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Science research projects gain capital injection

EPSRC : 23 March, 2015  (Company News)
Mathematical modelling of airport operations is one project in receipt of new funding provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Science research projects gain capital injection

More than £70 million is being injected into science research projects to tackle challenges including airport capacity and our ability to search vast volumes of visual data.

The funding has been provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for equipment and projects at 18 universities across the UK.

The support comprises more than £30 million of capital funding for 31 bundles of new equipment. The equipment, which includes ultra-bright lasers, electron microscopes and advanced x-ray imaging, will support a wide range of research activities and ensure our world-leading researchers are working on world-class equipment.

In addition, more than £40 million will be invested in research projects spanning physical sciences, engineering and ICT. The ground breaking projects include:

SeeBiByte: Computer scientists at the University of Oxford aim to use their £4.5 million grant to develop the next generation of computer vision methods that are able to analyse, describe and search image and video content with human-like capabilities and far beyond. Our ability to generate and store large volumes of visual data (images and videos) is now very good. However, our ability to efficiently search and analyse this is not as advanced.

Within the field of what is now becoming known as data analytics, image analytics - the extraction of useful information from vast amounts of image data - is at an early stage of development.

The work could have applications in healthcare, surveillance, and the environmental monitoring of roads, through to new means of enjoying digital media in the home.  The research is partly supported by the RCUK Digital Economy Programme.

Mathematicians at the Universities of Lancaster and Stirling have been awarded £2.3 million to develop advanced modelling techniques that could unlock much needed additional capacity from our existing airports.  The complexity of “slot allocation” at airports cannot be underestimated and current capacity management systems do not capture the entire range of pressures.

By working closely with airlines and airports, this operational research project has the potential to improve the efficiency of airports and in doing so reduce passenger delays, help us accommodate increasing demand for extra capacity, and deliver both environmental and financial benefit.

EPSRC Chief Executive Professor Philip Nelson said: “Put simply, investment in world-class projects, equipment and people helps to make the UK the best place in the world to research, discover and innovate. This £65 million package will fuel the UK’s technological progress, help address the challenges of today and tomorrow, and contribute to a strong economy.”

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