Dear UKAN+ Member

Welcome to our September newsletter, a range of news from across our network reflecting and informing our community.

Funding Call 2

Funding information
Next funding call (Call 2) opens 8th September 2022 and closes 19th October 2022. Full details available on our website.
A one hour webinar in support of this call took place in June. The webinar provided prospective Call 2 applicants with information on what UKAN+ is looking for in its funding call and to also provide information on the application process. There will be two separate application forms: (i) for pilot research projects; and (ii) for knowledge transfer projects. More info about key differences between these projects in the webinar.

We are keen to see applications as PI reflecting the diversity of the membership of UKAN+. Particularly, we are keen to attract applications as PI from women, who were under-represented in the last round compared to their representation in the wider UKAN+ membership.
# Measuring soundscape complexity: Dr Alice Eldridge reflects on the UKAN+ Pilot Project application process

The UKAN+ funding application process was one of the most enjoyable of my career to date. And not just because we were lucky enough to be awarded. Even the writing process was rewarding, for a range of reasons. Here I will outline some of those and draw out some pointers that might help your applications.

Firstly, the "high risk - high reward" nature of the call was inspiring and welcome. This gave me a rare and delightful opportunity to pitch a pet project that I'd been keen to explore for some years, but that required some feasibility testing before we could go for a large scale bid UKRI or EU funding. I suspect our success may have been due in part to the fact that although the idea is novel, we have a solid team of investigators across disciplines, each with an excellent track record, each providing a piece for the new puzzle. So although the bid was speculative, the reviewers could have some confidence that they were supporting good research. Remember that these are pilot projects. You don't need to promise the earth (as is necessary to win some bids): clearly state the ultimate grand aim and its importance or value, then think through the steps necessary to carry out a proof of concept and build a team for a bigger bid. This pilot is a chance to carefully prepare for that larger bid.

Secondly, the application form itself is succinct and well structured. This is perfect for a high risk-reward pitch. Whereas some application processes can feel arduous and off-point, the questions here actually helped me structure my thinking and work through each dimension of the research. This was a rewarding process in itself and has put us in a good position as we start the project. I won't deny the limited wordcount made for a long night of editing, but that was also ultimately productive. My advice here would be to make sure you use all the - often limited - space to tell your story. Keep cross-checking with the assessment criteria and remember that the humans reading and assessing these bids will have lots to get through - so engaging story-telling is as important as clear, coherent aims and objectives and a solid scientific rationale.

Thirdly, the application process was well supported. The webinars were a great chance to meet others in the community and get a feel for the interests of the network. The network coordination team were also helpful in responding to queries. Never be afraid of emailing funders for clarification: don't forget that their job is to ensure their money is well spent, and that means supporting you (up to a point, of course).

Finally, it is exciting to have such a quick turn around. Our project was sadly delayed due to visa issues, but had it not been, we could have been started within a few months of applying. That's a great opportunity, especially if you have ECRs on your team who are on short contracts. If you are appointing a post-doctoral researcher, it is advisable to have someone already in mind as recruitment can take longer than the project timeline allows.

Overall the UKAN+ network feels like one of the most intellectually stimulating, friendly and well organised funding schemes I have ever engaged with. I congratulate the UKAN+ team on this and strongly encourage you to apply.

An outline of projects funded in the last round, including ours, is available here.
New Fellowship Related to Acoustics
Dr Yueting Sun at the University of Birmingham was recently awarded the prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to work on the nanofluidic energy absorption of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs). MOFs are a sponge-like material offering extremely small pores that are comparable to the size of water molecules, squeezing liquid water into these tiny nanopores can create large solid-liquid interfaces and dissipate huge amount of acoustical and vibration energy. The fellowship aims to understand how liquid molecules transport inside these nanoporous materials under mechanical pressure and use such knowledge to develop future energy absorption materials and protection systems that are more efficient, controllable, and reusable. The fellowship is related to the UKAN+ pilot study awarded to Dr. Sun in February this year https://acoustics.ac.uk/funding/funded-projects/.
Yueting Profile Photo resized
Expectations for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

UKAN’s funder, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), has recently introduced new expectations in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) for all those in receipt of its funding. In our view this new website is a superb piece of work, articulating how we can contribute to the EDI work of EPSRC and the wider research community across six broad themes, and providing a wealth of supporting information and resources to help us think through what action against each theme might usefully mean.

