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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N019180/1
Title: EPSRC Research Software Engineer Fellowship Oliver Henrich
Principal Investigator: Henrich, Dr O
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Sandia National Laboratory UCL University of Barcelona
University of Cambridge University of Oxford
Department: Sch of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 31 July 2016 Ends: 30 June 2017 Value (£): 489,605
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
High Performance Computing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Food and Drink
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Oct 2015 EPSRC RSE e-Infrastructure Meeting Announced
17 Nov 2015 EPSRC RSE e-Infrastructure Meeting (Interviews) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The interdisciplinary programme of research and software development I propose lies at the interface of physics, chemistry, and biology. Key target areas of this proposals, which my software will address, are coarse-grained modelling of DNA and RNA, the study of living systems and active matter far away from equilibrium, new soft energy and functional materials, enhanced encapsulation technologies and algorithms for new heterogeneous computing architectures.

The proposed software development programme aligns with a number of key areas of research that have been identified as Physics Grand Challenges. One of them is the understanding the physics of life. This has the goal to develop an integrating understanding of life from single molecules to whole biological systems. DNA and RNA are the two biopolymers that are involved in various biological roles, most notably in the encoding of the genetic instructions needed in the development and functioning of living organisms and gene transcription. Coarse-grained models of DNA or RNA can provide significant computational and conceptual advantages over atomistic models, leading often to three or more orders of magnitude greater efficiency. But they are not only an efficient alternative to atomistic models of DNA as they are indispensable for the modelling of DNA on timescales in the millisecond range and beyond, or when long DNA strands of tens of thousands of base pairs or more have to be considered. This is for instance important to study the dynamics of DNA supercoiling, the local over- or under-twisting of the double helix, which is important for gene expression.

Another Grand Challenge is the nanoscale design of functional material, which aims at engineering desired properties into the materials by using new principles rather than proceeding by trial and error. In the proposed programme I address different classes of functional and energy materials. One example are particle suspensions, which are fundamental in encapsulation technologies used in consumer products like foods, beverages, cleaning agents, personal care products, paints and inks or in the petrochemical industry or the micro-technological sector with lab-on-a-chip devices. Nanostructured charged soft materials are a new and highly promising avenue to more efficient, safer energy producing or storing devices and have great potential to fill technological gaps in the design of batteries and electrodes or the storage of renewable energy.

A third Grand Challenge is the emergence and physics far from thermodynamic equilibrium. As life itself is a process far away from equilibrium, the context of this research is also closely related to aspects of living matter and often challenges the classical theories of statistical physics.

The software that I will produce during this Fellowship will be open source and freely available for download from public repositories. Parts of it are likely to form later a key contribution to a highly optimised and standardised library of micro-, meso- and macroscale algorithms and a European infrastructure for the simulation of complex fluids. The software and research programme will be undertaken at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with project partners at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, University College London, the University of Barcelona, Spain and Sandia National Laboratories, USA.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.ed.ac.uk