in Europe is Imperial College London, an institution whose researchers have been responsible for the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the invention of fiber optics. The third-place University of Cambridge has been associated with 91 Nobel Laureates during its 800-year history. And the fourth-place Technical University of Munich has spun off more than 800 companies since 1990, including a variety of high-tech startups in industries including renewable energy, semiconductors and nanotechnology. Overall, the same countries that dominate European business and politics dominate the ranking of Europe's Most Innovative Universities. German universities account for 23 of the 100 institutions on the list, more than any other country, and the United Kingdom comes in second, tied with France, each with 17 institutions. But those three countries are also among the most populous and richest countries on the continent. Control for those factors, and it turns out that countries with much smaller populations and modest economies often outperform big ones. The Republic of Ireland has only three schools on the entire list, but with a population of less than 5 million people, it can boast more top 100 innovative universities per capita than any other country in Europe. On the same per capita basis, the second most innovative country on the list is Denmark, followed by Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Germany, the United Kingdom and France rank in the middle of the pack, an indication that they may be underperforming compared with their smaller neighbors: On a per capita basis, none of those countries has half as many top 100 universities than Ireland. And the same trends hold true if you look at national economies. According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2016 Germany’s gross domestic product exceeded $3.49 trillion –11 times larger than Ireland at $307 billion, yet Germany has only 7 times as many top 100 innovative universities. Some countries underperform even more drastically. Russia is Europe’s most populous country and has the region’s fifth largest economy, yet none of its universities count among the top 100. Other notable absences include any universities from Ukraine or Romania–a fact that reveals another divide between Western and Eastern Europe. To compile the ranking of Europe’s most innovative universities, Clarivate Analytics (formerly the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters) began by identifying more than 600 global organizations that published the most articles in academic journals, including educational institutions, nonprofit charities, and government-funded institutions. That list was reduced to institutions that filed at least 50 patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization in the period between 2010 and 2015. Then they evaluated each candidate on 10 different metrics, focusing on academic papers (which indicate basic research) and patent filings (which point to an institution's ability to apply research and commercialize its discoveries). Finally, they trimmed the list so that it only included European universities, and then ranked them based on their performance. This is the second consecutive year that Clarivate and Reuters have collaborated to rank Europe’s Most Innovative Universities, and three universities that ranked in the top 100 in 2016 fell off the list entirely: the Netherland’s Eindhoven University of Technology, Germany’s University of Kiel, and the UK’s Queens University Belfast. All three universities filed fewer than 50 patents during the period examined for the ranking, and thus were eliminated from consideration. They’ve been replaced by three new entrants to the top 100: the University of Glasgow (#54), the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (#94), and the Autonomous University of Madrid (#100). The returning universities that made the biggest moves on the list were the Netherland’s Leiden University (up 21 spots to #17) and Germany’s Technical University of Berlin (up 21 spots to #41). Belgium’s Université Libre of Brussels (down 17 to #38) and the UK’s University of Leeds (down 17 to #73) made the biggest moves in the opposite direction. Generally, though, the list remained largely stable: Nine of the top ten schools of 2016 remained in the top 10 for 2017, and 17 of the top 20. This stability is understandable because something as large as university paper output and patent performance is unlikely to change quickly. Of course, the relative ranking of any university does not provide a complete picture of whether its researchers are doing important, innovative work. Since the ranking measures innovation on an institutional level, it may overlook particularly innovative departments or programs: a university might rank low for overall innovation but still operate one of the world's most innovative computer science laboratories, for instance. And it's important to remember that whether a university ranks at the top or the bottom of the list, it's still within the top 100 on the continent: All of these universities produce original research, create useful technology and stimulate the global economy.


Hebblewhite M.,University of Montana | Haydon D.T.,University of Glasgow
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

In the past decade, ecologists have witnessed vast improvements in our ability to collect animal movement data through animal-borne technology, such as through GPS or ARGOS systems. However, more data does not necessarily yield greater knowledge in understanding animal ecology and conservation. In this paper, we provide a review of the major benefits, problems and potential misuses of GPS/Argos technology to animal ecology and conservation. Benefits are obvious, and include the ability to collect fine-scale spatio-temporal location data on many previously impossible to study animals, such as ocean-going fish, migratory songbirds and long-distance migratory mammals. These benefits come with significant problems, however, imposed by frequent collar failures and high cost, which often results in weaker study design, reduced sample sizes and poorer statistical inference. In addition, we see the divorcing of biologists from a field-based understanding of animal ecology to be a growing problem. Despite these difficulties, GPS devices have provided significant benefits, particularly in the conservation and ecology of wide-ranging species. We conclude by offering suggestions for ecologists on which kinds of ecological questions would currently benefit the most from GPS/Argos technology, and where the technology has been potentially misused. Significant conceptual challenges remain, however, including the links between movement and behaviour, and movement and population dynamics. © 2010 The Royal Society.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN | Award Amount: 3.37M | Year: 2011

Nematodes are among the most serious threats to livestock. They cause disease and death but they also compromise production. Even a mild infection can cause a relative protein deficiency and reduce weight gain by 25% . In the UK sheep industry alone, nematode infection costs over 100 million Euros a year . The mainstay of current control measures is anthelmintic treatment but this is threatened by the evolution of drug resistance in parasite populations. Alternative or supplementary control measures are urgently needed. The most promising option for control of nematodes is exploitation of genetic variation which is cheap, surprisingly rapid and has proved to be successful in Australia and New Zealand. There are two obstacles to exploiting genetic variation in resistance to nematodes. Many farmers lack expertise in breeding for disease resistance; simplified breeding strategies that utilise markers for disease resistance will help here. Also, there are concerns about sustainability of breeding for resistance to nematodes. A systems biology approach is necessary in order to develop the comprehensive understanding necessary to simplify breeding to ensure that disease control is likely to be sustainable. A systems approach will also help to identify the most suitable combination of approaches under different circumstances. Systems biology combines a variety of disciplines in a quantitative way to achieve a coherent, consistent and comprehensive understanding of host-parasite relationships. This project aims to identify markers for host resistance to nematodes and to enhance our understanding of the host-parasite interaction. We will train a cadre of researchers with the necessary skills to apply quantitative approaches to parasitology and with the essential experience to apply this knowledge to the livestock sector.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-05-2015 | Award Amount: 4.75M | Year: 2016

About 2/3 of the rice consumed by European citizens is produced in EU, and its productivity is affected by abiotic and biotic stresses. Of particular concern, global temperature has increased over the last century, especially during the last 50 years (0.13 C / decade). One consequence has been a clear tendency toward salinization, which affects rice as one of the most salt sensitive crop in the region. Associated with changes in temperature and salinity, the biotic stress of the Apple snail species from genus Pomacea now threatens to destroy rice paddy fields eating the sown seed and the rice plantlets, representing one of the worst introduced gastropod crop pest of the recent time. It is calculated that nowadays this pest causes damages in rice fields worldwide that result into losses of tens of billions of Euros a year. Recently, apple snails have been detected in the Ebro river delta (Spain), and now it represents an important thread to Europes wetlands biodiversity and rice production. To date, the measures adopted to combat apple snail have failed, but in the autumn of 2013, 2500 ha of infested fields were flooded with sea water. This treatment proved 100% effective in destroying apple snail infestations, nevertheless residual salt concentrations affected negatively rice productivity. Thus, the general objective of the NEURICE project is to identify and introduce genetic variation in European rice varieties for obtaining commercial varieties tolerant to salinity in order to (i) mitigate the imminent effects of salinization and deterioration of water quality in the Mediterranean basins due to climate change, and (ii) to avoid the decline in production observed after seawater treatments performed in rice paddies that successfully controlled the apple snail pest. The availability of commercial salt tolerant rice lines will prevent the climate change derived abiotic stress while avoiding the dispersion of this devastating pest (biotic stress) all over Europe.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2009-2.4.5-2 | Award Amount: 15.74M | Year: 2010

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects up to 10% of the population. Besides eventual progression towards end stage renal disease CKD impacts the patients quality of life by causing serious comorbidities including cardiovascular complications and bone metabolism disorders. On the everyday clinical level early stage diagnosis and tailored treatment of CKD are still inadequate. In addition, CKD seems not to have reached its appropriate emplacement in an epidemiological and healthcare perspective yet, and the pathophysiology of the disease on a molecular and cellular level is not well enough understood. Our sysKID consortium was installed for precisely addressing these issues: To unravel the molecular and cellular mechanisms of chronic kidney disease development, combine this information with clinical risk factors, and on this basis delineate chronic kidney disease biomarkers. These markers will allow us to perform preclinical studies of novel therapy approaches for halting disease progression, and will provide us with the materials for development and clinical evaluation of tools for early stage diagnosis as well as prognosis and treatment monitoring. sysKID assures a successful implementation of these goals by a truly international consortium of 27 leading research groups. We combine clinical know how, provide access to a huge chronic kidney disease sample and clinical data pool, and build a Systems Biology framework for chronic kidney disease by integrating molecular and cellular biology, computational biology, statistics and epidemiology. Our expert group is further complemented by a high level advisory board covering science, product development, and the patients perspective. sysKID implementation is structured for completing pre-clinical Proof of Concept studies of novel chronic kidney disease therapy regimes, and further for completing clinical evaluation of an epidemiological screening tool as well as of early stage chronic kidney disease diagnostic kits.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.95M | Year: 2015

TERRE aims to develop novel geo-technologies to address the competitiveness challenge of the European construction industry in a low carbon agenda. It will be delivered through an inter-sectoral and intra-European coordinated PhD programme focused on carbon-efficient design of geotechnical infrastructure. Industry and Research in the construction sector have been investing significantly in recent years to produce innovative low-carbon technologies. However, little innovation has been created in the geo-infrastructure industry, which is lagging behind other construction industry sectors. TERRE aims to close this gap through a network-wide training programme carried out by a close collaboration of eleven Universities and Research Centres and three SMEs. It is structured to provide a balanced combination of fundamental and applied research and will eventually develop operational tools such as software for low-carbon geotechnical design and a Decision Support System for infrastructure project appraisal. The research fellows will be involved in inter-sectoral and intra-European projects via enrolment in 8 Joint-Awards and 7 Industrial PhDs. The research fellows will be trained in low-carbon design by developing novel design concepts including eco-reinforced geomaterials, engineered vegetation, engineered soil-atmosphere interfaces, biofilms, shallow geothermal energy and soil carbon sequestration. Distinctive features of TERRE are the supervision by an inter-sectoral team and the orientation of the research towards technological applications. Training at the Network level includes the development of entrepreneurial skills via a special programme on Pathways to Research Enterprise to support the research fellows in establishing and leading spin-out companies after the end of the project.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 4.16M | Year: 2013

The FlowTrans Initial Training Network is a unique environment for career development, built on joint challenges of Industry and University partners in a newly emerging supra-disciplinary field, spanning from Physics to Earth Sciences and aiming to understand Flow in Transforming Porous Media. Training will be hosted by 8 Universities in synergy with 2 full and 4 associated industry partners with the objective of delivering highly-trained mobile researchers to the European market. The objective of FlowTrans is the creation of a unique research training environment and a new inter-sectoral supra-interdisciplinary field to de-fragment European knowledge and combine industry and universities to harness understanding of basic scientific questions for tackling future challenges in Exploration of Geological Resources. Our research training objectives focus on teaching ESRs and ERs the necessary interdisciplinary skills needed to study Flow in Transforming Porous Media. The characterization and the understanding of flow of fluids within rocks and granular media has become an ever-increasing problem in Earth Sciences, Physics, and in many industrial applications, including CO2 sequestration, hydrocarbon migration, ore deposit development, and radioactive waste disposal. One of the main problems is the understanding of flows in transforming porous media (PM), where the rocks and fluid pathways evolve spatially and temporally, for example due to chemical interactions with the flow, or due to compaction of the solid matrix. We propose to study the feedback mechanisms and their impact on the porous media through an interdisciplinary approach between Earth Scientists and Physicists. State of the art analytical and experimental methods will be used on natural systems and rock analogues, and will be complemented by multi-scale dynamical simulations, to develop new basic understanding and new methods that can be directly used in industrial applications.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-STG | Phase: ERC-StG-2014 | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2015

Background: One of the major challenges for malaria control and elimination is the phenomenally efficient spread of malaria through sexual stage malaria parasites (gametocytes). The epidemiology and dynamics of gametocytes are poorly understood: it is presently unknown when commitment to gametocytes first occurs during infections and what intrinsic or extrinsic factors influence gametocyte production and infectivity to mosquitoes. I hypothesize that continuous early commitment to gametocyte production and the preferential sequestration of mature gametocytes in the subdermal vasculature are key to explaining the high efficiency of malaria transmission. Aim: This proposal has three main aims: i) to determine when commitment to gametocyte production first occurs during experimental and natural infections; ii) to delineate environmental triggers that stimulate gametocyte production in the absence and presence of treatment; iii) to quantify the differential distribution of parasite developmental stages in different compartments of the human bloodstream. Approach: We will use novel parasite stage composition assays in combination with epidemiological methods to determine the dynamics of gametocyte commitment and maturation during controlled malaria infections in malaria-naive volunteers and during naturally acquired malaria infections in cohorts exposed to malaria in Burkina Faso. A stage-specific immunohistochemistry assay will, for the first time, directly quantify malaria stage composition in the subdermal vasculature and mosquito bloodmeals and allow comparison with other compartments of the circulation. Importance and Innovation: This is the first study to comprehensively characterize gametocyte commitment, maturation and infectivity in experimental and natural infections. This proposal will provide insight in one of the most important questions for malaria elimination: what processes are responsible for the phenomenally efficient transmission of malaria.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.50M | Year: 2015

Biomedical imaging is a research field that is producing ground breaking scientific discoveries that enhance the health and life quality of European citizens and have a huge economic impact. In order to maintain Europes leading position in the field, it is crucial to invest in the people who will lead R&D, and to promote the academic-private sector partnerships that will transfer the novel technologies to the market. In order to meet these needs, BE-OPTICAL will provide a unique and structured training programme to 14 ESRs in a wide range of optical imaging technologies and signal processing tools, including fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy, optical coherence tomography, optogenetics, engineered nanomaterials and signal processing tools. The research is structured in 4 WPs: super-resolution optical imaging for the analysis of cellular processes (WP1), high-resolution optical imaging of cardiac tissue (WP2), advanced instrumentation for ophthalmic imaging (WP3), and optical components, methods and software for image analysis (WP4). Comprising 7 leading academic groups and 2 non-academic partners in 5 European countries, BE-OPTICAL brings together an interdisciplinary team of physicists, engineers and medical doctors, with complementary expertise in optical imaging, nanotechnology, computer science, complex systems and data analysis. The non-academic partners are a leading company in fluorescence instrumentation and an internationally recognised ophthalmology clinic, with the most advanced technology and expertise in ocular diseases. The training programme will provide the ESRs with a broad understanding of how a wide range of optical imaging technologies and data processing tools work, and will open for them a wide range of job opportunities. The ESRs will apply this knowledge to advance the early diagnosis of highly significant diseases. The ESRs will also gain insight into clinical studies of novel imaging technologies and the commercialization process.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: REFLECTIVE-11-2015 | Award Amount: 1.90M | Year: 2016

Traditional valorisation approaches focus on linear processes: from academia to society. In order to bring valorisation to a higher level, all relevant actors need to cooperate in an equal setting: co-creation. Co-creation transcends boundaries, but it does not happen naturally. Therefore, the ACCOMPLISSH consortium, consisting of 14 universities from 12 countries (representing all the sub disciplines in SSH), will actively involve the other partners from the so called Quadruple Helix (industry, governments and societal partners) within the project. The project has chosen an Open Innovation approach. The ACCOMPLISSH project (Accelerate co-creation by setting up a multi-actor platform for impact from Social Sciences and Humanities) will create a platform for dialogue where not only universities are involved. The dialogue platform is organised in such a way that academia, industry, governments and societal partners equally contribute in identifying barriers and enablers of co-creation. The results from both practice and the theory of co-creation form the basis of the valorisation concept and will be tested in the project in a quadruple helix setting. This concept will be tested and developed in such a way that it is transferable, scalable and customized for academia, industry, governments and societal partners in the whole of Europe. The impact profile of SSH research could be far stronger and more visible than it currently is. There are significant barriers to the valorisation of SSH research which still need to be understood in detail. In order to push the envelope within universities, we acknowledge that next to SSH researchers, the research support officers are key players in valorisation of SSH research. The project will identify all barriers and enablers of co-creation in order to develop an innovative valorisation concept, which will foster knowledge exchange within the quadruple helix and strengthens the position of SSH research.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES | Award Amount: 188.80K | Year: 2012

54 partners from 34 institutes have formed an EC-funded Network of Excellence (NoE) in basic malaria research, the European Virtual Institute for Malaria Research (EVIMalaR). Over the previous >5 years as the NoE Biomalpar these partners successfully broke down many barriers to cooperation pursuing a programme of integrated research. This was greatly assisted by the Biomalpar PhD School whose students were supervised by two partners from different member states. Evimalar represents the latest incarnation of this network and has recruited in tranches 21 students into the Evimalar PhD School. Australian malaria researchers have also realised the greater benefits of collaborative research and within the Australian Parasitology Network have exchanged personnel and expertise. Both the European and Australian networks recognised that their domestic spirit of cooperation could be mutualised and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2007 (updated in 2010) to formalise the ambition. The MoU generated greater exchange between the regions but was limited due to lack of finance. Evimalar created a legal link between the regions by incorporating an Australian malaria researcher who was then applied for funding from the Australian NHMRC to finance OzEMalaR, a mechanism for exchange of Australians to Evimalar partners. Ozmalnet seeks reciprocal funding to allow Evimalar researchers to conduct exchange visits to OzEMalaR laboratories. Both regions are world leaders in malaria research with particular local strengths that can be exploited to the mutual benefit of both regions and their early stage researchers including Evimalar PhD students who will primarily be undertaking the exchanges. The outcome will be a more globalised integration of malaria research and greater exchange of information and personnel in the future leading to collaborative grants and ultimately concerted efforts to defeat malaria one of the greatest scourges of mankind.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 328.73K | Year: 2011

Multi-pathogen infections of the uterus after parturition are endemic causing clinical uterine disease in 40% of dairy cattle and a further 20-40% develop subclinical disease each year. The number of animals requiring treatment is rising as milk production increases. Uterine disease causes infertility, delayed conception, disruption of ovarian cycles, involuntary culling for failure to conceive, and mortality, costing the EU dairy industry EURO1.4 billion/year. The cost to the animal is pain and suffering for several weeks. The cost to the environment is more greenhouse gas emissions, land and water degradation because more cattle have to be kept on farms to replace infertile animals. Research into uterine infection has been neglected compared with other major diseases; there are no vaccines or prevention strategies, and treatment relies on antibiotics and hormones. However, there has been an explosion of knowledge about innate and mucosal immunity in the last 10 years, which provides insights that can be exploited to prevent disease. Furthermore, our recent work has identified several potential strategies to prevent or limit this endemic disease that urgently need examining. Now is the strategic moment where concerted action between the partners is likely to have an impact on uterine disease. This project aims to translate novel strategies into potential products that limit the impact of uterine disease. We will pursue 3 objectives: 1. Refine our underpinning knowledge and tools for postpartum uterine disease in cattle. This includes refining and benchmarking our in vitro and in vivo models of disease; exploring the details of the microbes that infect the uterus, including our newly discovered endometrial pathogenic E. coli (EnPEC); and developing molecular tools to evaluate and diagnose disease. 2. Test candidate strategies to prevent or limit uterine disease using our in vitro and in vivo models. 3. Translate the best candidate strategies that prevent or limit uterine disease to pre-clinical field trials. The project addresses the first translational gap between basic science and the generation of ideas or products for animal health. We are fortunate to have support from our industrial partners, who also have the expertise to then take the results of the project to market for the benefit of all stakeholders.