The themes include Inclusive Research – for us this might mean embedding user voices in acoustics design; Creating an Inclusive and Accessible Environment, with much food for thought on how to achieve this in a research context; Ensuring Career Progression and Training for all Members of the Team, including practical advice on supporting development, mentoring, coaching, and the setting of achievable career goals.

We encourage all UKAN members to make use of this useful resource, and to read the accompanying explanatory blog and call to action, co-authored by Debra Fearnshaw from one of our sister networks, the Connected Everything Network led from the University of Nottingham.

Hasina Begum, Simon Chandler-Wilde, Zoë Hunter (UKAN+ Core EDI Team)
Understanding our network communities in 2022
Take the Survey
You may remember that last autumn the Network agreed to re-run the community survey to better understand our networks and ensure we are monitoring how inclusive and diverse we are. The results gave us plenty to think about and provided a very useful benchmark for our activity going forward. Lead by Simon Chandler-Wilde and Sami Kanza, a small group have submitted a paper to Internoise 2022 on the findings and conclusions.

The 2022 survey, developed by the network of networks, helps us understand more about the inclusivity of our network, so the activities offered by the networks are inclusive and representative of their communities. We will use these survey results to benchmark and continually track our progress in terms of improving the inclusivity of our activities. The survey results in 2021 influenced the way that activities were planned and delivered to improve what we do, for all our members.

This survey is for all members of all of the networks in the 'networks of networks' and is entirely voluntary and anonymous. It will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.

Ethics approval from the University of Southampton Ethics and Research Governance Team under ERGO no 66119.
Data Challenge Workshop from the UKAN Underwater SIG
The first Data Challenge Workshop from the UKAN+ Special Interest Group in Underwater Acoustics was held in Sheffield on Friday 8 July 2022. It was attended by 15 participants and challenge leaders from around the country. It was great to see new connections being made and the seeds of some good research ideas. Three challenges were tackled throughout the day.

Ultra - "Passive acoustic underwater detection and tracking": A multi-stage solution was proposed: using a segmentation algorithm over a sliding window to detect track vs non-track features; then using a trained neural network to separate and enumerate the segmented tracks; and finally using a recurrent neural network to forward-predict and associate tracks between windows.

Thales - "Detecting and classifying underwater objects in forward-looking sonar images": A detector and classifier was implemented using transfer learning on a pre-trained YOLO (you-only-look-once) convolutional neural network. It showed surprisingly good performance after training for only 30 min. The team continued training after the event (12 hours, overnight) and achieved better performance, with a precision and recall of 93% and 97%, respectively.

Sonardyne / Newcastle - "Acoustic bio-mimicry for covert underwater communication": A demonstration was given of how a symbolic pattern could be hidden within a marine mammal vocalisation. This showed promise for camouflaging messages within a natural bio-acoustic soundscape. However, further consideration is needed for detection, message encoding / decoding, and other aspects of communication.

"I learnt more from this event than from all other ML workshops combined." - Joanna Watts, PhD Student, University of Sheffield
"An excellent initiative and forum to bring together Prime-SMEs, academia and early career research talent, for networking and co-working on emerging challenges in subsea acoustics using a refreshing data-centric approach." - Jonathan Davies, Challenge Leader, Sonardyne

Based on positive and constructive feedback from the attendees, we are intending to run the event again next summer, but bigger! The event will be held over 2 days and we will be extending the invite to the wider community of Special Interest Groups within UKAN+.

Please contact us if you would like to propose a challenge or get involved.
One-to-one writing support

UKAN+ is collaborating with Dr Elaine Massung from Academic Smartcuts to support one-to-one writing help if you are wrapping up the final draft of a grant proposal or paper.

Some of you will know Elaine from the Couch to £500K programme, where she and Professor Dan Allwood are going through the ins and outs of writing a competitive fellowship proposal, or perhaps you met at the previous UKAN Summer School. Beyond providing training courses, Elaine also has experience as an editor and EPSRC portfolio manager.

To find out more, Elaine has written a blog post for us which you can read here.
New Scientist live
UKAN+ Volunteers Wanted
This year’s New Scientist Live festival taking place at the ExCel 7-9th October (Friday to Sunday).

At this public facing festival of science and technology UKAN+ are looking for interest from members to be involved in the organising and running of UKAN+ presence. Travel, accommodation and attendance costs can be covered by UKAN+

Please contact either Hasina Begum (h.begum@sheffield.ac.uk) or Nikhil Banda (nbanda@drumgrange.com) to note your interest.
IoP logo
IoP Tutorial Day: What matters in acoustics?
Location: Institute of Physics, London.
Date: 23rd September 2022.

