Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at https://www.ukri.org/apply-for-funding/how-we-fund-studentships/. Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.
When faced by complex problems, people turn to tools that improve their performance. Through studying the use of tools in highly demanding circumstances we gain valuable insights into how to design effective systems. The design of interactive computer systems is a complex and multi-faceted challenge that is amplified when such systems are used in the varied, sensitive and often pressurised environment of healthcare.Health is a domain of immense significance to society, and of great strategic importance. The use of interactive technologies in clinical practice, preventative education and the treatment of chronic conditions has become pervasive. However, there is compelling evidence that current healthcare systems are under-performing: often unreliable, difficult to use, and failing to address the needs of clinicians and patients adequately. Surprisingly little attention has been paid to people's interactions with those technologies and designing effective interactions. Interactive systems in health raise many problems of interest to interaction researchers. Clinical appliances such as syringe pumps have apparently simple interfaces that nonetheless have contributed to medical errors, while the proliferation of online material leads to many patients attempting to self-diagnose or understand a chronic condition. The design of effective interactions with healthcare systems requires a multidisciplinary approach; conversely, we can test and extend HCI approaches by working in this demanding setting. For example, the design of medical appliances raises challenges of developing formal modelling techniques that can be used to analyse complex, often messy, systems. Similarly studies of patient's internet searches, and the rich interactions they have with and around information, challenge our understanding of interactive information seeking.This Platform grant brings together two research groups with complementary skills and approaches, and a track record of effective collaboration. It will provide base-line support for developing a research agenda in healthy interactive systems , by which we mean systems that are dependable, usable and appropriate to their contexts of use, and that empower their users, augmenting people's understanding and capabilities.This proposal builds on outcomes from the current Platform grant on The design and use of complex information spaces . The focus on complexity has resulted in some important developments over the period of the grant, which have shaped this renewal. These include a shift in focus from compensating for users' limitations (e.g. designing out error, or helping users reformulate queries in information seeking) to augmenting their capabilities (e.g. enabling resilient behaviours, supporting sense-making) and improving their experiences in a health context. This Platform renewal will support the development of new research directions that cover user and system perspectives on individual and collaborative interactions with technologies in healthcare.Whereas the original grant was held in UCLIC, this renewal is joint between UCLIC and the FIT Lab in Swansea (following Thimbleby's move to found this new group). This collaboration brings together UCLIC's strengths in user-focused HCI with FIT's in technology-focused HCI, addressing research problems that demand a multi-disciplinary approach. The geographical split will need careful management, but offers benefits including complementary research approaches and different healthcare contexts and cultures to study. The Platform grant will provide career development opportunities and group stability, and support the strengthening of strategic collaborations with international groups and also with practitioners and policy makers.
Advances in energy storage solutions are key for enabling a more sustainable future so that renewable energy generations methods, which are intermittent in their delivery, can replace non-renewable forms of energy. One method by which this can be achieved is by adopting large-scale battery technologies. Roll-to-roll processing forms the basis of current battery manufacture, such as in the case of Li-on batteries, controlling the deposition of anode and cathode layers. Advances in processing, in terms of both methodology and formulations, would open new opportunities for better performance and adoption of a wider range of electroactive materials including solid state electrolytes. This will be coupled with novel curing techniques that have the potential to greatly reduce processing time and efficiency. The PhD project will offer the unique opportunity to explore the application of a range of deposition and rapid curing methods for thin film energy storage solutions, so that new electrode and solid electrolyte materials can be formulated, accurately deposited and electrochemically characterised; with new thin film energy systems offering enhanced performance and rapidity of processing. The PhD will be closely aligned with the current EPSRC project named "A new concept for advanced large-scale energy storage: secondary batteries with seawater as open self-replenishing cathode" [EP/N013727/1]; an ambitious research project aimed at delivering a transformative technology for large-scale energy storage, exploiting a novel technology based on seawater as an open self-replenishing cathode in a hybrid system which is intermediate between a fuel cell and a secondary sodium-ion battery. The College of Engineering at Swansea University is recognised as being a UK Top 10 Engineering Research University (REF 2014), benefiting from extensive facilities, research in battery technology and long established expertise in thin film processing.