The direct dependence of humans on ecosystem services is by far strongest in developing regions where poverty restricts access to resources. This dependency also makes people in developing countries more sensitive to climate change than their developed counterparts. Increasing human populations deteriorates natural habitat, biodiversity and ecosystems services which spiral into poverty and low human welfare. This calls for innovative solutions that encompass the entire socio-ecological-economic system, as recognized on a global scale in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. However, innovative and practical solutions require downscaling to regional levels for identifying concrete sets of drivers of change. For Africa specifically, the interplay of human population growth, land use change, climate change and human well-being is a major challenge. This project focuses on the Serengeti-Maasai Mara Ecosystem and associated agricultural areas, a region in East Africa that encompasses parts of Kenya and Tanzania. The ecosystem is world-famous for key aspects of its biodiversity, such as the migration of 1.3 million wildebeest. This flagship ecosystem role will enhance the international interest in the project. In this project, internationally leading researchers from Norway, the Netherlands, Scotland, Denmark and Germany are teaming up with strong local partners in Tanzania and Kenya. The research will be organised in seven interlinked work packages: 1) assemble and integrate the so far separate Kenyan and Tanzanian relevant data on the region; 2) quantify the connections between human population growth, land use change, climate change and biodiversity change; 3) test how biodiversity change leads to changes in key ecosystem services; 4) quantify the dependence of human livelihoods on these ecosystem services. We will implement innovative ways for communication and dissemination of the results of continuous engagement by local stakeholders.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.3.1 | Award Amount: 4.79M | Year: 2012

Among the physical limitations which challenge progress in nanoelectronics for aggressively scaled More Moore, Beyond CMOS and advanced More-than-Moore applications, process variability and the interactions between and with electrical, thermal and mechanical effects are getting more and more critical. Effects from various sources of process variations, both systematic and stochastic, influence each other and lead to variations of the electrical, thermal and mechanical behavior of devices, interconnects and circuits. Correlations are of key importance because they drastically affect the percentage of products which meet the specifications. Whereas the comprehensive experimental investigation of these effects is largely impossible, modelling and simulation (TCAD) offers the unique possibility to predefine process variations and trace their effects on subsequent process steps and on devices and circuits fab-ricated, just by changing the corresponding input data. This important requirement for and capability of simulation is among others highlighted in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors ITRS. A project partner has also demonstrated how correlations can be simulated.\nWithin SUPERTHEME, the most important weaknesses which limit the use of current TCAD software to study the influence of both systematic and stochastic process variability and its interaction with electro-thermal-mechanical effects will be removed, and the study of correlations will be enabled. The project will efficiently combine the use of commercially available software and leading-edge background results of the consortium with the implementation of the key missing elements and links. It will bridge the current critical gap between variability simulation on process and device/interconnect level, and include the treatment of correlations. The capabilities of the software system will be demonstrated both on advanced analog circuits and on aggressively scaled transistors.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2013.9.8 | Award Amount: 1.21M | Year: 2013

The goal of this proposal is to create a coordination activity among consortia involved in the ICT-ENERGY subject with specific reference to bringing together the existing Toward Zero-Power ICT community organized within the ZEROPOWER C.A. and the novel MINECC (Minimising energy consumption of computing to the limit) community recently funded under the FET Proactive Call 8 (FP7-ICT-2011-8) Objective 9.8. The coordination activity is aimed at assessing the impact of the research efforts developed in the groups involved in the different consortia and proposing measures to increase the visibility of ICT-Energy related initiatives to the scientific community, targeted industries and to the public at large through exchange of information, dedicated networking events and media campaigns. The activities of our C.A. will inspire more research projects in this emerging area by generating broader acceptance for the developed technology and the benefits of its applications. ICT-Energy C.A. will facilitate broader interaction and feedback among the consortia members and stakeholders, thereby, consolidating progress in the field. Positive benefits to the European Community are foreseen in all great challenges of energy, security, environment and health by developing a strategic research agenda in low power, energy efficient ICT and making it happen.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: REFLECTIVE-9-2014 | Award Amount: 1.04M | Year: 2015

Through a comprehensive perspective that includes the most relevant social and political connections, the project aims to address the proposed topic from a double standpoint, namely, an analytical as well as a public policy perspective. We start from the idea that since the second half of the last century culture has experienced a profound mutation, through which its position and role in the social dynamics have been transformed. Whereas it was previously confined to a purely superstructural position, it now constitutes an essential basis of todays society. In the context of cultural digitization and globalization the entire cultural ecosystem has changed, which has radically altered - and at the same time, intensified - the relationship between cultural identity, cultural heritage and cultural expression. This transformation has occurred both at the level of the professional cultural sector as well as in society as a whole. The new challenges and the new potential of culture, where these three pillars - cultural identity, cultural heritage and cultural expression - intertwine, will be considered in the work of the platform along three axes: 1. Cultural memory 2. Cultural inclusion 3. Cultural creativity These are designed to research debates relating to heritage in the institutions and practices of cultural memory; how the focus on diversity and inclusion impacts on the practices of memory institutions, including on stakeholders and networks; what this reconfiguration contributes to new or post-national oriented narratives about identity and European values; and how heritage, cultural diversity and creativity relate in the context of huge cultural transformations such as the ones represented by digitization and cultural globalization.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2013.2.1-01 | Award Amount: 2.81M | Year: 2013

We propose a focused space-based and ground-based multi-mode, multi-wavelength study of solar flares - the most intense energy release events in the solar system. We will center our attention on the flare chromosphere, from which most of the radiation originates. This work calls on space-based and ground-based observations, plus theoretical and modeling expertise. The project will have two major outcomes: advances in our understanding of the physics of energy dissipation and radiation in the flaring solar atmosphere, and a catalogue and archive facility for the solar physics community to access combined ground-based and space-based datasets for well-observed flare events, and flare atmospheric models to aid in data interpretation. It will have scientific impacts for both solar and stellar flare communities. We plan a dissemination activity for public and scientific communities alike, including an effort to involve amateur astronomers in co-ordinated flare campaigns.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: AHRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 4.16M | Year: 2012

Over the last decade, the creative industries have been revolutionised by the Internet and the digital economy. The UK, already punching above its weight in the global cultural market, stands at a pivotal moment where it is well placed to build a cultural, business and regulatory infrastructure in which first movers as significant as Google, Facebook, Amazon or iTunes may emerge and flourish, driving new jobs and industry. However, for some creators and rightsholders the transition from analogue to digital has been as problematic as it has been promising. Cultural heritage institutions are also struggling to capitalise upon new revenue streams that digitisation appears to offer, while maintaining their traditional roles. Policymakers are hampered by a lack of consensus across stakeholders and confused by partisan evidence lacking robust foundations. Research in conjunction with industry is needed to address these problems and provide support for legislators. CREATe will tackle this regulatory and business crisis, helping the UK creative industry and arts sectors survive, grow and become global innovation pioneers, with an ambitious programme of research delivered by an interdisciplinary team (law, business, economics, technology, psychology and cultural analysis) across 7 universities. CREATe aims to act as an honest broker, using open and transparent methods throughout to provide robust evidence for policymakers and legislators which can benefit all stakeholders. CREATe will do this by: - focussing on studying and collaborating with SMEs and individual creators as the incubators of innovation; - identifying good, bad and emergent business models: which business models can survive the transition to the digital?, which cannot?, and which new models can succeed and scale to drive growth and jobs in the creative economy, as well as supporting the public sector in times of recession?; - examining empirically how far copyright in its current form really does incentivise or reward creative work, especially at the SME/micro level, as well as how far innovation may come from open business models and the informal economy; - monitoring copyright reform initiatives in Europe, at WIPO and other international fora to assess how they impact on the UK and on our work; - using technology as a solution not a problem: by creating pioneering platforms and tools to aid creators and users, using open standards and released under open licences; - examining how to increase and derive revenues from the user contribution to the creative economy in an era of social media, mash-up, data mining and prosumers; - assessing the role of online intermediaries such as ISPs, social networks and mobile operators to see if they encourage or discourage the production and distribution of cultural goods, and what role they should play in enforcing copyright. Given the important governing role of these bodies should they be subject to regulation like public bodies, and if so, how?; - consider throughout this work how the public interest and human rights, such as freedom of expression, privacy, and access to knowledge for the socially or physically excluded, may be affected either positively or negatively by new business models and new ways to enforce copyright. To investigate these issues our work will be arranged into seven themes: SMEs and good, bad and emergent business models; Open business models; Regulation and enforcement; Creators and creative practice; Online intermediaries and physical and virtual platforms; User creation, behaviour and norms; and, Human rights and the public interest. Our deliverables across these themes will be drawn together to inform a Research Blueprint for the UK Creative Economy to be launched in October 2016.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 289.99K | Year: 2011

Contacts, made up of metal-semiconductor interfaces, are integral parts any semiconductor device. Compatibility of the metal and semiconductor components, homogeneity of structural and electrical characteristics of their interfaces, and robustness and durability of the contacts are crucial for the device proper functionality.Optimal operation of the contacts is a key to realisation of novel devices and development of new device concepts, including high mobility semiconductors based CMOS, tunnelling and spin-based transistors, tunnelling diodes, gas and infrared carbon-nanotube detectors, etc. Two major current trends in the semiconductor industry - miniaturisation of the devices and shift to new materials - pose the challenges for the contact technology: (i) robustness and stability of operation in ever smaller devices and (ii) compatibility of metal and semiconductor components. For example, the resistance of present day contacts is strongly affected by fluctuations in the currently being developed sub-22 nm technology. This problem is getting worse for smaller devices. On the other hand, introduction of new materials for high-mobility channels, e.g., Ge and III-Vs, necessitates the search for compatible metals and brings new challenges related to the contact fabrication. Therefore, understanding the dependence of the nanoscale metal-semiconductor interface properties on the atomic structure of this interface, chemical composition disorder, and defects is a key to formulating and exploiting new device concepts. In particular, this understanding is imperative for the developing of optimal contact fabrication procedures for nano-scale semiconductor devices.Primary aims of the proposed research are i) enabling and carrying out multiscale modelling of the optimal chemical compositions and structures of metal-semiconductor interfaces such that the Schottky barrier is minimal;ii) analysis of the role of interface defects, strain, and disorder on the carrier transport in CMOS devices.We will first develop a methodology which bridges ab initio simulations of atomic-scale structures and electronic properties of interfaces at 1-3 nm scale and simulation of device current-voltage characteristics at the scale of 5-50 nm. The results of the ab initio calculations will be transferred into 3D Monte Carlo (MC) transport simulations, which will allow us to make a realistic representation of the metal-semiconductor interface and develop a physical model of source/drain contacts. This model, in turn, will be incorporated into a 2D MC device simulator to predict the device performance and thus allow one for the straightforward comparison with experimental data obtained directly from the operating devices. Such methodology will allow us: i) to consider explicitly effects of point defects (<0.5 nm scale), composition disorder (~1 nm scale), and metal granularity (~1-2 nm scale) on the electronic properties of selected metal-semiconductor interfaces, ii) to incorporate these effects into 3D MC transport simulations through the metal-semiconductor interfaces,iii) to develop realistic models for source/drain contacts, carry out 2D MC device simulations, and to optimise device performance with respect to the properties of the contacts.The methodology will be first tested on the case of Ti metal contact with an archetypal III-V semiconductor GaAs and the results will be validated using experimental data provided by our project partners. Then other systems of increasing complexity will be investigated: interfaces of Ti metal with unary Si and Ge, doped GaAs, and ternary InGaAs semiconductors and, finally, interfaces of TiN metal alloy with InGaAs. Our theoretical predictions will be validated by and compared to experimental results at each scale: Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) data for the interface structures, resistance measurements for the transport through the interface, I-V characteristics for the device simulations.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.67M | Year: 2014

The GraWIToN project aims to train 13 ESRs in the gravitational wave search field. This research field is in an impressive expansion period, thank to a new generation of detector under installation in these years, to the promise of the exciting discovery in 5 years from now of this kind of signal, predicted in the General Relativity of Einstein, to the enlarging of the world wide scientific community, with new actors coming from emerging countries and thanks to the boosting action due to the Einstein Telescope project, previously supported by the European Commission with the FP7-Design Study tool. The ESRs will be embedded in this exciting research environment and will be trained in the cutting edge technologies adopted in the Gravitational Wave detectors. Complex optical apparatuses, high power and low noise lasers, high reflective coatings, optical simulation and modelling using parallel computing systems are the crucial technologies used in gravitational wave detectors that are extremely interesting in the industrial sector, as highlighted by the participation of 3 private companies as full participants and one as associated partner. The multidisciplinary aspect is completed by the astrophysics training, fundamental for a future researcher in this field, and by an expressly multidisciplinary module, addressed to the management and outreaching skills. The participation to this project of research institutes and universities will guarantee the possibility for the ESR to achieve to doctorate degree.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN | Award Amount: 3.82M | Year: 2012

Parasites exact a devastating toll on health and economic productivity, infecting man and also domestic livestock. Drugs used to combat parasitic diseases are deficient in many ways and new, better drugs are needed to establish sustainable means to combat diseases caused by protozoan parasites that include malaria, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis in man, and coccidiosis among others in animals. This ITN will train a new generation of European scientists in the requisites of preclinical drug discovery, combining academic excellence in innovation with industrial rigor and thus providing training from an industrial and academic perspective. The programme works on the premise that parasite metabolism offers a multitude of potential targets that can be exploited for drug design. Advances in genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics and protein chemistry, alongside computational systems biology are integral to the activities of the network. The programme is populated with projects at all levels of the preclinical drug discovery cascade to ensure ESRs and ERs are exposed to requirements and aspects of every step of this process. Therefore aspects of drug design, medicinal chemistry and small molecule screening will also be central to the programme. ESRs will perform research in two different laboratories providing them with multidisciplinary intersectoral training that we consider essential for the development of a highly skilled, knowledgeable new generation of researchers capable of innovation and application of research in a research area of global importance to human health..


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-25-2015 | Award Amount: 4.24M | Year: 2015

Overall objective: to enhance advanced CMOS RF and logic capability through the use of III-V heterostructure nanowires monolithically integrated on a silicon platform. INSIGHT will focus on: -Development and evaluation of the performance of silicon based, 94 GHz III-V nanowire MOSFET low-noise amplifiers. The technology opens a path for cost reduction of key mm-wave components for high bandwidth wireless applications. -Development of III-V nanowire MOSFETs on Si with breakdown voltage of 6 V, and evaluation of their performance in millimeter wave (90 GHz) power amplifier circuits. These devices will increase output power available from Si CMOS compatible mm-wave technologies with benefits for transceiver range and sensitivity. -Realisation of basic building blocks for future RF-circuits including mixers, Voltage-Controlled Oscillators, and frequency dividers for prescalers using silicon based III-V nanowire MOSFETS. -Development of science and technology for all-III-V nanowire CMOS on silicon targeting future technology nodes for 10 nm and below. This will be validated by the implementation and dynamic characterisation of a flip-flop as demonstration of the co-integration of III-V n- and p-type nanowire MOSFETs. INSIGHT is a strong consortium consisting of 7 partners with complimentary and well-documented experience in III-V MOS technology and millimeter-wave circuit design and implementation. Our main outcomes include : a)Technology toolbox including, materials, processes and integration for III-V n- and p-channel MOSFETs on a silicon platform, b) III-V nanowire MOSFET RF-transistor technology, c) Circuit design library, d) Circuit demonstrators with a clear technology path towards higher TRLs and commercialization. Our vision is to use III-V nanowire CMOS technology for millimeter-wave applications in a System-on-Chip approach, combining RF- and logic on one Si chip. Additionally, applications for logic at the 10 nm node and beyond are foreseen.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-RIA | Phase: FETFLAGSHIP | Award Amount: 89.00M | Year: 2016

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. Such an understanding can provide profound insights into our humanity, leading to fundamentally new computing technologies, and transforming the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. Modern ICT brings this prospect within reach. The HBP Flagship Initiative (HBP) thus proposes a unique strategy that uses ICT to integrate neuroscience data from around the world, to develop a unified multi-level understanding of the brain and diseases, and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. The goal is to catalyze a global collaborative effort. During the HBPs first Specific Grant Agreement (SGA1), the HBP Core Project will outline the basis for building and operating a tightly integrated Research Infrastructure, providing HBP researchers and the scientific Community with unique resources and capabilities. Partnering Projects will enable independent research groups to expand the capabilities of the HBP Platforms, in order to use them to address otherwise intractable problems in neuroscience, computing and medicine in the future. In addition, collaborations with other national, European and international initiatives will create synergies, maximizing returns on research investment. SGA1 covers the detailed steps that will be taken to move the HBP closer to achieving its ambitious Flagship Objectives.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.93M | Year: 2017

We propose a European Training Network that will provide a total of 540 ESR-months of training in Monte Carlo event generator physics and techniques, and related applications in experimental particle physics. Monte Carlo event generators are central to high energy particle physics. They are used by almost all experimental collaborations to plan their experiments and analyze their data, and by theorists to simulate the complex final states of the fundamental interactions that may signal new physics. We will build on the success of our current MCnetITN, by creating a European Training Network incorporating all the authors of current general purpose event generators, with the main purposes of: (a) training a large section of our user base, using annual schools on the physics and techniques of event generators and short-term studentships of Early Stage Researchers as a conduit for transfer of knowledge to the wider community; (b) training the next generation of event generator authors through dedicated PhD studentships; (c) providing broader training in transferable skills through our research, through dedicated training in entrepreneurship and employability and through secondments to non-academic partners. We will achieve these training objectives both through dedicated activities and through our research activities: (d) developing the next generation of higher precision event generators and supporting them for use throughout the LHC era and beyond; (e) playing a central role in the analysis of LHC data and the discovery of new physics there; and (f) extracting the maximum potential from existing data to constrain the modeling of the higher-energy data from the LHC and future experiments.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-1-01 | Award Amount: 7.65M | Year: 2010

