The University of Southampton

Engineering projects awarded EPSRC funding to build a better future

Published: 6 February 2018
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Dr Matt Himsworth has secured EPSRC funding for his project investigating phase-locked atomic interferometers for gravity gradiometry

Five pioneering projects from the University of Southampton, including gravity gradiometry research within Physics and Astronomy, have been awarded investment by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to boost UK productivity.

The University of Southampton boasts the highest proportion of successful bids from the EPSRC’s Engineering for a Prosperous Nation call, with over £1 million pledged for researchers at the institution. In total, 28 projects will start this month nationwide in a £6.6 million investment that will enhance the future competitiveness and creativity of the UK economy.

Dr Matt Himsworth, a Senior Fellow from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, succeeded in securing funding for his project investigating Phase-Locked Atomic Interferometers for Gravity Gradiometry.

The research will build upon technology used in identifying underground oil and gas reserves, monitoring ocean circulation, detecting geological faults, and measuring the shape of the earth's gravitational field, which is necessary for accurate navigation. The project aims to make these techniques more common and widespread, helping civil engineers in the discovery of utilities without exploratory digging and the location of unrecorded mineshafts and sinkholes, while also complementing general surveys for assessing ground stability.

In other Southampton-led projects, Dr Sumeet Mahajan will aim to deliver an innovative microscope imaging system for IVF Clinics; Professor Thomas Polcar will prepare and validate a novel class of nanostructured alloys for engineering; Dr Mohammad Mehdi Kashani will construct a new resilience-based bridge design inspired by the mechanics of the human spine; and Dr Bani Anvari has proposed a new interface design for semi-autonomous cars called iSeat.

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC Chief Executive, says: “Engineers are creators, innovators and problem solvers; their pioneering work creates a better future for us all. EPSRC continues to invest in this vision by supporting the engineers of tomorrow, and these projects are testament to our firm belief that novel, transformative research will help to make the UK a more prosperous nation.”

The announcement of the successful projects comes as the EPSRC launched its campaign to make 2018 the Year of Engineering. Throughout 2018, hundreds of organisations across the UK will showcase the world of engineering and look to inspire the next generation of engineers by bringing young people face-to-face with engineering experiences and role models.

For more information on the Southampton-led projects, read the University of Southampton press release.

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