Areas of particular EU strength

The University of Sheffield has a number of established groups and departments that have had consistent success across the full breadth of European Research funding opportunities.

Click on the tabs below for more information about three of our key EU strengths: Insigneo, Sheffield Robotics and Ageing.

Insigneo

  

   

Insigneo Logo

Insigneo

performs cutting-edge research in computer simulations of the human body to enhance diagnosis and treatment. Recent EC awards include 14 significant projects, with 9 coordinated by our Institute.

 

The Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine is a collaborative initiative between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Established in May 2012, the Institute is multi-disciplinary in structure, and includes as members over 140 academics and clinicians, collaborating to develop computer simulations of the human body and its disease processes that can be put to use directly in clinical practice. A major component in Insigneo’s progress has been the sustained financial support resulting from success in winning significant project funding from the European Commission.

In silico medicine (named after the silicon semiconductors in the computers use) is the application of computational modelling to improve the understanding of human health, advancing the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. More specifically, in silico medicine is characterised by modelling, simulation, and visualisation of biological and medical processes in computers with the goal of simulating real biological processes in a virtual environment. This is almost certainly the most sophisticated application of computing technology in healthcare, and Sheffield has become the UK’s principal centre for this work. Insigneo performs cutting-edge research in areas of fundamental and applied biomedical modelling, imaging and informatics, as it pursues the research agenda of the Virtual Physiological Human initiative. The Institute’s work will bring about a transformational change in healthcare through multidisciplinary collaborations across many strategic areas, including personalised diagnosis and treatment and improvements in independent, active and healthy ageing.

Early progress with in silico medicine developments was limited by the not uncommon difficulty in identifying funders sympathetic to crossover activities between engineering and medicine, and the European Commission’s enthusiasm was invaluable in establishing the credentials of the domain. Sheffield’s in silico researchers - all now key members of the Insigneo Institute - have been winning EC funding since 1999, and were significant beneficiaries of the 7th Framework Programme’s targeted funding of around €220M€ in the Virtual Physiological Human initiative. Insigneo researchers are now maintaining this success, and recent awards include 14 significant EC-funded projects, with Sheffield funding of around £8M, 9 of these being coordinated in Sheffield. Five of the recent EC projects are led by Professor Marco Viceconti, the Executive Director of Insigneo, with total Sheffield funding of over £1.5M. Marco is on record as saying:

  

   Professor Marco Viceconti

The support of the European Union is vital to funding essential research here at the Insigneo Institute. Insigneo has benefited from substantial grants under the 2007-2013 Framework Programme 7 and the current Horizon 2020 funding stream. Such funding allows us to attract the best minds from across Europe to come to work and study at the Institute, but also to partner with specialists in other EU countries. The benefits of this collaboration cannot be understated. Science is a collective endeavour. No single country can develop radically innovative technology alone. In silico medicine is the perfect example of why mobility of ideas is so essential.

Professor Marco Viceconti, Executive Director oF Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine

   

Recent EU Funded Research Projects

EurValve -

Personalised Decision Support for Heart Valve Disease

   

EurValve

Personalised Decision Support for Heart Valve Disease

    

EurValve

Funded under: H2020-PHC
Duration: 2016-2019
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Rod Hose

  

About the project:

EurValve (Personalised Decision Support for Heart Valve Disease), is a €5M research project, which is developing a comprehensive, clinically-compliant decision-support system. This project is a collaboration of 13 academic, clinical and industrial European Beneficiaries and is led by Professor Rod Hose.

The project is looking at Valvular Heart Disease., which currently affects 2.5% of the European population, but is overwhelmingly a disease of the elderly and consequently on the rise. It is dominated by two conditions, Aortic Stenosis and Mitral Regurgitation, both of which are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, yet which pose a truly demanding challenge for treatment optimisation. By combining multiple complex modelling components developed in recent EC-funded research projects, a comprehensive, clinically-compliant decision-support system will be developed to meet this challenge, by quantifying individualised disease severity and patient impairment, predicting disease progression, ranking the effectiveness of alternative candidate procedures, and optimising the patient-specific intervention plan. This algorithmically-driven process will dramatically improve outcomes and consistency across Europe in this fast-growing patient group, maximising individual, societal and economic outcomes.

