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32 Projects

  • Canada
  • 2013-2022
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • OA Publications Mandate: No
  • 2013

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/K005421/1
    Funder Contribution: 337,728 GBP

    Variations in sea level have a great environmental impact. They modulate coastal deposition, erosion and morphology, regulate heat and salt fluxes in estuaries, bays and ground waters, and control the dynamics of coastal ecosystems. Sea level variability has importance for coastal navigation, the building of coastal infrastructure, and the management of waste. The challenges of measuring, understanding and predicting sea level variations take particular relevance within the backdrop of global sea level rise, which might lead to the displacement of hundreds of millions of people by the end of this century. Sea level measurement relies primarily on the use of coastal tide gauges and satellite altimetry. Tide gauges provide sea levels at fine time resolutions (up to one second), but collect data only in coastal areas, and are irregularly distributed, with large gaps in the southern hemisphere and at high latitudes. Satellite altimetry, in contrast, has poor time resolution (ten days or longer), but provides near global coverage at moderate spatial resolutions (10-to-100 kilometres). Altimetric sea level products are problematic near the coast for reasons such as uncertainties in applying sea state bias corrections, errors in coastal tidal models, and large geoid gradients. The complicated shoreline geometry means that the raw altimeter data have to either undergo special transformations to provide more reliable measurements of sea level or be rejected. Developments in GPS measurements from buoys are now making it possible to determine sea surface heights with accuracy comparable to that of altimetry. In combination with coastal tide gauges, GPS buoys could be used as the nodes of a global sea level monitoring network extending beyond the coast. However, GPS buoys have several downsides. They are difficult and expensive to deploy, maintain, and recover, and, like conventional tide gauges, provide time series only at individual points in the ocean. This proposal focuses on the development of a unique system that overcomes these shortcomings. We propose a technology-led project to integrate Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS i.e. encompassing GPS, GLONASS and, possibly, Galileo) technology with a state-of-the-art, unmanned surface vehicle: a Wave Glider. The glider farms the ocean wave field for propulsion, uses solar power to run on board equipment, and uses satellite communications for remote navigation and data transmission. A Wave Glider equipped with a high-accuracy GNSS receiver and data logger is effectively a fully autonomous, mobile, floating tide gauge. Missions and routes can be preprogrammed as well as changed remotely. Because the glider can be launched and retrieved from land or from a small boat, the costs associated with deployment, maintenance and recovery of the GNSS Wave Glider are comparatively small. GNSS Wave Glider technology promises a level of versatility well beyond that of existing ways of measuring sea levels. Potential applications of a GNSS Wave Glider include: 1) measurement of mean sea level and monitoring of sea level variations worldwide, 2) linking of offshore and onshore vertical datums, 3) calibration of satellite altimetry, notably in support of current efforts to reinterpret existing altimetric data near the coast, but also in remote and difficult to access areas, 4) determination of regional geoid variations, 5) ocean model improvement. The main thrust of this project is to integrate a state-of-the-art, geodetic-grade GNSS receiver and logging system with a Wave Glider recently acquired by NOC to create a mobile and autonomous GNSS-based tide gauge. By the end of the project, a demonstrator GNSS Wave Glider will be available for use by NOC and the UK marine community. The system performance will be validated against tide gauge data. Further tests will involve the use of the GNSS Wave Glider to calibrate sea surface heights and significant wave heights from Cryosat-2.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/K008781/1
    Funder Contribution: 347,135 GBP

    Efficient air traffic management depends on reliable communications between aircraft and the air traffic control centres. However there is a lack of ground infrastructure in the Arctic to support communications via the standard VHF links (and over the Arctic Ocean such links are impossible) and communication via geostationary satellites is not possible above about 82 degrees latitude because of the curvature of the Earth. Thus for the high latitude flights it is necessary to use high frequency (HF) radio for communication. HF radio relies on reflections from the ionosphere to achieve long distance communication round the curve of the Earth. Unfortunately the high latitude ionosphere is affected by space weather disturbances that can disrupt communications. These disturbances originate with events on the Sun such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections that send out particles that are guided by the Earth's magnetic field into the regions around the poles. During such events HF radio communication can be severely disrupted and aircraft are forced to use longer low latitude routes with consequent increased flight time, fuel consumption and cost. Often, the necessity to land and refuel for these longer routes further increases the fuel consumption. The work described in this proposal cannot prevent the space weather disturbances and their effects on radio communication, but by developing a detailed understanding of the phenomena and using this to provide space weather information services the disruption to flight operations can be minimised. The occurrence of ionospheric disturbances and disruption of radio communication follows the 11-year cycle in solar activity. During the last peak in solar activity a number of events caused disruption of trans-Atlantic air routes. Disruptions to radio communications in recent years have been less frequent as we were at the low phase of the solar cycle. However, in the next few years there will be an upswing in solar activity that will produce a consequent increase in radio communications problems. The increased use of trans-polar routes and the requirement to handle greater traffic density on trans-Atlantic routes both mean that maintaining reliable high latitude communications will be even more important in the future.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K006029/1
    Funder Contribution: 914,212 GBP

    Northern sea ice levels are at an historical and millennial low, and nowhere are the effects of contemporary climate change more pronounced and destructive than in the Arctic. The Western Arctic rim of North America is considered the climate change "miners canary", with temperatures increasing at twice the global average. In the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta), Western Alaska, the indigenous Yup'ik Eskimos are facing life-altering decisions in an uncertain future, as rising temperatures, melting permafrost and coastal erosion threaten traditional subsistence lifeways, livelihoods and settlements - the Yup'ik face becoming "the world's first climate change refugees" (The Guardian 2008). For the Yup'ik, however - whose relationship to the total environment is central to their worldview - coping with global climate change entails far more than adapting to new physical and ecological conditions. This is reflected in the holistic incorporation of both natural and social phenomena embodied in the use of the Yup'ik word ella, (variably translating as "weather", "world", "universe", "awareness"), which is understood in intensely social as well as physical terms. Ella reflects the relationship Yup'ik society has with the natural world. As changing environmental conditions jeopardise traditional subsistence practices in the Arctic, their deep-rooted dependency and social connection to the land is also threatened - further severing their ecological ties and compromising their cultural adaptive capacity that has defined Yup'ik community and identity for thousands of years. Rapid climatic change is by no means a uniquely modern phenomenon and the indigenous cultures of this region have faced such life-changing situations before. In fact, Western Alaska has experienced pronounced climatic variations within the last millennia, with the forebears of the Yup'ik being similarly challenged by regime shifts that would have influenced the availability of important subsistence resources, much the same as their descendants face today. The ELLA project will use both the products and processes of archaeological research to understand how Yup'ik Eskimos adapted to rapid climate change in the late prehistoric past (AD 1350-1700), and to inform and empower descendant Yup'ik communities struggling with contemporary global warming today. Taking full advantage of the spectacular but critically endangered archaeological resource now emerging from melting permafrost along the Bering Sea coast, this community-based project will illuminate the adaptive capacity of the precontact Yup'ik; build sustainable frameworks for the documenting of local sites under threat; and reinforce Yup'ik cultural resilience by providing new contexts for encountering and documenting their past.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/K036033/1
    Funder Contribution: 236,177 GBP

    Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has emerged as a promising means of lowering CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. However, concerns about the possibility of harmful CO2 leakage are contributing to slow widespread adoption of the technology. Research to date has failed to identify a cheap and effective means of unambiguously identifying leakage of CO2 injected, or a viable means of identifying ownership of it. This means that in the event of a leak from a storage site that multiple operators have injected into, it is impossible to determine whose CO2 is leaking. The on-going debate regarding leakage and how to detect it has been frequently documented in the popular press and scientific publications. This has contributed to public confusion and fear, particularly close to proposed storage sites, causing the cancellation of several large storage projects such as that at Barendrecht in the Netherlands. One means to reduce public fears over CCS is to demonstrate a simple method which is able to reliably detect the leakage of CO2 from a storage site and determine the ownership of that CO2. Measurements of noble gases (helium, neon, argon, krypton and xenon) and the ratios of light and heavy stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen in natural CO2 fields have shown how CO2 is naturally stored over millions of years. Noble gases have also proved to be effective at identifying the natural leakage of CO2 above a CO2 reservoir in Arizona and an oil field in Wyoming and in ruling out the alleged leakage of CO2 from the Weyburn storage site in Canada. Recent research has shown amounts of krypton are enhanced relative to those of argon and helium in CO2 captured from a nitrate fertiliser plant in Brazil. This enrichment is due to the greater solubility of the heavier noble gases, so they are more readily dissolved into the solvent used for capture. This fingerprint has been shown to act as an effective means of tracking CO2 injected into Brazilian and USA oil fields to increase oil production. Similar enrichments in heavy noble gases, along with high helium concentrations are well documented in coals, coal-bed methane and in organic rich oil and gas source rocks. As noble gases are unreactive, these enrichments will not be affected by burning the gas or coal in a power station and hence will be passed onto the flue gases. Samples of CO2 obtained from an oxyfuel pilot CO2 capture plant at Lacq in France which contain helium and krypton enrichments well above atmospheric values confirm this. Despite identification of these distinctive fingerprints, no study has yet investigated if there is a correlation between them and different CO2 capture technologies or the fossil fuel being burnt. We propose to measure the carbon and oxygen stable isotope and noble gas fingerprint in captured CO2 from post, pre and oxyfuel pilot capture plants. We will find out if unique fingerprints arise from the capture technology used or fuel being burnt. We will determine if these fingerprints are distinctive enough to track the CO2 once it is injected underground without the need of adding expense artificial tracers. We will investigate if they are sufficient to distinguish ownership of multiple CO2 streams injected into the same storage site and if they can provide an early warning of unplanned CO2 movement out of the storage site. To do this we will determine the fingerprint of CO2 captured from the Boundary Dam Power Plant prior to its injection into the Aquistore saline aquifer storage site in Saskatechwan, Canada. By comparing this to the fingerprint of the CO2 produced from the Aquistore monitoring well, some 100m from the injection well, we will be able to see if the fingerprint is retained after the CO2 has moved through the saline aquifer. This will show if this technique can be used to track the movement of CO2 in future engineered storage sites, particularly offshore saline aquifers which will be used for future UK large volume CO2 storage.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/L001764/1
    Funder Contribution: 77,614 GBP

    Selenium (Se) and Tellurium (Te) are scarce (semi)metallic elements usually recovered as by-products of the chemical extraction of other metals. The proposal will exploit close relationships between these elements and organic materials to target additional resources, and extract resources in a more sustainable, environmentally sensitive manner. Se/Te are most concentrated in rocks containing organic matter (e.g. coals, carbon-rich shales, sandstones containing oil residues or coaly matter). We also know that microbial (bacterial) activity can concentrate Se/Te. We seek to use that knowledge to predict previously unrecognized concentrations of Se/Te by study of metal sulfide ores which are known to have been formed by microbial sulfate reduction, on the basis that these microbes could have also engendered Se/Te concentration. More significantly, we will try to advance our knowledge of how microbes interact with Se/Te in rocks and soil, to develop a strategy for the microbial concentration of Se/Te on a valuable scale. To achieve this the project combines interdisciplinary expertise on Se/Te from geology, soil science, chemistry and microbiology. The catalyst stage involves data gathering, and pilot sampling from two field sites, one in SW Ireland where some of the most Se-rich soils in the world occur, and in Scotland where a gold mine and its environs have elevated levels of Te, and the Te needs to be exploited to ensure financial viability. We have the support of Scotgold Resources, who own the gold mine, and Stantec, an international company whose portfolio includes management of metal resources.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K003054/1
    Funder Contribution: 785,054 GBP

