Summer 2020 | Issue 15 Research and Enterprise Newsletter
Out of this world
A look at space-related research and enterprise and its astounding real world outcomes and impacts FEATURE: Reducing shipsâ€™ fuel emissions using AI software
FEATURE: Launching lessons from COVID-19 into space
FEATURE: Developing gamma ray imaging to improve nuclear medicine
FEATURE: Astronomy and Cancer Sciences join forces to save lives
WELCOME TO RE:ACTION The space sector is now constantly in the news. In particular, Elon Musk’s pioneering company SpaceX has attracted global attention for its commercial spacecraft that have been delivering cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station. This is raising awareness of the role of universities in using their expertise in space-related science, engineering and technology to solve real-world problems and generate commercial outcomes. For example, the University of Southampton is one of five universities that have set up SPRINT – the SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology. SPRINT provides access to the expertise and facilities at top UK space universities to help businesses accelerate the development of their products and services through the commercial exploitation of space-related data and technologies. Technologies developed for space, and the data beamed back to Earth from satellites in orbit, can have profound effects and benefits for products and services destined for other sectors. From agriculture
to tourism, financial services to healthcare, space data and technologies are playing their part in enabling innovation in the space and non-space sectors. This space-themed edition of Re:action showcases the work of our research and enterprise communities. We will read about a range of inspiring projects, including the development of a novel cooling and pressurisation system for rocket engines; the use of satellite data for improving a myriad of early-warning systems; and how adapting supernovae-detecting technology can help to diagnose skin cancer. We pay tribute to our sadly missed colleague Dr Angelo Grubisic, an expert on spacecraft propulsion and consultant engineer for the European Space Agency’s BepiColombo mission to Mercury. We also hear about the work of the University’s Space Environment Physics Group and how an enterprising academic secured a place on Seraphim’s Space Camp accelerator programme. We hope you find this edition inspiring and engaging.
Ian Williams FEPS Associate Dean (Enterprise) and University Academic Lead for SPRINT
PLEASE SEND US YOUR FEEDBACK We are keen to receive your feedback about Re:action. If you have any ideas, comments or suggestions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/ris
To infinity and beyond
Reducing ships’ fuel emissions using AI software
Launching lessons from COVID-19 into space
IN THIS ISSUE
The Northern Lights: beauty or beast?
Body Rocket… Going ready for launch nuclear
Stars align for skin cancer
Holding the future between your fingertips
Expanding the use of satellite data for realworld benefits
Understanding the bigger picture
SPRINTing ahead with space related research
On cloud nine
Dr Angelo Grubisic: A tribute
Research award highlights
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND The University of Southampton has a rich history and an exciting future in all areas of space development and research. Our Aeronautics and Astronautics department was formed in 1959 and continues to be an academic world leader over 60 years later.
Total UK space industry income 2016/17
UK space sector exports 2016/17
Our research activity and international collaborations across the space sector place us squarely at the forefront of the constant developments in the UK and worldwide; it is an area we are growing and developing as a University on a yearly basis. And with good reason. According to The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry Report, published in January 2019, total UK space industry income had grown to £14.8bn in 2016/17, a growth rate of 3.3% per annum. Employment in the UK space sector rose to 41,900 jobs and exports had grown too, up to £5.5billion. The UK Government has an ambitious target to grow its share of the global market from 6.5% to 10% by 2030. The strong and broad foundation of space activity at Southampton has always been underpinned by education. Undergraduates can take such courses as an integrated Master of Physics in Astrophysics with a year at Harvard and a two-week field trip to the space observatory in Tenerife to take part in a space mission design project. Southampton has a Spacecraft Engineering degree with modules on the design and operation of spacecraft, the first of its kind in the UK. Of course, space-related education or research can be found in all our faculties, cutting across traditional discipline boundaries and bringing students and staff with this common interest together. Dr Hugh G Lewis, Professor within Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: “Over the last 60 years, the University has developed a broad range of activities related to space and spacecraft technologies and now has world-leading facilities, capabilities and expertise. The impacts of our research in these areas and successes of our graduates working in the space sector really serve to highlight the valuable contribution the University has made to the UK and worldwide.”
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering
â€œOver the last 60 years, the University has developed a broad range of activities related to space and spacecraft technologies and now has world-leading facilities, capabilities and expertise.â€? Professor Hugh G Lewis Engineering and Physical Sciences
SPRINTING AHEAD WITH SPACE-RELATED RESEARCH
As space-related research and technologies continue to rocket in success and number, SPRINT was born to seize on that popularity and provide opportunities for cohesion between academia and business, across the space sector.
For further information, visit: www.sprint.ac.uk
THE SPRINT NETWORK
SPRINT, the SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology, is a unique partnership between five top UK space universities, industry, government agencies and the investment community, dedicated to supporting the growth of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies. SPRINT is delivered by the University of Southampton, University of Edinburgh, the Open University, University of Leicester (lead institution) and the University of Surrey. Here at Southampton, we have grabbed the opportunity to progress in this area with both hands and to date we have 20 funded projects with more in the pipeline. Professor Ian Williams, Professor of Applied Environmental Science and Associate Dean Enterprise within Engineering and Physical Sciences, is the SPRINT Chair for the University of Southampton. He said: “We were keen to be involved in SPRINT in order to drive successful business innovation through collaboration with our institution, developing long-term multifaceted business
partnerships which will lead to increased research, innovation and knowledge exchange funding, which we hope will in turn support an increase in student numbers through an enhanced student experience and institutional reputation. It’s been a no-brainer for us.” Ross Burgon is the Head of the SPRINT programme and is based at the University of Leicester. He said: “The space sector in the UK is a real economic success story. SPRINT helps fuel this growth by supporting SMEs and accelerating the timescales for their spaceenabled products and services to hit the market. It’s great to see how the sector has embraced SPRINT and I’m delighted that Southampton is playing such an important part in this.”
value of projects supported
Frances Clarke, SPRINT Innovation Advisor at Southampton, is working daily with academics, researchers and business partners. She said: “We cover space from many angles; among other things we range from Earth observation used to help mining and agriculture, to using machine-learning to optimise rocket design. We have experts in downstream analysis of satellite data; rocket propulsion and applying the imaging used in space telescopes for use in medicine. We can help with using vehicle manufacturing techniques applied to spacecraft; using global satellite data to model space debris and collision risk; and with predicting the routes of global shipping cargoes to save fuel and reduce carbon emissions.”
“It’s great to see how the “We range from Earth sector has embraced SPRINT observation used to help and I’m delighted that mining and agriculture, to Southampton is playing such using machine-learning to an important part in this.” optimise rocket design.” Ross Burgon Head of the SPRINT programme, University of Leicester
Frances Clarke SPRINT Innovation Advisor, University of Southampton
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON
UoS spin-out awarded a Space Camp Accelerator place
value of projects supported
SPRINT PROJECTS 2EXCEL GEO
The 2Excel geo project will remove the impact of cloud shadows from high resolution Earth observation imagery Professor Jรถrg Fliege
A project to investigate collision risks between satellites Professor Hugh G Lewis
This project develops sensors for outer space that withstand ultra-high vacuum and ionised radiation Professor Steve Gabriel
A collaboration aiming to produce a real-time aerodynamic drag meter for UK cyclists and athletes Dr Martyn Prince
Mafic is working to develop new machine learning solutions to improve workplace safety for heavy industries Dr Sri Dasmahapatra
GLOBAL TOWER SOLUTIONS
This project will help network operators to halve the cost of diesel generation for powering mobile phone towers Professor Gopal Ramchurn
STEAMJET SPACE SYSTEMS
This is a project to develop a new water-based propulsion system for CubeSats and small satellites Dr Charlie Ryan
This project will analyse Earth observation data to monitor mine surface displacement Professor Jadu Dash
ADEPT COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS
This is a project to optimise irrigation by supplying a water analysis tool for African farmers Professor Jadu Dash
A project to bring innovative gamma ray astronomy technology to the medical imaging sector Professor Tony Bird
This collaboration is developing a quantum random number generator for space to enhance secure encryption of satellite data Dr Charlie Ryan
For further information, visit: www.sprint.ac.uk
A project to advance the development of an innovative, new rocket engine for low-cost launches of small payloads from UK spaceports Dr Charlie Ryan
SMALLSPARK SPACE SYSTEMS
This project uses mathematical optimisation to improve hybrid rocket fuel propulsion design Professor Jรถrg Fliege
A project to develop an industry-leading marine vessel routing application to enable a cleaner future for commercial shipping Dr Adam Sobey
This project uses advanced numerical optimisation to develop a range of safer, more lightweight, composite structures for spacecraft Dr Adam Sobey
This project will develop a new electric plasma propulsion system for small satellites in low Earth orbit Dr Minkwan Kim
This project uses satellite images to study wake effects to develop a tool to help wind farm developers improve their decisions on location, co-location, and turbine configuration Professor Stephen Turnock
MAFIC LTD (project 2)
The project will develop a GNSS sensor to receive data about location and local time, to be layered on top of activity data, in order to help decisions around workplace safety Dr Sri Dasmahapatra
This start-up won a SPRINT supported Seraphim Space Camp Fellowship Programme place to develop the commercialisation of its new cold atom quantum technology solution Dr Andrei Dragomir
This project will explore new technology to improve the prediction of destination and arrival times of commercial shipping vessels Dr Adam Sobey
The vivaMOS project will develop a low-noise large-area X-ray detector for optical astronomy, with further potential in the medical field of SPECT imaging Professor Tony Bird
REDUCING SHIPS’ FUEL EMISSIONS USING AI SOFTWARE Engineers from the University of Southampton have partnered with met-ocean forecast data specialists Theyr Ltd to create an efficient voyage optimisation solution for commercial vessels.
