Capital Award for Core Equipment at UCL

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Office of Vice Provost Research


This is a proposal for investment in equipment to benefit researchers in at least 46 UCL centres and departments across eight faculties. It will support UCL's strategic goals of realising the impact of excellent cross-disciplinary research and providing its researchers with cutting-edge equipment to enable them to compete with the world's best. All requested items of equipment fulfil the underpinning multi-user equipment objective of the call.

The UCL equipment items were chosen via a competitive internal selection process, overseen by the Office of the Vice-Provost (Research), with evaluation based on scientific excellence, potential for impact, and alignment to UCL and EPSRC strategies. UCL's Vice-Provost (Research), Prof David Price, is the PI on this bid, and his Office will oversee the award and the monitoring of the benefits. The Lead Investigators for each equipment item will be responsible for regular reporting to his Office on progress against objectives.

The requested UCL equipment items are: (A) NMR equipment; (B) a 3D laser scanner with a thermal imaging camera attachment; (C) an ultrasound research platform; (D) a pair of functional Near-InfraRed Spectroscopy (fNIRS) wearable, head-mounted scanning devices; and (E) a 3D microscope.

Planned Impact

The investment will have an impact outside of academia through the excellent research it will enable our researchers to conduct. The engineering and physical sciences research enabled by the requested equipment items spans eight UCL faculties and covers a wide breadth of areas, with impact on industry, the economy, health, the environment, policy and more. Non-academic impact in a wide range of areas will therefore be maximised through this investment. In addition, we expect the investment to facilitate increased collaboration between our researchers and industrial partners, enabling our partners to benefit from the new techniques and capabilities at UCL, and further strengthening the potential impacts on industry and society.

A few of the many examples of expected specific impacts are:

(a) Research into the effects of environment on heritage using the 3D laser scanner will lead to new insights into how best to preserve our heritage, leading to new best practice guidelines for use by heritage institutions.
(b) The ultrasound research platform will facilitate accelerated clinical translation of interventions for cancer, pain, heart disease, and neurological disorders, and will lead to the development of new ultrasound-based technologies for organ preservation, functional brain imaging, tissue fractionation, and shaping acoustic waves.
(c) The fNIRS devices will lead to advice being provided to city authorities worldwide on streetscape design, regulation implementation, and other legislative processes applied to the built environment and operating systems for cities and infrastructure.
(d) Early career researchers - including those on the CDTs in Molecular Modelling & Materials Science and Emergent Macromolecular Therapies, and the MSc programme in Data Science for Cultural Heritage - will receive training and develop their skills.


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