THE CONTEXT The functioning of an MRI scanner relies on high strength and extremely uniform magnetic fields generated through superconducting magnets (i.e. main coils) and non-uniform magnetic fields generated by time-varying current signatures specified in AC gradient coils. A third key component in an MRI scanner is the cryostat, which is comprised of a series of radiation shields and keeps the main magnet coils immersed in liquid Helium within a Helium vessel. On the contrary, the gradient coils sit outside the cryostat at room temperature. Unfortunately, externally generated vibrations, also known as Floor Borne Vibrations (FBV), introduce undesirable accelerations on the magnets (primarily in the vertical direction, but also some in lateral direction). These vibrations can lead to relative movement between the radiation shields and the magnets, thus generating unwanted eddy currents in the shields which, in turn, produce secondary magnetic fields, the latter affecting the quality of the primary uniform magnetic field and, ultimately, resulting in non-desirable imaging artefacts. THE CHALLENGE To alleviate the negative impact of FBV, magnets are built with some amount of vibration isolation either underneath the cryostat, in the form of either a soft rubber matting or a spring-damper assembly, or by trial and error changes to the mechanical behaviour of the magnet and cryostat interface. However, the optimal design and the precise location of these vibration isolation devices within a realistic 3D MRI configuration is an extremely complex task which requires expert human intervention. The challenge at hand consists of predicting the performance of the MRI scanner over a wide range of input acceleration frequencies and determining the engineering changes required to reduce its sensitivity to FBV, via (a) the optimal selection of material parameters (i.e. shield conductivity, carbon fibre suspension stiffness) and (b) the shape optimisation of the MRI scanner components (i.e. flat or round ends in radiation shield components). This requires the a-priori (and very accurate) knowledge of the effect of FBV on: (a) the magnetic field distribution (i.e. to the Parts Per Billion level) and (b) the output image quality. This can only be achieved via cutting-edge high-fidelity in-silico modelling tools, robustly benchmarked against available experimental data, and embedded within the design cycle at Siemens Healthineers via the use of Reduced Order Modelling (ROM) techniques which can permit the rapid variation of material parameters and/or geometrical features. THE AIM The development of a new robust, accurate and fast data-driven 3D in-silico ROM computational framework for the modelling of FBV on MRI performance and imaging quality. THE OBJECTIVES The objectives of this challenging EPSRC CASE Award project proposal are four: 1. The accurate computation of eddy currents and magnetic fields (i.e. to the Parts Per Billion level) within a realistic 3D MRI configuration when subjected to external FBV. The use of high order Finite Elements will be here exploited, investigating the order "p" of interpolation needed to produce the level of accuracy required. 2. The benchmarking of the software tool against experimental data collected from state-of-the-art shaker tables at Erlangen and Oxford. Experimental data will help ensure robustness and reliability of the software. 3. The study of the impact of FBV on image quality through the combination of the developed software tool with in-house imaging analysis tools at Siemens Healthineers. 4.The development of a ROM technique for fast multiple-query when considering the rapid variation of material parameters (i.e. stiffness, conductivity) and/or geometrical features (i.e. shield geometry). In-house experience at Siemens Healthineers will be here exploited in order to facilitate the identification of the most sensitive parameters to FBV.
This proposed PhD aims to document maternal health outcomes, maternity care service utilisation, and care experiences of refugees and asylum seekers (RAS) in England and Wales and identify possible health inequalities. This is a mixed methods research project which will include: A) a quantitative component to describe RAS health outcomes and utilisation of maternity care services in comparison to other migrants and the general UK population using linked anonymised data. B) qualitative component (interviews with pregnant and postpartum RAS) examining maternity care experiences of pregnant and postpartum RAS, focusing on resources and strategies that may facilitate positive experiences of care, such as advocacy organizations. The key challenge will be identifying the population of interest (RAS), which will require data linkage between different datasets.