The IoP Physical Acoustics Group and Materials & Characterisation Group are pleased to announce a joint Tutorial Day: ‘What matters in acoustics, tutorials on material characterisation from an acoustics perspective’, to be held in person at the Institute of Physics in London on 23rd September 2022. The day is intended for industrialists, students and researchers at all levels, with invited talks from leading speakers focusing on acoustics research in a wide range of fields such as biomedicine, 3D printed materials, characterisation of porous media, and more. This year’s Tutorial day also includes a poster session to allow students to present and discuss their research and a discussion panel on the current grand instrumental challenges in Physical Acoustics, to be reported in a summarising journal article.
RECLAIM (Reclaiming Forgotten Cities - Turning cities from vulnerable spaces to healthy places for people) is a £1.2m EPSRC-funded Network+ grant. It is led by the University of Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) in collaboration with the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Universities of Bath, Bangor and Warwick.
Reclaim webinar
RECLAIM invites you to join the Network Webinar Series. It will consist of 18 one-hour online sessions, once per month, until March 2024

These webinars will share best-practice and encourage knowledge exchange between practitioners, researchers, policymakers, businesses, charities and individuals interested in using green-blue-grey infrastructure for making our vulnerable living spaces more healthy, sustainable and resilient.

Call for speakers for RECLAIM Network Plus Webinar Series
UKAN+ Webinars 2022-23
As we start the new academic year we also start the webinar session. We launch the UKAN+ series with a webinar from Mauro Caresta on Recent examples of use of vibro-acoustic simulations in the industry

Our events page is always up to date and keeps you fully informed of all the latest activities hosted by UKAN+, the SIGs and across the network.
UKAN+ Events
UKAN+ Online Webinar -
Short Course in Aircraft Noise
4-5th October 2022.
UK “Ear and Hear” Meeting This conference is of interest to anyone in the UK and the world who has an interest in the science of Hearing, Audio and Audiology
We are looking to plan our schedule advance. Please email if you are interested in hosting a UKAN+ Zoom webinar. z.hunter@acoustics.ac.uk
You can replay our various webinars via our YouTube, including the 18th May webinar Clinical opportunities and standardisation challenges for photoacoustic imaging

Internoise 2022 in Glasgow

The 51st International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering was held at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow on the 21-24 August 2022. This was a major international conference in the UK on noise control engineering and attracted over 1100 scientists, engineers and consultants from around the world. UKAN supported the organisation of this event and financed the attendance of many UKAN members, particular those who identify themselves as early career. UKAN Director, Professor Kirill Horoshenkov, also attended Internoise 2022 and presented a talk entitled EPSRC UK Acoustics Network (UKAN): membership, mission, activities and international outreach at the opening ceremony (photo below).
UKAN+ will continue to support international events. Funding is available for attendance at these events. UKAN members will to apply for funding should complete Google Form here.
Get in touch!
If you have any news for our October newsletter do drop us an email before the 26th of September. We are interested to hear a range of news, perhaps you have a recent publication, or you would like to offer a blog for our community or maybe you know of some industry news we could share.
New award launched to recognise star quality in acoustics
A new award category has been launched, to recognise emerging talent in the acoustics sector. The Rising Star accolade is being held as part of the John Connell Awards 2022, held by the Noise Abatement Society. Sponsored by the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC and ANV Measurement Systems, the shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 27th September 2022. Shortlisted entrants will be invited to attend the awards ceremony, taking place on the 19 October, at the Houses of Parliament. This is the third time the ANC and ANV Measurement Systems have supported The John Connell Awards, with previous accolades centred around the promotion of STEM.

Graham Parry, President of the ANC, said: “The Rising Star Award is for an individual who has made impressive progress or an outstanding contribution within the first five years of their career within acoustics, either within their own team or the acoustics profession as a whole.
“We are looking for entries from self-motivated individuals who are committed to technical innovation, as well as Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity, and are broadening their knowledge through a planned programme of Continuing Professional Development.
“Successful entrants will work well with others and as part of a team, provide an exceptional level of service that goes above and beyond, and promote sustainability in acoustics.”

Entry is open to individuals nominating themselves and entrants should be employed in the acoustics profession, such as consultants, environmental health and protection officers, engineers, technicians, as well as environmental and sustainability professionals. Entrants should hold some membership of the Institute of Acoustics and should clearly demonstrate why they have been a ‘rising star’ in the industry. Entries should also include an endorsement from a senior manager within their own organisation.

The submission deadline is 16 September 2022. To find out more please click here.