Optimal plant growth requires the orchestration of carbon metabolism over the day-night cycle, to avoid periods of starvation at night. Metabolism and growth at night are fueled by carbohydrates released by degradation of starch, synthesised from photosynthesis in the preceding day. Starch synthesis and degradation are regulated such that starch reserves are almost but not quite exhausted at the end of the night, in both long and short nights. We have recently found that this robust regulation is a function of the circadian clock, an endogenous timer that allows plants to anticipate and prepare for daily changes in their environment, and a paradigm for Systems Biology. The clock controls the rate of starch degradation at night, so that reserves last until the anticipated dawn. Starvation and growth arrest are avoided. This important discovery opens the way to new levels of understanding of the control of plant growth and productivity. TiMet assembles world leaders in experimental and theoretical plant Systems Biology to understand the regulatory interactions between the clock gene circuit and metabolism, and their emergent effects on growth and productivity. In addition to starch metabolism, we will study isoprenoid synthesis, an essential metabolic process linking starch metabolism to growth and development. Jointly-conducted experiments will use responses to day-length and light-quality regimes that perturb clock function, and a large set of mutants deficient in clock or central metabolic functions. High throughput technologies will enable study of transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational and post-translational events, providing a depth of analysis hitherto unattained for either the clock or metabolism in plants. Innovative data mining and modelling platforms will underpin new, mechanistic models of each subsystem, will integrate them for the first time, and test the emergent effects of this dynamic system on plant growth rate and productivity.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2009.8.9 | Award Amount: 625.75K | Year: 2011

The goal of this project is to create a coordination activity among consortia involved in Toward Zero-Power ICT research projects (FET proactive call FP7-ICT-2009-5, Objective 8.6) and communities of scientists interested in energy harvesting and low power, energy efficient ICT. This activity is aimed at assessing the impact of our research efforts and proposing measures to increase the visibility of ICT-Energy related initiatives to the scientific community, targeted industries and to the public at large through exchange of information, dedicated networking events and media campaigns. The ZEROPOWER activities will inspire more research projects in this emerging area by generating broader acceptance for the developed technology and the benefits of its applications. ZEROPOWER will facilitate broader interaction and feedback among the Toward Zero-Power ICT consortia members and stakeholders, thereby, consolidating progress in the field. Positive benefits to the European Community are foreseen in all great challenges of energy, security, environment and health by developing a strategic research agenda in low power, energy efficient ICT and making it happen.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 10.51M | Year: 2017

RadioNet is a consortium of 28 institutions in Europe, Republic of Korea and South Africa, integrating at European level world-class infrastructures for research in radio astronomy. These include radio telescopes, telescope arrays, data archives and the globally operating European Network for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (EVN). RadioNet is de facto widely regarded to represent the interests of radio astronomy in Europe. A comprehensive, innovative and ambitious suite of actions is proposed that fosters a sustainable research environment. Building on national investments and commitments to operate these facilities, this specific EC program leverages the capabilities on a European scale. The proposed actions include: - Merit-based trans-national access to the RadioNet facilities for European and for the first time also for third country users; and integrated and professional user support that fosters continued widening of the community of users. - Innovative R&D, substantially enhancing the RadioNet facilities and taking leaps forward towards harmonization, efficiency and quality of exploitation at lower overall cost; development and delivery of prototypes of specialized hardware, ready for production in SME industries. - Comprehensive networking measures for training, scientific exchange, industry cooperation, dissemination of scientific and technical results; and policy development to ensure long-term sustainability of excellence for European radio astronomy. RadioNet is relevant now, it enables cutting-edge science, top-level R&D and excellent training for its European facilities; with the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) and the ESFRI-listed Square Kilometre Array (SKA) defined as global radio telescopes, RadioNet assures that European radio astronomy maintains its leading role into the era of these next-generation facilities by involving scientists and engineers in the scientific use and innovation of the outstanding European facilities.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.89M | Year: 2017

The network Collective effects and optomechanics in ultra-cold matter (ColOpt) will train early-stage researchers (ESR) in fundamental science and applications in the areas of cold atom and quantum physics, optical technologies and complexity science to promote European competiveness in emergent quantum technologies. It consists of nine academic nodes and three companies from six European countries, supported by two partners in Brazil and the USA, five further non-academic partners and one public-private partnership. Collective, nonlinear dynamics and spontaneous self-organization are abundant in nature, sciences and technology and of central importance. Building on this interdisciplinary relevance, a particular novelty of ColOpt is the integration of classical and quantum self-organization. The research program focuses on collective interactions of light with laser-cooled cold and quantum-degenerate matter. We will explore innovative control of matter through optomechanical effects, identify novel quantum phases, enhance knowledge of long-range coupled systems and advance the associated trapping, laser and optical technologies, establishing new concepts in quantum information and simulation. ColOpt combines cutting-edge science with training in complex instrumentation and methods to the highest level of technical expertise, both experimentally and theoretically, and fosters the development of transferable skills and critical judgement. Each ESR will be exposed to a broad spectrum of experimental, theoretical and industrial environments, to obtain core competence in one of them and the collaborative experience and skills to thrive in a truly international and intersectorial framework. ESRs will develop the capabilities to analyse and understand complex interactions, and will gain awareness of societal and entrepreneurial needs and opportunities. Taken together, this will enable them to excel in a variety of sectors of our diverse and rapidly changing society.


Patent
Imperial Innovations Ltd and University of Glasgow | Date: 2013-07-31

The invention provides a propionate inulin ester for the reduction of appetite, food intake and/or calorie intake and/or to improve insulin sensitivity in a subject, and for the treatment or prevention of obesity or diabetes. The invention also provides compositions comprising a propionate inulin ester, methods using propionate inulin esters, functional food containing propionate inulin ester and methods of making propionate inulin esters.


Lawson T.,University of Essex | Blatt M.R.,University of Glasgow
Plant Physiology | Year: 2014

The control of gaseous exchange between the leaf and bulk atmosphere by stomata governs CO2 uptake for photosynthesis and transpiration, determining plant productivity and water use efficiency. The balance between these two processes depends on stomatal responses to environmental and internal cues and the synchrony of stomatal behavior relative to mesophyll demands for CO2. Herewe examine the rapidity of stomatal responses with attention to their relationship to photosynthetic CO2 uptake and the consequences for water use. We discuss the influence of anatomical characteristics on the velocity of changes in stomatal conductance and explore the potential for manipulating the physical as well as physiological characteristics of stomatal guard cells in order to accelerate stomatal movements in synchrony with mesophyll CO2 demand and to improve water use efficiency without substantial cost to photosynthetic carbon fixation.We conclude that manipulating guard cell transport and metabolism is just as, if not more likely to yield useful benefits as manipulations of their physical and anatomical characteristics. Achieving these benefits should be greatly facilitated by quantitative systems analysis that connects directly the molecular properties of the guard cells to their function in the field. © 2014 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP-2009-2.2-1 | Award Amount: 15.77M | Year: 2010

The goal of IFOX is to explore, create and control novel electronic and magnetic functionalities, with focus on interfaces, in complex transition metal oxide heterostructures to develop the material platform for novel More than Moore (MtM) and beyond CMOS electronics, VLSI integratable with performance and functionality far beyond the state-of-the-art. To this end it will: -Establish a theoretical basis to identify the most promising materials/heterostructures and to understand the new functionalities relevant for electronic applications -Grow oxide films on commercial substrates with a quality comparable to state-of-the-art semiconductor growth -Establish their patterning and processing conditions within the boundary conditions of current fabrication technologies -Characterize their structural, electronic and magnetic properties to deliver concepts for novel charge and/or spin based devices in the areas of memories, logic and sensor applications. Investigations include ferroelectric and ferromagnetic oxides as well as artificial multiferroic heterostructures (deposited on large area silicon substrates) with as final deliverable concepts for multifunctional magneto-electronics devices controlled by electric and magnetic fields and ultimately by ultra short light pulses. The consortium of world leaders in the areas of theory, oxide deposition, lithography, device fabrication, and various characterization techniques will allow full control of all interface properties dominating the physical behaviour of oxide nano- and heterostructures. The goals of IFOX are driven by the needs of a large automotive company (FIAT) seeking to use oxides in electronic sensors for MtM and automotive applications. It is further supported by three SMEs with expertise and infrastructure for epitaxial oxide growth and upscaling on Si with the goal to transfer academic knowledge to industry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2011-1.1.20. | Award Amount: 12.58M | Year: 2012

The Project promotes the access to five European Research Infrastructures, and it is structured into nine Networking Activities, plus the Management of the Consortium, and fourteen Joint Research Activities. The Project will profit of the success of the previous HadronPhysics project in FP6 and the current HadronPhysics2 in FP7, and originates from the initiative of more than 2.500 European scientists working in the field of hadron physics. Hadron physics deals with the study of strongly interacting particles, the hadrons. Hadrons are composed of quarks and gluons. Their interaction is described by Quantum Chromo Dynamics, the theory of the strong force. Hadrons form more complex systems, in particular atomic. Under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature, hadrons may loose their identity and dissolve into a new state of matter similar to the primordial matter of the early Universe. The Networking Activities are related to the organization of experimental and theoretical collaborative work concerning both ongoing activities at present Research Infrastructures and planned experiments at future facilities. In hadron physics the close interaction between experimentalists and theoreticians is of paramount importance. The Joint Research Activities concentrate on technological innovations for present and future experiments. Applications in material science, medicine, information, technology, etc., represent natural fall-outs. The main objective of this Integrating Activity is to optimize the use and development of the Research Infrastructures existing in Europe working in the field of hadron physics. The Project aims as well at structuring, on European scale, the way Research Infrastructures operate, and at fostering their joint development in terms of capacity and performance. The approach used is the bottom up approach, to respond to the needs of the scientific community in all fields of science and technology.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.3.3-1 | Award Amount: 7.78M | Year: 2013

Concept and aim: 20 million fans attend top division football games each week and many more watch on TV. Our social innovation is to attract people to lifestyle change through the personal connection and loyalty to the club they support. Our aim is to use this social innovation to change physical activity and sedentary behaviour, specially targeting low-SES groups, and men as well as women. EuroFIT is supported by UEFA and top football clubs. Workplan: End-users and policy-makers are involved throughout. We will: a) produce a device (SitFIT) that provides real-time feedback on objectively measured sedentary time and physical activity; b) deploy and evaluate smartphone games to drive activity through social interaction (MatchFIT); c) integrate these with state-of-the-art evidence on behavioural change and its maintenance in a web-supported lifestyle programme delivered by top EU football clubs (EuroFIT)). We will evaluate EuroFIT in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial to assess impact on physical activity and sedentary behaviour, physical and mental health and weight. We will investigate the correlates of long-term changes and impact on participants families. Finally we will develop a robust strategy for replication of EuroFIT Impact: We will generate excellent research evidence on the use of social innovation for health. Social impact will include reductions in health risk, improvements in well-being and the decreased inequalities as more men, especially those in low SES groups, are attracted to lifestyle change. Research impact will be achieved through new understanding of the how health indicators respond to change in sedentary behaviour and physical activity and through new knowledge of longterm maintenance of lifestyle changes. Policy impact will result from the production of clear implementation strategies and involvement of policy makers and opinion leaders from the outset, supported by a targeted communication strategy.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 13.00M | Year: 2015

Particle physics is at the forefront of the ERA, attracting a global community of more than 10,000 scientists. With the upgrade of the LHC and the preparation of new experiments, the community will have to overcome unprecedented challenges in order to answer fundamental questions concerning the Higgs boson, neutrinos, and physics beyond the Standard Model. Major developments in detector technology are required to ensure the success of these endeavours. The AIDA-2020 project brings together the leading European infrastructures in detector development and a number of academic institutes, thus assembling the necessary expertise for the ambitious programme of work. In total, 19 countries and CERN are involved in this programme, which follows closely the priorities of the European Strategy for Particle Physics. AIDA-2020 aims to advance detector technologies beyond current limits by offering well-equipped test beam and irradiation facilities for testing detector systems under its Transnational Access programme. Common software tools, micro-electronics and data acquisition systems are also provided. This shared high-quality infrastructure will ensure optimal use and coherent development, thus increasing knowledge exchange between European groups and maximising scientific progress. The project also exploits the innovation potential of detector research by engaging with European industry for large-scale production of detector systems and by developing applications outside of particle physics, e.g. for medical imaging. AIDA-2020 will lead to enhanced coordination within the European detector community, leveraging EU and national resources. The project will explore novel detector technologies and will provide the ERA with world-class infrastructure for detector development, benefiting thousands of researchers participating in future particle physics projects, and contributing to maintaining Europes leadership of the field.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.81M | Year: 2015

The importance of European cultural heritage has been generally acknowledged. A significant part of this heritage, however, modern and contemporary art, runs a great risk of getting lost for future generations, because it is particularly difficult to preserve. Proper care requires resolving fundamental questions concerning the identity and authenticity of modern and contemporary artworks and the consequences for their conservation, rethinking historically grown professional distinctions as those between the curator and the conservator, re-organizing the institutional ecosystem, and establishing frameworks for international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral research and training collaboration. The aim of this Marie Curie Innovative Training Network is to educate a new generation of professional curators, conservators and academic researchers who are properly equipped to face these challenges. The key notion guiding the research and training programmes will be the notion of reflective practice. Starting from the theoretical framework of practice theory, the research programme will investigate conservation practices through the comparative analysis of their impact on modern and contemporary artworks biographies. The training programme will focus on the development of a reflective professional attitude, which is a pre-requisite in this increasingly complex and collaborative field.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 612.10K | Year: 2014

Boundary areas between different populations are the crucial places where pathogens spill over from one population to the other, and present a key risk for the emergence of new pathogens, or invasion by existing pathogens. An important example of this type of boundary are the edges of wilderness areas, where pathogens present naturally in wild animals can spill over to infect people and livestock living in the surrounding areas. In sub-Saharan Africa, this scenario often affects human populations with few economic resources. The proximity of vulnerable populations to areas harbouring pathogens provides a technical and moral challenge: how can biodiversity and economically productive wilderness areas be preserved without threatening the health and livelihoods of vulnerable people? Our proposal will study the interaction between humans, livestock and wildlife and the role of this transition zone in the transmission of trypanosomes at the edge of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. These single-celled parasites are transmitted by the bite of tsetse flies. They do not cause any overt disease in wild animals within the Park, but humans bitten by tsetse infected with a particular species of trypanosome can develop sleeping sickness, a potentially fatal disease for which there is no preventative vaccine or drug. Other species of trypanosome also present in wild animals can cause a wasting, and ultimately fatal, disease in livestock. Tsetse flies are highly mobile and can move from their natural habitat within the park to infect humans and livestock in surrounding areas. In east and southern Africa, the species of tsetse that transmit trypanosomes usually feed on wild animals rather than humans. However, changing housing and farming practices reduce the availability of wild hosts to tsetse and increase the risk of humans being bitten by infected flies. It is estimated that 12 million people in east and southern Africa are at risk of sleeping sickness and the preservation of wilderness areas present a chronic and intractable source of infection. Preliminary data suggest however that there are restricted hotspots of disease risk, particularly at the edges of national parks, and that the application of modern methods of tsetse control to these hotspots will eliminate sleeping sickness foci. To assess whether focussed control of tsetse is effective, we will develop mathematical models of the transmission of trypanosomes in the transition zone from wildlife-dominated areas on the park boundaries through to livestock-dominated areas outside the parks. The models will enable us to predict the likely extent, duration and cost of interventions required to interrupt the transmission of trypanosomes at boundary areas. Parameter values for the models will be obtained using a combination of existing and new data on (i) the distribution, abundance, structure and infection status of tsetse populations, (ii) the densities of wildlife and livestock hosts, (iii) the number of livestock infected with trypanosomes, (iv) the composition and population genetics of the trypanosome populations and (v) the vegetational changes that occur at the boundary of the Serengeti National Park. The models will be validated by comparing the observed and predicted patterns of infection in the study area. We will then use the models to predict the likely impact of various control interventions, and identify which are the most appropriate control measures for livestock keepers, NGOs and government agencies concerned with controlling trypanosomes at different distances from the boundaries of protected areas. The projects outputs will assist Tanzania and other countries affected by tsetse-borne trypanosomiases to develop cost-effective strategies for managing diseases at the transition zone between wildlife-protected and livestock-keeping areas.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 288.31K | Year: 2011

Global warming has resulted in much faster and more pronounced ecological responses in marine than in terrestrial ecosystems. Yet most people are unaware of the dramatic changes going on in marine ecosystems because these are not readily observed from land. For example, oceanic copepod distributions have been found to be moving poleward 30 times faster than terrestrial animal distributions. Copepods are extremely abundant animals and are a key food resource in high latitude oceans. As ocean temperatures increase, high densities of large and nutritious copepods in cold waters are replaced by smaller and less nutritious species of warm-water copepods. Seabirds that specialize on a diet of large copepods may experience dramatic changes in the distribution of their main winter prey within the timescale of a single generation of these long-lived birds. This is potentially one of the most severe and rapid impacts of climate change on any vertebrates. Prions or whale-birds are southern oceans petrels that breed on subAntarctic islands. Prions are extremely abundant seabirds, and many of the largest colonies are on UK dependent territories such as South Georgia (for example over 20 million pairs on South Georgia) and Tristan da Cunha where colonies are protected by international conservation conventions. Due to their numerical abundance these small burrowing species are major consumers and therefore a change in their distribution or abundance has considerably knock-on effects for marine ecosystems. They have a highly specialized bill morphology evolved for filter feeding. Prion species differ in bill morphology, with the extent of dependence on copepods most pronounced in the broad-billed prion, and least in Antarctic prion and closely related blue petrel. We can infer the latitude where these birds spend the winter because in the southern hemisphere there is a very strong latitudinal gradient in carbon isotope ratios in marine foods. This enables tracking of wintering areas used by these birds. Feathers grown during the autumn/winter moult will have carbon isotope signatures that reflect the latitude where the birds were feeding while their feathers grew. Feathers collected from birds at their breeding sites can therefore be used to infer the main moulting/wintering regions visited by each individual bird. Analysis of historical samples (from museum collections) permits wintering latitudes used by these species in the past to be inferred in a similar way. We will validate the use of isotopes to infer wintering latitude by deploying small data loggers on a sample of prions to determine wintering areas using light level data recorded by the logger, a well established method already used on many seabirds, so we can measure isotopes in individuals with known wintering area. The key hypothesis we will test is that broad-billed prions have changed winter distribution in recent years to spend the austral winter at higher latitudes south of their breeding colonies, whereas in the past (from 150 years ago up until some time in the late 20th century) these birds migrated north from their breeding grounds to winter at lower latitudes in the southern hemisphere. We will also test the hypothesis that other prions show less poleward movement of winter areas (which we expect because they are less dependent on a copepod diet). Finally, we will test the hypothesis that poleward movement of broad-billed prions varies from year to year in relation to copepod distribution and density in each different year (data that are available for recent years from a Southern Ocean plankton database). This research will highlight a major impact of global warming on an important marine food web and will also inform conservation policy during this time of rapid ocean warming and changing copepod distribution.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 98.49K | Year: 2014

