23 Projects, page 1 of 5
Metamaterials with anomalous and counter-intuitive multiphysics behaviours have been developed during the last two decades to help communication systems, sensing and robotics. Paradigmatic developments in artificial intelligence, Digital Twin approaches and additive manufacturing are pushing the design and production of metamaterials also towards the development artificial equivalent of synapsis and programmability. These advanced metamaterial concepts are however fossil-based and tend to make use of materials with a high carbon footprint and heavy life cycle costs in terms of emissions and environmental sustainability. Sensing/actuation mechanisms are also innate in natural plant fibres, spider silk strands and enzymatic systems, and involve saturation, hygromorphism, piezoelectricity and controlled hysteresis that could provide similar synaptic behaviours. Programmable memory properties could also be mechanically created in solid matter, and similar mnemonic-type architectures abound in natural fibres and related composites. While neurogenesis in electromagnetic metamaterials is at early stages of development, no neuroactive mechanical metamaterial concept and design based on biobased materials has been developed so far. The project aims at developing this paradigmatic new class of metamaterials. We will explore the use of natural fibre composites, bio-based matrices, spider silk strands, 3D printing of bioblock materials and natural piezoelectricity in wood/cellulose combined with metamaterial architectures to develop artificial bio-based and sustainable surrogates of programmable memory with learning/adaptive behaviours similar to artificial neural networks. These metamaterials will autonomously learn from their past loading history and generate resilience in the structures in which they are embedded. The natural materials will also have low carbon footprint and could be further developed by worldwide R&D communities based on the resources locally available.
This proposal will provide the networking and pump priming funds needed to establish a re-strengthened Indo-UK telecoms research network; academically led but including UK and Indian industry partners. The science scope will be necessarily broad, based around Open-RAN technologies towards a flexible, scalable, high performing and AI-enabled virtualised Open-RAN (vOpen-RAN). Research activities will be within this scope with specific activities expected to be identified and driven by the research community and joint scoping with Indian collaborators. Across the proposed AI-Enabled Open-RAN Architecture we want to explore: -Faster, better telecommunications systems: enhanced performance in 'Virtualisation' of telecoms networks; -AI: intelligent systems for autonomic operation -Green telecoms and energy efficiency: self-organizing and self- healing algorithms for energy efficiency, data transfer and use optimization ; -Security: light-weight encryption schemes and frameworks for open interfaces to enhance cyber resilience; -Future networks to overcome the rural digital divide, highly energy efficient, open architecture based on integration of communication and sensing in a network of networks consisting of three short-range networks, wide-area cellular networks and non-terrestrial vLEO satellite networks interfacing software for remote areas. In addition to the research program and flexible distribution of pump priming funds for short term research activities addressing key technologies, the proposal will: -Build capability, capacity, and relationships between the two countries in Open-RAN and broader telecoms research for 5G and beyond diversification; -Build on existing relationships and engage new partners across India; -Scope and create a Roadmap for future research and innovation collaboration to support the need to diversify, through engagement with and input from existing partners and research and business community workshops; -Develop shared testbed design and function, for feedback to existing UK testbed investments.
Domestic wastewater treatment is among the main reasons why community health has improved dramatically since Victorian Times. Waste treatment plants (WTPs) effectively remove pathogens, carbon, and nitrogen, creating a healthier environment and reducing the waterborne infectious disease. However, WTPs were never designed to remove contemporary contaminants, such as antimicrobial resistant bacteria (ARB) or genes (ARG). Current WTPs reduce many ARBs/ARGs from wastes, but the "worst" sub-fraction of ARGs increase in WTPs, especially multi-ARGs (MRGs) that create the potential for indestructible pathogens. Researchers have been studying why multidrug resistance (MDR) is selected in WTPs. However, the cause is unknown, which impacts the long-term resilience of our water infrastructure. In the 1950s, German researchers observed a strange bacterial form in activated sludge (AS) in WTPs, called L-form bacteria. L-forms are "normal" bacteria that temporarily lose their cell wall. Although interesting, this observation was not pursued further. However, medical researchers recently discovered that L-form bacteria are common in MDR urinary tract (u-tract) infections, and my speculation is that L-form bacteria, which are intrinsically MDR, might be the "unknown" cause of MDR in WTP effluents. To test this bright idea, ~40 samples were collected from two UK WTPs and very high levels of L-form strains were found, especially in AS floc. Further, all L-form strains were putative "gut" bacteria, implying MDR in WTP effluents may be due to the selective survival of gut-originated L-form bacteria that "hide" in floc (in pseudo-dormant state) and then "sneak" back into WTP effluents because they survive waste treatment in their L-form state. The project do the following: - Develop better methods for detecting L-forms in wastewater; - Quantify environmental conditions in WTPs where L-form bacteria are