Researcher Links and Institutional Links

Grant opportunities aimed at streightening ties between the researchers in Russia and the UK.

Researcher Links

Researcher Links are bilateral scientific seminars for young researchers in Russia and the UK on topics relevant for the both countries.  Since 2013, we have helped organise 10 seminars for more than 250 British and Russian scientists.

This year, the British Council will provide financial and administrative support to three projects selected in 2016 jointly with the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR).  

Upcoming workshops 

1. Dynamical plasma processes in the heliosphere: from the Sun to the Earth

Venue, Date:

UK Coordinator:

Russia Coordinator:

Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 18-21 September 2017 

Prof. Valery Nakariakov, The University of Warwick

Prof. Aleksandr Altyntsev, Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences

2. Climate change impacts on surface water and groundwater hydrology in cold regions

Venue, Date:

UK Coordinator:

Russia Coordinator:

Melnikov Permafrost Institute (MPI), Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, 28 May — 1 June 2017

Dr Ross Woods, University of Bristol

Dr. Victor Shepelev, Melnikov Permafrost Institute, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences

3. Prediction of complex reservoir systems under uncertainty: value of multi-scale and multi-physics challenges

Venue, Date:

UK Coordinator:

Russia Coordinator:

Tomsk Polytechnic University, 3-7 July 2017 

 

Dr Vasily Demyanov, Heriot-Watt University

 

Prof. Ivan Goncharov, Tomsk Polytechnic University

Institutional Links

Institutional Links project offers long-term grant support of the partnerships between Russian and UK universities and research organisations.  Grants of 100,000-150,000 GBP are allocated for two-year joint programmes.

Institutional Links objectives are:

  • to initiate new research and innovation collaborations between groups, department and organisations in Russia and the UK (universities and research institutions)
  • to strengthen scientific ties at the level of research groups, departments and organisations
  • to involve non-academic organisations in UK-Russia partnership to facilitate transfer of knowledge and technologies, achieve concrete results
  • to develop UK-Russia local hubs in particular areas of scientific knowledge and engage a wider range of organisations involved in research and innovation in these areas.  

Projects supported by Institutional Links grants in 2017-2018

Seismology of Solar Coronal Active Regions

Seismology of Solar Coronal Active Regions

Partner Organisations:

Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences

The University of Warwick

UK Head of Project:

Prof. Valery Nakariakov, University of Warwick

Russia Head of Project:

Dr Ivan Zimovets, Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Abstract:

Our civilisation has become highly dependent on the conditions in the near-Earth space, known as space weather. Extreme events, usually associated with solar flares, cause energy supply blackouts, disrupt communication and navigation systems, damage satellites, with the financial losses reaching tens of billions £ worldwide. It especially affects the developed countries such as the UK and Russia. Responding to the importance of this issue, the UK Government added space weather to the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, and the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre was founded in 2013. Recently, the Russian Government established the National Helio-Geophysical Complex.

The key ingredient of space weather forecasting is reliable and robust diagnostics of physical conditions in the place of its origin, the atmosphere of the Sun. A highly powerful and promising technique for the diagnostics is based on the use of recently discovered wave processes in the solar atmosphere, as natural probes, the method of seismology. The proposed project aims to establish long-standing mutually beneficial research links between Warwick, UK and IKI, Russia, which are both established world leaders in the observational study and theoretical modelling of waves in space plasmas. The unique complementarity of Warwick's and IKI's research expertise and experience allows us to attack one of the key challenges of solar physics, the estimation of the free magnetic energy in flaring sites known as active regions. This knowledge is vital for the estimation of the energy released by a flare and its effect on the Earth and human infrastructure. We shall achieve it by studying oscillations in active regions, applying novel analysis techniques to the data obtained with the best available spaceborne facilities.

The research outcomes are expected to qualitatively improve space weather forecasting. The project will provide a solid foundation for Russian-UK collaboration in space science.

British-Russian Centre of Excellence in Catalytic Systems: Combining Experimental and Mathematical Modelling Techniques

British-Russian Centre of Excellence in Catalytic Systems: Combining Experimental and Mathematical Modelling Techniques Integrating Chemical Kinetics, Heat and Mass Transfer from Atomic to Plant scale

Partner Organisations:

University of Leeds

Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia

UK Head of Project:

Prof. A John Blacker, University of Leeds

Russia Head of Project:

Prof. Eleonora Koltsova, Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia

Abstract:

A Centre of Excellence for experimental and computational studies of chemical and physical transformations in catalytic flow processes will be established. This innovative research will lead to the development of predictive mathematical models for integrating supported-homogeneous biological and chemical catalysts into multi-catalytic pathways, supported by experiment.