For further information about the project and the full list of collaborating partners please visit : http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/199897_en.html

CHIC -

Computational Horizons In Cancer: Developing Meta- and Hyper-Multiscale Models and Repositories for In Silico Oncology

   

CHIC

Computational Horizons In Cancer (CHIC): Developing Meta- and Hyper-Multiscale Models and Repositories for In Silico Oncology

 

CHIC

Funded under: FP7-ICT
Duration: 2013-2017
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Marco Viceconti

  

About the project:

CHIC is developing clinical trial driven tools, services and infrastructures that will support the creation of multiscale cancer hypermodels (integrative models). The project aspires to make a breakthrough in multiscale cancer modelling through greatly facilitating multi-modeller cancer hypermodelling and its clinical adaptation and validation. Standardisation of model description and model “fusion” will be two of the core means to achieve this goal. The creation of such elaborate and refined hypermodels is expected to sharply accelerate the clinical translation of multiscale cancer models and oncosimulators following their prospective clinical validation (in silico oncology).

   

CHIC Website

MD PAEDIGREE -

Model-Driven European Paediatric Digital Repository

 

MD PAEDIGREE

Model-Driven European Paediatric Digital Repository

  

MDPaedigree

Funded under: FP7-ICT
Duration: 2013-2017
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Rod Hose

 

About the project:

MD-Paedigree represents a clinically-driven and strongly VPH-rooted project, where 7 world-renowned clinical centres of excellence pursue improved interoperability of paediatric biomedical information, data and knowledge by developing together a set of reusable and adaptable multi-scale models for more predictive, individualised, effective and safer paediatric healthcare, being scientifically and technologically supported by one of the leading industrial actors in medical applications in Europe operating in conjunction with highly qualified SMEs and some of the most experienced research partners in the VPH community.

 

MD PAEDIGREE Website

AirPROM -
Airway Disease PRedicting Outcomes through Patient Specific Computational Modelling

 

AirPROM

Airway Disease PRedicting Outcomes through Patient Specific Computational Modelling

  

Airprom

Funded under: FP7-ICT
Duration: 2011-2016
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Jim Wild 

 

About the project:

AirPROM stands for ‘Airway Disease Predicting Outcomes through Patient Specific Computational Modelling’. This is the technical name for the five year European-wide project (2011-2015), which aims to produce computer and physical models of the whole airway system for people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

AirPROM is an EU-funded project that brings together 34 partners from universities, research institutes, the biopharmaceutical industry, patient organisations, small companies and existing research projects with expertise in physiology, radiology, image analysis, bioengineering, data harmonization, security and ethics, computational modelling, systems biology, and health communication.

    

AirPROM Website

AirPROM booklet

   

The AirPROM video highlights the various tests that patients will encounter to help personalise the treatment that they currently receive. The data collected from these tests will be stored in a central database and used to help monitor the risk to future patients.

Avicenna Alliance - The Association for Predictive Medicine

   

Avicenna Alliance

The Association for Predictive Medicine - A new international collaboration

   

Avicenna

Project funded under: FP7-ICT
Duration: 2013-2015
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Marco Viceconti

   

Avicenna (980-1037), was a Persian physician and philosopher who first gave a formal structure to the process of evaluating the effect of a treatment on a disease. He introduced systematic experimentation and quantification of the study of physiology and the introduction of experimental medicine, clinical trials, randomised controlled trials and efficacy tests. The fundamental nature of clinical trials has changed surprisingly little since then and the need for long and complex experiments in vitro, on animals, and then on people and patients during clinical trials pushes development costs to unsustainable levels. The beginning of the 21st century, however, saw the birth of in silico medicine, a new way to investigate living organisms and the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease through modelling, simulation and visualisation of biological and medical processes using computer simulations. In silico Clinical Trials (ISCTs) are “the use of individualised computer simulation in the development or regulatory evaluation of a medicinal product, medical device or medical intervention”. Supplementing clinical trials with ISCTs could result in faster, cheaper and better trials, both in animals and humans.

   

About the project:

Avicenna was a coordination and support action where Insigneo lead a consortium to develop a ‘roadmap’ describing the route by which ISCTs will be introduced into clinical trials. This Roadmap - "In silico Clinical Trials: How Computer Simulation will transform the Biomedical Industry" was published in January 2016.

  • What does the Roadmap say?