“Working with the University as a leading centre for maritime technology will provide a springboard for our commercial product and acceptance within this market.” David Young Managing Director, Theyr
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/research/groups/maritime-engineering.page
Shipping accounts for about 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions
Increasing the robustness and effectiveness of voyage planning is at the heart of a Southampton collaboration with Theyr Ltd. Dr Adam Sobey and Dr Przemyslaw Grudniewski, from the Maritime Engineering group at the University, are working with the weather forecasting provider to combine realtime met-ocean satellite data with a world-leading ‘genetic algorithm’ that will allow vessels to avoid poor weather and travel at efficient speeds. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Shipping is a particularly efficient form of transport but it still accounts for about three per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. With more than 50,000 commercial vessels operating in our oceans there is plenty of room to improve the efficiency of these vessels to help our planet. This view is supported by shipping’s regulators and there is increasing legislative pressure to reduce emissions. This increase in legislation, combined with the increase in the cost of compliant fuels, has led to a high demand for solutions to reduce the fuel consumption of commercial vessels.
David Young, Managing Director of Theyr Ltd. “Working with the University as a leading centre for maritime technology will provide a springboard for our commercial product and acceptance within this market. The University brings 10 years of relevant research and development to the project and we couldn’t ask for a better accelerator. Without SPRINT, a solution would take some additional years to complete.” The project aims to exploit how two recently developed genetic algorithms can be used to take advantage of the increasingly higher fidelity data that is being made available. “Genetic algorithms are population-based search algorithms based on Darwin’s theory of evolution,” said Adam, who is also co-lead of the Marine and Maritime group in the Data-Centric Engineering programme at The Alan Turing Institute. “They were first introduced by Alan Turing, with a number of improvements having been proposed over the past decades. “It is one of the key algorithms in the AI toolbox as it can accurately approximate large-scale problems, maintaining the balance between exploration of the possible solutions and convergence towards the best solution in its search. These tools have been utilised in a range
of applications including the design of spacecraft antennas for NASA and in computer games.” Southampton researchers have developed new methods that replicate multi-level selection, the theory of natural selection that proposes that the fitness of an individual can be judged not only on their own fitness but also the collective of individuals with which they are associated (for example, a wolf and the pack it belongs to). This has led to an algorithm that exhibits a high diversity and is particularly strong on large or constrained problems. The research will develop a path-routing algorithm, or set of algorithms, that can be used on different problems, from short paths with higher fidelity met-ocean data, to longer paths with lower fidelity data. This will future-proof the software against these increases in fidelity and provide leading performance over competitor software, reducing the emissions at sea through more effective utilisation of high-fidelity data. Adam continued: “We hope a number of student projects will be developed in parallel to this research to help the team solve these challenging issues and provide creative solutions to deliver real world impact.”
The year-long SPRINT-funded project is a perfect illustration of merging commercial data and technologies with innovative university research as it is planned to use the Iridis 5 supercomputer, the UK’s largest academic supercomputer located at the University of Southampton, to accelerate the verification process. “This SPRINT project enables the acceleration in development of a benchmarked routing solution,” said
LAUNCHING LESSONS FROM COVID-19 INTO SPACE Cleaner air, reconnecting with nature, less rushing, and a fresh appreciation of the simple things in life. Although the negatives outweigh them, there are some unexpected positives that have emerged from the COVID-19 crisis. But one positive that Southampton researchers didn’t see coming was how two sets of very different work within the Active Living for Health Research Group could suddenly become mutually beneficial. One piece of work concerns astronauts’ muscle health and the other concerns setting up virtual physiotherapy clinics. Monitoring astronauts’ muscles A team of European researchers is about two years into a project testing pioneering methods to monitor astronauts’ muscle health. The Myotones Project, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), is monitoring muscles of astronauts in space in preparation for further research to tailor exercise to combat the currently unavoidable loss of muscle function experienced through being in space. Input to the project from team members in Health Sciences at the University of Southampton – Professor Maria Stokes, Dr Martin Warner and Paul Muckelt – is funded by the UK Space Agency and the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Maria said: “The astronaut Tim Peake was an excellent example of why this research is needed – he was very fit and determined to stay so. He ran a marathon up in space, yet had difficulty walking when he got back to Earth. We need to develop methods to prepare astronauts more effectively for landing on a planet, whether that’s returning to Earth or landing on Mars.”
The team, led by Professor Dieter Blottner from the Charité University Medicine Berlin in Germany, is using the unique combination of both a novel handheld device, called the MyotonPRO, which measures tone and stiffness of muscles, and ultrasound imaging to measure soft tissue thickness. Southampton’s expertise comes in both MyotonPRO experience and ultrasound knowledge. “We were invited to be partners on the project because we’ve done a lot of research to develop the robustness of the MyotonPRO, looking at its reliability and validity,” explained Martin, who brings technical expertise to the project. “So we bring the MyotonPRO knowledge but also a long history of ultrasound imaging expertise.” The combination of these two methods allows the ability to test muscles during a space mission which, until now, was limited due to a lack of suitable equipment. Testing during a mission means exercises can in future be tailored to individual astronauts. “Currently, astronauts follow an exercise programme in space for about two hours a day but adjusting their exercise plans to target the most in-need muscles while in space is challenging, as it varies from person to person,” said Maria. “Providing the physio and doctors with data on how an astronaut’s muscles are changing will help them tailor that individual’s training inflight. We test their muscles before they go into space, we monitor them when they are in space via a
direct link, then we run tests when they return to Earth for up to three months after landing.” Before their mission, the astronauts are trained at the European Astronauts Center (EAC) in Cologne, Germany. They are taught how to use the equipment so they can test each other in space. Data collection pre- and post-flight is performed at the EAC and at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, with the support of ESA and NASA missions coordinators and specialists. To monitor the astronauts inflight, a member of the team travels to the CADMOS space station in Toulouse, France, where there is a direct link to the International Space Station. This live interaction with the astronauts poses a very practical challenge: how to deliver instructions and assist with astronauts’ testing via a video link. Research Fellow Paul Muckelt said: “Guiding an astronaut to get a good image is very
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/healthsciences
1 The MyotonPRO device 2 and 3 The International Space Station 4 Virtual physiotherapy consultation
different to using the equipment yourself. The first few times it seemed quite odd, especially having a slight delay between giving an instruction and seeing something happen to the image. “It’s vital to use clear and consistent language to avoid confusion that could cause mistakes and prevent the data from being valid. Another aspect is ensuring we can see the astronaut from the right angle on the video.” This is where a totally different piece of research could help out – and vice versa. Perfecting virtual clinics Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, physiotherapists were among many health professionals who had to rapidly stop faceto-face consultations and conduct them via phone or video. Maria is involved in another project in Southampton that uses videoconference technology, looking at virtual consultations for physiotherapists. This project is led by Anthony Gilbert. Maria said: “COVID-19 has highlighted exactly how the Myotones Project and the techniques we are developing to deliver it will be beneficial for people on Earth sooner than we had envisaged. Remote guidance for selfmanagement is essential for the future.” Anthony was awarded a personal Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship by the National
“Tim Peake was an excellent example of why this research is needed – he was very fit and determined to stay so. He ran a marathon up in space, yet had difficulty walking when he got back to Earth.” Professor Maria Stokes Health Sciences
Institute for Health Research to investigate patient preferences for virtual clinics. His PhD at Southampton is supervised by Professor Carl May and Dr Jeremy Jones, along with Maria. In his clinical role, Anthony had to put his knowledge of virtual clinics to use recently in the NHS. His latest paper, about the rapid implementation of virtual clinics, was fasttracked due to the arrival of COVID-19. Anthony said: “We had a very short time scale to roll out virtual physio clinics – we had 11 days’ notice, with a target of 80 per cent of consultations to be virtual by that point.” He explained that the process taught his team several lessons which could be implemented in the Myotones Project and other clinical situations to improve virtual meetings and training with astronauts or patients. Having people on hand in the background to troubleshoot any technical issues was vital.
