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Sci-Tech bulletin

Open Research Discussion: Health and Medicine Across the Faculty

Do you have research interests relevant to health and medicine?

A meeting to share information on medical-related research projects across the faculty will be held at 2pm on Monday 6 November in Fylde Senior Common Room.

Everyone with ideas or interests touching on health and medicine is welcome to attend.

Sci-Tech Christmas Conference

The second annual faculty Christmas Conference will take place on Wednesday 20 December in the George Fox Building.

As well as a chance to hear talks from guest speakers as well as researchers from neighbouring departments, this years' conference will feature a poster competition, with cash prizes, for the faculty's research students.

Full details of the competition are on the call for posters on the faculty website - students have until Friday 17 November to submit their posters online.

More details of the event will follow shortly.

Funding Roundup

Newly funded research from across the faculty - selected awards for September 2006:

Development of an in vitro model of the anterior chamber of the eye

Nigel Fullwood and Frank Martin - Biological Sciences - NC3Rs - 145,054

Our objective is to develop an in vitro model of the anterior chamber of the eye which will replace a significant number of procedures currently carried out on live animals.

In our model bovine corneal-scleral buttons will be clamped in a specially designed chamber via the sclera outside the limbus. The epithelium will be exposed to air and its anterior surface automatically irrigated with a solution replicating the tear film. The endothelial layer will be perfused separately with media under normal intraocular pressure and at physiological flow rates.

We plan to validate the model for use both in basic corneal research and for commercial applications including toxicological testing through the European Commission for Validation of Alternative Methods for the Chemicals and Cosmetics Legislation. We anticipate that this model will replace a significant number of current tests carried out on the anterior chamber, in the fields of basic corneal research and commercial toxicological testing.

AMPLE: Aspect-Oriented, Model-driven, Product Line Engineering

Awais Rashid - Computing - European Commission - €715,978

The Computing Department is leading the €3.8m AMPLE project funded by the European Commission. The project involves six academic institutions and three European software industry organisations. The focus of the project is on combining aspect-oriented and model-driven techniques to address variability at each stage in a software product line engineering lifecycle and bind the variation points in various development stages and dimensions into a coherent variability framework across the life cycle.

In addition to overall coordination of the project, the Lancaster team is playing a leading role in developing the requirements engineering, architecture design and traceability techniques in the project. The Lancaster personnel include: Dr. Awais Rashid (PI), Dr. Alessandro Garcia, Dr. Peter Sawyer, Mr. Neil Loughran, Mr. Vander Alves, Ms. Safoora Shakil Khan and Ms. Yvonne Rigby.

Joule Seed Corn Grant

Stephen Quayle - Engineering - Joule Centre (NWDA) - 7,864

The Joule Centre has awarded 7,864 towards flume modernisation and refurbishment. The flume will be modernised and upgraded with variable depth and flow control to allow scale testing of devices for tidal stream research. Work at Lancaster is concentrating on a vertical axis device utilising multi-element high-lift profiles designed for operation in shallower waters.

It is expected that the near shore environment should significantly reduce the costs associated with the installation of such devices and make them economically competitive with other energy sources.

Analysis of historical data sets to look for impacts of land use

Keith Beven - Environmental Science - DEFRA - 79,052

It is commonly suspected that the frequency and magnitude of major floods in the UK are changing as a result of either land use change or of climate change, yet studies of historical time series of river flows have not generally revealed significant change. This may be because of the fact that changes are simply obscured by the wide variability of rainfalls and river flows over time; it may be because the data have not been examined using sufficiently sophisticated data analysis techniques.

We will evaluate the nature of trends in river flow from a variety of catchments and also whether there are any significant changes in the relationship between rainfalls and runoff for extreme events. Any changes identified from the historical data will be related to historical evidence of land use change. The project will provide a toolbox of methods for analysing data from additional catchments.

Novel InSb/InAsSb quantum dot nanostructures for mid-infrared laser applications

Tony Krier - Physics- EPSRC - 79,578

We are trying to make semiconductor lasers for the mid-infrared (2-5 um) spectral range for a variety of practical applications including; chemical process control, environmental monitoring of atmospheric pollution and free space optical communications. At present it is impossible to obtain laser emission at room temperature due to low internal efficiency within the active region of the device. One way of minimising the unwanted processes that compete with the light generation is to arrange for this to take place inside a very small volume of material which is called a "quantum dot".

Recently at Lancaster we have successfully produced some quantum dot structures which emit light, but to be effective for use in a laser we need to make a sheet containing a large number of small quantum dots. The proposed fellowship seeks to build on our recent successful results and to obtain expert assistance from Dr. Solov'ev from the Ioffe Institute in Russia who is a world-leading authority in this area.