    'Records of Early English Drama North-East' (REED-NE) is part of a massive international project to assemble a complete record of surviving sources for medieval and early modern performance in Britain. REED volumes are to scholars in literature and theatre what Pevsner is to architects and art historians. REED's main office at the University of Toronto coordinates a team of researchers who trawl Britain's archives by region and edit their findings to an internationally recognized scholarly standard. The volumes which have already appeared have revolutionized our understanding of British performance history, replacing a view based largely on conjecture with one derived from detailed factual information about performers and the social and financial organisation of performance. REED volumes have redressed the London-centric imbalance of research obsessed by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and drawn attention to the many forms of anonymous performance in regions which have often been unjustly seen as 'marginal'. REED-NE, the latest stage in the series, will find and edit all records pertaining to drama, music and ceremonial in England's North-East, from the earliest sources (around 9th century) to 1642. REED-NE will cover Yorkshire (excluding the city of York, whose records have already appeared), Durham and Northumberland, in a collection of five or more volumes published by Boydell. To date, discoveries include: 1. A medieval sequence of liturgy and drama about the Sacrament which linked the lay community with their ecclesiastical city governors (Durham). 2. Child drama and misrule ceremonies (Boy Bishops and Lords of Misrule from Durham and West Yorkshire). 3. The earliest known evidence for three types of folk drama: the Stag Ceremony (before 1280, abolished 1315); the Plough Ceremony (from 1378); and the Man/Woman performer (1433-4) (all Durham). 4. New evidence relating to mystery cycles in at least four cities (Beverley, Doncaster, Durham and Newcastle). This will reduce the reliance of scholars on the probably untypical cycles from York and Chester. 5. A major stand-alone biblical play (Hull's 'Noah'). 6. Rare evidence for a Paternoster play (Beverley). 7. Performance traditions in noble households, including the Percies (Northumberland), the Ingrams, Talbots and Wentworths (West Yorkshire), and in the houses of lesser gentry in all North-Eastern counties. 8. An important body of information concerning illegal recusant drama in North Yorkshire. This will transform the historical understanding of the polemic use of drama by Catholics in provincial England. 9. A wealth of evidence about town waits, travelling performers, and patrons; we hope to discover and map performance circuits and locations from at least the later Middle Ages onwards. The REED-NE volumes will be accompanied by a Companion volume discussing the historical and cultural significance of our findings. Our findings will also be linked to an interactive map of provincial England on the REED Patrons and Performances website at Toronto. Geo-coding is only now being adopted for literary projects. Visualising research data with GIS mapping will offer a new perspective on historical performance in England and contribute to the advancement of the Spatial Humanities. A summer festival in Durham in 2016 will showcase our research to academics and the wider public with a conference and an exhibition of objects and manuscripts pertaining to religious and secular drama at Durham's World Heritage Site. Based on our collected records, we will stage medieval and Renaissance repertoire at Durham Castle and the Cathedral. For the first time since the 9th century, the Lindisfarne 'Harrowing of Hell' - probably Britain's oldest surviving drama - will be performed. All events will be freely accessible. We expect our work to have a major impact, on our discipline worldwide, and also on regional communities and their awareness of their heritage.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/J023094/1
    Funder Contribution: 402,095 GBP

    Deep-sea sediments form a major reservoir in the global carbon (C) cycle and C burial in these sediments constitutes a major process that sequesters C on geological time scales. Organic matter sinking from surface waters is the main food source for deep-sea organisms, and their feeding and foraging activities control whether this organic C is recycled into the water column or buried in sediments ('carbon sequestration'). Food supply to the deep-sea benthos is reliant on phytoplankton growth in the euphotic zone, and changes in community composition, export flux or timing of bloom events will directly affect the supply to and turnover of POC at the seafloor and, subsequently, C sequestration. However, due to the remoteness of the deep-sea floor, our knowledge of the interplay between organic matter characteristics, benthic biodiversity and the early diagenesis of POC in the deep sea is very limited, and we can therefore neither reliably assess nor predict the consequences of climate change for this important ecosystem service. The detailed study of benthic C cycling in areas of strong natural fluctuations in POC flux characteristics, and/or pronounced climate-induced change in the pelagic environment, seems a promising way to gain urgently needed information on the potential impact of climate change on the cycling or burial of C in deep-sea sediments, while at the same time improving our understanding of the interplay between POM characteristics and benthic communities, and its function in the early diagenesis of POM. Sea ice is a unique feature of polar marine ecosystems and the fact that small temperature differences can have large effects on the extent and thickness of this sea ice makes polar marine ecosystems particularly sensitive to climate change. Indeed, major ecosystem shifts related to retreating sea ice have been reported from both the Arctic and Antarctic. Ice algae account for up to 25 % of the primary production (PP) in ice covered areas on the deep Arctic shelf, and even more in the Arctic Basin, and thus are likely to form an integral part of the diet of deep-sea organisms. Moreover, ice algal blooms differ considerably from phytoplankton in terms of timing and distribution, thus providing higher organisms with food when and where other food is scarce. Ice algae also contain very high concentrations of so-called "micronutrients", essential substances that many marine organisms can not synthesize themselves. The retreat of sea ice and subsequent loss of ice algae as food source is thus likely to significantly impact on deep-sea food webs and ecosystems. However, despite much speculation, very little information is available on the importance of ice algae as food for benthic organisms. We therefore propose to investigate the potential consequences of a climate-induced loss of ice algae (and possible shift to phytoplankton) as a food source for Arctic deep-sea food webs via two different approaches: A. Ice algae and phytoplankton differ in their bulk Carbon isotope signatures, as well as in the Carbon isotope signatures of certain essential fatty acids. We will thus use this difference in isotopic signature to trace the uptake of ice algal and phytoplankton biomass by benthic fauna. B. A series of in situ tracer experiments: we will label both ice algae and planktic algae with a tracer, add them to sediment cores obtained from the seafloor (so-called 'mesocosms'), and subsequently follow whether and how they are metabolized by the deep-sea organisms. This work will be carried out in the Canadian Arctic in collaboration with Professor Philippe Archabault from the University of Quebec, during field campaigns in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Beaufort Sea.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/K000284/2
    Funder Contribution: 196,397 GBP

