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Durham University

Department of Engineering

European Commission Funded Projects

A selection of the Horizon 2020 and FP7 funded projects that involve the Department of Engineering researchers are listed below:

Environmentally best practices and optmisation in hydraulic fracturing for shale gas/oil development

This EC-funded project involves six European partners and four international partners, from academia and industry.

The project research brings together complementary expertise of our consortium members to gain a better understanding of the physics in hydraulic fracturing (HF) with the final goal to optimize HF practices and to assess the environmental risks related to HF. This requires the development and implementation of reliable models for HF, scaled laboratory tests and available on-site data to validate these models. The key expertise in our consortium is on modelling and simulation of HF and all partners involved pursue different computational approaches. However, we have also some partners in our consortium which focus on scaled laboratory tests and one company which can provide on-site data.

The choice of the best model for HF still remains an open question and this research promises to quantify uncertainties in each model and finally provide a guideline how to choose the best model with respect to a specific output parameter.

The final objective is to employ these models in order to answer some pressing questions related to environmental risks of HF practices, including:

  • How does HF interact with the natural fractures that intersect the shale seam?
  • How does the fracture network from a previous stage of HF treatment affect the fracture network evolution in succeeding, adjacent stages?
  • What are the requirements to constrain fractures from propagating to the adjacent layers of confining rock? The exchange and training objectives are to:
    • Enhance the intersectoral and interdisciplinary training of ERs and ESRs in Computational Science, Mining Geotechnics, Geomechanics, Modeling and Simulation
    • Strengthen, quantitatively and qualitatively, the human potential in research and technology in Europe
    • Advance the scientific contribution of women researchers in this area dominated by male
    • Create synergies with other EU projects
    • Enable and support all ESRs/ERs to keep contact with international community in the sense of training and transfer of knowledge

MSCA-RISE-2016 Research and Innovation Staff Exchange Project ID 734370

Training Engineers and Researchers to Rethink geotechnical Engineering for a low carbon future (TERRE)

2015-2019 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network

TERRE aims to develop novel geo-technologies to address the competitiveness challenge of the European construction industry in a low carbon agenda. It will be delivered through an inter-sectoral and intra-European coordinated PhD programme focused on carbon-efficient design of geotechnical infrastructure.

Industry and Research in the construction sector have been investing significantly in recent years to produce innovative low-carbon technologies. However, little innovation has been created in the geo-infrastructure industry, which is lagging behind other construction industry sectors.

TERRE aims to close this gap through a network-wide training programme carried out by a close collaboration of eleven Universities and Research Centres and three SMEs. It is structured to provide a balanced combination of fundamental and applied research and will eventually develop operational tools such as software for low-carbon geotechnical design and a Decision Support System for infrastructure project appraisal.

The research fellows will be involved in inter-sectoral and intra-European projects via enrolment in 8 ‘Joint-Awards’ and 7 ‘Industrial’ PhDs. The research fellows will be trained in low-carbon design by developing novel design concepts including eco-reinforced geomaterials, ‘engineered’ vegetation, engineered soil-atmosphere interfaces, biofilms, shallow geothermal energy and soil carbon sequestration. Distinctive features of TERRE are the supervision by an inter-sectoral team and the orientation of the research towards technological applications.

Training at the Network level includes the development of entrepreneurial skills via a special programme on ‘Pathways to Research Enterprise’ to support the research fellows in establishing and leading spin-out companies after the end of the project.

Durham Lead: Professor Charles Augarde

Durham Co-Investigators: Professor David Toll, Dr Paul Hughes

Durham ESRs: Mr Sravan Muguda-Viswanath, Miss Alessia Cuccurullo (currently based at UPPA)

Find out more information about the TERRE research project here.

Innovative Nanowire DEvicE Design (INDEED)

The INDEED network is a €4 million Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Actions– Innovative Training Network (ITN) – project funded by the European Commission, under the H2020 program and coordinated by Durham University.

INDEED is a consortium of 11 Universities and 2 industrial companies, together with 13 associate industry partners across Europe.

The main scientific objective is to translate semiconductor nanowire (NW) technology concepts into market-ready products. As such, the scientific programme is directed towards customer-oriented R&D and exploits innovative industrial design techniques to ensure rapid translation of the basic technologies into commercial devices.

Find out more information about the research project here.


Notedev is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network that aims to tackle the terahertz gap. A consortium of leading European Universities and industrial partners are collaborating to conduct research and to train young physicists and device engineers in this field.

Terahertz sources and detectors have powerful potential for applications in biology, medicine, security and non-destructive testing. Some devices are currently in operation, but to benefit from the full potential of Terahertz frequencies there is an urgent need for developments in efficient, cheap, reliable, scalable and portable THz devices.

By developing a range of technologies across one network it will be possible to compare performance of devices across a range of variables such as bandwidth, operating temperature and stability. As a result the fellows employed by the network will gain a broad training across terahertz technology, and the commercial viability of any resulting devices will be optimised.

Find out more information about the research project here.

Embracing One Dimensional Semiconductor Nanostructures (NanoEmbrace)

January 2013 - December 2016, funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

The NanoEmbrace consortium assembles eight leading industrial partners and ten internationally renowned academic institutions in materials science, engineering, chemistry, condensed matter physics and nanoscale device fabrication. The key vision of NanoEmbrace is to gain superior control and understanding of one-dimensional nanostructures (1DNS) and to transfer 1DNS from the laboratory to industry.

The consortium members have all of the competences and capabilities, both experimental and theoretical, which are necessary for understanding the mechanisms that govern the growth of 1DNS.

We aim to provide the highest quality multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral training to our early stage researchers in nanoscience, creating the next generation of research and industry leaders.

Find out more information about the research project here.

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