Multi-level Governance of Natural Resources: Tools and Processes for Water and Biodiversity Governance in Europe (GoverNat)

Louise Heathwaite - LEC - European Commission - 133,677

This is a Marie-Curie Research Training Network. It will involve 9 positions for early-stage researchers and 3 positions for experienced researchers. Appointees will be trained and undertake research on European environmental governance, particularly of biodiversity and water, in Europe, in order to design legitimate and effective solutions for communication between policy makers, scientists and the public in science-policy interfaces.

The fellows will also make internships to praxis partners to experience from the "insider perspective" the challenges of making decisions on environmental governance at different spatial scales. The fellow at Lancaster will look specifically at "The legitimacy of public participation in multi-level governance: a case study of water governance". The Lancaster team includes Nigel Watson (Geography) and Will Medd (Sociology/CSWM).

Consultancy And Support: Computer Aided Design and Engineering (CAS:CADE)

Allan Rennie - Engineering - European Regional Development Fund - 685,874

The Lancaster Product Development Unit within the Engineering Department have been awarded an ERDF Project for delivery of Outreach and Business Support activities for the benefit of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Objective Two areas of the North West Region.

The CAS:CADE Project builds upon the successful previous delivery of ERDF projects by the Engineering Department and aims to create links between the needs of Regional industry and the activity of the Research Groups within the Department. Target sectors include those identified by the NWDA Regional Economic Strategy such as Energy, Environmental Technologies, Engineering and Manufacturing. The CASCADE Project will commence on 01/10/06 and is targeted to assist 107 SMEs by 30/06/08, creating 82 new jobs and ~5M of increased sales for beneficiary SMEs along the way.

Funding Opportunities

Framework 7 Reminder

Framework 7 is coming soon! To keep yourself up to date with the latest news from the European Research Council, you are advised to visit their web site regularly.

EPSRC Funding

EPSRC is inviting proposals for the following schemes:

Research Council Follow-on Fund

EPSRC participates in the Follow-on Fund through an annual call for proposals. This year, up to 1.5 million is available to support projects that will explore the commercial potential of EPSRC funded research. Some restrictions on applications exist, please refer to the call document for details.

Cognitive Systems

A call for expressions of interest for interdisciplinary projects in the area of natural or artificial information processing systems. EPSRC, BBSRC, ESRC, MRC and the Wellcome Trust are working together to support research in the area.

Process Industries 2020 Sandpit

A call for Participants to take part in a five-day sandpit to generate and develop innovative approaches to improve the sustainability of the process industries: products, processes and services.

Green and Sustainable Chemical Technologies Integrated with Sustainable Energy Solutions

The purpose of this call for proposals is to encourage speculative research in the area of Sustainable Chemical Technologies and Sustainable Energy Solutions.

Maths and Statistics Student Help Centre

Set up last year as part of a successful HEFCE bid, Maths and Statistics' popular Student Help Centre will offer an extended service for students this year.

The help centre is for students on taught courses, as opposed to those seeking consultancy for masters dissertations or PhD projects, who are already catered for by The Centre for Applied Statistics.

Students can just turn up at the centre, open lunchtimes from Monday to Thursday (12.30 - 2 pm), for help with maths or statistics problems.

Download a Maths and Statistics Help Centre leaflet (PDF)

Career Management Surgeries Reminder

Contract researchers who missed Elaine Davies' first careers guidance surgery on Friday 20 October still have two more chances to attend. These surgeries are particularly appropriate for those who have career choice issues, or who would like help preparing a CV or getting ready for an interview.

Surgeries will take place in the Faculty offices, room B19 Engineering building, on the following dates:

To book a session at one of these surgeries, or for a separate appointment, please email Elaine Davies.

News and Events

New LEC Exhibition

Lancaster Environment Centre's Atrium Gallery will host 'Tidal Trails', an exhibition of prints and large drawings by Shelley Burgoyne, from 31st October 2006 to 19 January 2007.

Tidal Trails continues research with sea water droplet samples along with recent work following the artist's fascination with flora, marine life and its connection to our own lives.

There is a private view and meet the artist event on Wednesday 8th November 4.30-6.30pm.

Kyoto Cooperation Agreement for Psychology Department

The Psychology Department have recently established a formal general agreement with the Graduate School of Education at Kyoto University to promote academic cooperation and exchange.

Science and Technology stories from LU News:

Lancaster student wins national Microsoft award

The Microsoft Award for Student Excellence 2006 has been awarded to a Computing undergraduate for a novel project looking at how drivers' personalities affect traffic flow.

Medical student praises the new course at Lancaster

One of the first students on Lancaster University's new medical course says she is enjoying the personalised tuition and friendly atmosphere.

"Outstanding" engineer awarded 800,000 research project

A Lancaster University engineer has been awarded over 800,000 for cutting edge research to develop the first ever compact particle accelerator.