    The Arctic is undergoing rapid climatic change, with dramatic consequences for the 'Frozen World' (the 'cryosphere'), including reductions in the depth, extent and duration of sea ice, and seasonal snow cover on land, retreat of ice sheets/glaciers, and melting of permafrost ("ground that remains at or below 0 degrees C for at least two consecutive years"). This is important not only for local and regional ecosystems and human communities, but also for the functioning of the entire earth system. Evidence is growing that organic matter frozen in permafrost soils (often for many millennia) is now thawing, making it available for decomposition by soil organisms, with the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), both greenhouse gases (GHGs), as by-products. A major concern now is that, because permafrost soils contain 1672 petagrams (1 Pg = 1 billion tonnes) of organic carbon (C), which is about 50% of the total global below-ground pool of organic C, and permafrost underlies ~ 25% (23 million km2) of the N hemisphere land surface, a melting-induced release of GHGs to the atmosphere from permafrost soils could result in a major acceleration of global warming. This is called a 'positive biogeochemical feedback' on global change; in other words, an unintentional side-effect in the global C cycle and climate system. Unfortunately, the interacting biological, chemical and physical controls on CO2 and CH4 emissions from permafrost (and melting permafrost) environments to the atmosphere are the subject of much speculation because the scientific community does not know enough about the interactions between C and water cycling in permafrost systems. Warmer and drier soils may release more CO2, while warmer/wetter soils might release more CH4. Permafrost thawing also causes changes in the way water flows though the landscape (because frozen ground if often impermeable to water), and some areas may become drier, while others wetter. How the relative proportions of CO2 and CH4 emissions change, and their absolute amount, is critical for the overall 'global warming potential' (GWP) because these two gases have different potency as GHGs. Release of C from soils into freshwaters also needs to be taken into account because down-stream 'de-gassing' and decomposition of organic materials also influences releases of CO2 and CH4 from freshwater, or delivery of C to lakes/oceans. All-in-all, predicting the GWP of permafrost regions is scientifically challenging, and the interactions between the water (hydrological) and C cycles are poorly known. In this project we recognise the key role that hydrological processes play in landscape-scale C fluxes in arctic and boreal regions. In permafrost catchments in NW Canada (including areas where permafrost is known to be thawing) we will measure the capture of C from the atmosphere (through photosynthesis), its distribution in plants and soils, and the biological, physical and chemical controls of C transport and delivery from soils to freshwaters, and ultimately to the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4. In essence we wish to 'close the C cycle'. Field-based measurements of key processes in the water and C cycles, including geochemical tracer and state-of-the-art C, hydrogen and oxygen isotope approaches, will be linked by computer modelling. The project team, together with partners in Canada, the US and UK, is in a unique position to link the water and C cycles in permafrost environments, and we will deliver essential scientific knowledge on the potential consequences of climate warming, and permafrost thawing, for GHG emissions from northern high latitudes. Both for local peoples directly dependent on arctic tundra/boreal forest ecosystems for their livelihoods and cultural identity, and for the global community who must respond to, and anticipate, potential consequences of climate and environmental change, this project will represent a significant step forward in understanding/predictive capacity.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/K011138/1
    Funder Contribution: 144,591 GBP

    As people across the world live longer, there is a growing need to support active ageing so that the extra years of life can be lived as well as possible. The potential of technology to assist people in all aspects of their lives is increasingly being recognised. Ambient Assistive Living (AAL) technologies refer to items that people can use in their everyday lives to make life easier and help them manage their daily activities. To enable the maximum number of people to benefit from current and future AAL technologies requires not only a good understanding of the needs of older adults but also a comprehensive analysis of how they view technology, their attitudes towards using it and how they make decisions about purchasing and using technology. Social and cultural factors can influence these issues and so this project aims to work with older adults across three different countries to explore their needs, attitudes and behaviour towards novel technologies. The project team brings together experts in gerontology, engineering, occupational therapy and psychology from the UK, Canada and Sweden to work with older adults to address their current and future needs for technology to support them to live their lives as well as possible. The project comprises several complementary elements that will be carried out in parallel within the three countries. The first element is a user needs analysis to examine the older adults' requirements in relation to AAL technologies, including those people who need support with cognitive activities, physical activities or motor activities. The findings from this stage will determine the development of novel AAL technologies in the next stage to address various aspects of daily life, such as shopping or cooking, supporting people with activities they need to remember, such as taking medication and keeping in touch with people. These novel technologies will be piloted with older adults in each of the three countries to examine how they respond to and explore them to inform future developments. Additionally, we will look at how to support people to learn to use new technologies and incorporate them into their lives to help them live as well as possible.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/K020404/1
    Funder Contribution: 585,535 GBP

    Diseases of the brain including neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and dementia, and common psychiatric conditions such as depression and schizophrenia, have considerable personal, social and economic costs for the sufferers and their carers. Improving the tools at our disposal for quantifying brain function would help with diagnosis, choosing the right treatment for the patient and developing new, more effective, treatments. This proposal aims to develop a reliable non-invasive brain imaging method using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that maps, across the whole human brain with a spatial resolution of a few millimetres, the amount of oxygen that the brain is consuming. The rate of oxygen consumption, known as CMRO2, reflects neural activity and can change through disease processes. It provides a marker of disease and treatment related alterations in brain activity. Our proposed method would also map the functional characteristics of brain blood vessels whose health is crucial for the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Until recently, it has only been possible to quantitatively map the human brain's metabolic energy use through positron emission tomography (PET), which relies on radioactive tracers. The application of such measurements is limited, as in order to minimise radiation doses, it cannot be applied many times in the same patients or healthy volunteers. This hampers the repeated study of disease or treatment progression and the study of normal brain development and aging. Our proposed method would avoid the use of ionizing radiation, would be cheaper than PET and more widely available, and would expand the applications of quantified CMRO2 mapping to more centres, leading to improved treatment targeting and potential healthcare cost savings. We have performed some initial tests that show our proposed method to be feasible. It relies on mapping simultaneously the flow of blood to each part of the brain and the oxygenation of the blood leaving each part of the brain. Necessary for the measurement is the modulation of brain blood flow and oxygen levels, achieved by asking volunteers to breathe air enriched with carbon dioxide and oxygen. These procedures involve the volunteer wearing a face-mask but are safe and well tolerated. Our proposed method should yield additional information describing cerebrovascular properties compared to other recently-proposed methods. This means that it would require fewer assumptions which may be not be invalid in the diseased brain, giving our approach a wider scope of application and offering potentially richer clinical information. This proposal optimises our method to ensure it is efficient and reliable for widespread research and eventually clinical use. We propose a close collaboration between physicists developing the neuroimaging methodology and clinical academic researchers who will help us to demonstrate its clinical feasibility in two common neurological diseases, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS). About 70% of the project will be methodological development to optimise our image acquisition and data analysis strategy to yield accurate and repeatable measurements within about 10 minutes of scanning. The remaining 30% of the project will validate the method in groups of epilepsy and MS patients who volunteer to help us with our research. Validation will be performed by comparison with PET, the current 'gold standard.' The project will develop and benefit from partnerships with academic and industrial researchers in the UK and internationally. In particular, the work has good potential for application in the drug development industry, a strong industrial sector in the UK, for the development of new and effective compounds to treat psychiatric and neurological disorders. This project would help maintain the UK at the forefront internationally of neuroimaging research, a position it has long held and from which it has benefitted.