The Internet landscape is changing rapidly, from a completely decentralised paradigm where distinct services were offered by different providers in a fully distributed and decentralised way, to a unified ICT environment where data, storage, and processing resources are co-located in the Cloud, and offered alongside connectivity. Although Cloud services and the underlying communication infrastructures are built on top of commodity Internet mechanisms (transport protocols, IP switching, multipath routing, etc.), it becomes apparent that the performance-agnostic and slow-converging operational assumptions of todays data communications are challenged by the new unified technological and business model. Massive overprovisioning of fully distributed resources that are managed in distinct and often long timescales (e.g., traffic aggregates over backbone networks) is not sustainable in an environment where connectivity and system resources need to be managed by a single unified ICT provider over a centralised infrastructure and in very short timescales. Cloud providers need to maximise return-on-investment from their infrastructures through rapid provisioning and elastic resource management, offering predictable services while operating at higher utilisation thresholds. In order to achieve these goals, in this project we will design and develop an always-on Instrumentation, Measurement, and Control (IMC) framework that will dynamically and adaptively provision unified resources in a unified manner and in short timescales. Evidence has shown that distinct control loops typically employed to manage different resources in different timescales can themselves constitute factors of performance degradation over unified Cloud environments. For example, network-agnostic placement and migration of virtual machines can itself cause congestion in the underlying Data Centre topology. We will therefore revisit the one-dimensional, static or pseudo-random control loops that are typically employed over Cloud topologies, and develop an adaptive closed-loop system that will manage both server and network resources synergistically, in short timescales and based on temporal topology-wide performance. In doing so, we will exploit often controversial concepts such as non-shortest path routing for increasing load balancing while meeting flow completion deadlines, and network-aware dynamic virtual machine migration, to demonstrate the feasibility and also the benefits of combinatorial resource provisioning in achieving global performance optimisation and in increasing the usable capacity of future networks and services. One of the key aims of the proposed research is to investigate and to demonstrate the applicability of measurement-based processes to control and to admit resources in a unified manner and at appropriate, short timescales. Through the necessary system and network node instrumentation, we will devise a logically-centralised measurement and control closed-loop architecture that will be an integral part of the underlying infrastructures data forwarding operation. The long-term impact of such endeavour will be to revisit the currently disjoint data and control planes in packet communications, and to transform next generation networked infrastructures from performance-agnostic to adaptive and self-managed, through synergy across the different layers and planes of the architecture. The proposed research will be carried out at the University of Glasgow, and experiments will be conducted over a purpose-built programmable Cloud services testbed infrastructure, partly supported by EPSRCs first grant scheme and partly through a generous contribution from the host institution. The research will be conducted in close collaboration with Onyx Group, Microsoft Research and JANET(UK).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-22-2016 | Award Amount: 15.59M | Year: 2016

ZIKAlliance is a multidisciplinary project with a global One Health approach, built: on a multi-centric network of clinical cohorts in the Caribbean, Central & South America; research sites in countries where the virus has been or is currently circulating (Africa, Asia, Polynesia) or at risk for emergence (Reunion Island); a strong network of European and Brazilian clinical & basic research institutions; and multiple interfaces with other scientific and public health programmes. ZIKAlliance will addrees three key objectives relating to (i) impact of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy and short & medium term effects on newborns, (ii) associated natural history of ZIKV infection in humans and their environment in the context of other circulating arboviruses and (iii) building the overall capacity for preparedness research for future epidemic threats in Latin America & the Caribbean. The project will take advantage of large standardised clinical cohorts of pregnant women and febrile patients in regions of Latin America and the Caribbean were the virus is circulating, expanding a preexisting network established by the IDAMS EU project. I will also benefit of a very strong expertise in basic and environmental sciences, with access to both field work and sophisticated technological infrastructures to characterise virus replication and physiopathology mechanisms. To meet its 3 key objectives, the scientific project has been organised in 9 work packages, with WP2/3 dedicated to clinical research (cohorts, clinical biology, epidemiology & modeling), WP3/4 to basic research (virology & antivirals, pathophysiology & animal models), WP5/6 to environmental research (animal reservoirs, vectors & vector control) , WP7/8 to social sciences & communication, and WP9 to management. The broad consortium set-up allow gathering the necessary expertise for an actual interdisciplinary approach, and operating in a range of countries with contrasting ZIKV epidemiological status.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN | Award Amount: 3.23M | Year: 2012

Inflammatory rheumatic diseases affect millions of European citizens causing chronic pain, disability and premature death. Curative treatments are lacking. Conventional research often focuses on one single organ system such as the bone or the immune system and. ignores interactions between organ systems. OSTEOIMMUNE is a supra-disciplinary training network that targets this gap by providing comprehensive, structured and coherent training. The scientific training within OSTEOIMMUNE reflects the participants common research programme aiming to unravel the interactions between the immune system and the skeleton. A group of outstanding European scientists in genetics, (osteo-) immunology, rheumatology and drug development has joined to form OSTEOIMMUNE to provide 12 ESRs and 2 ERs with training in a broad range of laboratory and complementary skills and capacities. OSTEOIMMUNE participants represent 7 of Europes most active academic centres in arthritis research and 3 highly innovative biotech and pharmaceutical companies. All have contributed important concepts to the field, five groups have earned the title Centre of excellence. OSTEOIMMUNE participants have an outstanding history of successful collaboration which is reflected in numerous influential joint papers and common efforts in national and European networks (e.g. DFG: IMMUNOBONE, BMBF: IMMUNOPAIN, FP6: EURO-RA, AUTO-CURE, FP7: MASTER-SWITCH) and have trained numerous highly successful ESRs and ERs. Our young investigators will leave the network after successful completion of their training with a set of aptitudes that will enable them to be instrumental in developing curative therapies towards rheumatic diseases, be it in an academic, clinical or industrial setting. Moreover, OSTEOIMMUNE will establish a long-lasting consortium for cutting edge research in the field of osteoimmunology, leading to accelerated and integrated discoveries, which can become commercially exploitable first by European industry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: LCE-03-2015 | Award Amount: 25.07M | Year: 2016

DESTRESS is aimed at creating EGS (Enhanced geothermal systems) reservoirs with sufficient permeability, fracture orientation and spacing for economic use of underground heat. The concepts are based on experience in previous projects, on scientific progress and developments in other fields, mainly the oil & gas sector. Recently developed stimulation methods will be adapted to geothermal needs, applied to new geothermal sites and prepared for the market uptake. Understanding of risks in each area (whether technological, in business processes, for particular business cases, or otherwise), risk ownership, and possible risk mitigation will be the scope of specific work packages. The DESTRESS concept takes into account the common and specific issues of different sites, representative for large parts of Europe, and will provide a generally applicable workflow for productivity enhancement measures. The main focus will be on stimulation treatments with minimized environmental hazard (soft stimulation), to enhance the reservoir in several geological settings covering granites, sandstones, and other rock types. The business cases will be shown with cost and benefit estimations based on the proven changes of the system performance, and the environmental footprint of treatments and operation of the site will be controlled. In particular, the public debate related to fracking will be addressed by applying specific concepts for the mitigation of damaging seismic effects while constructing a productive reservoir and operating a long-term sustainable system. Industrial participation is particularly pronounced in DESTRESS, including large energy suppliers as well as SMEs in the process of developing their sites. The composition of the consortium involving major knowledge institutes as well as key industry will guarantee the increase in technology performance of EGS as well as an accelerated time to market.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-22-2016 | Award Amount: 12.56M | Year: 2016

The ZikaPLAN initiative combines the strengths of 25 partners in Latin America, North America, Africa, Asia, and various centres in Europe to address the urgent research gaps (WP 1-8) in Zika, identifying short-and long term solutions (WP 9-10) and building a sustainable Latin-American EID Preparedness and Response capacity (WP 11-12). We will conduct clinical studies to further refine the full spectrum and risk factors of congenital Zika syndrome (including neurodevelopmental milestones in the first 3 years of life), and delineate neurological complications associated with Zika due to direct neuroinvasion and immune-mediated responses. Laboratory based research to unravel neurotropism, investigate the role of sexual transmission, determinants of severe disease, and viral fitness will envelop the clinical studies. Burden of disease and modelling studies will assemble a wealth of data including a longitudinal cohort study of 17,000 subjects aged 2-59 in 14 different geographic locations in Brazil over 3 years. Data driven vector control and vaccine modelling as well as risk assessments on geographic spread of Zika will form the foundation for evidence-informed policies. The Platform for Diagnostics Innovation and Evaluation will develop novel ZIKV diagnostic tests in accordance with WHO Target Product Profiles. Our global network of laboratory and clinical sites with well-characterized specimens is set out to accelerate the evaluation of the performance of such tests. Based on qualitative research, we will develop supportive, actionable messages to affected communities, and develop novel personal protective measures. Our final objective is for the Zika outbreak response effort to grow into a sustainable Latin-American network for emerging infectious diseases research preparedness. To this end we will engage in capacity building in laboratory and clinical research, collaborate with existing networks to share knowledge and tackle regulatory and other bottlenecks.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.2.2-1 | Award Amount: 7.76M | Year: 2011

Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) is a common condition (8-18%) among European older men and women. Although by definition SCH comprises biochemically mild thyroid hormone deficiency without overt symptoms, it is a likely contributor to multiple problems in older age. Thyroid hormone has multiple pleiotropic effects on numerous physiological systems, including the vascular tree, heart, skeletal muscle and brain. Therefore, thyroxine substitution to overcome thyroid hormone deficiency has the potential to give multi-system benefits to older people with SCH. Small studies have reported reduced atherosclerosis and improved cardiac function with thyroxine replacement, but no large clinical trials have been performed. Therefore the available evidence is limited, leading to major variations in guidelines and clinical practice, with uncertainty regarding the indications for screening and treatment. We propose a multicentre randomised placebo-controlled trial to assess the impact of thyroxine replacement in 3,000 older adults with persisting SCH (excluding those in whom it is a temporary phenomenon who are less likely to benefit). We will include older men and women with a wide age range and of varying health status. Outcomes include cardiovascular events, health-related quality of life, muscle strength and executive cognitive function over 3-years of follow-up. We have the support of patient advocacy groups and a consortium with the wide range of expertise and experience required to conduct large-scale multicentre clinical trials. The proposal fits with the call, exploring the multi-system and quality-of-life benefits to older people of a tailored approach to management of SCH. This clinical trial should definitively clarify whether thyroxine treatment for SCH provides benefits that are relevant for patients. This trial will provide strong evidence with the potential to improve clinical practice, reduce healthcare costs and promote healthy ageing of European older adults.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.4.2-2 | Award Amount: 7.80M | Year: 2013

Cardiogenic shock (CS) complicating acute myocardial infarction (AMI) represents a major European health care concern with mortality rates between 40-70%. Approximately 70-80% of these patients present with multivessel disease defined as coronary lesions in more than one vessel. The clinician is faced with the decision to either 1) intervene only on the culprit lesion acutely responsible for the initiation of cardiogenic shock, or 2) treat additional lesions considered hemodynamically significant but not acutely triggering the CS cascade as well. Current guidelines recommend percutaneous coronary intervention of all critical lesions. However, due to a lack of randomized trials, these recommendations are solely based on registry data and pathophysiological considerations. Aim of the randomized CULPRIT-SHOCK trial is therefore to compare a) immediate multivessel PCI versus b) culprit lesion only PCI in patients with AMI complicated by CS. A total of 706 CS patients will be randomized in several European countries. The primary endpoint will be 30-day all-cause mortality and/or severe renal failure requiring renal replacement therapy. CULPRIT-SHOCK will therefore determine the optimal percutaneous revascularization strategy in patients with AMI and multivessel disease complicated by CS. In addition, a comprehensive array of efficacy, safety and socio-economic parameters for the chosen population will be assessed. Multiple secondary endpoints and several substudies (microcirculation, biomarkers, angiography) will serve to further understand the presumed differential effects of the 2 treatment arms and to understand the underlying pathophysiology and prognostic markers. From these parameters a multivariable regression model and a risk score for the prediction of clinical prognosis and a cost-effectiveness model in AMI and CS will be developed. Furthermore, CULPRIT-SHOCK will obtain data on CS patients not meeting inclusion criteria by instituting a separate registry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP-SICA | Phase: KBBE.2010.1.3-01 | Award Amount: 12.38M | Year: 2011

Livestock production efficiency is impaired by helminth infection which is ubiquitous in cattle, sheep and goats world-wide. It causes severely debilitating gastro-intestinal, respiratory and hepatic disorders, dependent on the infecting species. The treatment and prevention of helminth parasitism in livestock continues to rely almost exclusively on the use of anthelmintic drugs, an approach threatened by the global emergence of anthelmintic resistance. An alternative approach is vaccination. Members of the present consortium (from the EU and Switzerland, North and South America, North and South Africa, Australia, 2 SMEs and 1 major animal health company) have developed prototype vaccines with the predicted required efficacy to control major gastro-intestinal nematode infections of livestock, notably Ostertagia ostertagi in cattle and Haemonchus contortus in sheep, the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica in sheep and cattle with leading positions in subunit vaccine development against Cooperia onchophora, Dictyocaulus viviparus in cattle and the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus in dogs. This proposal aims to deliver at least one prototype vaccine to the point of uptake by the commercial sector or through government/philanthropic agencies and this will be addressed by 1) Developing effective native or synthetic vaccines, the latter using novel, molecular expression systems. 2) Defining the protective immune responses induced by these vaccines to order to optimise the structure of the antigens and the method of their delivery. 3) Defining vaccine efficacy with trials in both housed and grazing livestock 4) Providing a platform for training and knowledge exchange which includes participation in training programmes, short exchanges of staff, workshops,and web site provision. 5) Interacting closely with computer modellers, the animal health industry, farmer organisations and other stakeholders to define required vaccine characteristics. 6) Knowledge exchange/dissemination to policy makers, scientists, government departments and the general public.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 392.11K | Year: 2011

Since 1998, there have been multiple incursions of bluetongue into Southern, Central and Northern Europe. These outbreaks have involved at least 12 distinct bluetongue virus (BTV) strains, belonging to 9 different serotypes and have lead to the death of more than two million animals. In addition, significant economic losses have been incurred due to loss in productivity, restrictions in animal movements and trade as part of control programmes. These events demonstrate that the entire European Union is now at risk from further introductions of BTV, and potentially of other BTV-related related Orbiviruses, particularly those also transmitted by Culicoides vectors (including African horse sickness virus [AHSV], epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus [EHDV] and equine encephalosis virus [EEV]). Worryingly, AHSV, EHDV and EEV have been detected just outside the EU in Israel, Turkey, as well as North and West Africa and now pose a further significant threat to livestock in Europe. This proposal will establish OrbiNet, a network of 9 laboratories focussing on research on BTV and related orbiviruses in 8 European countries and Israel. The OrbiNet Partners include university departments, government laboratories and reference centres that already work on orbiviruses and associated diseases. The goals of OrbiNet are to provide training, share reagents and expertise, and conduct targeted research programmes with the overall aim to better understand orbivirus transmission, epidemiology, pathogenesis and develop better diagnostic techniques. These activities will enhance research capacity and capability and increase the knowledge base and expertise within partner laboratories, thus underpinning the development of improved tools / strategies to prevent and control these economically important animal pathogens. OrbiNet will closely liaise with the scientific community, government agencies, the EU and industry in order to exploit the knowledge generated and help to inform animal health research policies and activities at the EU level.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.3.1-1 | Award Amount: 3.73M | Year: 2011

This project is concerned with optimising the delivery of primary healthcare to European citizens who are migrants who experience language and cultural barriers in host countries. We focus on the implementation of evidence-based health information (e.g. guidelines to enhance communication in cross-cultural consultations) and interventions (e.g. training initiatives on interculturalism and the use of paid interpreters) designed to address language and cultural barriers in primary care settings. We explore how these are translated (or not) into routine practice in primary care settings. We will investigate and support implementation processes for these using a unique combination of contemporary social theory, the Normalisation Process Theory and a participatory research methodology. Our five study objectives are to determine: What guidelines and/or training initiatives are currently available in our partner countries that have been generated by primary care research in a way that was inclusive of all key stakeholders? How are the guidelines and/or training initiatives translated into practice by primary care staff? What are the processes of implementation, on the ground in routine practice? What is the capacity of primary care settings in different countries (and, therefore, different organisational contexts) to incorporate implementation processes within their current organisational arrangement? Is the implementation work for guidelines and/or training initiatives sustainable - leading to normalised use of these technologies in routine practice? What are the benefits (if any) of using NPT and PLA to investigate and support implementation processes? There will be co-operation between an inter-disciplinary team of experienced researchers, across 6 European health care settings with different organizational contexts and capacities to respond to this implementation work.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SST.2012.5.2-4. | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2012

Currently European Train Control System (ETCS) rollout is a major concern for the railway sector. Equipment for ETCS level 1 and 2 typically follows a long process before being put into service due to interpretation variations in the specification and certification procedures requiring long and expensive field-testing. On the other hand, migration from ETCS level 2 to 3 has not been yet foreseen due to the technical. EATS has the objective to address these two situations: 1. EATS will propose innovative lab. tools providing a model of the on-board ERTMS system, and including the dynamic behaviour of the air-gap comm. and fault injection for the safety assessment. This will lead to reduced laboratory and field-testing certification process time and cost. In the current economic situation, this is crucial to keep the ETCS deployment speed. 2. EATS will propose a novel positioning system based on the combination of different techniques proved useful for other industrial sectors and exploit unique features of the railway and the train. Moreover, RAMS analysis and laboratory testing are foreseen to verify the proposed technical solution. This will be a step forward towards ETCS level 3 that minimizes trackside costs and maximizes track capacity. The consortium is clearly concerned about the return to the society of the funding obtained. Dissemination will be done by a web site with open forum, 2 workshops for industry, 2 courses for engineering students, 8 scientific papers, an Advisory Board and contribution to standards. The consortium presents 3 key characteristics to overcome these challenges: world class organizations with successful previous experiences (e.g. CEIT coordinates [TREND], NSL participated in [GRAIL]); it involves technology providers (CEIT, FhG), subsystem integrator (INT), service providers (NSL, ESOL) and Notified Body (CETREN). Finally, the consortium has a small size to eliminate inefficiencies and work redundancies typical from large IP projects.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-05-2014 | Award Amount: 8.44M | Year: 2015