The roadmap provides an in-depth analysis of the research and technological development challenges that need to be overcome in order to have wider and more effective adoption of in silico technologies in the development of biomedical products. It proposes that industrial and academic stakeholders explore the formation of a pre competitive alliance to coordinate and implement public and privately funded research on this topic. It also proposes that regulatory bodies across the world embrace innovation and, in collaboration with academic and industrial experts, develop the framework of standards, protocols and shared resources required to evaluate the safety and the efficacy of biomedical products using ISCT.

The Roadmap can be downloaded at: Avicenna-isct.org/roadmap/

  • The future – The Avicenna Alliance:

Turning these ideas into a reality becomes the task of the newly created “Avicenna Alliance – Association for Predictive Medicine” - industry and research organisations who have a commercial or research interest in in silico medicine and seek to put the Avicenna roadmap into policy and ensure the development of a regulated in silico market. The Alliance bridges the gap between the scientific community, industry and policy makers by advocating for policy changes that take into account scientific and market developments. Its association with the Virtual Physiological Human Institute, which has recently been appointed to the eHealth Stakeholder Group of the EC, provides the Alliance access to a key influential group in Brussels. It will offer a central resource of experts to work with regulators, commissioners and politicians to establish computer modelling and simulation as core technology in 21st century medical and surgical practice.

  

Avicenna Alliance Website

  

   

Additional information

   

For more information about Insigneo and the Institute's work please explore its website or download the Insigneo Trifold.

   

The video below gives a brief insight into the work of the Institute.

Listen to (in order of appearance) Insigneo Executive Director, Marco Viceconti; Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield; and Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor, University of Sheffield; who explain the importance of the research undertaken here in Sheffield.

  

Professor Marco Viceconti speaks about the Virtual Physiological Human at TEDxSheffield 2012

Sheffield Robotics

   

Robotics

Sheffield Robotics

Our research hub for advanced robotic and autonomous systems holds 16 EU grants

    

Sheffield Robotics is one of the UK’s leading hubs in researching ethical, useful, safe and sustainable robotic and autonomous systems with input from a wide range of disciplines including engineering (materials, electronics, mechanical systems and control), Artificial Intelligence, computer science, medical and physical sciences as well as the social science and humanities. It has one of the largest portfolios of ongoing publicly-funded robotics research in the UK, supported by both the UK Research Councils and the European Union. Since its foundation in 2011 it has been awarded 16 EU grants valued at approximately £6,2M. Professor Tony Prescott, Director of Sheffield Robotics, leads on 6 of these projects with a total value of £2.7M.

       

Prescott_Robotics

   

Robotics is at heart a multi-disciplinary activity for which the collaborative funding available from the European Union is ideally suited. Sheffield Robotics has a broad network of European partners, including leading centres in Spain, Italy, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Thanks to support from the EU we have been able to mix fundamental research in topics such as biomimetics and social cognition with applied work in domains such as education and assistive living.

Professor Tony Prescott,
Director of Sheffield Robotics

       

Recent EU Funded Research Projects

WYSIWYD -
What You Say Is What You Did

 

WYSIWYD

What You Say Is What You Did

 

WYSIWYD

Funded under: FP7-ICT
Duration: 2014-2016
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Tony Prescott

 

About the project:

The What You Say Is What You Did project (WYSIWYD) will create a new transparency in human robot interaction (HRI) by allowing robots to both understand their own actions and those of humans, and to interpret and communicate these in human compatible intentional terms expressed as a language-like communication channel we call WYSIWYD Robotese (WR). WYSIWYD will advance this critical communication channel following a biologically and psychologically grounded developmental perspective allowing the robot to acquire, retain and express WR dependent on its individual interaction history. WYSIWYD will contribute to a qualitative change in human-robot interaction (HRI) and cooperation, unlocking new capabilities and application areas together with enhanced safety, robustness and monitoring. It is only through this step that humans will be able to trust robots: when they say what they do and do what they say.

    

WYSIWYD Website

EASEL -
Expressive Agents for Symbiotic Education and Learning

 

EASEL

Expressive Agents
for Symbiotic Education and Learning

 

EASEL

Funded under: FP7-ICT
Duration: 2013-2016
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Tony Prescott

    

About the project:

EASEL will explore and develop a theoretical understanding of human-robot symbiotic interaction (HRSI) where symbiosis is defined as the capacity of the robot and the person to mutually influence each other, and alter each other’s behaviour over different time-scales (for instance, within encounters and across encounters). Symbiosis requires that the robot can read, and be responsive to, the behaviour and emotional state of the person, and adapt its own behaviour to take into account the user social context and extract knowledge from long sequences of behavioural interaction and changing its action responses accordingly.

