Several CDT-EI researchers from Heriot-Watt University are undertaking a 6-month training programme in applied data science. The course, which is being run by Cambridge Spark Ltd will take place over 20 weekends from February 2018 to July 2018. The programme will be project-based learning over 9 modules covering topic areas such as cloud computing and databases, neural networks and deep learning. The researchers will also undertake an industry sponsored project as well as attend a final showcase weekend. Lucas Kirschbaum, CDT-EI, Cohort 4 says

The data science course I will attend is an elaborate training in the most recent data processing techniques. Therefore, this course will not only build up fundamental knowledge but also support me understanding the practical aspects of managing the data I collect within the scope of my PhD. I am hoping to gain valuable insights of how to set up customized algorithms for different testing scenarios, validating the data and in general how to approach big datasets.

Dr Will Whittow has been listed as a finalist for the 2018 FDM Everywoman in Technology awards.

Dr Whittow, senior lecturer at The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, and one of our PhD supervisors, has been named as one of three finalists for ‘The Male Agent of Change’ award.

This brand new award will be presented to a male recipient who has shown a commitment to encourage and champion women to progress in the world of technology.

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments: “At everywoman, we recognise the role that men also play in ensuring a strong pipeline of female talent, which is why this year we have introduced the Male Agent of Change Award.”

The awards are in their eighth year and celebrate some of the most inspiring individuals that have changed the world of technology both in the UK and internationally.

This year’s theme was Improving Tomorrow’s World, which aims to highlight the significance of supporting girls and women into studying STEM subjects, despite the dominance of men in the sector.

The winners will be announced on Thursday 8 February at the awards evening which will take place in London.

Dr Whittow has previously won the Women’s Engineering Society ‘Men as Allies’ award for his efforts to support female colleagues and students in the field of engineering.  

Good Luck Will!

Cohort 3 researcher, Darius Roman, visited the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) to attend the Failure Analysis short course, present his research to CALCE students and faculty, and to discuss his research challenges with the CALCE team.

Darius’ PhD research project involves a fusion prognostics approach that incorporates failure analysis, modelling, condition monitoring, machine learning and prognostics techniques to predict the remaining useful life in bottom hole assembly electronics for oil and gas companies, including Baker Hughes a GE Company—his current project sponsor. Following the presentation, Prof. Michael Pecht met individually with Darius to discuss best methods and ideas to contribute to the success of the research and the project. Darius is a member of the Smart Systems Group (SSG) at Heriot-Watt University, where he acts as an ambassador. The group is led by director, Dr. David Flynn, an Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University and Co-Director of the CDT-EI. The SSG’s view is that global society is placing increasing demands on its critical infrastructure, systems that deliver vital services such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, food and water, the built environment and healthcare. The systems within these sectors are increasingly complex and interdependent, interacting at a global scale. This complexity is required for efficient operation, but also makes them more susceptible to cascading failure under stress. The Group believe we must transform data into actionable information and utilise this insight to create innovative, data informed, Smart Systems that can assess, adapt and respond to dynamic conditions.

The collaboration between CALCE and SSG began with the seminar titled “The Era of Embedded Intelligence” where Prof. Pecht acted as a key note speaker on PHM. The seminar brought together global leaders and innovators in Embedded Intelligence from industry and academia on how this field of research is influencing future product development, business models, resilience of critical infrastructure and exploration within extreme environments. The seminar aimed to promote the importance and impact this area is making to society, and to engage the audience on how we innovate and train the next generation of engineers, scientists and business people – to prosper in this data driven age. CALCE and SSG are currently looking for future collaboration where students and academics alike could visit, exchange research ideas and discuss research challenges. Prof. Pecht will be visiting HWU periodically in an advising and educating capacity to further straighten the collaboration.

To read more about the collaboration visit here

To learn more about SSG visit here

On 7th December 2017, the Doctoral College hosted the annual Loughborough University Research Conference (#LboroResConf17) for doctoral researchers, research staff, academic staff and professional service staff. The event provided attendees with an excellent opportunity to network with one another whilst learning more about the vast range of research conducted at Loughborough University and Loughborough University London.

The theme of this year’s University Research Conference was ‘Building Research Excellence'. In total, there were 19 oral presentations, including Cohort 1 researcher Joe Holt, and 41 poster presentations, inlcuding Cohort 2's Gaj Sivayogan and Cohort 3's Marcus Pollard.

Joe Holt has said “I enjoyed the opportunity to present my work to a wide and varied audience. Trying to tailor my presentation to a general audience helped me to distil down the more important points of my research and really focus on the parts that matter.”

We are a founding member of UK-RAS Network and delighted to have taken part in the first UK-RAS Conference on ‘Robotics and Autonomous Systems’ (RAS 2017). Cohort 2 researcher Rhys Comissiong, Cohort 3 researcher Christos Kouppas and our Centre Manager, Donna Palmer attended the inaugural event.