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32 Projects
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/K005421/1
    Funder Contribution: 337,728 GBP

    Variations in sea level have a great environmental impact. They modulate coastal deposition, erosion and morphology, regulate heat and salt fluxes in estuaries, bays and ground waters, and control the dynamics of coastal ecosystems. Sea level variability has importance for coastal navigation, the building of coastal infrastructure, and the management of waste. The challenges of measuring, understanding and predicting sea level variations take particular relevance within the backdrop of global sea level rise, which might lead to the displacement of hundreds of millions of people by the end of this century. Sea level measurement relies primarily on the use of coastal tide gauges and satellite altimetry. Tide gauges provide sea levels at fine time resolutions (up to one second), but collect data only in coastal areas, and are irregularly distributed, with large gaps in the southern hemisphere and at high latitudes. Satellite altimetry, in contrast, has poor time resolution (ten days or longer), but provides near global coverage at moderate spatial resolutions (10-to-100 kilometres). Altimetric sea level products are problematic near the coast for reasons such as uncertainties in applying sea state bias corrections, errors in coastal tidal models, and large geoid gradients. The complicated shoreline geometry means that the raw altimeter data have to either undergo special transformations to provide more reliable measurements of sea level or be rejected. Developments in GPS measurements from buoys are now making it possible to determine sea surface heights with accuracy comparable to that of altimetry. In combination with coastal tide gauges, GPS buoys could be used as the nodes of a global sea level monitoring network extending beyond the coast. However, GPS buoys have several downsides. They are difficult and expensive to deploy, maintain, and recover, and, like conventional tide gauges, provide time series only at individual points in the ocean. This proposal focuses on the development of a unique system that overcomes these shortcomings. We propose a technology-led project to integrate Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS i.e. encompassing GPS, GLONASS and, possibly, Galileo) technology with a state-of-the-art, unmanned surface vehicle: a Wave Glider. The glider farms the ocean wave field for propulsion, uses solar power to run on board equipment, and uses satellite communications for remote navigation and data transmission. A Wave Glider equipped with a high-accuracy GNSS receiver and data logger is effectively a fully autonomous, mobile, floating tide gauge. Missions and routes can be preprogrammed as well as changed remotely. Because the glider can be launched and retrieved from land or from a small boat, the costs associated with deployment, maintenance and recovery of the GNSS Wave Glider are comparatively small. GNSS Wave Glider technology promises a level of versatility well beyond that of existing ways of measuring sea levels. Potential applications of a GNSS Wave Glider include: 1) measurement of mean sea level and monitoring of sea level variations worldwide, 2) linking of offshore and onshore vertical datums, 3) calibration of satellite altimetry, notably in support of current efforts to reinterpret existing altimetric data near the coast, but also in remote and difficult to access areas, 4) determination of regional geoid variations, 5) ocean model improvement. The main thrust of this project is to integrate a state-of-the-art, geodetic-grade GNSS receiver and logging system with a Wave Glider recently acquired by NOC to create a mobile and autonomous GNSS-based tide gauge. By the end of the project, a demonstrator GNSS Wave Glider will be available for use by NOC and the UK marine community. The system performance will be validated against tide gauge data. Further tests will involve the use of the GNSS Wave Glider to calibrate sea surface heights and significant wave heights from Cryosat-2.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/K008781/1
    Funder Contribution: 347,135 GBP

    Efficient air traffic management depends on reliable communications between aircraft and the air traffic control centres. However there is a lack of ground infrastructure in the Arctic to support communications via the standard VHF links (and over the Arctic Ocean such links are impossible) and communication via geostationary satellites is not possible above about 82 degrees latitude because of the curvature of the Earth. Thus for the high latitude flights it is necessary to use high frequency (HF) radio for communication. HF radio relies on reflections from the ionosphere to achieve long distance communication round the curve of the Earth. Unfortunately the high latitude ionosphere is affected by space weather disturbances that can disrupt communications. These disturbances originate with events on the Sun such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections that send out particles that are guided by the Earth's magnetic field into the regions around the poles. During such events HF radio communication can be severely disrupted and aircraft are forced to use longer low latitude routes with consequent increased flight time, fuel consumption and cost. Often, the necessity to land and refuel for these longer routes further increases the fuel consumption. The work described in this proposal cannot prevent the space weather disturbances and their effects on radio communication, but by developing a detailed understanding of the phenomena and using this to provide space weather information services the disruption to flight operations can be minimised. The occurrence of ionospheric disturbances and disruption of radio communication follows the 11-year cycle in solar activity. During the last peak in solar activity a number of events caused disruption of trans-Atlantic air routes. Disruptions to radio communications in recent years have been less frequent as we were at the low phase of the solar cycle. However, in the next few years there will be an upswing in solar activity that will produce a consequent increase in radio communications problems. The increased use of trans-polar routes and the requirement to handle greater traffic density on trans-Atlantic routes both mean that maintaining reliable high latitude communications will be even more important in the future.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K006029/1
    Funder Contribution: 914,212 GBP

    Northern sea ice levels are at an historical and millennial low, and nowhere are the effects of contemporary climate change more pronounced and destructive than in the Arctic. The Western Arctic rim of North America is considered the climate change "miners canary", with temperatures increasing at twice the global average. In the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta), Western Alaska, the indigenous Yup'ik Eskimos are facing life-altering decisions in an uncertain future, as rising temperatures, melting permafrost and coastal erosion threaten traditional subsistence lifeways, livelihoods and settlements - the Yup'ik face becoming "the world's first climate change refugees" (The Guardian 2008). For the Yup'ik, however - whose relationship to the total environment is central to their worldview - coping with global climate change entails far more than adapting to new physical and ecological conditions. This is reflected in the holistic incorporation of both natural and social phenomena embodied in the use of the Yup'ik word ella, (variably translating as "weather", "world", "universe", "awareness"), which is understood in intensely social as well as physical terms. Ella reflects the relationship Yup'ik society has with the natural world. As changing environmental conditions jeopardise traditional subsistence practices in the Arctic, their deep-rooted dependency and social connection to the land is also threatened - further severing their ecological ties and compromising their cultural adaptive capacity that has defined Yup'ik community and identity for thousands of years. Rapid climatic change is by no means a uniquely modern phenomenon and the indigenous cultures of this region have faced such life-changing situations before. In fact, Western Alaska has experienced pronounced climatic variations within the last millennia, with the forebears of the Yup'ik being similarly challenged by regime shifts that would have influenced the availability of important subsistence resources, much the same as their descendants face today. The ELLA project will use both the products and processes of archaeological research to understand how Yup'ik Eskimos adapted to rapid climate change in the late prehistoric past (AD 1350-1700), and to inform and empower descendant Yup'ik communities struggling with contemporary global warming today. Taking full advantage of the spectacular but critically endangered archaeological resource now emerging from melting permafrost along the Bering Sea coast, this community-based project will illuminate the adaptive capacity of the precontact Yup'ik; build sustainable frameworks for the documenting of local sites under threat; and reinforce Yup'ik cultural resilience by providing new contexts for encountering and documenting their past.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/K036033/1
    Funder Contribution: 236,177 GBP

    Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has emerged as a promising means of lowering CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. However, concerns about the possibility of harmful CO2 leakage are contributing to slow widespread adoption of the technology. Research to date has failed to identify a cheap and effective means of unambiguously identifying leakage of CO2 injected, or a viable means of identifying ownership of it. This means that in the event of a leak from a storage site that multiple operators have injected into, it is impossible to determine whose CO2 is leaking. The on-going debate regarding leakage and how to detect it has been frequently documented in the popular press and scientific publications. This has contributed to public confusion and fear, particularly close to proposed storage sites, causing the cancellation of several large storage projects such as that at Barendrecht in the Netherlands. One means to reduce public fears over CCS is to demonstrate a simple method which is able to reliably detect the leakage of CO2 from a storage site and determine the ownership of that CO2. Measurements of noble gases (helium, neon, argon, krypton and xenon) and the ratios of light and heavy stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen in natural CO2 fields have shown how CO2 is naturally stored over millions of years. Noble gases have also proved to be effective at identifying the natural leakage of CO2 above a CO2 reservoir in Arizona and an oil field in Wyoming and in ruling out the alleged leakage of CO2 from the Weyburn storage site in Canada. Recent research has shown amounts of krypton are enhanced relative to those of argon and helium in CO2 captured from a nitrate fertiliser plant in Brazil. This enrichment is due to the greater solubility of the heavier noble gases, so they are more readily dissolved into the solvent used for capture. This fingerprint has been shown to act as an effective means of tracking CO2 injected into Brazilian and USA oil fields to increase oil production. Similar enrichments in heavy noble gases, along with high helium concentrations are well documented in coals, coal-bed methane and in organic rich oil and gas source rocks. As noble gases are unreactive, these enrichments will not be affected by burning the gas or coal in a power station and hence will be passed onto the flue gases. Samples of CO2 obtained from an oxyfuel pilot CO2 capture plant at Lacq in France which contain helium and krypton enrichments well above atmospheric values confirm this. Despite identification of these distinctive fingerprints, no study has yet investigated if there is a correlation between them and different CO2 capture technologies or the fossil fuel being burnt. We propose to measure the carbon and oxygen stable isotope and noble gas fingerprint in captured CO2 from post, pre and oxyfuel pilot capture plants. We will find out if unique fingerprints arise from the capture technology used or fuel being burnt. We will determine if these fingerprints are distinctive enough to track the CO2 once it is injected underground without the need of adding expense artificial tracers. We will investigate if they are sufficient to distinguish ownership of multiple CO2 streams injected into the same storage site and if they can provide an early warning of unplanned CO2 movement out of the storage site. To do this we will determine the fingerprint of CO2 captured from the Boundary Dam Power Plant prior to its injection into the Aquistore saline aquifer storage site in Saskatechwan, Canada. By comparing this to the fingerprint of the CO2 produced from the Aquistore monitoring well, some 100m from the injection well, we will be able to see if the fingerprint is retained after the CO2 has moved through the saline aquifer. This will show if this technique can be used to track the movement of CO2 in future engineered storage sites, particularly offshore saline aquifers which will be used for future UK large volume CO2 storage.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/L001764/1
    Funder Contribution: 77,614 GBP

    Selenium (Se) and Tellurium (Te) are scarce (semi)metallic elements usually recovered as by-products of the chemical extraction of other metals. The proposal will exploit close relationships between these elements and organic materials to target additional resources, and extract resources in a more sustainable, environmentally sensitive manner. Se/Te are most concentrated in rocks containing organic matter (e.g. coals, carbon-rich shales, sandstones containing oil residues or coaly matter). We also know that microbial (bacterial) activity can concentrate Se/Te. We seek to use that knowledge to predict previously unrecognized concentrations of Se/Te by study of metal sulfide ores which are known to have been formed by microbial sulfate reduction, on the basis that these microbes could have also engendered Se/Te concentration. More significantly, we will try to advance our knowledge of how microbes interact with Se/Te in rocks and soil, to develop a strategy for the microbial concentration of Se/Te on a valuable scale. To achieve this the project combines interdisciplinary expertise on Se/Te from geology, soil science, chemistry and microbiology. The catalyst stage involves data gathering, and pilot sampling from two field sites, one in SW Ireland where some of the most Se-rich soils in the world occur, and in Scotland where a gold mine and its environs have elevated levels of Te, and the Te needs to be exploited to ensure financial viability. We have the support of Scotgold Resources, who own the gold mine, and Stantec, an international company whose portfolio includes management of metal resources.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K003054/1
    Funder Contribution: 785,054 GBP