“If clinicians and patients were left with no technical support, there would be a lot of wasted time,” explained Anthony. Another lesson was the need to find time and space away from disturbances for clinics. “Some patients have limited physical space at home, so another issue to consider is how do they find an area where they won’t be disturbed?” said Anthony. Improvising with equipment and secondguessing what equipment might be needed, a forum to share learnings, and the imperativeness of everyone involved arriving at the ‘appointment’ on time were other lessons learnt by Anthony’s team that will be shared with others. Maria concluded: “These two projects have reciprocal benefits that can be shared for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of virtual communication in research and day to day practice, both in space and on Earth.”
Magnetospheres. Ionospheres. The solar wind. The aurora. If we can unravel the remaining mysteries around these phenomena of space, we will better understand our planet Earth.
UNDERSTANDING THE BIGGER PICTURE The University’s Space Environment Physics (SEP) Group is working to answer questions that remain about space phenomena. The group, which has been around since the ‘60s, is behind ground-breaking research into how our solar system works – with the promise of plenty more discoveries in years to come.
planets in the solar system. It helps us understand how that part of our environment works.”
The group is interested in space-related research that impacts other areas. A comprehensive understanding of the natural space environment will lead to a better understanding of parts of our own environment.
Dr Dan Whiter, NERC Independent Research Fellow and SEP Group member, specialises in researching the aurora and its effect on our planet. He is behind the Aurora Zoo citizen science project, detailed along with his latest research on page 16.
The SEP Group started in the 1960s as the Upper Atmosphere Research Group, which was set up by the late Pamela Rothwell and subsequently run by Henry Rishbeth, Mike Lockwood and (now Emeritus Professor) Betty Lanchester. Since then, it has evolved to include research into the aurora and magnetospheres. Dr Rob Fear, Associate Professor and Head of the SEP Group since 2013, said: “We look at the natural space environment, from the solar wind down to the upper levels of the atmosphere of Earth and other planets. That’s the region of space that the Earth’s magnetic field exists in, it’s called the magnetosphere and it protects us from the solar wind.” Solar wind First things first – what is the solar wind? “The top level of the sun’s atmosphere is very hot and is constantly boiling off as plasma, which is a very hot gas – this is known as the solar wind,” explained Rob. “This plasma flows through the solar system. Planets that have magnetic fields form bubbles, called magnetospheres, which protect them from this plasma. “In the SEP Group, we’re interested in how the solar wind interacts with the magnetospheres, ionospheres and upper atmospheres of
The Northern Lights are of particular interest too. “The aurora, or Northern Lights, is the end stage of the whole chain of events,” said Rob.
The fundamental science Key aspects of the SEP Group’s work are driven by understanding the fundamental science, especially around the aurora and how the Earth’s magnetosphere behaves. 1
For further information, visit: space.soton.ac.uk
1 The aurora seen from Iceland
Current members of the Space Environment Physics Group:
2 Shockwaves: This snapshot of a plasma simulation shows the structure of the magnetic field at the shockwave between the solar wind (on the left) and the plasma in Earth’s local environment (on the right). Instead of a smooth transition, the shock layer exhibits complex ripples, waves and islands.
• Dr Robert Fear Associate Professor and Head of the Space Environment Physics Group • Dr Caitriona Jackman Associate Professor and STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow • Dr Daniel Whiter NERC Independent Research Fellow • Dr Imogen Gingell Royal Society University Research Fellow in Space Physics • Professor Betty Lanchester Emeritus Professor • Two post-doctoral researchers and four PhD students
3 A theta aurora, as seen by NASA’s IMAGE satellite. Credit: NASA / UC Berkeley
Outlining some of this research, Rob said: “When you look at the Northern Lights from space, they form a ring, called the auroral oval. There is no aurora at the North Pole – the oval forms around it. In certain conditions, you can get a lot of complexity in the middle of that ring, and the group is looking at what that is.” One example of this complexity is the so-called ‘theta aurora’, which is where a bar forms across the auroral oval. Members of the group are investigating why this happens and what it means. “What we do know is that it means the structure of the magnetosphere is not how we think it is”, said Rob. The group uses data from spacecraft managed by the European Space Agency and NASA that are measuring the local environment, as well as images of the aurora and data from radars. Shockwaves in space and what happens when they occur is also of interest to the SEP Group. Dr Imogen Gingell, Royal Society University Research Fellow in Space Physics and member of the SEP Group, is conducting research to combine data from NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission with simulations to understand what happens at shockwaves. “Similar to when a fighter jet goes past, there is a sonic boom – the solar wind gets deflected around bodies in the solar system”, said Imogen. “The solar wind is going faster than the speed of sound so you get a shockwave called a bow shock.” Other magnetospheres in the solar system are also explored by the group. Dr Caitriona Jackman, Associate Professor, has explored how the magnetospheres of Mercury, Earth, Jupiter and Saturn
work using data from NASA and ESA spacecraft. Holding a Turing Fellowship in which she is applying machine learning techniques to event identification in space physics, Caitriona is currently working to understand how the aurora behaves at Jupiter. Rob said: “Through understanding other magnetospheres, we can learn more about our own. We need a good understanding of the fundamental science to understand and predict space weather well.” Space weather The SEP Group is keen to discover the impact of these natural processes on manmade technology, both in space and on the ground. To do this, it needs to understand ‘space weather’ – the changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space. Space weather affects, for example, electric cables on Earth. “Space weather can have an impact where we have anything long and metal, particularly at high altitudes” explained Rob. “It’s an issue in places such as Canada and Scandinavia, where power grids, oil pipelines and rail infrastructure can get damaged by geomagnetic storms and is recognised as an issue of growing importance in the UK.”
THE NORTHERN LIGHTS: BEAUTY OR BEAST? The beauty of the Aurora Borealis – or Northern Lights – is world famous and like nothing else. Caused by charged particles from space colliding with gas particles in the Earth’s atmosphere at 40 million miles per hour, the spectacle can only be seen in the Arctic (and the Southern Lights in the Antarctic). The aurora brings huge amounts of power into the atmosphere – typically about 50 gigawatts. That’s more than the daily electricity consumption of the UK (which was an average of 30.5 gigawatts last year, according to the National Grid). But what impact is the aurora and its impressive energy having on our planet, and how does it affect our climate? These are the questions Dr Dan Whiter, NERC Research Fellow, is addressing through his latest work.
of the Earth’s atmosphere, at the edge of space, from about 100km upwards. Thermal imaging Through his fellowship, Dan is developing his unique technique of using sensitive cameras equipped with colour filters. The spectrum of certain auroral emissions depends on the temperature of the atmosphere, so he is using his images to make maps of atmospheric temperature, similar to a thermal imaging camera.
To find the answers, Dan needs to be able to measure the temperature of the atmosphere at auroral heights – something that has never been done effectively as it’s an altitude that’s notoriously difficult to reach. It’s too high for weather balloons, but too low for spacecraft.
The temperature maps will be combined with radar measurements of the upper atmosphere to estimate the electrical conductivity. Dan is then using a computer simulation to understand how different types of aurora are produced, what electric currents they generate, and how the aurora affects the temperature and chemistry of the upper atmosphere.