Arterial hypertension affects up to 45% of the general population and is responsible for 7.1 million deaths per year worldwide. Although a large therapeutic arsenal exists, blood pressure control is sub-optimal in up to two thirds of patients. Yet, even small increments in blood pressure are associated with increased cardiovascular risk, with 62% of cerebrovascular disease and 49% of ischemic heart disease being attributable to hypertension. Detection of secondary forms of hypertension is key to targeted management of the underlying disease and prevention of cardiovascular complications. Endocrine forms of hypertension represent major targets for stratified approaches of health promotion. They include a group of adrenal disorders resulting in increased production of hormones affecting blood pressure regulation: primary aldosteronism (PA), pheochromocytoma/functional paraganglioma (PPGL) and Cushings syndrome (CS). These diseases are associated with increased cardiovascular and metabolic risk and with diminished quality of life. This project will develop and evaluate an omics-based stratified health promotion program for patients with endocrine forms of hypertension. We will define specific omics profiles for patients with PA, PPGL and CS by integrating high throughput genetics, genomics and metabolomics data with phenome annotations through bioinformatics modelling. Established profiles will be validated as stratification biomarkers and applied to the screening of referred hypertensive patients for both stratifying primary forms of hypertension for effective and cost efficient therapy as well as improving identification of endocrine causes for curative treatment and prevention of cardiovascular and metabolic complications. Omics-based profiling should allow identification of patients with preclinical phenotypes along with those hypertensives that cluster into specific endocrine groups who may benefit from personalised treatment.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.4.2-2 | Award Amount: 7.70M | Year: 2014

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in high-income countries. Invasive coronary angiography (ICA) is the reference standard for the diagnosis of CAD and allows immediate therapy. However, only 40% of patients undergoing ICA actually have obstructive CAD and ICA has relatively rare but considerable risks. Coronary computed tomography (CT) is the most accurate diagnostic test for CAD currently available. CT may become the most effective strategy to reduce the ca. 2 million annual negative ICAs in Europe by enabling early and safe discharge of the majority of patients with an intermediate risk of CAD. To evaluate this, we propose the DISCHARGE project that will be implemented by a multinational European consortium. The core of the project is the DISCHARGE pragmatic randomised controlled trial. The primary hypothesis will be that CT is superior to ICA for major adverse cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction and stroke) after a maximum follow-up of 4 years in a selected broad population of stable chest pain patients with intermediate pretest likelihood of CAD. The trial will include 23 clinical sites from 18 European countries ensuring broad geographical representation. Comparative effectiveness research of complementing work packages include gender-related analysis, systematic review of evidence, cost-effectiveness analysis, and health-related quality of life. DISCHARGE has the capability to influence current standards and guidelines as well as coverage decisions and will raise awareness among patients, health care providers, and decision-makers in Europe about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of coronary CT angiography.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: NoE | Phase: HEALTH-2009-2.3.2-1 | Award Amount: 16.97M | Year: 2009

This is a proposal from 55 partners from 36 institutes to form a NoE that will seek to integrate European malaria research that is directed towards a better understanding of the basic biology of the parasite, its vector and of the biology of the interactions between the parasite and both its mammalian host and vectors. All the member institutes and researchers have demonstrated both their excellence and their ability to contribute to a successful network. The structure of the proposed network significantly evolves prior concepts of network structure introducing new modes of research that have recently emerged. Comprising of 4 research clusters the core activities will include molecular cell biology of the parasite, host immunity, vector biology, population biology and systems biology. One arm of the network activities will be concerned with the timely and effective translation of research respecting the IP rights of partner institutes. The network will also contribute significantly to the production of the next generation of malaria researchers through the operation of an expanded European PhD School for malaria research based at EMBL, students enjoying two supervisors based in different member states. Bespoke training courses for PhD students and network personnel will be offered throughout the duration of the network to maximise individual potential. To create a long term benefit from network activities a limited programme of post-doctoral fellowships within the network will be established. Furthermore, individual career mentoring facilities and an alumni association will continue to guide and engage network graduates. New members will be affiliated annually on a competitive basis with an emphasis on young, emerging Principle Investigators. Through the establishment of an umbrella Foundation and active lobbying of government and non-government funding agencies as well as the establishment of a charitable profile the network will strive to become self-determining.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2012.2.4.4-2 | Award Amount: 3.85M | Year: 2012

OPTIMISTIC is a proposal for a European collaborative project of doctors, scientists, relevant stakeholders (TREAT-NMD, patient organizations) and SMEs with the aim to improve clinical practice for patients suffering from a rare, inherited, and neglected disease, myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). It is one of the most variable human diseases with complex, multi-systemic and progressively worsening clinical manifestations. Despite the huge impact of DM1 on the daily life of both patients and their family members, DM1 patients fail to receive the quality of healthcare that is available as they are not assertive users of the health care system. There is no cure for DM1. The aim of treatment is to relieve impairments, reduce limitations and support participation in everyday activities. Based on our DM1-specific model which shows that physical activity and experienced fatigue are main determinants of DM1 health status (Kalkman 2007), OPTIMISTIC investigates the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in combination with exercise training to improve functional capacity and to stimulate an active lifestyle. OPTIMISTIC compares the outcome of a treatment regimen with regular management in a multi-centre, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled trial, designed to 1) result in evidence-based clinical guidelines on exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy in DM1, 2) capture clinically meaningful changes in existing and novel outcome measures, and 3) identify both individual and composite biomarkers as surrogate treatment outcome measures that are reflective of the disease state. There is an urgent need for an European clinical trial infrastructure for DM1. High prioritization of this is required to enhance the speed of clinical development of new putative DM1 therapeutics approaching the market. OPTIMISTIC will provide this and safeguard the rapid uptake of the developed clinical guidelines ensuring improvements in DM1 care and quality of life.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: SiS.2013.1.3.3-2 | Award Amount: 1.95M | Year: 2014

FOSTER is a coordination initiative that aims to support different stakeholders, especially young researchers, in adopting open access in the context of the European Research Area (ERA) and in complying with the open access policies and rules of participation set out for Horizon 2020 (H2020). It will focus on integrating open access principles and practice in the current research workflow by targeting the young researcher training environment. In addition, FOSTER will strengthen the institutional training capacity to maintain compliance with the open access policies in the ERA and H2020, and will facilitate the adoption, reinforcement and implementation of open access policies from other European funders, in line with the European Commissions recommendation. FOSTER will establish a European-wide training programme on open access and open data, consolidating training activities at downstream level and reaching diverse disciplinary communities and countries in the ERA. Each type of stakeholder will be provided with a range of relevant training programmes, practical advice, support and help in engaging, dynamic and outcome-oriented way. Training toolkits will be developed and made openly available for re-use. The training programme will include different approaches and delivery options: elearning, blearning, self-learning, dissemination of training materials/contents, helpdesk, face-to-face training, especially training-the-trainers, summer schools, seminars, etc. The Consortium strength lies in its strong European network, and wide range of expertise gained thorough EU and national projects. The mix of strong technical partners and key players in the open access community can ensure that the project fully reaches out to a range of stakeholders, namely academic staff (researchers and students), institutions (administrators, librarians), research project managers (key stakeholders in implementing H2020 policy), and policy-makers and staff working in funding bodies.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.9.6 | Award Amount: 4.46M | Year: 2012

The goal of the project is to give electronics and chemistry an equal autonomous say in programming complex chemical constructions, processes and analyses at the nano and microscales: the same scale where information processing in living systems occurs where to construct is to compute. To do this MICREAgents (MIcroscopic Chemically Reactive Electronic Agents) will develop novel electronically active microreactor components, called lablets, that self-assemble at a scale less than 100 m, approaching that of living cells. The project will integrate the necessary components to ensure autonomous action of millions of these very smart chemicals, including electronic logic, supercapacitors for power, pairwise coupling for communication, programmable chemical sensors and electronic actuation of chemical processing. Key examples of MICREAgent actuation are to reversibly switch their association, load or dose chemicals, modify surfaces, initiate reactions and control locomotion in complex chemical environments. MICREAgents lablets can join forces to communicate both chemicals and electronic information in order to solve complex tasks, acting as smart collective agents of chemical change. Like cells, they will be essentially genetically encoded, but with chemical and electronic memories, translating electronic signals into constructive chemical processing and recording the results of this processing. They will also reversibly employ DNA molecules as chemical information, for example to control surface-surface binding of lablets, or to program chemical sensors, not to synthesize proteins as in cells. The project builds on pioneering FET-funded work towards electronic chemical cells, taking a giant stride to cell-like microscopic autonomous chemical electronics with self-assembling electronic membranes controlling the entry and exit of chemicals.\n\nThese autonomous mobile smart reactors will provide a novel form of computation that microscopically links reaction processing and chemical construction with computation, providing a radical integration of autonomous chemical experimentation. The self-assembling smart micro reactors can be programmed for molecular amplification and other chemical processing pathways, that start from complex mixtures, concentrate and purify chemicals, perform reactions in programmed cascades, sense completion, and transport and release products to defined locations. The project defines a continuous achievable path towards this ambitious goal, making use of a novel pairwise local communication strategy to overcome the limitations of current smart dust and autonomous sensor network communication. It will provide a technical platform spawning research in new computing paradigms that integrate multilevel construction with electronic ICT. The 10 groups, from 8 countries including Israel and New Zealand, are all pioneers in the multidisciplinary areas required to achieve the project goals, with a common grounding in IT.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.3.1 | Award Amount: 4.70M | Year: 2013

COMPOSE3 aims to develop 3D stacked circuits in the front end of line of Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology, based on high mobility channel materials. The final objective is a 3D stacked SRAM cell, designed with gates length taken from the 14nm technology node. This technology will provide a new paradigm shift in density scaling combined with a dramatic increase in the power efficiency of CMOS circuits. Our synergistic approach is based on the use of high mobility channel materials such as SiGe and InGaAs, utilized in fully depleted metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET), for p and n channel MOSFETs respectively. The low processing temperatures (<600C) that can be used for high mobility channels are indeed advantageous for an intimate 3D stacking. COMPOSE3 also exploits the knowledge accumulated in Europe for the layer transfer of ultra-thin semiconductors. Wafer bonding and layer transfer is a critical process module that will be used to enable 3D stacking of high mobility channels. The overall objectives of COMPOSE3 will address the substrate, device and circuit issues. One objective will be to validate InGaAs layer transfer for implementation on 300mm wafers. Another objective will be to benchmark InGaAs nFETs with relevant contact dimensions against planar and non-planar Si based solutions at the 14nm node and beyond. The final objective will be to integrate, on 300mm wafers, monolithic 3D CMOS circuits with 14nm node gates based on n-type InGaAs devices on top of p-type (Si)Ge devices which are independently optimized. COMPOSE3 is extremely well aligned with the strategic agenda of the leading European IC manufacturer, and also exploits its innovation for the benefit of a European SME. It gathers the main European leaders in the advanced nanoelectronics R&D arena.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2011.4.3 | Award Amount: 1.66M | Year: 2013

The Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation (4C) project will help organisations across Europe to more effectively invest in digital curation and preservation. Making an investment inevitably involves a cost and existing research on cost modelling provides the starting point for the 4C work. But the point of an investment is to realise a benefit, so work on cost must also focus on benefit, which must then encompass related concepts such as risk, value, quality and sustainability. Organisations that understand this will be more able to effectively control and manage their digital assets over time, but they may also be able to create new cost-effective solutions and services for others.\n\nExisting research into cost modelling is far from complete and there has been little uptake of the tools and methods that have been developed and very little integration into other digital curation processes. The main objective of the 4C project is, therefore, to ensure that where existing work is relevant, that stakeholders realise and understand how to employ those resources. But the additional aim of the work is to closely examine how they might be made more fit-for-purpose, relevant and useable by a wide range of organisations operating at different scales in both the public and the private sector.\n\nThese objectives will be achieved by a coordinated programme of outreach and engagement that will identify existing and emerging research and analyse user requirements. This will inform an assessment of where there are gaps in the current provision of tools, frameworks and models. The project will support stakeholders to better understand and articulate their requirements and will clarify some of the complexity of the relationships between cost and other factors. The outputs of this project will include various stakeholder engagement and dissemination events (focus groups, workshops, a conference), a series of reports, the creation of models and specifications, and the establishment of an international Curation Costs Exchange framework. All of this activity will enable the definition of a research and development agenda and a business engagement strategy which will be delivered to the European Commission in the form of a roadmap.\n\nThe consortium undertaking this project includes organisations with extensive domain expertise and experience with curation cost modelling issues. It includes national libraries and archives, specialist preservation and curation membership organisations, service providers, research departments and SMEs. It will be coordinated by a national funding organisation that specialises in supporting the innovative use of ICT methods and technologies.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.1.4-5 | Award Amount: 3.99M | Year: 2012

Resolution of inflammation is a key determinant of pathology, and an active process which involves diverse pathways and molecules. The general objective of the TIMER Consortium is to identify and validate new molecules involved in the resolution of inflammation as a basis for the development of innovative therapeutic strategies in chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The project will involve discovery of new natural or synthetic pro-resolving molecules for plant and animals and investigation on endogenous inflammation pro-resolving mechanisms identified by various partners of the Consortium, including atypical chemokine receptors, decoy receptors, and microRNA. Tapping resources of natural compounds will be a major thrust. Efforts will be mainly focused on the regulation by pro-resolving agents on two molecular systems of key relevance in inflammation: the chemokine system, which regulates recruitment, permanence and egress of leukocyte in tissues; and the TLR/IL-1R system, which is central for the activation of infiltrating leukocytes. To this purpose, the project will capitalize on, and bring added value to a strong tradition of the Consortium in the fields of: leukocyte recruitment and activation; negative regulators of inflammation; industrial-academic collaboration; identification and characterization of innovative inhibitors of natural origin; European-Brazilian collaboration.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2008-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 18.74M | Year: 2009

The Project promotes the access to five European Research Infrastructures, and it is structured intop eight Networking Activities, plus the Management of the Consortium, and fourteen Joint Research Activities. The Project represents the continuation of the successful HadronPhysics project in FP6 and originates from the initiative of more than 2.500 European scientists working in the field of hadron physics. Hadron physics deals with the study of strongly interacting particles, the hadrons. Hadrons are composed of quarks and gluons. Their interaction is described by Quantum Chromo Dynamics, the theory of the strong force. Hadrons form more complex systems, in particular atomic. Under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature, hadrons may loose their identity and dissolve into a new state of matter similar to the primordial matter of the early Universe. The Networking Activities are related to the organization of experimental and theoretical collaborative work concerning both ongoing activities at present Research Infrastructures and planned experiments at future facilities. In hadron physics the close interaction between experimentalists and theoreticians is of paramount importance. The Joint Research Activities concentrate on technological innovations for present and future experiments. Applications in material science, medicine, information, technology, etc., represent natural fall-outs. The main objective of this Integrating Activity is to optimize the use and development of the Research Infrastructures existing in Europe working in the field of hadron physics. The Project aims as well at structuring, on European scale, the way Research Infrastructures operate, and at fostering their joint development in terms of capacity and performance. The approach used is the bottom up approach, to respond to the needs of the scientific community in all fields of science and technology.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2008-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 10.78M | Year: 2009

Mosquitoes transmit a variety of infectious diseases that cause a tremendous burden to public health. Due to climate changes and to the increase in international trade and tourism the threats posed by mosquitoes are increasingly affecting large parts of Europe, causing understandable concerns among the populations of many Member States. Control methods, mainly based on insecticide usage, are struggling to cope with the challenges posed by the biology and ecology of mosquito vectors. INFRAVEC aims at bridging the gap between the recent advances in transgenic technology and its implementation as a novel powerful approach for vector control. To this aim, a large European Infrastructure will be established, in which the coordination of efforts, expertise and facilities provided by the individual research groups and institutions will bolster and considerably expand the overall research capabilities of the research community. INFRAVEC will operate, through a number of Networking, Joint Research, Transnational and Service activities, towards the objective of considerably strengthening research capability in Europe by sharing knowledge, resources and technology. INFRAVEC will mainly focus on Anopheles gambiae, the major vector of malaria, and Aedes albopictus, a viral disease vector that is rapidly spreading through Europe. Four Infrastructure facilities will be integrated in the project: 1) the Genetically Modified mosquito laboratory of Imperial College London; 2) the Mosquito Mass-rearing facility at the Centro Agricoltura ed Ambiente (with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency); 3) the Bioinformatics facility at EMBLEBI, UK; and 4) the Mosquito Confined Release facility at ISRIM. INFRAVEC will provide a formidable research capability to external users and facilitate the performance of five research projects aimed at utilizing basic knowledge of mosquito genetics and biology in an unprecedented effort to develop novel opportunities for mosquito control.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2009-2.1.1-1 | Award Amount: 13.70M | Year: 2010

Genetic studies in model organisms and humans, including human genome-wide association studies, have pinpointed genomic regions that contribute susceptibility to common disease. However, to date, these data have provided limited insights into the genes, molecular pathways and mechanisms underlying disease pathophysiology. The EU FP6 Euratools consortium has been a remarkable success that established significant research collaborations, expertise and infrastructure in the EU, making a major contribution to the rat focus issue of Nature Genetics (Volume 40, May 2008), which featured six papers from the consortium. These successes underpin the current project in which we will use state-of-the-art and emerging large-scale technologies and advanced computation in an expanded multi-disciplinary approach to identify gene networks and genomic mechanisms underlying common diseases. We will use the rat as a model system to identify the major functional pathways underlying human inflammatory, cardiovascular and metabolic, and behavioral disorders. Our consortium brings together world class investigators who will use next-generation sequencing technologies to generate genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic datasets. To this, we will add cutting-edge, quantitative metabonomic and proteomic datasets to give significant depth of coverage, at multiple levels, across pathophysiological phenotypes. These datasets will be gathered, annotated and integrated in relational and dynamic models that will be used in comparative analyses to understand human gene function at the level of the molecule, cell, tissue and organism. These studies will lead to new insights into disease mechanisms, through an integrative, cross-disciplinary approach to understanding large-scale functional genomic datasets in rats and humans.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.2.1 | Award Amount: 70.14M | Year: 2010

Scientific research is no longer conducted within national boundaries and is becoming increasing dependent on the large-scale analysis of data, generated from instruments or computer simulations housed in trans-national facilities, by using e Infrastructure (distributed computing and storage resources linked by high-performance networks).\nThe 48 month EGI-InSPIRE project will continue the transition to a sustainable pan-European e-Infrastructure started in EGEE-III. It will sustain support for Grids of high-performance and high-throughput computing resources, while seeking to integrate new Distributed Computing Infrastructures (DCIs), i.e. Clouds, SuperComputing, Desktop Grids, etc., as they are required by the European user community. It will establish a central coordinating organisation, EGI.eu, and support the staff throughout Europe necessary to integrate and interoperate individual national grid infrastructures. EGI.eu will provide a coordinating hub for European DCIs, working to bring existing technologies into a single integrated persistent production infrastructure for researchers within the European Research Area.\nEGI-InSPIRE will collect requirements and provide user-support for the current and new (e.g. ESFRI) users. Support will also be given for the current heavy users as they move their critical services and tools from a central support model to ones driven by their own individual communities. The project will define, verify and integrate within the Unified Middleware Distribution, the middleware from external providers needed to access the e-Infrastructure. The operational tools will be extended by the project to support a national operational deployment model, include new DCI technologies in the production infrastructure and the associated accounting information to help define EGIs future revenue model.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-17-2014 | Award Amount: 5.99M | Year: 2015

