Two Imperial academics win ERC grants to accelerate research concepts
Two Imperial academics have won European Research Council (ERC) proof-of-concept grants to accelerate their research ideas and concepts.
Academics from the Department of Materials and the Department of Computer Science have won grants worth €150,000 each, to explore the commercial or societal potential of the results of their research projects.
The funding is part of the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.
The grants build on funding provided to scholars through ERC Consolidator grants. The additional funding can be used by awardees to verify the practical viability of scientific concepts, explore commercial opportunities or prepare patent applications.
New funding to study 3D printed batteries for portable devices
Researchers have received new funding from the European Research Council to study 3D-printed batteries for wearable devices.
Wearable electronics, which includes wristwatches, fitness trackers, hearing and temperature sensors, is a new technology that requires energy autonomy. Wearable devices like smartwatches are usually built with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Despite their excellent performance, these are flammable, difficult to customize in different forms and Lithium becomes a critical resource.
The European Research Council has funded new research, led by Dr Cecilia Mattevi, to investigate how rechargeable, aqueous electrolyte-based Zn-ion batteries are made using 3D printing to power portable devices.
The use of 3D printed batteries in portable devices offers many advantages. These offer a more durable alternative to traditional batteries, are cost effective to produce and designs can easily be customised.
Dr. Cecilia Mattevi, Reader in the Department of Materials, explains: “The idea behind the 3DZnBat proof of concept is to address pressing challenges in the battery field for wearable electronics such as safety, availability of raw materials and the conforming characteristics”
“This project will allow me to develop the proof of concept to explore the market potential of 3D printed rechargeable Znion batteries based on aqueous electrolytes.”
Improve software systems
Professor Cristian Cadar of the Department of Computer Science studies ways to help software systems evolve safely.
The ERC Proof of Concept PATCH project has its origins in the research work carried out within the framework of the ERC Consolidator Grant project awarded in 2018, PASS: Program Analysis for Safe and Secure Software Evolution.
PATCH aims to develop program analysis techniques that would allow software systems to evolve safely. In PATCH (“patch” is a technical term for a software change), we plan to explore the applicability of some of the research techniques developed in PASS to build a proof-of-concept prototype that could be applied to software projects. real. .
In particular, PATCH will use Dynamic Symbolic Execution (DSE), a program analysis technique that systematically explores program paths, which are modeled as a set of mathematical constraints. Our goal in this project is to build a proof-of-concept prototype that applies DSE techniques to incrementally analyze software changes, as the code evolves.
Professor Cadar said: “PATCH offers an exciting opportunity to explore the potential of our ERC research in practice. Modern software systems are evolving at an accelerated rate, and there is an acute need to comprehensively validate software changes, which is the primary goal of our project.