Grant Balances 2010 - University of Newcastle

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: NIRES Newcastle Inst for Res on Env &Sus


Newcastle University will use this funding to undertake pilot studies in three areas of strategic importance to the University and the EPSRC:

1. Catalysis (Physical Sciences Theme);
2. Digital Signal Processing (ICT Theme);
3. Assistive Technology, Rehabilitation and Musculoskeletal Biomechanics (Healthcare Technologies Challenge Theme).

There will also be interaction with other EPSRC's Challenge Themes, such as Energy.

Planned Impact

The three pilot projects funded though this award will enable a range of impacts.

All three projects will employ research associates. Through the projects, these individuals will learn valuable research skills that will assist them in their future careers, whether in academia or industry.

All three projects are in areas that the EPSRC has strategically identified as being important, and/or for growth. The pilot projects will lead to high quality research applications in these areas, assisting the EPSRC in meeting its strategic aims.

The ultimate results of the research arising from the pilot projects are wide-ranging:

Project 1: Catalysis
The outcomes of this work will be of interest to a range of industrial beneficiaries, including UK-based power generators, chemicals producers and cyclic carbonate users. For this project, the pathways to impact are vital since the technology is both highly disruptive to current cyclic carbonate production, and highly integrative, as it brings together two traditionally disparate industries for a common economic and environmental good.

Project 2: Digital Signal Processing
Network coding is a relatively new area of research with specific benefits to subsea applications, particularly since it aims to reduce the severe communication latencies inherent in acoustic communications. The proposed research will also consider several other aspects such as signal processing techniques to overcome the harsh underwater medium, new protocols for underwater networks and minimising the effect of acoustic communication on marine life.
Additionally, with regard to societal impact, the proposed research will be of interest to wide ranging beneficiaries such as oil and gas, renewable energy, commercial diving, seismic monitoring, homeland security and defence.

Project 3: Testing Artificial Joints
The economic impact could include benefits for JRI, a British company, and also for the University in undertaking sub-contract testing of designs of artificial shoulder joints. Crucially though, this research funding could serve as a springboard towards helping to develop new and improved designs of shoulder prostheses through appropriate in vitro testing. As the research could have a positive effect on health and quality of life so the societal impact of this research is also strong. Funding Dr Li will help to retain her skills and abilities within a research environment, covering the 'people' aspect of impact, while scientific advances and techniques in the testing and development of shoulder prostheses could also be obtained, thus satisfying the knowledge aspect of impact.


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Smith SL (2016) Engineering of a multi-station shoulder simulator. in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine

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Minev P (2012) Short-range optical OFDM

Description PROJECT1 - Proof of concept achieved for optical and low power communications for underwater systems. PROJECT 2 - The initial design of a shoulder simulator has been amended, full engineering drawings produced, components manufactured and bought in and the shoulder. PROJECT 3 - The project investigated the effect of reactor design on the effectiveness of catalysts for cyclic carbonate systhesis from waste CO2. Key findings were: the rate of reaction depended non-linearly on the surface area; the rate of reaction depended linearly on the reactor depth; the solubility of CO2 in five different epoxides was measured, as was the rate of dissolution and the effect of this on the reaction kinetics was determined.
Exploitation Route PROJECT 1 - Environmentally friendly underwater communication with due care for marine mammals. PROJECT 2 - At present, there are no multi-station test rigs for artificial shoulder joints anywhere in the world. With such a machine, aartifical shoulder joints can be tested under clinically relevant conditions before they are impoanted into patients. The current worldwide concerns over metal-on-metal hips (which research from Newcastle University has contributed to) is related to the lack of such pre-clinical testing. PROJECT 3 - The results will guide the development of Dymeryx, indicating how the business plan should be structured and which are the best opportunities.
PROJECT 1 - Possibly through our industrial partner (Tritech Int.), although there is still work to be done before any serious engagement with them. PROJECT 2 - A final decision has not been made yet. However, we wish to publicise our results via conference presentations and journal publications. We are discussing undertaking tests with one close orthopedic partner and have links to other orthopaedic companies which we will employ if requred. PROJECT 3 - Through an existing spin-out company, Dymeryx.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport,Other

Description Introducing environmentally friendly communications technologies. The project will introduce communications technologies that are environmentally friendly since they avoid the propagation of large power acoustic waves which may have an adverse effect on marine mammals. . Beneficiaries: Communication industry, environmental benefits
Sector Environment
Impact Types Societal

Description Collaboration with JRI Orthpaedics 
Organisation JRI Orthapaedics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with JRI Orthpaedics, a British company committed to delivering innovative and quality orthopaedic solutions for healthcare providers and patients worldwide.
Start Year 2011
Description Collaboration with the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York. 
Organisation Hospital for Special Surgery, New York
Country United States 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution Collaboration with the Hospital for Special Surgery, a specialist hospital for rheumatology and orthapaedics.
Start Year 2011
Description Collaboration within Newcastle University 
Organisation Newcastle University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic Collaboration with colleagues in Chemical Engineering
Start Year 2011