  

EASEL Website

CSN-II -
Convergence Science Network of Biomimetics and NeuroTechnology

  

CSN-II

Convergence Science Network of Biomimetics and NeuroTechnology

  

CSNII

Funded under: FP7-ICT
Duration: 2013-2016
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Tony Prescott

  

About the project:

Advances in innovative technologies will depend on the discovery and mastery of novel principles as opposed to boosting existing ones. One approach to answer this challenge is to translate fundamental principles underlying the unsurpassed ability of natural systems, in particular brains, to conquer the challenges of the real world into new technologies.
The Convergent Science Network for Biomimetics and Neurotechnology (CSNII) will directly contribute to this ambition by advancing the definition, federation and consolidation of research in the Future and Emerging Technology area of Neuro- and Bioinspired systems. In doing so CSNII will on one hand capitalize on the results and findings of the Coordination Action “The Convergent Science Network” (CSNI) and on the other expand the reach and impact of the European research community in this area by establishing strategic collaborations with key researchers and research communities in the USA and Japan.

The CSNII project objectives

  • Carry out an overview of the current trends and future developments in the field of neurotechnology and biomimetic sciences
  • Provide an overview on current curricula in the field of biomimetic sciences and neurotechnology and to develop future strategies for post graduate courses in the field, as well as some further teaching material such as video-lectures and podcasts from key scientists from the NBIS research community
  • Reach out to the various stakeholders in the fields of biomimetics and neurotechnology in order to contribute to community building and to disseminate the project results and project deliverables, i.e. future trends, roadmaps, etc
  • Participate in and actively organize strategic workshops and conferences in the fields of biomimetics and neurotechnology

 

CSN-II Website

  

Sheffield Robotics is also a partner in the Human Brain Project FET Flagship.

Human Brain Project FET Flagship

Human Brain Project

      

The Human Brain Project is part of the FET Flagship Programme, which is a new initiative launched by the European Commission as part of its Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) initiative. The goal is to encourage visionary, "mission-oriented" research with the potential to deliver breakthroughs in information technology with major benefits for European society and industry. The Commission envisages the Flagship program as a highly ambitious initiative involving close collaboration with National and Regional funding agencies, industry and partners from outside the European Union.

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. Using ICT-based facilities, the Human Brain Project (HBP) aims to provide researchers worldwide with ICT tools and mathematical models for sharing and analysing large brain data they need for understanding how the human brain works and for emulating its computational capabilities.

This Flagship initiative, launched in 2013, gathers a large consortium of 112 partner organisations, mostly from Europe but also from the USA, Japan, and China and involves world leading experts. It is a multidisciplinary consortium which includes experts in computer science, neuroscience, robotics, micro-electronics, and also in innovation and exploitation, ethics, education, programme management and communication. The overall budget of the HBP is estimated to €1 billion over ten years (2013-2023), with support from the Commission and from other partners including universities, industries and Member States' own programmes.

    

The Human Brain Project Youtube Video Channel - check out video guides on various aspects of the project: Neuromorphic Computing, Future Medicin, Future Neuroscience , Future Computing, Ethics & Society, Neuroinformatics, Medical Informatics Platforms, High Performance Computing, Brain Stimulation Platform, Neurobotics, Mathematical and Theoretical Foundations of Brain Research.

     

Additional information

    

About Sheffield Robotics

The 21st century can expect to see transformative social and economic change due to the impact of advanced robotic and autonomous systems. To address these challenges, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University have come together to create Sheffield Robotics, that seeks to integrate robotics research within the City and across the wider region. Founded in 2011, Sheffield Robotics operates dedicated research facilities for robotics in both universities and has academic and research student members from many disciplines and departments. With partners such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Sheffield Robotics covers a broad spectrum of research in robotics and autonomous systems, including industrial, field, and service robotics.

Sheffield Robot is also building research partnerships with leading industrial, commercial, and government organisations in order to ensure the real-world relevance and impact of our research. As a member of the Northern Robotics Network, and of the EPSRC UK-RAS Network, Sheffield Robotics acts as a central hub for robotics research within the UK. Through its international links, it seeks to play a leading role in the world robotics community, and to promote the development of ethical, useful, safe, and sustainable robotic and autonomous systems that can enhance human prosperity across the globe.