The subject of this research is of great interest to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries as it seeks to avoid the costs and waste associated with work-up and isolation at each stage for these complex organic chemicals. The work will investigate reactant and product flux from one catalyst to the next, and the effect on control of the catalytic cycle, including binding and release, mass transfer microfluidics and mixing.

A modelling kernel for each catalyst system will be developed as a modular ("plug-and-play") modelling tool that will enable the design of an integrated multi-catalytic pathway. The model will be tested with examples from the Pharma, and Agrochem sectors with the aim of improving the efficiency, reducing the cost and waste associated with this high value chemical manufacturing. The project team will work with companies in these sectors to disseminate, validate and encourage adoption of the modelling tool.

Methods for Multiomics data analysis using GWAS, eQTL and pQTL as a framework for molecular pathway profiling

Methods for Multiomics data analysis using GWAS, eQTL and pQTL as a framework for molecular pathway profiling

Partner Organisations:

University of Edinburgh Novosibirsk

National Research State University

UK Head of Project:

Prof. Jim Wilson, University of Edinburgh

Russia Head of Project:

Dr Dmitry Alexeev, Novosibirsk National Research State University

Abstract: 

The project aims to create strategic institutional links between the University of Edinburgh (UoE) and Novosibirsk State University (NSU) in the area of big data, focussed on genomic and other high dimensional biomarkers (multi-omics). We will develop methods for integration of biomedical data for the purposes of risk prediction, biomarker discovery and deciphering the molecular basis of disease.

The UK team have a unique collection of deep biomarker measurements in the ORCADES cohort, with the potential to construct an integrated profile of each subject's state of health: linking together changes at the molecular level and subsequent disease. The Russian team are expert in processing such large and diverse datasets: developing algorithms and implementing them in usable software. We shall develop hypotheses of causal pathways and then test them in ORCADES. While most multi-omics research initiatives try to identify correlations between features, causation is less clear. In our proposal, the deep and wide ORCADES data will enable us to identify causation and underlying molecular pathways. For our exemplar - cardiovascular disease - we aim to define pathways leading from genes to phenotypes, and molecular hallmarks of its development. This would potentially lead to development of novel biomarkers, patient stratification methods, and identification of new drug targets. The methodology could readily be applied to other diseases.

The experience of participation in the project with one of the leading universities in multi-omics research will allow NSU to advance its own bioinformatics school and reinforce its credentials as a strong partner for future international and domestic collaborations. For Edinburgh, working with leading experts in the statistical analysis of big data offers the prospect of ongoing collaboration and knowledge transfer in a field with considerable potential for translation and impact on patient care.

Thermotherapy for the treatment of malignant brain tumours mediated by functionalised magnetic nanoparticles

Thermotherapy for the treatment of malignant brain tumours mediated by functionalised magnetic nanoparticles

Partner Organisations:

UCL Cancer Institute, University College London

Institute of Cytology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

UK Head of Project:

Prof. Kerry Chester, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London

Russia Head of Project:

Dr. Maxim Shevtsov, Institute of Cytology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Abstract: 

The proposal will combine Russian and British expertise to develop innovative nanotechnologies for treatment glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive primary brain cancer. Despite multimodal treatment, glioblastoma has a median survival of just over 1 year. Innovative treatments are urgently needed. We will take a new approach, combining our scientific and clinical specialities to develop superparamagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), a new class of treatments, to meet this need. SPIONs are non-toxic and used clinically for imaging. However, when placed in a harmless external alternating magnetic field (AMF), the SPIONs release heat in a process termed magnetic hyperthermia.

It is this property we will exploit using a custom built, portable AMF delivery system. Heat is directly toxic to the cancer cells and can also alert the immune system to the presence of the cancer. During the proposal, we will create and develop advanced SPIONs, targeted to a specific protein (HSP-70) on the surface of cancer cells. We will characterise these targeted SPIONs using biological and physical parameters. Then we will investigate the efficacy and action mechanism of these targeted SPIONs as mediators of magnetic hyperthermia therapy in rodent models of glioblastoma. A successful project outcome would offer a potential new treatment for glioblastoma and would eventually impact upon the way glioblastoma is treated in the clinic through clinical translation of the findings into early phase clinical trials for patients with glioblastoma. The outcomes from this project will also generate a valuable contribution to the growing body of scientific literature on targeting nanoparticles for cancer therapy.

Furthermore, this collaborative effort between the UK and Russian federation in the fields of nanotechnology and cancer research will strengthen the research links between the two countries with economic benefits from potential commercialisation of the scientific findings.