selected and hide, and determine what triggers their reactivation; - Identify gene expression targets that promote/repress the L-form state and identify specific locations in WTPs where L-forms can be selectively destroyed; and - Perform bench- and pilot-scale reactor work to develop new treatment strategies to reduce MDR, especially aimed at reducing L-form survival in WTPs effluents. We already have >700 microbial MDR isolates from WTPs in the UK, Spain and India, although few have been tested for L-form development. However, early data suggest L-forms are common in AS, consistent with German observations. Within this context, work initially will focus on characterising our current MDR isolates in detail, especially categorising strains prone to L-formation and also identifying the presence and absence of key "L-form trigger genes" (in our isolates). Target genes will be refined and tested for diagnostics of L-forms, and also how their prevalence and local environments relate to MDR indictors (using qPCR, NGS and resistomics). With these data, structured sampling will be performed with three industrial partners on eight full-scale WTPs with different biological treatment technologies to identify "hot spots" of L-form selection and survival. Locale data will be used to guide lab- and pilot-scale testing of new and retrofit technologies to reduce MDR levels in WTP effluents, which will inform strategies for increasing resilience in our urban water infrastructure, especially reducing AMR spread and protecting community health. This proposal will deliver key outcomes for A Healthy and Resilient Nation, specifically H2, H3, R2 and R3, because it will generate basic and practical data that impacts all WTP designs in future; designs to reduce MRGs released to the environment. Beyond this outcome, transcendent discoveries will be made on the genetics, ecology and selection of L-form strains, which will inform the medical community on MDR infections and also improve diagnostics in both clinical and environmental settings.
The project addresses the question of how translation serves to transform ideas between geographical locations, historical moments and cultural contexts. This project is innovative on two counts: first, it argues that translation plays a key transformative role when religions travel from one culture to another; second, it analyses parallels between translation processes and religious conversion. These two issues will be investigated in the context of how western translation concepts and practices introduced in South Asia from the eighteenth century onwards fundamentally changed the way South Asians understood religious faith and identity. The collaborators will apply a new set of translation questions on the transfer of religious concepts and identities in South Asia: how did translations of sacred texts into and out of Indian languages undertaken by European scholars from the early eighteenth century introduce new ways of constructing, defining and framing religious concepts in South Asia? The project team bring a fresh approach to the study of South Asian religions by arguing that this conceptual aspect of translation is intrinsic to the way religions began to be viewed, compared and categorized in the Indian context: whether core concepts could or could not be translated into other languages often determined whether a religion was considered a religion at all by European scholars. The team will explore conceptual links between the translation of values and concepts across languages and the nature of conversion, in particular religious conversion. 'Translation' and 'conversion' are closely linked conceptually since both refer to processes of change and transformation. Although change is a fundamental aspect of both, it is not always clear how we understand why and how transformation occurs and what purpose it serves. Since the cognitive processes involved in both cases of transformation are available to us only through language, an analysis of shifts in linguistic terms reveal fundamental conceptual shifts. This project is innovative in the application of both conceptual and linguistic frameworks of translation in order to understand how the process of religious conversion can best be understood by an examination of changes in language choice. The investigators will examine parallel concerns regarding authenticity that vexes both translation and religious conversion where doubts regarding the sincerity of conversion are for the first time conceptually linked to translation anxieties regarding successfully "carrying across". The collaborators will examine twenty conversion autobiographies written by South Asian converts to Protestant Christianity from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century in Tamil and Marathi and their translation into German and English. Social, political and intellectual reorientations in South Asia from the eighteenth century onwards meant that individuals experienced changes in many areas including the spiritual, which often required developing new vocabularies with which to describe these changes. The team will study shifts in how eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth-century South Asians represented their changed religious identities in their autobiographies, 'translating' or 'converting' lived experience into text and expressing their change in faith with a newly acquired religious terminology. They will investigate the selection of particular religious terminology when these conversion accounts were translated into German and/or English. They will also examine how the writing and translation of conversion accounts advanced Christian concepts to an Indian audience and to what extent conversion to Christianity was articulated differently across the three centuries. Through their analyses, the team aim to highlight the distinctive nature of translation in its ability to constitute and transform religious cultures.