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22 March 2012
Highly realistic surgical simulation which reduces patient risk has become the 100th Cardiff University project to win an award under the European Union’s prime research funding scheme, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
A team from the University’s School of Engineering has secured £1.2M under the European Research Council Starting Independent Grants scheme to develop ‘RealTCut’, a project led by Professor Stéphane Bordas to accurately reproduce the effects of surgical cutting in real time.
The Cardiff-based team, together with engineers, applied mathematicians and neurosurgeons from Australia, France, Belgium and Germany is looking to lay the foundations for a new generation of simulators which could reduce risk to neurosurgery patients and aid training world-wide by developing algorithms to recreate the actual ‘feel’ of cutting into the brain.
Professor Stéphane Bordas, said: "Training is vital and new simulators are emerging to allow brain surgeons to practise their skills in a virtual environment, much as pilots do. Securing this European funding has been crucial in giving us the freedom to focus on key fundamental scientific blocks currently hindering progress. We believe RealTCut has the potential to help doctors training in this extremely difficult field. We hope in time that a surgical simulator can be developed which can combine accuracy with real time reproduction of cutting and other procedures."
The European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) is currently the main pan-European scheme for Research and Technological Development funding. To date, Cardiff University has secured around £37M, across 100 projects to help build capacity and increase collaborative research and development on a pan-European and International basis.
Dr David Grant, Vice-Chancellor for Cardiff University said: "Securing our 100th award through the FP7 programme is a significant achievement and demonstrates how the University has led the Welsh participation in EU funding programmes.
"The Programme has been and continues to be a strategically important vehicle through which the University has been able to support the development of the knowledge economy in Wales.
"Our successes have delivered many innovative and collaborative research projects with Welsh industry and research partners across Europe and worldwide. We will continue to work hard on winning further FP7 awards and are focused on increasing our share of EU funding through Horizon 2020 for the benefit of Wales, the UK and further afield."
Welsh Government Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology & Science Edwina Hart said: "Our Science for Wales strategy has clearly highlighted the need for Wales to win its share of competitive external research and development funding so I am delighted to see Cardiff University secure its 100th award under the European Union’s prime research funding scheme.
"As this project demonstrates, the vital links between the research and science skills base in Wales, and the processes of innovation, development and commercialisation can transform scientific outputs of research into economic advantage for Wales."
Examples of other projects that have benefitted from FP7 funding include:
· An academic and commercial partnership spanning the Irish Sea which secured £705,000 funding through the FP7 Marie Curie Industry Academia Partnerships and Pathways scheme (IAPP) for a new approach to skin cancer. HIPODERM combines expertise from the Welsh School of Pharmacy, the Welsh company An-eX Analytical Services and two Irish partners, the Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology and the company EirGen Pharma.
· Collaborative research projects led by researchers from the Cardiff School of Computer Science and Informatics with partners at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and other European universities. Through the Future and Emerging ICT programme, the £2M SOCIALNETS project explored how social networks can be exploited for the delivery and acquisition of content, including issues of security and trust. The same programme is funding RECOGNITION, a further £2M project seeking to provide greater personalisation for Internet users.
· The Gas Turbine Research Centre at the Cardiff School of Engineering, set up with initial support from the European Regional Development Fund, is a key partner in the large H2-IGCC and BRISK consortia of industry and universities. The H2-IGCC focuses on low-emissions combustion of gases derived through modern CO2 capture processes, whilst BRISK aims at enhancing biomass utilisation in power generation.
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