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Sci-Tech bulletin

Staff Development Opportunity for Technicians

The Staff Development team are intending to run a two-day course in March 2007 on leading and managing technical teams. This course will be run in-house but convened by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. If you are interested in attending, please contact Paula Burkinshaw (Ext. 94782) for more information.

Funding News: Framework 7

Further to the previews of FP7 documents provided by Associate Dean for Research Colin Lambert in the last edition of the Bulletin, here are new versions of the FP7 NMP and ICT programmes. Our thanks should go to Manus Hayne (Physics) for providing these:

And here is more information on what is coming in FP7: a presentation on Smart System Integration in FP7 from the recent NEXUSplus Annual General Meeting in Milan. Many thanks to Andrew Richardson (Engineering) for providing this:

Funding opportunities within the European Research Council

For those wishing to find out more about the European Research Council and in particular about opportunities for early-career researchers, please visit

Funding Roundup

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

PPARC Rolling Grant (Experimental Particle Physics) 2006 - 2011

Peter Ratoff - Physics - PPARC - 3,786,618

This research is aimed at understanding the properties of the basic building blocks of the Universe (the elementary particles) and the nature of the fundamental forces which govern the interactions of these particles. In so doing, deep insights will be gained about the origin and evolution of the Universe, especially in the first moments after the Big Bang.

Investigation into the role of amyloid "soluble oligomers" in the generation of hydrogen peroxide in Alzheimer's disease

David Allsop - Biological Sciences - Alzheimer's Society - 74,255

There is mounting evidence that early forms of -amyloid (A) aggregates called 'protofibrils' or 'soluble oligomers' play an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Our recently published data have demonstrated that hydrogen peroxide is formed during the early stages of aggregation of A. Hydrogen peroxide is readily converted into the hydroxyl free radical, and this highly reactive molecule could be responsible for some of the neuronal damage seen in AD.

At present, it is not clear if a particular species of A oligomer has the ability to generate hydrogen peroxide, or if hydrogen peroxide is formed as a 'by-product' of the A aggregation process itself. We now propose to carry out some detailed experiments to distinguish between these two possibilities and to elucidate the potential role of A oligomers in the generation of hydrogen peroxide and other reactive oxygen species (ROS). These studies should shed new light on the underlying causes of cell death in AD.

Forecasting local demand for water

Wlodzimierz Tych - Environmental Science - Yorkshire Water - 15,473

This project involves the development and implementation of novel forecasting algorithm with recursive model choice using a bank of Kalman Filters to predict individual methods performance with application to forecasting small scale demand for water.

Wireless video transmission based on distributed source coding principles

Vladimir Stankovic - Communication Systems - EPSRC - 185,294

Due to its great practical potentials, distributed source coding (DSC) has recently become a very active research area. However, most obtained results have remained at the theoretical level, and thus there is a huge gap between research achievements and the employment of DSC in practice. Consequently, today's communication systems cannot exploit useful information about the topological structure or statistical dependence between signals in the network, and thus cannot realize significant performance gains promised by theory.

The goal of the project is to bridge the gap between theory and practice, to solve key problems at the very heart of DSC, and in this way set the stage for its application in emerging systems and services. In particular, the project will focus on video transmission over wireless multiterminal networks targeting at applications such as video surveillance networks, deep-space communications, and commercial real-time video multicast over heterogeneous wireless-wireline networks.

DEPtH: Designing for Physicality

Alan Dix - Computing - AHRC/EPSRC - 274,984

When designing purely physical products we do not necessarily have to understand what it is about their physicality that makes them work - they simply have it. However, as we design hybrid physical/digital products we now have to understand what we lose or confuse by the added digitality - and so need to understand physicality more clearly than before.

In this project we aim to collate and construct fundamental understanding of the nature of physicality: how humans experience, manipulate, react and reason about 'real' physical things. Through this clear understanding we will be in the position to offer constructive guidance and guidelines to inform future design of innovative products.


Vladimir Falko - Physics - European Commission - 148,543

The EU STREP DynaMax aims to develop modelling tools for transport and dynamical properties of micromagnetic systems. This is a collaborative project involving 9 institutions co-ordinated by the TUDelft node. At Lancaster, the work will include theoretical modelling of transport properties of domain walls.

News and Events

SET for Britain Award

Congratulations to Olaug Mackley for winning a third prize of 500 at the SET for Britain Early-stage Researchers Physics Awards 2006 for her poster "nanoscale near-field infrared spectroscopy of stem cells and specialised cells", presented to MPs this week at the House of Commons. The competition had over 90 entries from all disciplines of physics, and was judged by an international panel of scientists.

Physics Appointment

Congratulations to Dr Oleg Kolosov on his appointment as Reader in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics.

Dr Kolosov has extensive experience in nanotechnology. He is an established leader in multidisciplinary research, having worked at the Russian Academy of Science, Oxford University, and Symex Technologies (California). He has a strong record of external collaborations, both academic and industrial, and of successful patent applications. This appointment will make possible ground-breaking research involving time-resolved scanning probe microscopy, as well as studies of the propagation of acoustic and thermal phonons through nanometre-scale gaps, and in further projects within the areas of biotechnology and medicine.

Science and Technology related stories from LU News:

Lancaster only UK university to win Microsoft Fellowship

Computing's Dr Mark Rouncefield has won a Microsoft European Research Fellowship worth a quarter of a million Euros for work which could influence the design of new technology

Hollywood reception for star students

A Communication Systems postgraduate who helped invent a pioneering mobile phone game has travelled to Hollywood to receive an award at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles

Microbiologists investigate food safety

Fruit and vegetables imported from abroad may be exposing consumers to a greater risk of illness according to experts at Lancaster Environment Centre

Week at Westminster for scientist

A scientist from Lancaster University has shadowed his local MP at the House of Commons in order to gain an insight into the political process