    'Records of Early English Drama North-East' (REED-NE) is part of a massive international project to assemble a complete record of surviving sources for medieval and early modern performance in Britain. REED volumes are to scholars in literature and theatre what Pevsner is to architects and art historians. REED's main office at the University of Toronto coordinates a team of researchers who trawl Britain's archives by region and edit their findings to an internationally recognized scholarly standard. The volumes which have already appeared have revolutionized our understanding of British performance history, replacing a view based largely on conjecture with one derived from detailed factual information about performers and the social and financial organisation of performance. REED volumes have redressed the London-centric imbalance of research obsessed by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and drawn attention to the many forms of anonymous performance in regions which have often been unjustly seen as 'marginal'. REED-NE, the latest stage in the series, will find and edit all records pertaining to drama, music and ceremonial in England's North-East, from the earliest sources (around 9th century) to 1642. REED-NE will cover Yorkshire (excluding the city of York, whose records have already appeared), Durham and Northumberland, in a collection of five or more volumes published by Boydell. To date, discoveries include: 1. A medieval sequence of liturgy and drama about the Sacrament which linked the lay community with their ecclesiastical city governors (Durham). 2. Child drama and misrule ceremonies (Boy Bishops and Lords of Misrule from Durham and West Yorkshire). 3. The earliest known evidence for three types of folk drama: the Stag Ceremony (before 1280, abolished 1315); the Plough Ceremony (from 1378); and the Man/Woman performer (1433-4) (all Durham). 4. New evidence relating to mystery cycles in at least four cities (Beverley, Doncaster, Durham and Newcastle). This will reduce the reliance of scholars on the probably untypical cycles from York and Chester. 5. A major stand-alone biblical play (Hull's 'Noah'). 6. Rare evidence for a Paternoster play (Beverley). 7. Performance traditions in noble households, including the Percies (Northumberland), the Ingrams, Talbots and Wentworths (West Yorkshire), and in the houses of lesser gentry in all North-Eastern counties. 8. An important body of information concerning illegal recusant drama in North Yorkshire. This will transform the historical understanding of the polemic use of drama by Catholics in provincial England. 9. A wealth of evidence about town waits, travelling performers, and patrons; we hope to discover and map performance circuits and locations from at least the later Middle Ages onwards. The REED-NE volumes will be accompanied by a Companion volume discussing the historical and cultural significance of our findings. Our findings will also be linked to an interactive map of provincial England on the REED Patrons and Performances website at Toronto. Geo-coding is only now being adopted for literary projects. Visualising research data with GIS mapping will offer a new perspective on historical performance in England and contribute to the advancement of the Spatial Humanities. A summer festival in Durham in 2016 will showcase our research to academics and the wider public with a conference and an exhibition of objects and manuscripts pertaining to religious and secular drama at Durham's World Heritage Site. Based on our collected records, we will stage medieval and Renaissance repertoire at Durham Castle and the Cathedral. For the first time since the 9th century, the Lindisfarne 'Harrowing of Hell' - probably Britain's oldest surviving drama - will be performed. All events will be freely accessible. We expect our work to have a major impact, on our discipline worldwide, and also on regional communities and their awareness of their heritage.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/J023094/1
    Funder Contribution: 402,095 GBP

    Deep-sea sediments form a major reservoir in the global carbon (C) cycle and C burial in these sediments constitutes a major process that sequesters C on geological time scales. Organic matter sinking from surface waters is the main food source for deep-sea organisms, and their feeding and foraging activities control whether this organic C is recycled into the water column or buried in sediments ('carbon sequestration'). Food supply to the deep-sea benthos is reliant on phytoplankton growth in the euphotic zone, and changes in community composition, export flux or timing of bloom events will directly affect the supply to and turnover of POC at the seafloor and, subsequently, C sequestration. However, due to the remoteness of the deep-sea floor, our knowledge of the interplay between organic matter characteristics, benthic biodiversity and the early diagenesis of POC in the deep sea is very limited, and we can therefore neither reliably assess nor predict the consequences of climate change for this important ecosystem service. The detailed study of benthic C cycling in areas of strong natural fluctuations in POC flux characteristics, and/or pronounced climate-induced change in the pelagic environment, seems a promising way to gain urgently needed information on the potential impact of climate change on the cycling or burial of C in deep-sea sediments, while at the same time improving our understanding of the interplay between POM characteristics and benthic communities, and its function in the early diagenesis of POM. Sea ice is a unique feature of polar marine ecosystems and the fact that small temperature differences can have large effects on the extent and thickness of this sea ice makes polar marine ecosystems particularly sensitive to climate change. Indeed, major ecosystem shifts related to retreating sea ice have been reported from both the Arctic and Antarctic. Ice algae account for up to 25 % of the primary production (PP) in ice covered areas on the deep Arctic shelf, and even more in the Arctic Basin, and thus are likely to form an integral part of the diet of deep-sea organisms. Moreover, ice algal blooms differ considerably from phytoplankton in terms of timing and distribution, thus providing higher organisms with food when and where other food is scarce. Ice algae also contain very high concentrations of so-called "micronutrients", essential substances that many marine organisms can not synthesize themselves. The retreat of sea ice and subsequent loss of ice algae as food source is thus likely to significantly impact on deep-sea food webs and ecosystems. However, despite much speculation, very little information is available on the importance of ice algae as food for benthic organisms. We therefore propose to investigate the potential consequences of a climate-induced loss of ice algae (and possible shift to phytoplankton) as a food source for Arctic deep-sea food webs via two different approaches: A. Ice algae and phytoplankton differ in their bulk Carbon isotope signatures, as well as in the Carbon isotope signatures of certain essential fatty acids. We will thus use this difference in isotopic signature to trace the uptake of ice algal and phytoplankton biomass by benthic fauna. B. A series of in situ tracer experiments: we will label both ice algae and planktic algae with a tracer, add them to sediment cores obtained from the seafloor (so-called 'mesocosms'), and subsequently follow whether and how they are metabolized by the deep-sea organisms. This work will be carried out in the Canadian Arctic in collaboration with Professor Philippe Archabault from the University of Quebec, during field campaigns in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Beaufort Sea.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/K000284/2
    Funder Contribution: 196,397 GBP