Last year, he won a five-year fellowship from the Natural Environment Research Council to develop a novel technique to study how the aurora affects the temperature and chemistry of the upper atmosphere. The upper atmosphere is the outermost layer
He’s using the University’s camera system, ASK (Auroral Structure and Kinetics), in Svalbard. ASK has three cameras and has been operating since 2007, automatically taking images whenever it’s dark. ASK is located at the site of the EISCAT Svalbard
Radar, a radar system for measuring the ionosphere (charged part of the upper atmosphere). Dan said: “In Svalbard, very high up, we have cameras and a spectrograph to measure the temperature of the upper atmosphere. The cameras have telescopes on top to take images of a small area of the sky in great detail.” This area is approximately 100km up in the sky, and 12 times the size of the moon as viewed from the ground. “This allows us to look at a very small scale to see the heating around different types of aurora shapes and what they do to the atmosphere,” added Dan. “We’re trying to establish how much heating there actually is and how it’s structured. It could be very concentrated in a small region. In terms of chemistry, you could get production of nitric oxide, which could affect the atmosphere more widely, for example through destruction of ozone. It’s not known yet.” He explained that some heating is certainly occurring – enough that weather forecasters are taking an interest.
For further information, visit: www.aurorazoo.org
“The aurora definitely heats the upper atmosphere,” he said. “The Met Office is starting to expand its models to the upper atmosphere, as we are learning that there is more coupling between layers of the atmosphere than previously thought. We don’t know how it influences the Earth’s climate yet, but it’s something we, and the Met Office, want to understand.” Aurora Zoo Dan is also behind the newly-launched Aurora Zoo citizen science project.
“In Svalbard, very high up, we have cameras and a spectrograph to measure the temperature of the upper atmosphere. The cameras have telescopes on top to take images of a small area of the sky in great detail.” Dr Dan Whiter NERC Research Fellow
ASK has been running for 13 years and has collected vast amounts of data – thousands of hours of video. Aurora Zoo, which went live in April, is asking the public to help sort the images. “There is a huge amount of images we haven’t looked at,” explained Dan. “Members of the public can go to the website and classify the images into different types, then we will use machine learning to identify shapes and movement in the aurora automatically.” Aurora Zoo aims to understand how different small-scale shapes and movements
in the aurora are formed, and to learn what conditions are needed for those different shapes and movements to happen. Understanding this will enable scientists to include energy from the aurora in atmospheric and climate models, and enable us to predict and prepare for natural disasters such as geomagnetic storms (storms that are powerful enough to cause satellites to malfunction and electrical power grids to fail). Aurora passion It’s easy to imagine why Dan pursued a career in studying the aurora. “As a child I was always fascinated by the aurora and what it is,” he said. “I never imagined I’d be lucky enough to make a living out of studying it though!” So what’s it like to see the Northern Lights live? “There are always similar shapes and movement, but it varies in how dynamic and bright it is depending on factors such as the speed of the solar wind, which is charged particles coming off the sun and travelling at 300 to 800 metres per second,” Dan explained. “When you get something that’s really active it’s amazing to see.”
1 The EISCAT Svalbard Radar 2 and 3 The Northern Lights over the Kitinen river in Sodankylä, Finland
BODY ROCKET… READY FOR LAUNCH The accolade for the first fully completed SPRINTfunded project at Southampton goes to Dr Martyn Prince, Principal Research Engineer at the Wolfson Unit within the School of Engineering, and Professor Eric Rogers, Professor of Control Systems Theory and Design in Electronics and Computer Science. Together with entrepreneur and athlete Eric DeGolier, they have brought to life Body Rocket. Eighty per cent of aerodynamic drag when cycling is created by your body: your position, your clothing and the way you move as you ride. Previously, the only way to accurately measure your aerodynamic drag was to pay for an expensive test session at a wind tunnel or velodrome. That’s where Body Rocket comes in. It’s a device that fits on your bike, measuring drag on every ride. Eric DeGolier explained: “Data collected by sensors on your seat post, handlebars and pedals are beamed wirelessly to a Garmin cycle computer, giving you precise, real-time feedback as you experiment with different positions, movements and kit. Then, after each session you can sit down and analyse the data on our app to identify incremental improvements and answer questions like ‘what’s my optimal riding position?’ and ‘will adjusting my saddle help me go faster?’.” Martyn explained how the collaboration with the University of Southampton and its worldclass wind tunnel brought Body Rocket to life: “We were able to apply our knowledge and systems in sports based aerodynamic testing. This allowed iterations of the Body Rocket product design to be tested and benchmarked against aerodynamic drag results measured in the controlled environment of the wind tunnel with a range of different bike setups.
The feedback of each test session was used to inform the development of the product, resulting in continuous improvement in the measurement accuracy of the Body Rocket system.” Professor Eric Rogers worked with the Body Rocket team on data and signal analysis which was vital to product development, by applying algorithms from data analysis and system identification to recognise patterns in the measured data. Body Rocket has a patented aero system which directly measures drag force, using the same technology as the gold standard wind tunnel in which it was tested at Southampton. Eric DeGolier was inspired to develop Body Rocket when he was training to compete at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. He was the tandem captain with three-time Paralympian Matt King in the match sprint and kilo events. “Working with SPRINT and Southampton has been critical in validating our technology and raising awareness of the company,” he concluded. “Our collaboration with Southampton has led to serious talks with professional teams and additional research partners and was a key aspect in the company successfully raising an additional £250,000 investment this year.”
For further information, visit: www.bodyrocket.cc
“Our collaboration with Southampton has led to serious talks with professional teams and additional research partners and was a key aspect in the company successfully raising an additional £250,000 investment this year.” Eric DeGolier Entrepreneur and athlete
Photo: Ian G. C. White
GOING NUCLEAR Nuclear medicine is a vitally important tool for diagnostic medicine, and it is benefitting from a collaboration between the University, Southampton General Hospital and a locally based radiation detection business. Nuclear medicine is a specialised area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials, or radiopharmaceuticals, to examine organ function and structure using imagery from sensitive gamma ray detectors. Dr Matthew Guy, a specialist in medical physics at the hospital, along with Professor Tony Bird, from Physics and Astronomy, have been working closely with University spin-out company Symetrica to develop the next generation in gamma ray imaging in order to improve the effectiveness of nuclear medicine. Matthew explained: “Nuclear medicine offers unparalleled insights into the function of biological systems in the body – it is used widely to assess how internal organs are working and to monitor the spread of disease. By injecting a small amount of radioactive tracer into the body, usually using a pharmacological component to carry it to the intended target, imaging picks up these gamma ray emissions from inside the body. “We currently use very sensitive gamma ray detectors which rely on a lead collimator to act as the ‘lens’ in the imaging system. Unfortunately, that means most of the emissions coming from the body are lost before they hit our detector – they are absorbed by the lead. Nuclear medicine imaging is, therefore, always a balance between keeping the radiation dose at a reasonable level for the patient, not making the scan uncomfortably long and recording enough counts to limit noise in the image and obtain a diagnostic image.
For further information, visit: www.symetrica.com
Main image Patient entering an MRI scanner Right MRI scan of a human heart
“Our SPRINT-funded project with Symetrica aims to take the first steps towards delivering a novel gamma camera with greatly increased sensitivity compared to conventional clinical systems used in nuclear medicine. The new camera system would allow us to reduce the radiation dose and potentially reduce scan time, opening up nuclear medicine to a wider patient group, including more young and vulnerable patients. Faster scans would also reduce movement artefacts present in clinical images.” Tony who has worked with Symetrica many times in the past, explained how and why this more sensitive gamma camera was developed: “The imaging systems we are using were developed for gamma ray astronomy, where we try to study emissions from distant stars and galaxies. Because those emissions are so faint, our imaging systems, called ‘coded masks’, are designed to catch every gamma ray they can and are much more efficient than collimators.” The University has also developed new software that can deal with a moving camera or patient, again based on astronomical imaging allowing a telescope to move across the sky while still collecting information. Mark Foster, Research and Development Team Leader at Symetrica, commented: “As a business, collaborations with the University have always been at the forefront of our research activity. As a world leader in providing integrated radiation detection and identification solutions, working on this project with the goal of improving patient experience, outcomes and prognosis is something we relish being involved in.”