Every year, 1.3 million Europeans have a stroke and one million ultimately die of stroke. One third of stroke patients remain dependent on the help of others. The annual costs for stroke care in Europe are estimated at 64.1 billion. Stroke incidence increases almost exponentially with age, and the personal, societal, and economic burden of stroke is therefore largely driven by its frequent occurrence in the elderly. The elderly have been strongly underrepresented in previous stroke trials and treatment guidelines have no recommendations specific to this important group. Elderly patients are at the highest risk of complications after stroke, such as infections, fever, and dysphagia. These complications are strongly and independently associated with a higher risk of death or dependency. We will perform a pragmatic, randomised, open clinical trial with blinded outcome assessment in 3800 patients with acute stroke aged 66 years or older, to assess whether pharmacological prevention of infections and fever, and early management of dysphagia, will reduce the risk of death, poor functional outcome, and poor quality of life, and lead to reductions in the costs of stroke care throughout Europe. Patients will be randomised using a factorial design to preventive treatment for 4 days with ceftriaxone, paracetamol, and/or metoclopramide, or to standard care alone. The primary outcome is functional outcome at 3 months, assessed with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), and analysed with ordinal logistic regression. The study will have 90% power to detect a statistically significant shift towards a favourable outcome, assuming a 5% absolute increase in the proportion of patients with a good outcome (mRS 0 to 2) in the intervention group, compared with controls. This simple, safe, and generally available treatment strategy has the potential to lead to an annual reduction of over 25 000 elderly Europeans being dead or dependent as a result of stroke, at very low costs.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.2-1 | Award Amount: 14.96M | Year: 2012

The consortium led by UKER and EuroHYP, the European Stroke Research Network for Hypothermia, proposes a large, multicentre clinical trial which will assess mild hypothermia as a novel treatment for ischemic stroke. Stroke is the second cause of death world-wide and the second cause of lost disability-adjusted life years in high-income countries. Stroke incidence rises exponentially with age, so its social and economic burden will grow with the ageing of the European population. Current treatment options for the 80 to 85% of all strokes due to cerebral ischaemia - around. 900,000 events in Europe every year, or one every 40 seconds - are extremely limited. Systematic review of experimental studies suggests that hypothermia is the most promising intervention identified to date. Therapeutic cooling is effective in reducing ischaemic brain injury following cardiac arrest, and hypothermia is therefore considered by experts the most promising treatment for patients with acute ischaemic stroke, next to reperfusion strategies. The EuroHYP-1 trial is a pan-European, open, randomised, phase III clinical trial which will assess the benefit or harm of therapeutic cooling in 1500 awake adult patients with acute ischaemic stroke. In addition to efficacy and safety, the economic impact of therapeutic hypothermia will be assessed, along with several sub-studies involving imaging, ultrasound, and biomarker methods. The investigators involved in the EuroHYP-1 consortium are leading European experts in statistical design and analysis, therapeutic hypothermia, imaging, health economics, ultrasound, biomarkers, and trial execution (implementation and monitoring). Moreover in addition to these academic experts the consortium also involves European patient and family advocacy groups and small and medium-size enterprises, and the joint endeavours of this extended team will ensure the successful enrolment of patients at eighty hospitals across 25 countries in Europe.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP-SICA | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.3.2-4 | Award Amount: 15.40M | Year: 2011

The AvecNet consortium will develop practical solutions to the current limitations of vector control strategies in Africa using a combination of translationally-aware, state of the art science and end user analysis to ensure successful development and uptake of the new and improved approaches to malaria control and elimination. Our carefully balanced, multidisciplinary team of European and African experts includes vector biologists, engineers, epidemiologists, social scientists and leaders of large supranational consortia. These partners are all prominent members of global vector control research programs having unique specialization in Africa-centric projects. Together we have developed a proposal focused specifically to address the three major research challenges that confront efforts to interrupt mosquito-mediated transmission of malaria in Africa: 1. The need for practical strategies to prolong the efficacy of existing insecticide-based vector control methods, 2.The need to develop new interventions that target all major malaria vectors, that are simultaneously effective, socially acceptable and sustainable, 3. The impact of the major demographic and environmental changes occurring in Africa on malaria epidemiology and control. These research activities are cross-linked by specific tasks to reinforce our commitment to ensure sustainability, engage all stakeholders and strengthen research capacity in Africa. Overall, the project will add significant value to the international research effort in vector control by taking forward the state of the art and translating this into new or improved control tools that will be trialled within the time frame of this project. The studies planned in this collaborative project will provide scalable solutions, giving the solid platform upon which ongoing and future vector control programmes can be built.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-1-2014 | Award Amount: 6.07M | Year: 2015

Recent years witness an upsurge in the quantities of digital research data, offering new insights and opportunities for improved understanding. Text and data mining is emerging as a powerful tool for harnessing the power of structured and unstructured content and data, by analysing them at multiple levels and in several dimensions to discover hidden and new knowledge. However, text mining solutions are not easy to discover and use, nor are they easily combinable by end users. OpenMinTeD aspires to enable the creation of an infrastructure that fosters and facilitates the use of text mining technologies in the scientific publications world, builds on existing text mining tools and platforms, and renders them discoverable and interoperablethrough appropriate registriesand a standards-based interoperability layer, respectively. It supports training of text mining users and developers alike and demonstrates the merits of the approach through several use cases identified by scholars and experts from different scientific areas, ranging from generic scholarly communication to literaturerelated tolife sciences, food and agriculture, and social sciences and humanities. Through its infrastructural activities, OpenMinTeDs vision is tomake operational a virtuous cycle in which a) primary content is accessed through standardised interfaces and access rules b) by well-documented and easily discoverable text mining services that process, analyse, and annotate text c) to identify patterns and extract new meaningful actionable knowledge, which will be used d) for structuring, indexing, and searching content and, in tandem, e) acting as new knowledge useful to draw new relations between content items and firing a new mining cycle. To achieve its goals, OpenMinTeD brings together different stakeholders, content providers and scientific communities, text mining and infrastructure builders, legal experts, data and computing centres, industrial players, and SMEs.


Englert C.,University of Glasgow | Spannowsky M.,Durham University
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2015

If the LHC run 2 will not provide conclusive hints for new resonant Physics beyond the Standard Model, dedicated and consistent search strategies at high momentum transfers will become the focus of searches for anticipated deviations from the Standard Model expectation. We discuss the phenomenological importance of QCD and electroweak corrections in bounding higher dimensional operators when analysing energy-dependent differential distributions. In particular, we study the impact of RGE-induced operator running and mixing effects on measurements performed in the context of an Effective Field Theory extension of the SM. Furthermore, we outline a general analysis strategy which allows a RGE-improved formulation of constraints free of theoretical shortcomings that can arise when differential distributions start to probe the new interaction scale. We compare the numerical importance of such a programme against the standard analysis approach which is widely pursued at present. © 2014 The Authors.


Filippone M.,University of Glasgow | Girolami M.,University of Warwick
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence | Year: 2014

The main challenges that arise when adopting Gaussian process priors in probabilistic modeling are how to carry out exact Bayesian inference and how to account for uncertainty on model parameters when making model-based predictions on out-of-sample data. Using probit regression as an illustrative working example, this paper presents a general and effective methodology based on the pseudo-marginal approach to Markov chain Monte Carlo that efficiently addresses both of these issues. The results presented in this paper show improvements over existing sampling methods to simulate from the posterior distribution over the parameters defining the covariance function of the Gaussian Process prior. This is particularly important as it offers a powerful tool to carry out full Bayesian inference of Gaussian Process based hierarchic statistical models in general. The results also demonstrate that Monte Carlo based integration of all model parameters is actually feasible in this class of models providing a superior quantification of uncertainty in predictions. Extensive comparisons with respect to state-of-the-art probabilistic classifiers confirm this assertion. © 1979-2012 IEEE.


Englert C.,University of Glasgow | Spannowsky M.,Durham University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

Indirect constraints on the total Higgs width Γh from correlating Higgs signal strengths with cross-section measurements in the off-shell region for p(g)p(g)→4 production have received considerable attention recently, and the CMS Collaboration have published a first measurement. We revisit this analysis from a new physics and unitarity constraints perspective and conclude that limits on Γh obtained in this fashion are not reliable unless we make model-specific assumptions, which cannot be justified at the current stage of the LHC program. Relaxing the Γh interpretation, we discuss the merits of high invariant mass cross-section measurements in the context of Higgs CP analyses, higher-dimensional operator testing, and resolved new physics in the light of electroweak precision constraints beyond effective theory limitations. Furthermore, we show that a rather model-independent LHC constraint can be obtained from adapting the gg→4analysis to the weak boson fusion channels at lower statistical yield. © 2014 American Physical Society.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 2.56M | Year: 2014

Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd has formed a collaborative industrial research team with Blue Bear Systems Research, Forward Composites, Liverpool University, Sheffield University and Cranfield University. This project team will advance the fundamental and interrelated enabling technologies required to maintain the UKs lead in the field of hybrid air vehicles – a novel aircraft form with substantial worldwide sales potential (against competitors such as Lockheed Martin and EADS). The project will focus on lowering the developmental risks in key technology areas such as novel aircraft aerodynamics, carbon composite structures, avionics monitoring systems and improving rate production to enable launch of production design and manufacture. The project results will be exploited by HAV and the UK aerospace supply chain generating UK jobs and maintaining HAV’s lead in the field of hybrid air vehicles and LTA technology.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.3-1 | Award Amount: 8.89M | Year: 2012

Patients with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic nephropathy, which will ultimately result in the requirement for renal replacement therapy and is also associated with high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Detection of low concentrations of albuminuria in urine (microalbuminuria) is the current clinical standard for detecting those at significant risk and targeting preventive treatment. However, albuminuria is of low specificity at early stages of disease, and of considerable biological variability, hence a poor predictor at early stages of disease. In two independent studies we have demonstrated that urinary proteomics offers the prospect of detecting nephropathy earlier in the preclinical phase, enabling targeted treatment at an earlier stage. We propose to assess the potential of this technology to identify normoalbuminuric patients at risk and to target therapy with an aldosterone receptor antagonist (spironolactone) as add-on to recommended therapy including angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) according to national guidelines. We will test the following hypotheses: (1) urinary proteomics predicts progression of albuminuria (as a surrogate marker for the development of overt nephropathy) in a cohort of 3280 type 2 diabetic patients with normal urinary albumin excretion, and (2) early initiation of intensive preventive therapy directed by urinary proteomics reduces progression of albuminuria in those 20 % at high risk and thereby delay progression to overt nephropathy and spare treatment for those with low risk, paving the way of personalised medicine. This will be the first biomarker-directed therapy trial for primary prevention of diabetic kidney disease. Additional clinical and circulating biomarkers will be assessed and models to predict progression of albuminuria including clinical factors, biomarkers and proteomics will be developed.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP.2013.1.4-2 | Award Amount: 12.85M | Year: 2013

The thermal properties of nanostructured materials are of fundamental importance to modern technology, but at present reproducible metrological definitions, tools and methods do not exist. This is because the mechanisms of heat transport at the nanoscale are entirely different to those at the macro scale. The project will place nanothermal metrology on a solid basis by an integrated physics-based experimental and modelling effort to: Define a common terminology for nanothermal measurement Realise standard materials and devices for measurement and calibration of nanothermal measurements Develop new instruments and methods for traceable nanothermal measurement Develop calibrated and validated thermal models covering the range from atomic to macro-scale Apply these tools to selected representative industrial problems Assess the tools for suitability for adoption as potential standards of measurement including their traceability and reproducibility The objectives will be achieved by a team comprising physicists, materials scientists, modellers, instrumentalists, microscopists, industrial partners (including SMEs and OEMs) and National Measurement Institutes. The outputs of QUANTIHEAT will be embodied in highly characterised reference samples, calibration systems, measurement tools, numerical modelling tools, reference measurements and documented procedures. The availability of calibrated numerical modelling tools will facilitate the rapid digital thermal design of new nanosystems without the need for extensive prototyping. Their validation against experiment over all length scales will provide a solid basis for the deployment of new nanostructured materials, devices and structures having optimised performance without the need for excessively conservative design. Standardization is a key driver of industrial and scientific progress: QUANTIHEAT is expected to constitute a de-facto standard for a key area of physical measurement at the nanoscale worldwide.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2012.2.1.1-2 | Award Amount: 17.67M | Year: 2013

As more people survive into old age, the prevalence of heart failure (HF), one of the most common and debilitating diseases in older people, will rise still further. Delaying or preventing HF will have great benefit to those at personal risk, their families, society and the economy. HOMAGE aims to provide a biomarker (BM) approach that will a) help identify i. patients at high risk of developing HF before the onset of symptoms and ii. subsets of patients who are more likely to respond to specifically targeted therapies (personalized medicine). In available cohorts, we will identify the most promising omics-based BM profiles for the pre-symptomatic diagnosis and future prediction of HF in patients at risk. The predictive value of the BMs for other co-morbidities commonly associated with HF and ageing will also be investigated. Furthermore, in a prospective trial, we will investigate the potential for targeting preventive therapy at patients with the greatest likelihood of response and the lowest risk of adverse effects. Our selection of innovative omics-based BMs is based on knowledge of biological pathways of the disease, which may facilitate identification of Biotargets for future therapies. On the economic side, HOMAGE will act as an economic catalyst for European SMEs in the field of cardiovascular and ageing BMs, estimated to peak annual turnovers of up to 800 M.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-28-2015 | Award Amount: 4.92M | Year: 2016

The recent global burden of disease study showed that low back pain (LBP) is the most significant contributor to disability in Europe. Most patients seen in primary care with LBP have non-specific LBP (85%), i.e., pain that cannot reliably be attributed to a specific disease/pathology. LBP is the fourth most common diagnosis seen in primary care (after upper respiratory infection, hypertension, and coughing). Self-management in the form of physical activity and strength/stretching exercises constitutes the core component in the management of non-specific LBP; however, adherence to self-management challenging due to lack of feedback and reinforcement. This project aims to develop a decision support system - SELFBACK - that will be used by the patient him/herself to facilitate, improve and reinforce self-management of LBP. Specifically, SELFBACK will be designed to assist the patient in deciding and reinforcing the appropriate actions to manage own LBP after consulting a health care professional in primary care. The decision support will be conveyed to the patient via a smartphone app in the form of advice for self-management. The advice will be tailored to each patient based on the symptom state, symptom progression, the patients goal-setting, and a range of patient characteristics including information from a physical activity-detecting wristband worn by the patient. The second part of the project will evaluate the effectiveness of SELFBACK in a randomized controlled trial using pain-related disability as primary outcome. We envisage that patients who use SELFBACK will have 20% reduction in pain-related disability at 9 months follow-up compared to patients receiving treatment as usual. Process evaluation will be carried out as an integrated part of the trial to document the implementation and map the patients satisfaction with SELFBACK. A business plan with a targeted commercialisation strategy will be developed to transfer the SELFBACK technology into the market.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.1.5 | Award Amount: 4.32M | Year: 2011

The Future Internet will include a large number of internet-connected sensors (including cameras and microphone arrays), which provide opportunities for searching and analyzing large amounts of multimedia data from the physical world, while also integrating them into added-value applications. Despite the emergence of techniques for searching physical world multimedia (including the proliferation of participatory sensing applications), existing multimedia search solutions do not provide effective search over arbitrary large and diverse sources of multimedia data derived from the physical world.\nSMART will introduce a holistic open source web-scale multimedia search framework for multimedia data stemming from the physical world. To this end, SMART will develop a scalable search and retrieval architecture for multimedia data, along with intelligent techniques for real-time processing, search and retrieval of physical world multimedia. The SMART framework will boost scalability in both functional and business terms, while being extensible in terms of sensors and multimedia data processing algorithms. The SMART framework will enable answering of queries based on the intelligent collection and combination of sensor generated multimedia data, using sensors and perceptual (A/V) signal processing algorithms that match the application context at hand. This matching will be based on the sensors context and metadata (e.g., location, state, capabilities), as well as on the dynamic context of the physical world as the later is perceived by processing algorithms (such as face detectors, person trackers, classifiers of acoustic events and components for crowd analysis). At the same time, SMART will be able to leverage Web2.0 social networks information in order to facilitate social queries on physical world multimedia. The main components of the SMART search framework will be implemented as open source software over the Terrier (terrier.org) open source engine.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.4.5-2 | Award Amount: 7.59M | Year: 2010

Autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterised by an antibody response to citrullinated proteins. Periodontitis (PD) is largely caused by infection, in which Porphyromonas gingivalis is a major pathogen. The two diseases combine specific HLA-DRB1alleles and smoking as risk factors, and have a similar pathophysiology characterised by destructive inflammation. A possible causative link between RA and PD is based on the ability of P. gingivalis to citrullinate proteins and thereby generate autoantigens that drive autoimmunity in RA. We hypothesise that anti-citrullinated protein antibodies can be generated, in genetically susceptible individuals, as a consequence of P. Gingivalis-induced citrullination in the gingiva. In the context of genetic risk factors, during chronic exposure to danger signals, such as bacterial lipopolysacharides and DNA, tolerance to citrullinated proteins may be broken, with production of a pathogenic antibody response, which at a later time point cross-reacts with joint proteins and causes chronic RA. We will use a multidisciplinary approach (genetics, epidemiology, molecular immunology and animal models) to study susceptibility factors and immune responses in RA and PD, with an aim to identify novel etiological and pathogenic pathways, forming the basis for new therapies.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.2-2 | Award Amount: 8.11M | Year: 2011

EU-MASCARA is a collaborative project that aims to improve diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases and prediction of cardiovascular risk by analysing a panel of biomarkers. EU-MASCARA aims to examine genetic, proteomic and metabolomic markers together with markers of inflammation, oxidative stress and cardiac remodelling to study their incremental diagnostic and predictive value over and above existing diagnostic and predictive algorithms. For this purpose a large number of cohorts from different European regions, both patient and population cohorts, that have been accurately assessed for cardiovascular phenotypes are readily available to the consortium. Access to clinical samples and to standardised cardiovascular phenotypes will be granted by a strong clinical platform as one of the key work packages of EU-MASCARA. Both cross-sectional and prospective analyses will be performed that will result in the development of improved risk prediction scores. The consortium is heavily supported by contributions of SMEs in key areas of the proposed research: biomarker testing, data handling and analysis, assay development and project management. EU-MASCARA is further characterised by a strong integrative approach both within and across work packages, with results from one task informing strategies of research in other tasks. With a dedicated bioinformatics and health economic platform the most robust biomarkers will be selected and analysed for their benefit in clinical practice. EU-MASCARA will rigorously validate biomarkers that have been proposed to be associated with cardiovascular disease and risk across different disease entities and also in independent general population samples. The most robust biomarkers will be implemented in novel biochip based assays for clinical use.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.9.6 | Award Amount: 3.34M | Year: 2014