The conference aimed addressed the synergetic interaction of human and robotic technologies. As robots and agents have begun to enter our everyday lives they begin to do so in an increasingly autonomous way. These increasing levels of interaction will pose serious challenges to the capability of robots to interact with humans in an increasingly autonomous way. The talks were categorised into three general topic areas including 'Assistive robotics' and 'Aerial robotics'. Talks covered a range of application areas from the nuclear industry to health and life sciences.

Oral and poster presentations were given by PhD and early-career researchers from all members of the UK-RAS Network and illustrated the breadth of robotics and AI work taking place across the UK and the fruitful conversations taking place during the breaks demonstrated the importance and relevance of this conference taking place. Prizes were awards for the best presentations and posters, the winners being invited to present at TAROS 2018.

The Image below is of Christos Kouppas presenting his work.


Cohort 3 researcher Youssef Hamid recently attended Reliability Engineering for Electronic Packaging (RELPACK 2017) organised by IMAPS. He write, the day was hosted by Daresbury laboratories and consisted of presentations, tutorials and a number of exhibitors. Topic areas presented included, material design for harsh environments, the use of computational modelling to illustrate failure and the use of design of experiments for qualitative accelerated life testing. Also presented was the different ways to mimic end use when investigating reliability testing of wearables. I attended RELPACK specifically because I was looking for an overview of packaging techniques such as BGA / Flip Chip technology / wire bonding. I got to meet Prof Chris Bailey from Greenwich University and Dr. Colin Johnson from Oxford University, which could bridge possible collaborations. From the industrial perspective, I met with Ville Hevonkorpi from Primoceler in Finland whose work is of great interest. Ville presented his work novel hermetic glass packaging for demanding applications and provided some amazing examples of the manufacturing services and reliability validation.

Summary of RELPACK 2017 written by Keith Arber, Bassem Mouawad, Chris Powley & Stephen Riches.

Written by Cohort 3 researcher Matt Hammond.

I recently attended a training course hosted by Swagelok Nederland and delivered by Phil Harris (Insight Analytical Solutions, Inc.) who has over 30 years’ experience in analytical instruments and systems. The training took place over 5 days at Swagelok Nederland’s offices in Waddinxveen, Netherlands. The technical course is aimed at process technicians and managers who regularly deal with analysers and sampling systems, such as in the oil and gas and chemical industries.

The course covered various components of sampling systems from obtaining a sample, transporting and treating the sample, and analysing the sample, and the design issues that can occur in each area. Three key criteria were emphasised throughout the course: compatibility, timely, and representative. Compatibility refers to the components and materials used and how they should be chosen based on the sample being collected and the state the sample is in. For example, certain filters may be needed to remove dirt and condensates from a natural gas process stream before it reaches the analyser. Time is also a key issue in sampling systems. If the analyser is used for process control, a fast response time is necessary to adjust process parameters in real time. When designing a sample system, it’s important to know where pressure drops occur, for example over valves and filters. Finally, obtaining a representative sample means obtaining a meaningful analytical result for its intended purpose. Loss of representation can occur due to chemical reactions within the sample, fractionation during phase changes, and contamination valve leaks and adsorption.

The course was very intense and covered concepts taken from chemistry, physics and engineering. Over the next few years, I hope to be able to apply the knowledge I gained from this course to my research into Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). A key issue in LNG composition measurement is the current need to vapourise the sample and measure the gas phase, however fractionation and sample enrichment are common problems, and sample system design is a hot topic.

Cohort 4 researchers Luke Wilkinson and Pete De’ath recently attended the Royal Society of Chemistry’s conference ‘Assessing & Managing Real Life Risks from Chemical Mixtures’ at Burlington House, London.

The morning session consisted of two sections; ‘Human and Environmental Assessment of Mixtures – State of the Art Research’, and ‘Industry and Regulatory Approaches for the Management of Mixtures – State of the Art Tools’. The research section included presentations from Prof Stephen Holgate (University of Southampton) on why it is important to regulate chemical mixtures; Prof Greet Schoeters (VITO Belgium) on human biomonitoring and biomarkers and how they can be used to link exposure to environmental chemical mixtures; and Prof Paul Whitehead (Oxford University) on modelling and analysing mixtures in an aqueous environment. The second section consisted of presentations from Dr Tina Mehta (DOW Chemicals UK) on industry’s approach to assessing and managing chemical mixtures; Dr Stephanie Bopp (European Commission JRC, Italy) on the regulatory approach of assessing and managing chemical mixtures; and Prof Jacob van Klaveren (RIVN, Netherlands) on the future of European infrastructure of chemical mixture testing and assessment. While both sections were interesting, the first session being more research based was much more relevant and understandable. The second section was industry focused and was a lot more confusing as there were many undefined acronyms used, which made the presentations very hard to follow.

The afternoon session consisted of 4 breakout sessions. The session we attended was ‘Bridging from Science to Risk Management for Decision Making’ and included a range of people from various scientific, regulatory and industrial backgrounds. While it was interesting to hear the ideas and procedures from each of the people present, it was very difficult to contribute much as the session was very industry focused.

The most enjoyable part of the day was the start as the presentations were more interesting and relevant to our current research positions; however the later sessions were useful for exposure and an insight into areas outside of our current field.

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Dr Keith Brown