Sheffield Robotics Website

  

Introduction to the research of Sheffield Robotics

Area of Ageing

  

Alan Walker

Ageing

Professor Alan Walker from the Department of Sociological Studies holds 9 EU awards

   

Sheffield has particular strengths in the area of Ageing developing practical policy and implementation guidance as well as scientific, technological and design responses to help older people enjoy better quality of life as they age. In response to the global challenges posed by an ageing population, acclaimed research on 'active ageing' led by Professor Alan Walker in the Department of Sociological Studies, has driven changes to policy and practice on a local and international scale, improving the lives and wellbeing of countless older people. Professor Alan Walker, previously Director of the 10 year £22M New Dynamics of Ageing Programme, holds 9 EU awards totalling over £5M. He is currently Director of a major European Project: MOPACT. Previously he directed INNOVAGE, the European Research Area in Ageing and the FUTURAGE Project.

     

Recent EU Funded Research Projects

MOPACT -
Mobilising Active Ageing in Europe

 

MOPACT

Mobilising Active Ageing in Europe

 

Mopact Logo

Funded under: FP7-SSH
Duration: 2013-2017
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Alan Walker   

   

About the project:

MOPACT is a four year project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme to provide the research and practical evidence upon which Europe can begin to make longevity an asset for social and economic development.

This ambitious project runs for four years from March 2013 to February 2017 and includes 29 partners in 13 countries. The consortium comprises a multi-disciplinary group of leading researchers who will propose innovative ways to realise active ageing in Europe. The project will support the goals set by Horizon 2020 and the European Innovation Partnership in Active and Healthy Ageing to increase average healthy life expectancy across the EU through a series of policy, practice, service developments, product development and innovations required to support this aim. MOPACT aims to develop the research and practical evidence which will enable Europe to ensure its ageing population is an asset to society and the economy.

   

MOPACT Website

MOPACT Result In Brief

Report Summaries

INNOVAGE -
Social Innovations Promoting Active and Healthy Ageing

 

INNOVAGE

Social Innovations Promoting Active and Healthy Ageing

 

Innovage

Funded under: FP7-HEALTH
Duration: 2012-2015
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Alan Walker

  

About the project:

INNOVAGE is a three year project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme dedicated to social innovations which support active and healthy ageing.

The project was dedicated to developing and testing, as well as surveying and cataloguing, social innovations that will have a solid impact on improving the quality of life and well-being of older people. In particular the project aimed to make a major contribution to the EU Horizon 2020 goal of extending healthy life years. INNOVAGE builds on the expert research team at the centre of the FUTURAGE project, which created A Road Map for European Ageing Research. In total nine partners from seven different countries make up the consortium, each bringing different disciplinary interests and expertise in ageing research.

   

INNOAVAGE Website

INNOVAGE Result In Brief

Report Summaries

FUTURAGE -
A Roadmap for Ageing Research

  

FUTURAGE

A Roadmap for Ageing Research

 

FUTURAGE

Funded under: FP7-HEALTH
Duration: 2009-2011
Sheffield Principal Investigator: Professor Alan Walker

  

About the project:

FUTURAGE is a two-year project funded by the European Commission, under the Seventh Framework Programme, to create the definitive road map for ageing research in Europe for the next 10-15 years.

Drawing on experts and specialists from Europe and beyond, the road map will represent the most extensive consultation ever conducted in this field and identify the main priorities on ageing and health from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Through a chain of events, academic and non-academic stakeholders will engage in a state-of-the-art assessment of research priorities, emerging fields and methods to build consensus on the research priorities in ageing until 2025.

  

FUTURAGE Website

FUTURAGE Roadmap

FUTURAGE Result In Brief

Report Summaries

      

   

Additional information

    

Academic Achievements

Professor Walker was the first to be named ESRC Impact Champion of the Year at the inaugural ceremony in 2013 because of his contribution to social science and the challenge of ageing. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Social Policy Association, British Society of Gerontology and University of Sheffield. He was the first to receive the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) European Medal for Advances in the Social and Behavioural Sciences, and in June 2014, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for Services to Social Science.

Professor Alan Walker's Website

 

Impact Champion of the Year

Professor Alan Walker winner of the Impact Champion of the Year, ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2013. The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize recognises and rewards the successes of ESRC-funded researchers achieving outstanding economic and societal impacts.