We will develop artificial, technological evolution and use it to design functional ecosystems consisting of up to three forms of living technology, namely, artificial chemical life, living microorganisms, and complex chemical reaction networks for the purpose of improved treatment and cleanup of wastewater for energy generation. The goals of this project are i) develop a general, robotic platform, which by using artificial evolution can optimize the performance of a physicochemical or microbial system and its environment and ii) use the robotic platform to evolve improved microbial fuel cells in terms of robustness, longevity, or adaptability. The robot evolutionary platform will take the form of an open-source 3D printer extended with functionality for handling liquids and reaction vessels, and for obtaining feedback from the reaction vessels either using computer vision or task-specific sensors in real-time. The robot platform will optimize parameters such as the environment, hydraulics or real-time interaction with experiments (for instance, timing of injection of nutrients, removal of metabolic products, stirring, etc.) to maximize a desired functionality. Initially, we investigate processes such as fluid-structure-interaction driving bio-aggregate structure and in turn metabolic activity as well as the interaction of nanoparticles and bacterial cells by analyzing the outcome of the evolutionary process using state-of-the-art imaging techniques. We then seek to exploit synergies between these technologies to significantly improve the ability of the living technology, in the form of optimized microbial fuel cells, to cleanup wastewater. Overall, this is a cross-disciplinary project involving state-of-the-art chemistry, imaging, robotics, artificial life, microbiology and bio-energy harvesting for the purpose of enhancing our understanding of living technologies and how to best design and exploit groundbreaking bio-hybrid systems.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRADEV-03-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 2.72M | Year: 2017

Europe has a long and rich tradition as a centre for the arts and humanities. However, the digital transformation poses challenges to the arts and humanities research landscape all over the world. Responding to these challenges the Digital Research Infrastructure for Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) was launched as a pan-European network and research infrastructure. After expansion and consolidation, which involved DARIAHs inscription on the ESFRI roadmap, DARIAH became a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) in August 2014. The DESIR project sets out to strengthen the sustainability of DARIAH and firmly establish it as a long-term leader and partner within arts and humanities communities. By DESIRs definition, sustainability is an evolving 6-dimensional process, divided into the following challenges: Dissemination: DESIR will organise a series dissemination events, including workshops in the US and Australia, to promote DARIAH tools and services and initiative collaborations. Growth: DESIR sets out to prepare the ground for establishing DARIAH membership in six new countries: the UK, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Israel. Technology: DESIR will widen the DARIAH research infrastructure in three areas, vital for DARIAHs long-term sustainability: entity-based search, scholarly content management, visualization and text analytic services. Robustness: DESIR will make DARIAHs organizational structure and governance fit for the future and develop a detailed business plan and marketing strategy. Trust: DESIR will measure the acceptance of DARIAH, especially in new communities, and define mechanisms to support trust and confidence in DARIAH. Education: Through training and teaching DESIR will promote the use of DARIAH tools and services. The DESIR consortium is composed of core DARIAH members, representatives from potential new DARIAH members and external technical experts. It is balanced between the different European regions.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: | Award Amount: 3.43M | Year: 2010

Technology projections indicate that future electronic devices will keep shrinking, being faster and consuming less energy per operation. In the next decade, a single chip will be able to perform trillions of operations per second and provide trillions of bytes per second in off-chip bandwidth. This is the so called Terascale Computing era, where terascale performance will be mainstream, available in personal computer, and being the building block of large data centers with petascale computing capabilities. However, these smaller devices will be much more susceptible to faults and its performance will exhibit a significant degree of variability. As a consequence, to unleash these impressive computing capabilities, a major hurdle in terms of reliability has to be overcome. The TRAMS project is the bridge for reliable, energy efficient and cost effective computing in the era of nanoscale challenges and teraflop opportunities. The International Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) report indicates that the Metal Oxide Semiconductor devices (MOS or MOS like devices) will be ultimately scaled down below 10nm in several years. The CMOS technologies after the 16nm technology generation are called Late CMOS technologies and will include novel multi-gate device architectures and novel channel and gate stack materials. Reliability issues are expected to be exacerbated to in sub-10 nm CMOS technology. Beyond-CMOS emerging technologies will reach device dimensions reduction below 5nm utilising among others, nanowire transistors, quantum devices, carbon nanotubes, graphene, or molecular electronics. Both the Late CMOS and the Beyond CMOS technologies hold the promise of a significant increase in device integration density complemented by an increase in system performance and functionality. However, a dramatic reduction in single device quality is also expected, complemented by increase in statistical variability, severe reduction of the signal to noise ratio, and severe reliability problems. Therefore, alternative device solutions and computation paradigms need to be investigated to keep the technology evolution pace in such a challenging scenario. Memory cells and, in general, system architectures intended for nanotechnologies (both late CMOS and emerging devices) need to address the variability and reliability problem and should be capable of solving or at least largely alleviating it. In order to build reliable nanosystems, the TRAMS project addresses a specific variability and reliability-aware analysis and design flow as well as a hierarchical tolerance design. In such a tera-device multi-core system the main idea will be to define countermeasure techniques at circuit and architecture design levels. The objective of this project is to investigate in depth potential new design alternatives and paradigms, which will be able to provide reliable memory systems out of highly unreliable nanodevices at a reasonable cost and design effort.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.4.2 | Award Amount: 3.40M | Year: 2011

We increasingly live our life online. Information is accumulated on a wide range of human activities, from science and facts, to personal content, opinions, and trends. Across the globe, peoples knowledge, experiences and interactions effortlessly find their way to online outlets, alongside traditional edited content, ready to be shared with millions.LiMoSINe will integrate the research activities of leading researchers across diverse topics with a view to enabling new kinds of language-based search technology.The LiMoSINe vision is to transition access to online information from a document-centric search paradigm focused on returning disconnected atomic pieces to a truly semantic aggregation paradigm. In this new paradigm, machines will understand a users intent, discover and organize facts, identify opinions, experiences and trends, all from inherently multilingual online sources and open knowledge repositories. LiMoSINes aggregation engines will automatically organize search results in semantically meaningful ways.LiMoSINe has the following objectives:- To enable semantically structured access to multi-lingual online content;- To integrate deep linguistic processing in information extraction;- To support semantic mining where data-driven patterns are made human interpretable using the web of data;- To develop evaluation methods for rigorously assessing the effectiveness of semantic search and semantic aggregation in a lab-based setting;- To exploit its research results in three demanding multilingual use cases: (i) open-domain community question answering, (ii) online reputation management in a professional task-based setting, and (iii) intelligent content annotation and search on a photo-sharing platform.The components of LiMoSINe will be integrated through web services with solutions currently in place at the projects use case owners.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES | Award Amount: 518.80K | Year: 2012

The aim of this proposal is to establish close research interaction and collaboration between the key EU and non-EU research groups involved in the research of the Sun in the radio band; qualitatively advance our knowledge of the physical processes operating in the solar atmosphere, the basic mechanisms responsible for its evolution and dynamics and its effect on the Earth; provide younger researchers with extensive training in relevant research techniques and with universal transferable skills. The participating teams are either actively involved or host world-leading upcoming solar observational facilities CSRH, SSRT and ALMA, hence the additional aim of the project is the preparation to their successful exploitation, development of relevant theory and data analysis tools. The research and training aims are to be achieved through the systematic research staff and knowledge exchange and joint research efforts exploiting existing data and facilities, and preparing the future world-class partnership in exploitation of the upcoming facilities. The network we intend to build consists of 7 (4 EU and 3 non-EU) internationally recognised and respected research teams with high level of expertise in the fields that are complimentary and crucial for the proposed research: solar radio instrumentation, data analysis, plasma physics of the microwave emission, magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) theory and simulations, and leadership or direct involvement in the upcoming facilities. The teams represent three EU member states (Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom) and two eligible non-EU states (China and Russia), hence an additional benefit of the proposed collaboration is the intensification of the research links between EU and BRIC countries. The proposed collaboration is expected to develop into a long-standing international partnership.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2011-1 | Award Amount: 734.18K | Year: 2011

We wish to exploit the need for effective treatment for nosocomial diarrhoea especially that caused by Clostridium difficile disease (CDD). Patients treated with broad spectrum antibiotics are at greatest risk of CDD diarrhoea and many of those affected are hospitalised elderly patients with serious underlying illnesses. Antibiotics can cause disruption of the normal intestinal flora, an important part of the immune system, leading to an overgrowth of CDD. Currently, some 2350 patients suffering from chronic CDD in a number of countries have been treated by faecal bacteriotherapy (FB), using samples collected from donors. Although this procedure is reported, in a number of small studies, to be around 90% effective, it is hazardous, in that infection from the donor could be transmitted to the patient and it involves delivery of faecal samples into the duodenum via a nasal probe. We propose to treat CDD using a modified FB to restore the patients original intestinal flora (employing samples collected from the patients themselves prior to their treatment) We will produce novel enteric-coated capsules, containing processed freeze dried colonic flora that can be swallowed by a patient to restore their intestinal flora and immunise them against further infection by CDD. RFID tags will be employed to associate capsules with the relevant patient and assist with sample inventory. 3 SMEs in 3 EU states and 5 distinguished research providers along with 1 OTHER SME in the coordination role will collaborate to provide the necessary technology to the project. The coordinator has previously coordinated an EU proposal and acted as a participant in projects over several Frameworks. The outcome will be a non-antibiotic medicament to treat and prevent CDD The consortium plan to patent the IPR from the project, exploit and disseminate the technology worldwide and carry out animal and hospital clinical studies. There are no gender issues related to the proposal but animal and human studies will require ethical approval.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.9.6 | Award Amount: 3.84M | Year: 2013

Despite recent advances in in vivo directed evolution techniques and the interest they have attracted so far, their impact in applied biotechnology is limited because of their limitations in programmability, selective drivers, cost and scalability. Here, we propose to construct a general-purpose programmable evolution machine able to quickly evolve new biomolecules or phenotypes in bacterial cells. The proposed device will use existing phage technology and synthetic regulation to engineer a programmable directed evolution machine able to produce biomolecules or biocomputational functionality two orders of magnitude faster than conventional techniques, while consuming fewer consumables. In its core, living matter will be subject to combinatorial search algorithms that will exploit large numbers of small, separate, bacterial populations. Each one will contain phage that evolve under different custom fitness selections. The different phage will then be recombined according to combinatorial optimization strategies. The software and hardware design of our device is inspired by microprocessor manufacturing practice. Hence, in addition to the genetic devices for phage engineering, mutation, recombination and selection, we will develop: i) fluidic modules for cell and phage growth, ii) their hardware primitives, iii) a custom instruction set architecture, and iv) a high-level language with its compiler. We will demonstrate the operation of our device by engineering site-specific ribonucleases and nucleases with real-world applications, such as anti-HIV activity. We will also develop applications for new type of distributed bacterial computing using phage communication. We will thus put in place the foundations and approaches for this radical living technology that will impact ICT as well as many areas beyond, such as biology, chemistry and manufacturing.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: HEALTH-2009-4.3.1-1 | Award Amount: 6.63M | Year: 2010

Filarial infections remain a major public health problem in West and Central Africa. Three filarial species are involved: Onchocerca volvulus (onchocerciasis or river blindness); Wuchereria bancrofti (lymphatic filariasis); and Loa loa (the eye worm). Treatment of onchocerciasis with ivermectin has been successful in many situations but emergence of drug resistance and risk of severe adverse reactions associated with L loa co-infections is restricting the implementation of mass treatment and consequently alternate approaches to control are required. Studies with animal models have identified the general mechanisms of protective immunity while human studies have drawn attention to immune regulatory processes that influence clinical presentations Together, these observation provide a basis for vaccine development. The next challenge is to identify target antigens and ensure appropriate formulation and delivery to promote protective responses and avoid any pathology. This project aims to: 1, use transciptomics and bioinformatics to identify the parasite molecules that are targets of protective immunity and that may influence the regulation of such responses; and 2, microarray technologies and bioinformatics to determine the pathways that lead to expression of protective immunity. Cohorts of onchocerciasis patients who have received treatment with ivermectin or tetracycline, or are co infected with either W bancrofti or L loa provide both input to the pathway studies and a means of validation of the computer assimilations. Confirmation of the mechanisms and targets of protective immunity and validation of computer assimilations will also be investigated using the O ochengi-cattle model that also enables experimentation under natural challenge. Litomosoides sigmodontis in mice provides a robust and rapid validation of results obtained from computation relating to expression and regulation of protective responses and a primary system for screening vaccine candidates


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 294.01K | Year: 2015

Computational Discrete Mathematics applied computers to a number of areas within pure mathematics, including abstract algebra, combinatorics and number theory and their applications in, for instance, cryptography, network routing, experimental design and others. Although less visible than the use of numerical methods in solving continuous problems such as differential equations, computation in discrete mathematics has an equally long history. The project is aimed at the community-building activities centred around the two main open-source software systems, GAP and Sage. GAP (www.gap-system.org) is a 25 year old software package widely used for computations in important areas of pure mathematics, especially in abstract algebra, the mathematics of structure and symmetry. The Sage project is a free open-source general mathematics software system, started in 2005 with the ambitious aim of providing an open-source alternative to such well-established closed systems. Sage builds on the Python and incorporates dozens of open-source mathematical packages, in particular GAP, Singular, PARI/GP and others. GAP and Sage both have quite well established user communities in the UK and internationally. However these communities are limited in a two ways, which the CCP is designed to address. Firstly they are limited by discipline -- while finite group theorists are well aware of GAP, for instance, few physicists or computer scientists are; while Sage is well known in number theory research, it is still not much used in the UK for mixed symbolic-numeric work; etc. Secondly the level of involvement of users is limited. Users need support to become programmers; programmers to become package authors and package authors to become contributors to the core system and all need support to best use parallel programming. The proposed software management and user support activity underpins the whole project. The CCP will provide baseline support in these areas which will have a direct impact on GAPs sustainability. It will support the rollout of its next mainstream version, GAP 5, which supports shared memory parallelism, and will facilitate the transition to GAP 5 in the user and developer communities. For the Sage system, of which GAP is an essential component, the CCP funding will facilitate tighter Sage-GAP integration, in particular regarding memory management and parallelisation, and incorporating into Sage as many GAP packages as possible; the latter currently is done on an ad hoc basis, is hard to maintain and error-prone. Last but not the least, closer GAP-Sage collaboration will allow GAP to learn from the newer Sage project which has been very successful in using modern tools and software development workflows and in being exceptionally welcoming to new developers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 4.23M | Year: 2013

LAPASO will provide a unique training opportunity for 15 fellows in a highly interdisciplinary and intersectorial environment with the overarching scientific objective of advancing diagnostics in a wide range of critical medical conditions using advanced microfluidics and nanobiotechnology integration. Microfluidic particle fractionation based on the inherent properties of e.g. cells, microorganisms, organelles offers significant improvements over conventional techniques in terms of ease of handling and usage, speed and reductions in cost. We will consolidate the field at the European level and create a unique comprehensive training program that rests on solid experimental and theoretical foundations. Three leading experimental groups will provide the technological development of microfluidic label-free sorting based on dielectrophoresis, deterministic lateral displacement and acoustophoresis with strong support from leading theorists. The technology will be used to address key medical questions defined by our biomedical collaborators and partners in parasitology, bacteriology and oncology. Three companies are engaged to provide an industrial perspective on our work, specifically from a technological point of view with respect to treatment of infectious disease, advanced fluidics handling and DNA analysis and mass production of devices. To ensure an efficient transfer of knowledge across disciplines and across sectors the work will take place in close collaboration through frequent ESR/ER exchange between the partners. The training of a next generation of researchers will ensure the implementation and dissemination of these powerful novel key techniques to industry and end-users. Through the strong interdisciplinary and intersectorial character of the network, the ESR and ER will receive a uniquely comprehensive training above what a traditional postgraduate training would offer that in turn gives them a strong competitive advantage in both academia and industry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.4.1 | Award Amount: 4.06M | Year: 2011

BLOGFOREVER will develop robust digital preservation, management and dissemination facilities for weblogs. These facilities will be able to capture the dynamic and continuously evolving nature of weblogs, their network and social structure, and the exchange of concepts and ideas that they foster; pieces of information omitted by current Web Archiving methods and solutions.\n\nBLOGFOREVER will lay its foundations on exploring weblog structure and semantics, as well as their interconnections and associations with other web information entities, in order to create a generic weblog data model. This model will be used to define a robust digital preservation policy for weblogs, including interoperability and digital rights management issues. A pilot weblog digital repository will then be developed and validated through a set of case studies. The repository will not only unlock peoples and organisations abilities to access and preserve weblog content but will also enable them to understand its evolving social context over time.\n\nThe final output of BLOGFOREVER will be a simple weblog digital archiving solution that any user, user group or institution could use to preserve their weblog(s) and ensure their authenticity, integrity, completeness, usability, and long term accessibility as a valuable cultural, social, and intellectual resource. A multitude of parties will benefit from the project, including libraries and information centres, museums, universities, research institutes, businesses, and bloggers.\n\nThe BLOGFOREVER partners will combine and utilise multidisciplinary skills, expertise, and ongoing work in the fields of weblogs analytics, web semantics, social networks, and online preservation. Academic partners will study weblog semantics and the social importance of weblogs; business entities will guarantee the successful take-up and exploitation of the projects outputs. Representatives from bloggers communities will ensure that the results cover their needs. The consortium as a whole is diverse and combines multidisciplinary skills and expertise suitable for the planned research.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IAPP | Award Amount: 910.73K | Year: 2013

High incidence of degenerative skeletal tissue disorders in a progressively aging human population make tissue engineering of cartilage and bone a focus of extensive research. Bone and joint disorders are the most common disease in Europe: more than 100 million European citizens suffer from arthritis and 19 million people have osteoporosis (one of three women and one of eight men are affected). This proposal is designed to supplement the existing EuroNanoMed project aimed to develop an innovative strategy for targeting bone and cartilage regeneration. More specifically the proposal seeks to set up an international multidisciplinary team of young scientists and engineers representing both academia and industry partners that will strongly contribute to the design of a novel type of implant, which can strongly promote tissue regeneration combining high performance materials, advanced nanotechnology and living cells.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: AAT.2013.7-7. | Award Amount: 534.35K | Year: 2013