    The Arctic is undergoing rapid climatic change, with dramatic consequences for the 'Frozen World' (the 'cryosphere'), including reductions in the depth, extent and duration of sea ice, and seasonal snow cover on land, retreat of ice sheets/glaciers, and melting of permafrost ("ground that remains at or below 0 degrees C for at least two consecutive years"). This is important not only for local and regional ecosystems and human communities, but also for the functioning of the entire earth system. Evidence is growing that organic matter frozen in permafrost soils (often for many millennia) is now thawing, making it available for decomposition by soil organisms, with the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), both greenhouse gases (GHGs), as by-products. A major concern now is that, because permafrost soils contain 1672 petagrams (1 Pg = 1 billion tonnes) of organic carbon (C), which is about 50% of the total global below-ground pool of organic C, and permafrost underlies ~ 25% (23 million km2) of the N hemisphere land surface, a melting-induced release of GHGs to the atmosphere from permafrost soils could result in a major acceleration of global warming. This is called a 'positive biogeochemical feedback' on global change; in other words, an unintentional side-effect in the global C cycle and climate system. Unfortunately, the interacting biological, chemical and physical controls on CO2 and CH4 emissions from permafrost (and melting permafrost) environments to the atmosphere are the subject of much speculation because the scientific community does not know enough about the interactions between C and water cycling in permafrost systems. Warmer and drier soils may release more CO2, while warmer/wetter soils might release more CH4. Permafrost thawing also causes changes in the way water flows though the landscape (because frozen ground if often impermeable to water), and some areas may become drier, while others wetter. How the relative proportions of CO2 and CH4 emissions change, and their absolute amount, is critical for the overall 'global warming potential' (GWP) because these two gases have different potency as GHGs. Release of C from soils into freshwaters also needs to be taken into account because down-stream 'de-gassing' and decomposition of organic materials also influences releases of CO2 and CH4 from freshwater, or delivery of C to lakes/oceans. All-in-all, predicting the GWP of permafrost regions is scientifically challenging, and the interactions between the water (hydrological) and C cycles are poorly known. In this project we recognise the key role that hydrological processes play in landscape-scale C fluxes in arctic and boreal regions. In permafrost catchments in NW Canada (including areas where permafrost is known to be thawing) we will measure the capture of C from the atmosphere (through photosynthesis), its distribution in plants and soils, and the biological, physical and chemical controls of C transport and delivery from soils to freshwaters, and ultimately to the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4. In essence we wish to 'close the C cycle'. Field-based measurements of key processes in the water and C cycles, including geochemical tracer and state-of-the-art C, hydrogen and oxygen isotope approaches, will be linked by computer modelling. The project team, together with partners in Canada, the US and UK, is in a unique position to link the water and C cycles in permafrost environments, and we will deliver essential scientific knowledge on the potential consequences of climate warming, and permafrost thawing, for GHG emissions from northern high latitudes. Both for local peoples directly dependent on arctic tundra/boreal forest ecosystems for their livelihoods and cultural identity, and for the global community who must respond to, and anticipate, potential consequences of climate and environmental change, this project will represent a significant step forward in understanding/predictive capacity.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/K011138/1
    Funder Contribution: 144,591 GBP

    As people across the world live longer, there is a growing need to support active ageing so that the extra years of life can be lived as well as possible. The potential of technology to assist people in all aspects of their lives is increasingly being recognised. Ambient Assistive Living (AAL) technologies refer to items that people can use in their everyday lives to make life easier and help them manage their daily activities. To enable the maximum number of people to benefit from current and future AAL technologies requires not only a good understanding of the needs of older adults but also a comprehensive analysis of how they view technology, their attitudes towards using it and how they make decisions about purchasing and using technology. Social and cultural factors can influence these issues and so this project aims to work with older adults across three different countries to explore their needs, attitudes and behaviour towards novel technologies. The project team brings together experts in gerontology, engineering, occupational therapy and psychology from the UK, Canada and Sweden to work with older adults to address their current and future needs for technology to support them to live their lives as well as possible. The project comprises several complementary elements that will be carried out in parallel within the three countries. The first element is a user needs analysis to examine the older adults' requirements in relation to AAL technologies, including those people who need support with cognitive activities, physical activities or motor activities. The findings from this stage will determine the development of novel AAL technologies in the next stage to address various aspects of daily life, such as shopping or cooking, supporting people with activities they need to remember, such as taking medication and keeping in touch with people. These novel technologies will be piloted with older adults in each of the three countries to examine how they respond to and explore them to inform future developments. Additionally, we will look at how to support people to learn to use new technologies and incorporate them into their lives to help them live as well as possible.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/K020404/1
    Funder Contribution: 585,535 GBP

    Diseases of the brain including neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and dementia, and common psychiatric conditions such as depression and schizophrenia, have considerable personal, social and economic costs for the sufferers and their carers. Improving the tools at our disposal for quantifying brain function would help with diagnosis, choosing the right treatment for the patient and developing new, more effective, treatments. This proposal aims to develop a reliable non-invasive brain imaging method using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that maps, across the whole human brain with a spatial resolution of a few millimetres, the amount of oxygen that the brain is consuming. The rate of oxygen consumption, known as CMRO2, reflects neural activity and can change through disease processes. It provides a marker of disease and treatment related alterations in brain activity. Our proposed method would also map the functional characteristics of brain blood vessels whose health is crucial for the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Until recently, it has only been possible to quantitatively map the human brain's metabolic energy use through positron emission tomography (PET), which relies on radioactive tracers. The application of such measurements is limited, as in order to minimise radiation doses, it cannot be applied many times in the same patients or healthy volunteers. This hampers the repeated study of disease or treatment progression and the study of normal brain development and aging. Our proposed method would avoid the use of ionizing radiation, would be cheaper than PET and more widely available, and would expand the applications of quantified CMRO2 mapping to more centres, leading to improved treatment targeting and potential healthcare cost savings. We have performed some initial tests that show our proposed method to be feasible. It relies on mapping simultaneously the flow of blood to each part of the brain and the oxygenation of the blood leaving each part of the brain. Necessary for the measurement is the modulation of brain blood flow and oxygen levels, achieved by asking volunteers to breathe air enriched with carbon dioxide and oxygen. These procedures involve the volunteer wearing a face-mask but are safe and well tolerated. Our proposed method should yield additional information describing cerebrovascular properties compared to other recently-proposed methods. This means that it would require fewer assumptions which may be not be invalid in the diseased brain, giving our approach a wider scope of application and offering potentially richer clinical information. This proposal optimises our method to ensure it is efficient and reliable for widespread research and eventually clinical use. We propose a close collaboration between physicists developing the neuroimaging methodology and clinical academic researchers who will help us to demonstrate its clinical feasibility in two common neurological diseases, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS). About 70% of the project will be methodological development to optimise our image acquisition and data analysis strategy to yield accurate and repeatable measurements within about 10 minutes of scanning. The remaining 30% of the project will validate the method in groups of epilepsy and MS patients who volunteer to help us with our research. Validation will be performed by comparison with PET, the current 'gold standard.' The project will develop and benefit from partnerships with academic and industrial researchers in the UK and internationally. In particular, the work has good potential for application in the drug development industry, a strong industrial sector in the UK, for the development of new and effective compounds to treat psychiatric and neurological disorders. This project would help maintain the UK at the forefront internationally of neuroimaging research, a position it has long held and from which it has benefitted.

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