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School of Engineering and Computing Sciences (ECS)

Research

At ECS, we perform research in a number of fields. Our work is organised through three Research Challenges and two Research Groups:


Algorithms and Complexity

The group is broad-based with differing research foci within the general area of algorithms and complexity including computational complexity, proof complexity, descriptive complexity, (algorithmic) graph theory, exact algorithms, randomised algorithms, approximation algorithms, finite model theory, constraint satisfaction, interconnection networks, universal algebra and mathematical logic.


Innovative Computing

Research in the group is concerned with methods for representing, processing, communicating and reasoning about information, and the role of the human, in both natural and engineered computing systems.


Future Energy Systems

Research Challenge Director: Prof. Phil Gaskell, Deputy Research Challenge Director: Dr Chris Spargo

This multidisciplinary enterprise harnesses the various skill sets of internationally recognised researchers from within the department and across the University, to address and formulate innovate solutions to current and future energy related challenges and opportunities from both a UK and global perspective. To this end, state-of-the-art engineering science solutions are generated within a framework of the wider aspects of technological and socioeconomic interdisciplinary developments. Activity ranges from the functional surface and component level, through sub-systems, and onwards to the analysis of global energy networks. The underpinning established research expertise present to achieve this is broad ranging, encompassing fluid mechanics and aerodynamics (computational and experimental), power systems, thermodynamics, smart grids, etc. A key enabler is a strong focus on industrial collaboration in tandem with economic, environmental and societal impact, proactively drawing upon and interacting with an extensive external network of academic and government organisations.


Sustainable Infrastructure

Research Challenge Director: Prof. David Toll, Deputy Research Challenge Director: Dr Ashraf Osman

Our research aims to tackle the challenge of ensuring sustainability and resilience of the Infrastructure that underpins our society and economy. We are working on challenges relating to transportation (rail and road), energy and communications networks as well as addressing water and waste systems and supporting our emergency services. A strong focus is on climate resilience, dealing with drought and flooding events, as well as climate change. To tackle these challenges we draw on our areas of research excellence in communications, computational mechanics and geotechnical engineering. We work with industry and government agencies within the UK and with international partners, particularly from Africa and Europe, to find solutions to maintain and improve Infrastructure, nationally and globally.


Next Generation Materials and Microsystems

Research Challenge Director: Prof. Dagou Zeze, Deputy Research Challenge Director: Dr Andrew Gallant

In this challenge, we rely on the use of micro- and nanoscale engineering to develop materials and microsystems devices with novel functionality. The aim of our research is to understand and exploit the electronic, physical, chemical and biological properties at the small scale. This enables technologies to control, harvest and generate electromagnetic radiation; to sense and shape the physical environment; to develop alternative computational paradigms; and for biomanipulation and tissue engineering. Our high impact work is supported by extensive cleanroom and other laboratory facilities within the department.


A strong School ethos exists for collaborative research, and is reflected in the way our research is structured. While individual academics are members of only one of the five RGs, they often enter into research collaborations with academics from other groups (elsewhere in the University, nationally and internationally). Academics regularly work in close collaboration with industry. We have a strong record of successful technology transfer through KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnerships) projects. Investigations not funded solely by industry are supported through EPSRC, Royal Society, BIS and EU grants.

Each year Research Day is held in the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences where PhD students and Research Associates present their projects and latest results to all members.

Durham success in QS World Subject Rankings