Research and Innovation

Research & Innovation

By Professor Alex Frangi

This has been another exceptional year for consolidating the LIDA R&I Strategy. During the past year, we undertook several community workshops to consolidate the formation and strategic goals of the three LIDA Communities, namely, LIDA Health (led by Prof David Westhead), LIDA Societies (led by Prof Ed Manley) and LIDA Environment (led by Prof Phil Livermore). In addition, we have launched several new methodological LIDA Programmes: Statistical Data Science (led by Prof Robert Aykroyd), Artificial Intelligence (led by Dr Marc de Kamps), Immersive Technologies (led by Dr Rafael Kuffner dos Santos) and Data Science Infrastructures (led by Prof Karim Djemame). LIDA Community and Programmes, alongside several LIDA Interest Groups, are vertebrate and provide structure to our community of over 300 scientists across the University of Leeds. In addition, LIDA continues to build synergies and collaborations nationally and internationally. LIDA plays a major role in the Alan Turing Institute with 40 Turing Fellows who are also LIDA members. Prof Birkin continues to drive the Urban Analytics Program at Turing, and Frangi served in the Expert Panel of the Turing-Roche Partnership. Finally, this year we have improved our online presence to illustrate better the breadth and depth of data science and artificial intelligence across the University of Leeds and the richness of our partnerships.

Over the past year, LIDA supported a research portfolio of 71 projects worth £95m. During this period, we contributed to the award of 14 research grants totalling almost £ 30m and a further ten grant applications (value of £5m) awaiting results. All research grant applications that LIDA supported ranged across our expertise in Health, Societies and Environment for various funders, with a wealth of different partners across the public, private and third sectors.

The largest award this year (£19.8m) was the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) multimillion investment in Leeds Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in partnership between the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and the University of Leeds (Led by Prof Phil Conaghan). This investment in the BRC is helping to turn research discoveries into treatments for patients. It will support research over the next five years in areas such as cancer, mental health, dementia and infectious diseases. The new funding will also provide opportunities for a diverse range of professionals to undertake research, expanding research expertise in allied health professionals – such as physiotherapists, radiologists and dietitians – as well as in doctors and nurses. Prof Frangi from LIDA will direct the AI Capability of the Leeds BRC and several other LIDA colleagues contributing to various themes within the Leeds BRC, including Prof Dave Westhead (LIDA Health Community lead).

Other high-profile research grant awards included:

Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre (£3m) (Prof Adam Crawford) in partnership with the University of York, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The centre aims to change how the police, public services and local government work together to help vulnerable people. Dr. Dan Birks, Prof Mark Mon Williams and team are exploring the characteristics and trajectories of individuals referred to social care by police in Bradford. They are also developing tools to estimate vulnerability-related harm and policing demand in Bradford.

Food Insecurity in people living with obesity (£1.3m) (Dr Michelle Morris) project. The project aims to provide actionable evidence for policy on retail strategies to address dietary inequalities in people living with obesity and food insecurity, to support sustainable and healthier food choices in the UK food system. Michelle and team are using food purchasing data to understand inequalities in dietary behaviours and identify how to nudge people to healthier and sustainable diets.


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