ON CLOUD NINE 22
For further information, visit: www.2excelgeo.com
Southampton experts are using mathematical techniques to remove the impact of cloud shadows in high resolution imagery. Experts in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton have teamed up with specialist remote sensing technology provider 2Excel geo to work on a collaborative project to remove the impact of cloud shadows from high resolution Earth observation imagery. The project will be funded by a grant from the SPRINT programme and will support 2Excel geo’s development of a new application that will supply detailed airborne data to a range of industries including agriculture, conservation, risk management, ecology, landscape management and water quality. Earth observation imagery is often accompanied by cloud shadows, which result in data being discarded or processed separately, increasing the time and cost of the data analysis exercise that enables the building of accurate predictive models for forestry and environmental monitoring. Southampton academics will use their expertise in numerical optimisation and quantitative remote sensing to develop a technique that will reliably and accurately remove the impact of cloud shadows from the imagery, reducing recollection costs and improving product quality for 2Excel geo’s customers. “2Excel geo was faced with a ‘best guess what’s under the cloud cover’
challenge and so, through the SPRINT programme, we’re able to help them with this by offering image analysis, optimisation and high performance computation,” said Professor Jörg Fliege, Head of Operational Research within Mathematical Science. “The University has one of the largest research groups in operational research in the country and our mathematical modelling expertise is a tremendous asset for this particular project.” Dr Chloe Barnes, Head of Remote Sensing at 2Excel geo, added: “As a provider of airborne remote sensing services, cloud cover and cloud shadow can be a real challenge as with an average of only nine clear days per year when there’s no cloud cover, it can impact our data analysis. This SPRINT project has been developed to help us to remove the effects of cloud shadow to enhance our data collection capacity.”
“As a provider of airborne remote sensing services, cloud cover and cloud shadow can be a real challenge as with an average of only nine clear days per year when there’s no cloud cover, it can impact our data analysis. This SPRINT project has been developed to help us to remove the effects of cloud shadow to enhance our data collection capacity.” Dr Chloe Barnes Head of Remote Sensing
Northampton-based 2Excel geo delivers bespoke remote sensing solutions with a domain focus on forestry, agriculture and the environment. It merges expertise in airborne and spaceborne data analysis to provide cost effective, high performance products and services for its clients. 2Excel geo is part of 2Excel, an innovative aviation services business founded in 2005 by two Royal Air Force pilots.
Astronomy and Cancer Sciences don’t usually collide. But thanks to a chance meeting between scientists from very different backgrounds, one pioneering project is bringing the two fields together – with potentially life-changing and life-saving consequences.
STARS ALIGN FOR SKIN CANCER 1
Mark Sullivan, Professor of Astrophysics and Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, and Mathew Smith, Post-doctoral Researcher in the School, dedicate their work to understanding the mysteries of exploding stars, or supernovae. Mathew met skin cancer specialist Rubeta Matin, Consultant Dermatologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, at a workshop for researchers led by Cancer Research UK, and quickly realised their expertise could help one another. “I went along to the workshop not thinking my research could have anything to do with cancer,” recalled Mathew. “But through chatting to Rubeta, we realised that the overlap between how doctors detect skin cancer and how we find supernovae is basically the same. 24
“We scoped out the project at the workshop and, after the event, won some funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.” Following nine months of producing preliminary results, the project – called MoleGazer – won a €150,000 Proof of Concept Grant from the European Research Council. Supernovae spotting Mark and Mathew have developed techniques to detect supernovae and understand the physics of supernova explosions. “We have discovered and studied new supernova explosion types, new ways in which stars explode, and we have learnt more about the physics of how they work,” said Mark. “We can now predict supernova explosions in a statistical sense – taking all the galaxies we monitor together, we can predict how many
supernovae we will find in the next year, for example.” They use a telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile, where it’s high enough and dark enough at night to achieve the images they need. The telescope is four metres in diameter and has a large camera mounted on it, which takes images of the night sky using very long exposures. “We take images on a weekly basis and then look for things that have changed,” explained Mark. “We do that by taking an image and subtracting from it from the one we took a week earlier. Lots of things change in the universe, but we just want to find the supernovae.” Machine learning is used to analyse the images. “We have big images and huge datasets,” added
For further information, visit: www.phys.soton.ac.uk
WHY ARE SUPERNOVAE IMPORTANT? Supernovae are exploding stars at the end of their lives, and there are many different types of supernovae arising from different types of stars. Mark explained: “We are interested in supernovae for two reasons. They are important because all the heavy elements in the universe are forged in supernova explosions. Most of the iron in the universe comes from a particular type of supernova, for example. Even the calcium in our bones comes from supernovae.” “Secondly, some supernovae are also helpful
in judging distance. Based on how bright a supernova appears to be, we can figure out how far away it is,” added Mark. “So supernovae are also a really useful way to measure distance in the universe.” “We can then use these supernovae to understand dark energy by mapping out distances in the universe. Dark energy is a mysterious substance; we think it’s about 70 per cent of our universe but we do not know what it physically is. We only know it is there because we see the effects on other things – it’s causing the expansion of our universe to accelerate over time.”
1 Cerro Tololo Observatory, Chile 2, 3 and 4 Using supernovae-detecting algorithms to spot skin abnormalities 5 Image taken with the Dark Energy Camera 6 Blanco Telescope, Chile
Mark. “It’s too much to go through and analyse with the human eye, so we use a computer to scan for things that might be supernovae and then use machine learning to identify those that are likely to be supernovae.” Adapting the technology The machine learning techniques that are used to spot supernovae can be adapted to detect skin abnormalities and, it is hoped, skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. According to Cancer
Research UK, more than 16,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer were diagnosed in the UK from 2015 to 2017. Doctors use Total Body Photography for patients at a high risk of developing skin cancer. High resolution images are taken of their whole body, and these images are examined by a clinician and compared over time. “We are going to take the techniques we have developed to detect supernovae via machine learning and apply them to the series of images from Total Body Photography,” explained Mark. “It will be a tool for clinicians to identify potential moles or skin cancers.” Through the Proof of Concept grant, the technique is being tested and developed. A uniform set of images of about 50 people
will be taken every two months at the dermatology clinic in Oxford. The machine learning algorithms will then be used to analyse the images for changes. “By the end of the 18-month project, we should be able to take NHS images and automatically detect skin abnormalities,” said Mathew. “Our aim is to be able to detect skin cancer, but skin cancers are less common so we will need a much larger number of patients to develop the technology so it can do this.” At this stage, the MoleGazer project team plans to apply for funding to enable the project to be rolled out to 10 dermatology clinics across the country. Mathew concluded: “The end result we are aiming for is a diagnostic tool to save doctors’ time and improve detection rates.” 25
Forget GPS navigation systems. Forget computers as we know them. Forget telecoms and transport networks as they currently operate. The future is in cold-atom quantum technology – and its possibilities are endless.
HOLDING THE FUTURE BETWEEN YOUR FINGERTIPS The quantum computer and all its promises are – for now – a fantasy. It could revolutionise communications, artificial intelligence, even medicine. But quantum computers have to be kept isolated from all forms of electrical interference, and chilled down using complex cryogenics. Due to this hyper-sensitivity, the quantum computer is tantalisingly out of reach.
“Everyone knows the promise that the quantum computer brings with it,” said Andrei. “Quantum technology also brings with it a huge array of sensors and devices, especially in the realms of time measurement and gravity measurement, and so on.
Dr Andrei Dragomir is on a mission to bring quantum technology into our lives through his start-up company, Aquark Technologies.
His plug-and-play device is an integrated atom chip that is designed to hold cold atoms in a vacuum cooled to absolute zero. A novel optical geometry sits at the heart of this device, which allows most of most quantum technologybased systems to be extremely power efficient.
Andrei, Research Fellow in Southampton’s Quantum, Light and Matter Group, has invented the first simple plug-and-play coldatom quantum device, which fits in the palm of your hand. It could enable mass market adoption of quantum technologies for the first time.
“My role is to bring quantum technology to the everyday user – that’s the main goal.”
So, what could it do? “The main impact we can have with this is in the infrastructure of security,” explained Andrei. “We could, for example, use atomic
clocks to synchronise trains and transport. We could map what’s underground without having to use a destructive method. “Maybe in 30 to 40 years’ time we could turn the quantum computer into something everyone could have in their living room. That would be the dream.” But, the prospect of ‘quantum inertial navigation systems’ – a vast improvement on GPS – is much closer. “I’d estimate this is five to seven years down the line,” said Andrei. “Essentially, we could navigate in a submarine or a rocket without the need for a GPS. Via an initial point of contact, you can get a very precise time sequence and a very precise measure of your speed and your rotation, so you know how fast you went and in which direction.
