Bath leads programme grant funding mathematical research in radiation transport modelling: MaThRad

IMI Director, Andreas Kyprianou, leads a successful bid for a £7.3 million programme grant from the EPSRC Mathematical Sciences portfolio together with numerous academics and clinicians from the University of Cambridge, the National Health Service (NHS) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). From Bath, IMI Academic Fellows Alex Cox and Tristan Pryer from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, are also investigators on this ambitious grant as well as IMI MIRA Laura Hattam who will assist with impact delivery. The project will focus on integrating recent mathematical developments into radiation transport modelling, such as the theory of random spatial branching structures, interacting particle Monte Carlo methods and inverse problems.

The MaThRad team will develop faster and more accurate algorithms  with stakeholders in nuclear decommissioning, modern nuclear reactor design (fission and fusion), heavy ion cancer therapy and the space industry to improve safety and efficiency.

Part of the background for the project was generated, in collaboration with long-term industrial partner Jacobs, at a SAMBa problem formulation workshop (ITT2) over 7 years ago. Following investment of 2 co-funded PhDs from Jacobs, and a £0.5M responsive mode EPSRC grant, Prof. Paul Smith at Jacobs brought Bath colleagues in contact with the nuclear Monte-Carlo modelling group at Cambridge. Joining further wtih the NHS and NPL, the seed of the programme grant was germinated just before the 2020 lockdown, which has led to the recent award.

The programme grant will fund up to 10 postdocs spread equally across the Universities of Bath and Cambridge. There are also an additional 10 PhD students funded by Jacobs, NPL and the Universities of Bath and Cambridge, which will be incorporated into the SAMBa CDT.

MaThRad is a significant collaboration between mathematicians, engineers, medical physicists and clinicians. The core team involves:

  • The University of Cambridge: Prof. Eugene Shwageraus (MaThRad energy lead) and Prof. Geoff Parks;
  • The NHS: Dr Sarah Osman (MaThRad medical physics lead) and Dr Colin Baker;
  • The National Physical Laboratory: led by senior scientist Dr Ana Lourenço;
  • Special international academic partner INRIA Bordeaux: led by Dr Emma Horton and
  • Special industrial partner Jacobs: led by Prof. Paul Smith.

There are multiple partners contributing to the grant in a variety of ways.

  • Industrial partners: Sellafield Ltd., VTT, Westinghouse, NASA, Jacobs, EDF, RR, UKAEA, IAEA, CEA, NNL, NPL, NEA, Aurora,
  • Healthcare trusts: UCLH, RBFT Reading, UHB Birmingham, CUH Addnebrooke’s Cambridge and Rutherford Cancer Centres
  • Academic partners: University of Tsinghua, EPFL, HZDR, MIT, INRIA Bordeaux, University of Warwick and University of Auckland.

Winning the bid is a fantastic achievement which involved the collaborative effort of academics, partners and research support staff across several institutions.