Turing-Manchester Feasibility Studies

Sandpit events are an opportunity for researchers, public, private and third sector professionals to work together to devise short research projects on a given topic.

In spring 2021, we held four Turing-Manchester sandpit events on themes that are key to the Great Manchester Industrial Strategy and invited proposals to be submitted on topics co-created at those events. We received 20 proposals for 6-month research projects and were able to fund 12 of them. 

As a guide for future sandpit participants, here are some short details of those twelve projects.

Advanced Materials and Manufacturing

Graph Neural Networks for Structural Health Monitoring
-Award: £19,072 to cover 690 researcher hours
-Deliverables: model development and validation; simulation; exploration of further funding opportunities; presentation of results and future development made to industry stakeholders; joint publication.

Physics-driven Machine Learning Approaches to Materials Design
-Award:
 £14,450 to cover 400 researcher hours and materials/resources
-Deliverables: description of methodology; completion of paper on the completed work; indication of potential general methodology; plan for future deliverables and funding applications

Health and Care Innovation

Automating Mental Health Interventions for Long COVID
-Award: £14,898 to cover 580 researcher hours
-Deliverables: an enhanced search/screen system; automatic extraction of PICO elements on PCS from datasets

Project ML Scrape- Machine Learning Signal Cleaning for Graphene Pressure Sensors
-Award: £14,166 to cover 440 researcher hours and materials/resources
-Deliverables: report identifying appropriate strategies for machine learning in smart fabric; initial implementation of techniques for proof-of-concept demonstration; preparation for bid submission

Using Digital Technologies to improve access to healthcare services for ethnic minority and immigrant women with lived experience of domestic violence and abuse
-Award: £14,134 to cover 700 researcher hours, materials/resources and expenses
-Deliverables: prototype of digital technology (app); small scale feasibility study; preparation for funding bid

Building a Mental Health Knowledge Graph
-Award:
 £10,400 to cover 400 researcher hours
-Deliverables: proof of concept; publication of finished resource; application for further funding

Automated triage of GP referral letters for spinal surgery
-Award: £15,500 to cover 700 researcher hours and external data costs
-Deliverables: data analysis and framework; develop machine learning prediction model; test developed models

Automated Monitoring of Late Treatment Side Effects in Cancer Survivors
-Award: 
£14,600 to cover 100 senior researcher hours, external data costs, conference fees, travel and miscellaneous related costs
-Deliverables: constructing dataset affected patients; develop prototype algorithm to assess risk; outline patient engagement design; outline implementation strategy

Digital Transformation in the Creative Sector

A recommender system for personalised pathways through Manchester Art Gallery’s collections
-Award: £11,896 to cover 530 researcher hours and participant expenses/fees
-Deliverables: collection/data exploration; prototype recommender engine; study pilot; data analysis and evaluation; feasibility assessment for follow-on work

Merging physical and virtual interfaces to create eXtended Reality (XR) experiences for cultural audiences
- Award:
£15,923 to cover 728 researcher hours and participant expenses/fees
- Deliverables: literature review and market research; organisational needs and skills audit; three experiments; proof-of concept; feasibility project report

Clean Growth

Machine Learning Approach to Identify Environmentally Friendly Alternatives to SF6 for UK Electricity Networks
-Award: £18,655 to cover 420 researcher hours, senior project lead supervision time and equipment/facilities costs
-Deliverables: machine learning-based methodology; lab-based testing to verify accuracy or error tolerance

Digital Transport Twin for Greater Manchester
- Award: 
£13,923 to cover 280 researcher hours, travel costs, equipment/facilities
- Deliverables: data directory; report of key data sources and processing techniques; report of core-decision-making criteria and planning processes