2 May 2013

ACSE Staff in Exclusive £5m Frontier Engineering Award

The University of Sheffield has just been awarded one of only five available EPSRC Frontiers of Engineering awards and staff from the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering have played a key role in the application.

These Frontier awards are new innovative engineering projects which bring leading engineers and scientists together to address some of the major engineering challenges facing the world. The successful Sheffield project, worth £4.75m, involves Professor Steve Billings and Professor Visakan Kadirkamanathan from ACSE. Its entitled 'Modelling Complex and Partially Identified Engineering Problems - Application to the Individualised Multi-scale Simulation of the Musculoskeletal System'.

The aim of the project is to develop a modelling framework focused on the human musculoskeletal system but designed as a generic platform to address other engineering challenges that involve multi-scale modelling, unobservable states and variables, and uncertainty. The main objectives are:

    a) the development of a multi-scale model of the musculoskeletal system that describes the mechanobiological processes from the whole body (neuromuscular control and body dynamics) down to the cellular level (bone remodelling, mechanosensing);

    b) the creation of a multi-scale model from a partially identified input obtained by fusing a generic atlas of the anatomy, physiology, biology, and biomechanics for each individual.

This framework will be integrated into an efficient hypermodelling approach, numerically optimised at each scale level.

Funding for the Frontiers of Engineering projects was announced by the UK's Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, at the first ever Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS) in London in March 2013. The event was organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the US National Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. It was also supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and other partners.

At the prestigious inaugural launch, Mr Willetts said: "Over the last two centuries engineering innovations have transformed lives, but we still face global challenges like tackling climate change, improving healthcare and meeting basic needs, like access to clean water. This significant investment recognises the vital role that the UK research base can have in providing solutions to these challenges."