As mentioned in the Executive Summary of the Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda, Aviation has an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as noise and local air quality issues. The continuous increase of air passenger transport generates an increasing use of hydrocarbon fuel with excessive emission of CO2 and NOX (greenhouse gases, pollutants and noise). It is well known that commercial aircraft operations impact the atmosphere by the emissions of greenhouse gases and greenhouse gas precursors, and also through the formation of contrails and cirrus clouds. In 2011, during the Aerodays in Madrid, the EC launched the future of Aeronautics in the ACARE Flight Path 2050 Vision for the Aircraft report containing the ambitious goals on the environmental impact with 90% reduction in NOx emissions, 75% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer, and the reduction of the noise in by 65%, all relative to year 2000. To achieve the ACARE Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda green aeronautics technologies will play a more and more dominant role in mastering the challenge on Protecting the environment and the energy supply. GRAIN2 Supported Action, based on the same collaborative and win-win spirit introduced in former EU-China GRAIN project, will provide inputs and roadmaps for the development of large scale simulation strategies for greener technologies to meet the above future requirements on emissions, fuel consumption and noise. To reach these targets, green technologies efforts will have to be collected and prospected in three major lines: Air vehicle, Air Transport System and Sustainable Energies. Three folds to be investigated as future greening technologies: 1) Greening the aircraft and the aero engine 2) Greening the operational environment 3) Reducing the carbon foot print of aviation via sustainable alternative fuels


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-26-2014 | Award Amount: 3.75M | Year: 2015

SEERS proposes a breakthrough approach to multispectral imaging in a broad band of the infrared domain (0.7-14 m wavelength). Video surveillance for safety and security is targeted for demonstration. Firstly, a snapshot multispectral imager in the IR domain will be developed. Secondly, an embedded approach will be adopted for image reconstruction, cognitive image fusion, video pre-processing and event-driven operation. Thirdly, the benefits of a novel video analytics solution (VAS) for smart networked operation will be demonstrated in terms of performance and persistence, thanks to multispectral imaging. As a result of SEERS, a compact and cost-effective IR imager will be delivered. With this aim, research and development at different levels will be addressed: Microbolometer (FPA) re-design adapted to multi-aperture imaging requirements Spectral optical design putting together beam splitting and multi-aperture imaging Development of multi-aperture sensor arrays for multispectral and super-resolution imaging Embedded processing for: image reconstruction based on computational imaging, cognitive image fusion, spectral measurements, and video pre-processing Persistent video analytics based on pre-processed multispectral video Overall, SEERS approach will enable robust intelligent surveillance with event-driven and smart performance. Remarkable capabilities will be robustness to variable visibility conditions (e.g. fog, rain, fumes), gas discrimination and level determination, spill detection, fire and burst imaging with accurate temperature measurement. Demonstration will be addressed in real operational conditions for two different scenarios: coastal and tunnel surveillance.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-15-2015 | Award Amount: 6.34M | Year: 2015

Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world population. When not fatal, stroke often results in disability, due to motor and cognitive impairments, and secondary health problems affecting not only patients but also their families. Building on emerging preclinical and pilot clinical evidences, RESSTORE will focus on the clinical assessment of regenerative cell therapy to improve stroke recovery and patients quality of life. RESSTORE European multicentre randomised phase IIb will explore, for the first time, the efficacy (functional recovery) and safety of intravenous infusion of allogenic adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADMSCs) in 400 stroke patients. Therapeutic effects of ADMSCs will be assessed and monitored in patients using clinical rating scales, multimodal MRI and novel blood biomarkers. Additionally, the societal value and cost-effectiveness of ADMSCs-based regenerative therapy will be evaluated through health economics and predictive in silico simulations. Complementary ancillary animal studies will support the clinical trial by defining i) if the treatment response can be further enhanced by intensive rehabilitation, ii) the contribution of co-morbidities and iii) the mechanism(s) underlying the therapeutic effect. The European regenerative therapy capacities (France, Spain, Finland, United Kingdom and Czech Republic), developed in RESSTORE will cover the full value chain in the field (large scale GMP cell production, clinical testing, biomarkers discovery, understanding of the restoring mechanisms, modelling, biobanking, economic studies, exploitation and communication plan). RESSTORE will thus surely contribute, together with the workforce trained in the context of the programme, to improve its public and private (SME) competitiveness and increase the attractiveness of Europe as a reference location to develop and clinically assess new innovative therapeutic options for brain diseases.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-03-2014 | Award Amount: 3.77M | Year: 2015

The Automotive HMI (Human Machine Interface) will soon undergo dramatic changes, with large plastic dashboards moving from the push-buttons era to the tactile era. User demand for aesthetically pleasing and seamless interfaces is ever increasing, with touch sensitive interfaces now commonplace. However, these touch interfaces come at the cost of haptic feedback, which raises concerns regarding the safety of eyeless interact ion during driving. The HAPPINESS project intends to address these concerns through technological solutions, introducing new capabilities for haptic feedback on these interfaces. The main goal of the HAPPINESS project is to develop a smart conformable surface able to offer different tactile sensations via the development of a Haptic Thin and Organic Large Area Electronic technology (TOLAE), integrating sensing and feedback capabilities, focusing on user requirements and ergonomic designs. To this aim, by gathering all the value chain actors (materials, technology manufacturing, OEM integrator) for application within the automotive market, the HAPPINESS project will offer a new haptic Human-Machine Interface technology, integrating touch sensing and disruptive feedback capabilities directly into an automotive dashboard. Based on the consortium skills, the HAPPINESS project will demonstrate the integration of Electro-Active Polymers (EAP) in a matrix of mechanical actuators on plastic foils. The objectives are to fabricate these actuators with large area and cost effective printing technologies and to integrate them through plastic molding injection into a small-scale dashboard prototype. We will design, implement and evaluate new approaches to Human-Computer Interaction on a fully functional prototype that combines in packaging both sensors and actuator foils, driven by custom electronics, and accessible to end-users via software libraries, allowing for the reproduction of common and accepted sensations such as Roughness, Vibration and Relief.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.89M | Year: 2015

Cancer is a leading health concern. There is a need to fully understand the fundamental processes underlying development of cancer. There is increasing evidence that G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their associated signalling cascades are involved in both cancer progression and metastasis. As oncogenic GPCRs are likely to be amenable to manipulation via drugs they are ideal therapeutic targets. In ONCORNET (Oncogenic Receptor Network of Excellence and Training) we propose to target two oncogenic GPCRs; the chemokine receptors CXCR4 and CXCR7. These are highly expressed in a range of tumours and yet their role in cancer progression is not well understood. We will focus on unravelling how CXCR4 and CXCR7 are or can be modulated (small molecules, pepducins, nanodies) and investigate the effects on oncogenic responses. This represents crucial knowledge that we currently do not have and yet may well provide potential leads for drug development and commercialisation. ONCORNET will bring together the leading research scientists and labs in Europe with an interest in GPCRs and 15 early stage researchers. We will employ all the latest multidisciplinary research technologies to understand the role of these GPCRs in cancer and develop CXCR4 and CXCR7 tools for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Importantly, developed approaches can be extrapolated to other oncogenic GPCRs. The ONCORNET consortium will offer an extensive multidisciplinary training programme to the ESRs to ensure that they can operate in todays drug discovery programmes. This will include both research (e.g. drug discovery, proteomics, imaging, modelling) and transferable (e.g. entrepreneurship, writing, media training) skill sets that is rarely offered at PhD level. We will train ESRs to develop the next generation of multidisciplinary scientists with skills that are highly demanded by many of todays employers in drug development industries.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-1-2014 | Award Amount: 3.40M | Year: 2015

Challenges facing technology for power efficient, high density, high speed information processing and storage are well recognised, and strategies for meeting them in the short term define the shape of industry roadmaps. As a consequence, in the next ten years, radically new approaches will be implemented and will transform how data is stored and manipulated. Skyrmion-based devices are newcomers to this global race for the next generations of information technology. Skyrmions were discovered in magnetic crystals only a few years ago, but we already have within reach a possibility to create them in nanoscale devices that can be made compatible with conventional integrated circuit technology. Our work in MAGicSky will substantiate this possibility. The potential benefits are enormous. Skyrmions are magnetic solitons that carry information, and are remarkably robust against defects that can trap or destroy them due to the topology of their magnetic texture. Topology also appears to further underlie other of their technologically important features: mobility with small continuous currents and singular dynamics under radio-frequency. MAGicSky will engage some of the most advanced materials fabrication, characterisation and microscopic imaging facilities in Europe together with leading theoretical and computational modelling capabilities, to create the first proof-of-concept room temperature spintronic devices based on magnetic skyrmions.


Pimlott S.L.,West of Scotland Radionuclide Dispensary | Sutherland A.,University of Glasgow
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2011

The development of positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging continues to grow due to the ability of these techniques to allow the non-invasive in vivo visualisation of biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels. As well as finding application for the diagnosis of disease, these techniques have also been used in the drug discovery process. Crucial to the growth of these techniques is the continued development of molecular probes that can bind to the target biological receptor with high selectivity. This tutorial review describes the use of PET and SPECT for molecular imaging and highlights key strategies for the development of molecular probes for the imaging of both cancer and neurological diseases. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-10-2015 | Award Amount: 1.60M | Year: 2016

The need to advance financial capability and financial awareness among informed citizens and market participants was identified as a major target to achieve an improved social performance, better client protection and, ultimately, greater societal well-being. The new socio-economic landscape in the post-crisis world brought changes in the financial, labour and pension markets along with changes in the public finance decisions from the political sphere. Technological developments enable and enhance the availability of large volumes of information on themes relevant to financial decision making. However, the volume of information, the existence of often ad hoc sources, and the documented existence of cognitive limitations by individuals when it comes to the processing of big data plus widespread financial illiteracy found even within developed economies, including those of the EU point to the need for (a) specialized financial education toolkits available to the wider public (b) advanced crowd-sourcing tools to process financial data, extract and present collective knowledge, (c) advanced forecasting models exploiting the market sentiment to identify market trends and threats, (d) novel personalized recommendation systems to support financial decisions according to the users profile (financial literacy level, interests, demographic characteristics etc). Based on these requirements, PROFIT will develop a platform built on Open Source components. The platforms functionalities will be pilot-tested in collaboration with the members of the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks (FEBEA), an institution committed to responsible banking and finance. The outcomes of the project are expected to enable best practices that can be made available to the wide public in the European Union.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: YOUNG-3-2015 | Award Amount: 2.50M | Year: 2016

Most European Lifelong Learning (LLL) policies have been designed to create economic growth and, at the same time, guarantee social inclusion (EC 2010). First, we will study how different LLL policies are compatible with each other in terms of their orientations and objectives and how each policy considers the needs of young adults. Second, we will research the intended and unintended effects of policies on young adults. In this regard, we will look into relevant social developments such as life course de-standardisation processes and into an emerging new political economy of skills. Third, we will generate new knowledge about regional and local policymaking, with particular attention to actors, dynamics, and trends. By focusing on their regional/local context, we will elucidate the interaction and complementarity of LLL policies with other sectors of society, thus contributing to a better understanding of current fragmentation and discrepancies, in order to set parameters for future decision-making support systems. The project will first contribute new knowledge of the impact of LLL policies on young adults life courses, yielding insights on the conditions, strategies, and necessities for policies to become effective. In addition, it will provide insights on the innovations and potentials they unlock, in particular with view to informal and non-formal learning to better address vulnerable groups. Second, the project contributes to a better understanding of the structural relationships and functional match between education/training and the labour market sectors. Third, the project will provide a thorough review of regional policies and initiatives in the countries studied, laying bare distinct dynamics and trends, but also mismatches and redundancies. In particular, the project aims at identifying successful programmes in terms of sustainable solutions in integrating labour market with, social inclusion as well as their transferability to other contexts.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2017

This project will be the first to create, prototype and evaluate a radically new human-computer interaction paradigm that empowers the unadorned user to reach into levitating matter, see it, feel it, manipulate it and hear it. Our users can interact with the system in a walk-up-and-use manner without any user instrumentation. As we are moving away from keyboards and mice to touch and touchless interactions, ironically, the main limit is the lack of any physicality and co-located feedback. In this project, we propose a highly novel vision of bringing the physical interface to the user in mid-air. In our vision, the computer can control the existence, form, and appearance of complex levitating objects composed of levitating atoms. Users can reach into the levitating matter, feel it, manipulate it, and hear how they deform it with all feedback originating from the levitating objects position in mid-air, as it would with objects in real life. This will completely change how people use technology as it will be the first time that they can interact with technology in the same way they would with real objects in their natural environment. We will draw on our understanding of acoustics to implement all of the components in a radically new approach. In particular, we will draw on ultrasound beam-forming and manipulation techniques to create acoustic forces that can levitate particles and to provide directional audio cues. By using a phased array of ultrasound transducers, the team will create levitating objects that can be individually controlled and at the same time create tactile feedback when the user manipulates these levitating objects. We will then demonstrate that the levitating atoms can each become sound sources through the use of parametric audio with our ultrasound array serving as the carrier of the audible sound. We will visually project onto the objects to create a rich multimodal display floating in space.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2010.2.5-1 | Award Amount: 5.04M | Year: 2011

In this project we will develop multiscale modelling technology supported by comprehensive experimental characterization techniques to study the degradation and reliability of next generation Complimentary-Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) devices. Building upon fundamental analysis of the structure and electronic properties of relevant materials and interfaces at the quantum mechanical level, we will construct mesoscale models to account for defect generation and impact on CMOS transistor and circuit performance and yield. The models will provide detailed understanding of the common reliability issues and degradation routes, and will be verified by cutting edge experimental characterization. Strong links with industry insures that the project will make a step change in the process of next generation device modelling and design. The project will provide technologists, device engineers and designers in the nano CMOS industry with tools, reference databases and examples of how to produce next generation devices that are economical, efficient, and meet performance, reliability and degradation standards.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-25-2015 | Award Amount: 4.54M | Year: 2016

REMINDER aims to develop an embedded DRAM solution optimized for ultra-low-power consumption and variability immunity, specifically focused on Internet of Things cut-edge devices. The objectives of REMINDER are: i) Investigation (concept, design, characterization, simulation, modelling), selection and optimization of a Floating-Body memory bit cell in terms of low power and low voltage, high reliability, robustness (variability), speed, reduced footprint and cost. ii) Design and fabrication in FDSOI 28nm (FD28) and FDSOI 14nm (FD14) technology nodes of a memory matrix based on the optimized bit-cells developed. Matrix memory subcircuits, blocks and architectures will be carefully analysed from the power-consumption point of view. In addition variability tolerant design techniques underpinned by variability analysis and statistical simulation technology will be considered. iii) Demonstration of a system on chip application using the developed memory solution and benchmarking with alternative embedded memory blocks. The eventual replacement of Si by strained Si/SiGe and III-V materials in future CMOS circuits would also require the redesign of different applications, including memory cells, and therefore we also propose the evaluation of the optimized bit cells developed in FD28 and FD14 technology nodes using these alternative materials. The fulfilment of the objectives above will also imply the development of: i) New techniques for the electrical characterization of ultimate CMOS nanometric devices. This will allow us to improve the CMOS technology by boosting device performance. ii) New behavioural models, incorporating variability effects, to reach a deep understanding of nanoelectronics devices iii) Advanced simulation tools for nanoelectronic devices for state of the art, and emerging devices. iv) Extreme low power solutions The consortium supporting this proposal is ideally balanced with 2 industrial partners, 2 SMEs, 2 research centers and 3 universities.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2016

STREAM is a 4-year multi-site training network that aims at career development of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) on scientific design, construction manufacturing and of advanced radiation instrumentation. STREAM targets the development of innovative radiation-hard, smart CMOS sensor technologies for scientific and industrial applications. The platform technology developed within the project will be tested in the demanding conditions posed by the CERN LHC detectors environment as well as European industry leaders in field of CMOS imaging, electron microscopy and radiation sensors. This leveraging factor will allow to fine-tune the technology to meet the requirements of industrial application cases on demand such as electron microscopy and medical X-ray imaging, as well as pathway towards novel application fields such as satellite environments, industrial X-ray systems and near-infrared imaging. The project will train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers and widen their academic career and employment opportunities. The STREAM consortium is composed of 10 research organisations and 5 industrial partners; the network will provide training to 17 ESRs. STREAM structures the research and training in four scientific work-packages which span the whole value-chain from research to application: CMOS Technologies Assessment, Smart Sensor Design and Layout, Validation and Qualification, Technology Integration, and Valorization.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-3-04 | Award Amount: 4.06M | Year: 2010

The proposal deals with the establishment of control measures for two major tick-borne diseases of small ruminants: theileriosis caused by Theileria lestoquardi and T. uilenbergi and babesiosis caused by Babesia ovis. The research programme aims at improving existing and producing new attenuated vaccines, designing subunit vaccines and capability building. To achieve these goals the proposal will assess parasite diversity and identify molecules associated with attenuation of parasite virulence to be included in the development of safe and efficacious live vaccines. For the design of a subunit vaccine parasite molecules will be identified and characterized involved in i) invasion of host cells ii) activation of CD4\ T cells and NK cells for the production of cytokines capable of activating macrophages for killing of the parasites and iii) activation of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes involved in killing of T. lestoquardi-infected leucocytes. For improvement of attenuated vaccines, a combination of vaccine with subunit vaccine will be examined for synergistic effects and reducing the need of a cold chain by improving storage conditions/ shelf life of vaccine will be aimed for. Groups working on Plasmodium are involved with the goal to benefit from the scientific and technological knowledge in this field and to translate it into tools and reagents for small ruminant piroplasms. Industrial expertise regarding vaccine development and delivery systems will be incorporated in the whole project. The impact of the vaccine to be produced against these emerging tick-borne diseases will be enormous, as they pose a great threat to livestock production, and a contribution will be made that will meet critical Millennium development goals: food security, food safety, poverty alleviation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.9.5 | Award Amount: 2.27M | Year: 2014

We aim at laying the foundations of a novel paradigm in optical sensing by introducing molecule-specific strong light-matter interaction at mid-infrared wavelengths through the engineering of plasmonic effects in group-IV semiconductors.The key enabling technology is the novel germanium-on-silicon material platform: heavily-doped Ge films display plasma frequencies in the mid-infrared range. This allows for the complete substitution of metals with CMOS-compatible semiconductors in plasmonic infrared sensors, with enormous advantages in terms of fabrication quality and costs. Moreover, the mid-infrared range offers the unique opportunity of molecule specificity to target gases in the atmosphere, analytes in a solution or biomolecules in a diagnostic assay.We will develop sensing substrates containing infrared antennas and waveguides with antenna-enhanced detectors. Antennas and waveguides will be made of heavily-doped Ge to fully exploit plasmonic effects: high field concentration to increase sensitivity, resonant coupling to vibrational lines for chemical specificity, deeper integration to decrease costs. To achieve our goals we will rely on semiconductor growth by chemical vapor deposition, electromagnetic simulations, micro/nanofabrication of devices and advanced infrared spectroscopy. We aim at studying the fundamental properties of new materials and devices in order to assess their potential for sensing.Impacts of the proposed research go far beyond transforming optical sensing technology. Lab-on-chip disposable biosensors with integrated readout for medical diagnostics would radically cut healthcare costs. The possibility of actively tuning electromagnetic signals by electrical and/or optical control of the plasma frequency in semiconductors holds promises for dramatic opto-electronic integration. Finally, plasmonic semiconductor antennas will impact on photovoltaics, light harvesting and thermal imaging.

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