For further information, visit: www.aquarktechnologies.com
“It would be revolutionary in tracking satellites, for example. You would exactly know the position of your system. This technology will definitely help in exploring space.”
Via the space camp, Andrei is also beginning to discover possibilities for his work that he had never even considered.
1 Andrei Dragomir with the plug-and-play cold-atom quantum device 2 and 3 Andrei Dragomir in the lab
“I’ve been in the lab for five years,” he outlined. “I know my atomic clock and navigation system, but there are other possibilities that I haven’t even considered. I’m learning about them through the industrial partners on the space camp.
Accelerating Aquark With the support of Future Worlds, the University of Southampton’s own business accelerator, Aquark Technologies was launched at the CES2020 technology expo in Las Vegas. Following this, Andrei won a place on the prestigious Seraphim Space Camp, an intensive 10-week accelerator programme dedicated to rapidly growing space technology start-ups. The national SPRINT (Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology) business support programme, in which the University is a network partner, supported Andrei’s application to Seraphim.
The space camp provides strategic advice, mentoring and training on developing a market opportunity and preparing for potential venture capital investment. Andrei said: “This is a pivotal time for my company as I’m focused on transforming my ideas from academic research to a business environment. My primary objectives at this point are to target and secure seed funding to enable me to start the practicalities of the business and product development cycle, and to leverage engagement with some of the major players in the space sector to gauge the potential fit for my product in the current marketplace. “The support from SPRINT, the Space Camp and the University makes me confident that I can bring my start-up business to market in the near future.”
4 Aquark Technologies’ plug-and-play cold-atom quantum device
“For example, we use silicon and glass to fabricate components which are much lighter than stainless steel or titanium. Someone asked me if I could look into telecommunications – if I could blend my technology with other technology to make it lighter for use on satellites. Every payload costs millions to get into space, so this could really change that.”
What’s next for Aquark? On the immediate horizon Andrei is looking to consolidate relationships with industrial partners, define the team and get the first product out of the door. Aquark Technologies will start with individual components to address the current quantum devices development market. The company will then move towards complex product development in order to take full advantage of what its technology can offer, and the aim is to design a cheap, efficient atomic clock. Beyond that, Andrei is keen to explore his idea of a navigation system that could revolutionise GPS. And, further into the future, a quantum computer system, making the technology available to all. Watch this space.
“My role is to bring quantum technology to the everyday user – that’s the main goal. Maybe in 30 to 40 years’ time we could turn the quantum computer into something everyone could have in their living room. That would be the dream.” Dr Andrei Dragomir Research Fellow in Southampton’s Quantum, Light and Matter Group
EXPANDING THE USE OF SATELLITE DATA FOR REAL-WORLD BENEFITS Professor Jadu Dash is the Deputy Head Research and Enterprise in the School of Geography and Environmental Science. He and his colleagues are at the forefront of using satellite data in a range of applications from population mapping to ensuring food security.
Jadu spoke to Re:action about the cutting-edge ways in which he and his colleagues are expanding data application. He said: “We work closely with the European Space Agency and as such have collaborated on satellite programmes, particularly with the sensor for use on the Copernicus Sentinel-2 and -3 satellites focusing on land monitoring. This long-running relationship has enabled us to develop new algorithms to get the best out of the satellite sensor and develop applications for the data produced which have real-world benefits. “Three key uses of the data which have changed lives and created real benefits for people across the world are food security, population mapping and responding to natural disasters. “Accurate information on crop productivity and its variation across the country is crucial for policymakers to ensure food security of the population. Many countries across the world, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, do not have this information at the appropriate scale to enable interventions to make the country food secure.
“In the Building Research Capacity for sustainable water and food security in sub-Saharan Africa (BRECcIA) project, we are using datasets from multiple satellite sensors, for example Sentinel-2 and Plant Scope, and combining these with detailed field observation and crop modelling to estimate crop production at a field scale. The aim is to transfer this approach to BRECcIA partner countries Malawi, Ghana and Kenya to identify underperforming croplands and investigate potential factors responsible for gaps in crop yield.” The WorldPop group in the School includes worldleading experts in developing innovative methods to generate detailed information on population distributions and dynamics. Data from different satellite sensors is a key input to a number of mapping approaches, for example to identify human settlement patterns and change over time. The group collaborates with satellite image company Maxar to use maps of building footprints across the whole of sub-Saharan Africa to improve accuracies in mapping populations. Moreover, the use of satellite images of the Earth at night helps delineate
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/geography
“Accurate information on crop productivity and its variation across the country is crucial for policymakers to ensure food security of the population. Many countries across the world, particularly those in subSaharan Africa, do not have this information at the appropriate scale to enable interventions to make the country food secure.” Professor Jadu Dash Deputy Head Research and Enterprise, School of Geography and Environmental Science
areas of human habitation, and changes in brightness can indicate timings of seasonal migrations. Satellite-derived variables on land cover, vegetation, urbanicity, infrastructure and topography can also be correlates of key development or epidemiological metrics in low and middle income countries, such as poverty or malaria prevalence. The WorldPop group uses these relationships, together with household surveys, to produce high-resolution maps of health and development indicators. Jadu explained: “We use satellite images to quantify damage after natural disasters, track recovery and develop frameworks to respond to new and emerging environmental challenges. Recently we started a project – Teleconnected Sargassum risks across the Atlantic: building capacity for Transformational Adaptation in the Caribbean and West Africa (SARTRAC) – to investigate the impacts of and responses to the sargassum seaweed invasion of the Caribbean and West Africa since 2011, especially the impacts on and opportunities for the poorest in societies. In this project we will use
data from drones and satellite images to identify the floating sargassum seaweed, which will be combined with ocean modelling to develop and operate near real-time early warning systems for the Caribbean countries and Ghana. “In addition to academic research, we are working with industry to develop innovative uses of satellite data. One such example is our collaboration with Worldsensing, a global leader in Connected Operational Intelligence - using wireless sensor technology and real-time software solutions to provide operational intelligence. “Funded through the SPRINT programme, the project will develop a cost-effective method to monitor mine surface displacement at large scale, integrating a network of ground and underground sensors with imagery from the new constellation of European satellites. “The results of this project will have implications for improving early warning of potential hazards, safety of mining operations and environmental and postmining monitoring.”
Dr Angelo Grubisic
DR ANGELO GRUBISIC A TRIBUTE Dr Angelo Grubisic’s goal was to break world records for flying as far, as fast, for as long and from as high an altitude as possible in a wingsuit, an aerodynamic overall with fabric wings at the arms. He leapt from mountains or aircraft to glide toward the ground before deploying his parachute. Wingsuit-flying and base jumping were Angelo’s passions. He was described as ‘Rocket Man’ or ‘Jet Man’ for his stunts in which he took off and flew James Bond-style in a suit powered by jet engines on his arms and back.
While training for those world records, he jumped from a helicopter over the Asir Mountains of southwestern Saudi Arabia on 21 August 2019 and, according to three fellow fliers, performed a 360-degree barrel roll. Known as a ‘proximity flier’ – one who stays close to the landscape – he hit a ridge and was killed. He was 38. Angelo was a well-respected and muchliked Lecturer in Aeronautics and Advanced Propulsion at the University of Southampton. He specialised in the development and testing of advanced propulsion systems for spacecraft in support of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. He was a consulting engineer for the ESA during its BepiColombo mission to Mercury, a joint project with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency using two satellites that are due to reach Mercury’s orbit in 2025. Angelo was also a consultant to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, which is involved in exploration research on Mars, including probing the possibility of life on the Red Planet. Angelo’s sister Karina credits their grandfather as Angelo’s inspiration to take to the skies: “Our grandad, Tom, was a huge influence on us growing up, always there to help my Mum raise us and a great teacher. He was an avid skydiver, the oldest in the UK at one time and made his last jump aged 80. We would spend many weekends watching him skydive and Angelo was certainly inspired by him – he was Angelo’s real-life superhero.” Angelo studied Aerospace Technology at Coventry University, obtaining a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 2003.
students to just work towards what they would love to do – even if that wasn’t engineering – because he said it is better to be happy than to be good at something you don’t enjoy.” Colleagues at Southampton are erecting a memorial bench for Angelo. It will sit in Engineering Square near to his office and Building 7 where he gave many lectures.
