New research and innovation funding announced

Dr Ali Roula with the mind control helicopter
Dr Ali Roula with the mind control helicopter

Academics and businesses across Wales are being encouraged to apply for a new fund designed to boost collaborative research and innovation projects. 

High Performance Computing (HPC) Wales has announced a new £300,000 fund, to help fund 20-25 research projects that would benefit from the power of supercomputing technology.

The funding was announced in the week that Welsh universities were singled out for a feature in the prestigious journal, Science, for their commitment to first-class research, putting them on the road to “scientific greatness”. 

HPC Wales has recently awarded funding to six research and innovation projects, across five universities in Wales, spanning a wide range of activities, from stroke rehabilitation to improving public transport.

The second call offers another opportunity for university researchers to deliver development-oriented projects, and businesses the opportunity to tap into the right academic expertise.

The new research and innovation funding will fund up to 25% of the cost of a post doctorate research associate for up to 12 months.

Part-funded by £24 million through the Welsh Government, including support from the European Regional Development Fund, HPC Wales is committed to boosting the Welsh economy by providing academic researchers and businesses with some of the most advanced computing technology in the world. 

In addition, HPC Wales is providing the training, outreach and technical support to exploit supercomputing technology effectively and power innovation.

One project to benefit from the funding to date is that of Senior Lecturer Dr Christine Mumford at Cardiff University’s School of Computer Science and Informatics. Dr Mumford’s researchers are using supercomputing technology to design efficient routes and transport for public transport services. Dr Mumford said:

“We have identified a need for software to optimise the design of public transport systems, such as bus networks, as current commercial software is very limited.

“Our own experimental multi-objective evolutionary software shows great promise, but supercomputing resources are needed in order to obtain high-quality solutions. HPC Wales’ technology allows us to model our solutions on transport network problems of a realistic size, and to balance the sometimes conflicting requirements of customer service, efficiency and sustainability.

“We are delighted that HPC Wales has given us the opportunity to take our project forward with this funding, and we anticipate many potential benefits in terms of improved public transport networks across Wales.”

Dara O’Briain testing out the University of South Wales' Mind control robotic arm on his Science Club programme

Another project to benefit from the funding is Dr Ali Roula’s. Senior Lecturer at The University of South Wales, Dr Roula is leading a project to develop portable rehabilitation solutions for people with motor and cognitive disabilities. He said:

“Having access to HPC Wales’ computing facilities gives our research group a unique opportunity to explore problems on a scale and depth that was simply not possible for us before.

“To account for subject and time variations, it is crucial to take multiple channel recordings of brain scan data across many users and over a long period of time.

“HPC Wales will help us run complex calculations on a scale that - to our knowledge - has never been done before”.

Chief Executive of HPC Wales, David Craddock, said:

“With access to research funding becoming more and more difficult, we are pleased to be able to offer this support for projects at the leading edge of scientific research. We are particularly keen to fund projects that involve collaboration between universities and businesses, and look forward to hearing from researchers looking for a helping hand in taking their projects forward.”

The call also coincides with the final call for HPC Wales Fujitsu funded PhD studentships.  Six new studentships are available in the areas of financial and professional services, advanced materials and manufacturing, creative industries, ICT - fourteen have been awarded to date.

The deadline for applications to both funds is 31st May 2013.

Further information and application forms can be downloaded below.

Those interested in applying to the fund should contact Phil Lane

Completed application forms should be submitted to info@hpcwales.co.uk