“It’s safe to say he was by far the best teacher I have ever had. He was passionate about what he did and wanted to instil this in every student that he took under his wing.” At the International Space University in France he received a Master’s degree in Space Studies in 2005. He completed a Doctorate in Advanced Propulsion at Southampton in 2009 and attended a joint post doctorate fellowship programme with Southampton and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. One of his students said of him: “It’s safe to say he was by far the best teacher I have ever had. He was passionate about what he did and wanted to instil this in every student that he took under his wing. Angelo openly encouraged
Professor Bharathram Ganapathisubramani worked with him. He said: “Angelo was a great colleague, full of energy and passion. We remained impressed with his passion for Aerospace Propulsion and his ability to convey that passion to his undergraduate and postgraduate students. He was very driven to excel in his research and this drive and determination was crucial to the establishment of the David Fearn Propulsion Laboratory. He is sorely missed”. Angelo’s mother and sister are in the process of setting up the Dr Angelo Grubisic Young Engineers Fund, a foundation which aims to help creative and passionate individuals from underprivileged backgrounds towards careers in STEM by offering sponsorship for their post-secondary education. Karina said: “We hope that, in his death, Angelo’s legacy will live on by helping to nurture the next generation of engineers and pioneers who will continue to inspire others and move this world forward in a positive way.” Angelo Grubisic, space scientist and wingsuit flyer, born 24 June 1981, died 21 August 2019.
Research award highlights
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/research
RESEARCH AWARD HIGHLIGHTS FACULTY OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES
FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES
Dr Heidi Armbruster; School of Humanities Common Ground: Refugees and native residents create community in rural Hampshire Arts Council England; £14,835 over 5 months
Prof Antony Bird; School of Physics and Astronomy A low-noise large-area X-ray detector for optical astronomy Research England; £53,267 over 6 months
Prof Fraser Sturt; School of Humanities Offshore Decommissioning; baseline data Royal Academy of Engineering; £135,730 over 36 months Alberto Martin and Dr David Bretherton; School of Humanities Albeniz’s Music and the Sentence Principle (UK-Canada Globalink Doctoral Exchange Scheme) UKRI; £8,233 over 12 months Dr Rachel Bynoe; School of Humanities Investigating submerged archaeology offshore Happisburgh, UK – BA/Leverhulme Small Grants on behalf of the Honor Frost Foundation British Academy; £8,005 over 15 months
Prof Andrew Keane; School of Engineering with Co-I Dr David Toal COLIBRI – Collaboration Across Business Boundaries Aerospace Technology Institute; £1,991,290 over 36 months Prof David Thompson; ISVR, School of Engineering IN2TRACK2 Task 4.3.3 – Noise & Vibration Mitigation and Prevention Solutions H2020/Shift2Rail as subcontract from Network Rail; £71,885 over 12 months Prof David Thompson; ISVR, School of Engineering H2020-IN2TRACK2 Task 3.5.3 – Enhanced Track: Noise & Vibration Solutions H2020/Shift2Rail as subcontract from Network Rail; £15,600 over 12 months Prof Hugh Lewis; School of Engineering The Case for a Potential Civil SST System UK Space Agency; £10,651 over 1 month Dr Iris Nandhakumar; School of Chemistry Flexible Hybrid Thermoelectric Materials EPSRC; £609,079 over 36 months Prof Mike Wald; School of Electronics and Computer Science Global Symbols for Multilingual Speech, Language and Literacy Support Alan Turing Institute; £25,098 over 3 months Prof Malcolm Levitt; School of Chemistry H2020-MSCA-IF- NuMagLongRx European Commission; £170,347 over 24 months Prof Malcolm Levitt; School of Chemistry A Multidisciplinary Research Platform for Nuclear Spins far from Equilibrium EPSRC; £214,885 over 60 months Dr Yue Zhang; School of Engineering Developing the Potential for CO2 Capture and Utilisation in Hybrid Anaerobic Digesters BBSRC-NIBB Carbon Recycling Network; £65,500 over 12 months Prof Vladimiro Sassone; School of Electronics and Computer Science SPRITE+: The Security, Privacy, Identity and Trust Engagement NetworkPlus EPSRC; £60,319 over 48 months Dr Adam Sobey; School of Engineering A cleaner future for commercial shipping by effectively utilising higher fidelity satellite data Research England; £59,999 over 8 months 31
Research award highlights Dr Adam Sobey; School of Engineering Design of efficient automotive composites through a spacecraft structures optimisation methodology Research England; £87,854 over 8 months Dr Adam Sobey; School of Engineering Advanced Probabilistic Inference for Destination Prediction & Estimated Time of Arrival (DESTA) Research England; £76,739 over 6 months Dr Simon Blainey; School of Engineering ‘IntelliDwellTime’: demonstrating how modelling and visualisation can help understand sub-threshold train dwell variation RSSB (Railway Safety and Standards Board Limited); £58,408 over 6 months Dr Simon Blainey; School of Engineering Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI) – Hardware Fund allocation EPSRC; £97,940 over 48 months Dr Natalie Wheeler; Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics Advanced Characterisation of Mid-IR Hollow Core Fibres for Applications in Gas Spectroscopy and High Power Beam Delivery Royal Society; £58,814 over 13 months Dr Min Kwan Kim; School of Engineering H2020-FETOPEN-MHD Enhanced Entry System for Space Transportation (MEESST) European Commission; £279,424 over 36 months Dr Min Kwan Kim; School of Engineering Numerical simulation of metallic plasma flow for improving the performance of a plasma thruster: MagDrive Research England; £46,574 over 8 months Dr Min Kwan Kim; School of Engineering CubeSat de-orbit ALl-printed Propulsion System European Space Agency; €250,000 over 18 months Dr Omer Gurdogan; School of Physics and Astronomy Modern Reformulation of Quantum Field Theory RCUK; £417,559 over 48 months Dr Massimiliano Guasoni; Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics Self-organisation of light in multicore optical fibres: a route to scalable high-power lasers and all-optical signal processing EPSRC, £668,181 over 36 months Dr Gustavo de Almeida; School of Engineering Optimising the mixing-energy trade-off of the next-generation of algae raceway ponds Innovate UK; £472,093 over 30 months Dr Diego Altamirano; School of Physics and Astronomy A NICER look at accreting compact objects and a future look with eXTP Newton International Fellowship (Yanan Wang) Royal Society; £100,500 over 24 months Prof Stephen Goldup; School of Chemistry Design of Enantioselective Supramolecular Organo-sulfur Catalysts Based on Catenanes and Rotaxanes Royal Society; £12,000 over 12 months 32
Dr Ralf Deiterding; School of Engineering Studies of compressible flow over rough surfaces using Direct Numerical Simulation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL); £240,237 over 24 months Dr Blair Thornton, School of Engineering Autonomous Techniques for anthropogenic Structure Ecological Assessment (AT-SEA) Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Influence of Man-Made Structures in the Ecosystem (INSITE) program; £167,176 over 36 months Dr Abhinav Kumar Singh; School of Electronics and Computer Science Resilient Operation of Sustainable Energy Systems (ROSES) EPSRC; £170,172 over 36 months Dr Erisa Karafili; School of Electronics and Computer Science CyberHelper DCMS (in collaboration with Innovate UK & KTN); £32,000 over 4 months
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/research
FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND LIFE SCIENCES Mr Jason Sadler; School of Geography & Environmental Science The People of 1381 (The Peasants’ Revolt) AHRC; £117,875 over 36 months Prof David Sear; School of Geography & Environmental Science Urgency Fund Natural Environment Research Council; £65,000 over 8 months Dr Jon Copley; School of Ocean and Earth Science Seabed Mining And Resilience To EXperimental impact (SMARTEX) Natural Environment Research Council; £45,445 over 48 months Prof Phillip Warwick; School of Ocean and Earth Science Automated particulate sampling for radionuclide detection in the marine environment EPSRC; £73,596 over 24 months Prof Lucy Yardley; School of Psychology Rapid participatory co-design and implementation of an evidencebased digital behaviour change intervention to improve hand hygiene and limit the spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak MRC; £217,965 over 14 months Prof Tim Minshull; School of Ocean and Earth Science NSFGEO-NERC: Quantifying evolution of magmatism and serpentinisation during the onset of seafloor spreading Natural Environment Research Council; £419,610 over 36 months Dr Philip Higham; School of Psychology Enhancing learning and the student experience with successive relearning ESRC; £437,255 over 48 months Prof Jadunandan Dash; School of Geography & Environmental Science Ground based Observation for Validation Components 3 European Research Council; £38,152 over 12 months Prof Jadunandan Dash; School of Geography & Environmental Science Fiducial Reference measurements for Vegetation (FRM4VEG) European Space Agency; £180,178 over 24 months Prof James Wright; School of Geography & Environmental Science Expanding safe water and waste management service access to off-grid urban populations in Africa ESRC; £597,560 over 36 months
Prof Gavin Foster; School of Ocean and Earth Science From microns to reefs: mechanistic insights into coral calcification and the fate of coral reefs European Commission; £2,793,858 over 60 months Prof Andrew Tatem; School of Geography & Environmental Science GRID3 Phase 2 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; £2,561,624 over 36 months Prof Andrew Tatem; School of Geography & Environmental Science Southampton Population Modeling INV-002697 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; £217,655 over 24 months Dr Melissa Andrews; School of Biological Sciences Enhancing spinal cord regeneration through combinatorial therapies: use of integrin-mediated repair together with chondroitinase treatment International Foundation for Research in Paraplegia; £107,373 over 24 months Dr Nick Ruktanonchai; School of Geography & Environmental Science Quantifying the effect of lockdowns and other COVID-19 interventions on local and regional mobility Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications; £10,000 over 1 month Prof Samuele Cortese; School of Psychology A comparison of stimulant versus non-stimulant medication for ADHD in children and young people with a co-existing tic disorder: a randomised open-label, non-inferiority, trial of the clinical and cost effectiveness of methylphenidate versus guanfacine National Institute of Health Research; £16,217 over 50 months Prof Andrew Cundy; School of Ocean and Earth Science Emerging contaminant sources, fluxes and risk management across the Pearl River Estuary and South China Sea Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; £67,272 over 30 months Dr Yihua Wang; School of Biological Sciences Define the role of MYO9B in pulmonary fibrosis Royal Society; £11,895 over 24 months Dr Valerie Brandt; School of Psychology Neural mechanisms of change following cognitive behavioural therapy in tic disorders The Academy of Medical Sciences; £99,887 over 24 months
Prof Claire Foster; School of Health Sciences Continuation of Movember TrueNTH Global Registry (formerly PRO-CRV) Movember Foundation; £180,540 over 12 months Dr Philip Williamson; School of Biological Sciences UK High Field Solid-State NMR National Research Facility EPSRC; £51,798 over 60 months Prof Alison Richardson; School of Health Sciences NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Wessex National Institute of Health Research; £8,215,931 over 60 months
Research award highlights FACULTY OF MEDICINE Prof Christian Ottensmeier; Cancer Sciences CCHI – Covid National Institutes of Health – USA; £19,853 over 6 months Prof Christian Ottensmeier; Cancer Sciences Epigenomic and Transcriptomic Profiles of Human Immune Cells National Institutes of Health – USA; £168,246 over 60 months Prof David Baldwin; Clinical and Experimental Sciences STRATA: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study of sertraline treatment of anxiety symptoms in adults with autism spectrum disorders National Institute of Health Research; £8,024 over 48 months Prof Cyrus Cooper; MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit 2019–20 MRC; £1,538,492 over 6 months Prof Cyrus Cooper; MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit 2020–21 MRC; £325,000 over 12 months Prof Mark Cragg; Cancer Sciences Development of antibody technology for driving receptor agonism Cancer Research UK; £300,000 over 36 months Prof Richard Oreffo; Human Development and Health Bioprinted 3D model screen to examine the safety and efficacy of drugs for bone pain Animal Free Research UK LTD; £5,000 over 12 months Prof Janis Baird; MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine Social media, Smartphone use and Self-harm in Young People (3S-YP study) MRC; £23,118 over 36 months Dr Simon Crabb and Professor Griffiths; Cancer Sciences ProCAID clinical trial AstraZeneca; £258,016 over 16 months Prof Ying Cheong; Human Development and Health Intra-Uterine SENSing using a batteryless, wireless intrauterine platform (USENSE) National Institute of Health Research; £31,544 over 12 months Dr Sean Lim and Prof Alex Mirnezami; Cancer Sciences Oesophageal/colorectal cancer antigen discovery and characterisation for the development of multi-modal cancer immunotherapies Ervaxx Limited; £44,371 over 6 months Dr Emma Teasdale; Primary Care and Population Sciences Views and experiences of community nurses and practice nurses of leg care and prevention of cellulitis: qualitative interview study National Institute of Health Research; £22,578 over 9 months Dr Nigel Hall; Human Development and Health Timing of Stoma Closure in Neonates National Institute of Health Research; £22,237 over 24 months
Prof Gareth Griffiths; Cancer Sciences LUD2015-005 trial – Phase 1/2 Study of anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-L1 Combination Therapy for Oesophageal Cancer University of Oxford; £80,000 over 51 months Dr Hilda Hounkpatin; Primary Care and Population Sciences Understanding general practitioners’ views and experiences of using clinical prediction rules in the management of respiratory infections: a qualitative study National Institute of Health Research; £16,113 over 6 months Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller; Primary Care and Population Sciences Integrating health and social care: A mixed methods study in primary care National Institute of Health Research; £19,525 over 12 months Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller; Primary Care and Population Sciences Patterns of remission in type 2 diabetes: A cohort analysis in primary care National Institute of Health Research; £55,568 over 12 months Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller; Primary Care and Population Sciences ACE-Inhibitors/Angiotensin Receptor Blockers and risk of death for people infected with COVID-19: a prospective cohort study National Institute of Health Research; £13,600 over 3 months Dr Vito Mennella; Clinical and Experimental Sciences Proteomics and single cell RNA sequencing characterization of ‘hybrid cilium’ in airway epithelial cells AAIR Charity; £9,774 over 24 months
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/research
FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES Dr Olga Maslovskaya; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences Transitioning from Interviewer-Administered Surveys to Online Data Collection: Experiences, Challenges and Opportunities (GenPopWeb 2 Network) ESRC; £47,666 over 12 months
This list encompasses a selection of awards logged with University of Southampton Finance from February to May 2020 that are not considered commercially sensitive.
Prof Hou-Duo Qi; School of Mathematical Sciences Rank-2 Optimization Model and Algorithms for Multidimensional Scaling Graph Drawing Royal Society; £12,000 over 24 months Dr Remigius Nwabueze; Southampton Law School Modern Technologies, Dead Bodies and Privacy Law (APPLICATION) Leverhulme Trust; £179,633 over 36 months Prof Shelley Parr; Centre for Higher Education Practice Education Focused Academic Careers in Research Intensive Universities Staff and Educational Development Association; £1,000 over 16 months Prof Pia Riggirozzi; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences ESRC GCRF- Redressing Gendered Health Inequalities of Displaced Women and Girls in contexts of Protracted Crisis in Central and South America (ReGHID) ESRC; £2.2m over 36 months Dr Adam Pound, Royal Society University Research Fellow; School of Mathematical Sciences Gravitational waveforms from extreme-mass-ratio inspirals for the space mission LISA Royal Society; £11,880 over 24 months Dr Adam Pound, Royal Society University Research Fellow; School of Mathematical Sciences Fast and accurate models of small-mass-ratio inspirals Royal Society; £33,152 over 13 months Prof William Jennings; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences Trust and Distrust in the Disunited Kingdom ESRC; £27,800 over 6 months Dr Serkan Ceylan; Southampton Business School APM Understanding Agile Project Management Association For Project Management; £50,000 over 15 months Dr Vasilis Strogilos, Southampton Education School Co-teaching Between Mainstream and Special Schools: A Partnership to Promote the Inclusion of Pupils with Special Needs and/or Disabilities The British Academy. £9,966 over 15 months Dr Jonathan Havercroft; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences Just and Unjust Riots: A Normative Analysis of Militant Protest British Academy; £124,296 over 12 months
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