Dear UKAN+ Member

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

UKAN+ Funding Call 3 Award Winners

The third and final call of UKAN+ received 39 applications. We are pleased to announce the following awarded grants.

Pilot Projects
Active acoustic metamaterials for non-Hermitian sound propagation phenomena inspired by quantum mechanics. Dr Felix Langfeldt. University of Southampton.

Developing novel methods using ambient noise interferometry for sustained monitoring of seafloor and ocean processes using fibre-optic cables. Dr Emma Gregory. National Oceanography Centre.

HEAR-ABLE: HEaring Aids for eveRyday Activities involving BaLance and movemEnt. Dr Samuel Couth. University of Manchester

Kicking off biodegradable eco-acoustic sensing for scalable, far-reaching, and sustainable biodiversity monitoring. Dr. Sarab S. Sethi. Imperial College London

Knowledge Transfer
Surface breaking crack sizing on advanced gas-cooled reactor fuel rods using laser ultrasonics. Dr Theodosia Stratoudaki. University of Strathclyde.

For Further details visit Funded Projects - The UK Acoustics Network

The UKAN+ team would like to thank all of our reviewers and panel members for taking the necessary time and effort to review the applications. Without your support the call could not proceed. We are grateful for the insightful comments and suggestions which we were able to pass to the unsuccessful applicants.

UKAN+ Richard Craster leads winning £7.7m grant to build the next generation of metamaterials

The new programme will look to manipulate metamaterials in the fourth dimension: time.

Funded by the Engineering and Physics Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), researchers from Imperial, the University of Exeter and King’s College London will research the manipulation of waves, such as light waves or acoustic waves, using tailored metamaterials which vary in time instead of space.
The new consortium, Meta4D, will be led by the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Professor Richard Craster from the Department of Mathematics. Professor Riccardo Sapienza, the Director of Plasmonics and Metamaterials at the Department of Physics will be a Principal Investigator.

The EPSRC grant will fund both theoretical and experimental development of time-modulated metamaterials.

By collaborating closely with industrial partners, Professor Sapienza says that metamaterial research could revolutionise fields such as telecommunications and computing.

“We could unlock a new degree of freedom to control and process information,” he said.

UKAN+ Final Event and IOA 50th Anniversary Celebration

UKAN+ will hold our final event on the 12-13 September 2024 at Manchester Metropolitan University, joining the Institute of Acoustics celebrate their event 50th Anniversary. Please add these dates to your diaries.

Further details to follow.

Dr Elaine Massung (Academic Smartcuts) and Professor Dan Allwood (Peak Writing) continue busting common proposal myths.

A key word that underpins much of proposal writing is balance. For example, it’s necessary to find the right balance between providing too many details (which can take up valuable space and overwhelm the reader) and not enough information (the reviewer is unable to determine if the idea is feasible or if the PI is credible). The same thing can be said for the time it takes to work on a proposal, which is the seventh myth in our series.

MYTH #7: A competitive proposal can be written in a weekend. // It takes years to write a competitive proposal.

As with most things in life, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and we would recommend steering a middle course between these myths. Don’t expect to go from a blank page to a final draft in a matter of days or weeks, but, at the same time, don’t stretch the process out indefinitely. The former technique just adds unnecessary stress, while the latter means your project is likely no longer novel or timely.

However, writing a proposal—especially when you’re just starting out—can take far more time than you might think.

In particular, proposal creation should be viewed as a process, with a number of steps you need to consider if you want to give your project the best chance of success. Carrying out this process requires two equally important actions.

First, decide when you would like to submit and work backwards to schedule what needs to be done when. For example, can you line up colleagues to provide feedback a month or two before your intended submission date? Having an internal deadline can help you stay focused throughout the process.

Second—and perhaps the most challenging part of developing any proposal—you must ringfence time in your diary and defend it at all costs. Consistently working on your proposal for 3-5 hours a week with occasional breaks should allow you to produce a first draft in 6-9 months, depending on the amount of preliminary research you need to do.

While the amount of time to write a proposal can vary, there is absolutely no debate about the best time to get out your calendar to start the process: right now.

ABOUT: Dr Elaine Massung (Academic Smartcuts) is a former EPSRC portfolio manager, and Professor Dan Allwood (Peak Writing) is a former EPSRC Fellowship holder and successfully funded researcher. They both now provide communication and proposal training for those in higher education and research.

27th International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (DAFx24)

We are pleased to announce that the 27th International Conference on Digital Audio
Effects (DAFx24) will be organised by the Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR) at the
University of Surrey.

The conference will be hosted on the university campus and will feature oral
presentations, poster and demo sessions, keynote addresses, and tutorials. The
social program – including a welcome reception, concert and banquet – will offer
opportunities for more informal interaction.

Call for Papers - Deadline 20th March 2024

This annual conference brings together research practitioners across the globe
working with digital audio processing for music and speech, sound design, sound art,
acoustics and related applications. Original contributions for DAFx24 are encouraged
in, but not limited to, the following topics:
o Capture and analysis
o Representation, transformation and modelling
o Transmission and resynthesis
o Effects and manipulation
o Perception, psychoacoustics and evaluation
o Spatial sound analysis, estimation, coding and synthesis
o Source separation
o Physical modelling, virtual acoustic and analogue models
o Sound synthesis, composition and sonification
o Hardware and software design
o Music Information Retrieval and Intelligent Audio Engineering
o Sound for Virtual and Augmented reality
o Applications of digital audio effects
o Multisensory presentation and digital effects

This year we especially welcome submissions addressing:
o Synthesis for AR/MR/VR and spatial audio reproduction
o Machine Learning-based methods for all topics above

Prospective authors are invited to submit full-length papers, eight pages maximum,
for both oral and poster presentations, by March 20th 2024.

For full details visit dafx24.surrey.ac.uk

Opportunity to collaborate with experienced outreach volunteers

Avid UKAN+ readers will be fully aware of the World of Sound project which featured in our October issue.

The UKAN+ EDI team were aware of a WEST a small charity with a big aim: to inspire girls and women to study and work in non-traditional trades and careers.

UKAN+ is pleased to announce a collaboration with WEST to undertake activities in both Primary Schools ad Secondary Schools. Based on successful previous projects a pilot projects will be run in 6 schools utilising the World of Sound as a resource.

We are looking for female role models, undergraduate or post graduate (or early career preferably for the secondary school work) to join the experienced WEST team in delivering these exciting initiatives.

Any associated travel costs will be covered by UKAN+.

Please email z.hunter@acoustics.ac.uk in the first instance.

Artificial Intelligence for Acoustics

Given the recent increase in use of AI tools such as ChatGPT, there has been much speculation and interest in how AI can be harnessed as a tool across the acoustics industry. However, whilst there are many possibilities for application, there are also many questions still to be answered. This one day conference on the 22 May 2024 will seek to bring together experts in the field and provide a forum to present relevant research and discuss many of these questions.

For full details - Artificial Intelligence for Acoustics
UKAN+ Summer School 2023
In September 2023, we held the third UKAN/UKAN+ “Summer” School (UKANSS23) at 170 Queen’s Gate, Imperial College London. On this occasion there were two themes: Digital Signal Processing (DSP) with acoustical applications and preparing research fellowship applications. The idea for the DSP theme came from early career acousticians attending the second UKAN Summer School, who requested a school on this subject in a central location.

The opening address was delivered by Prof. Philip Nelson, Professor of Acoustics in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton. The DSP training was provided by Professors Paul White, Jordan Cheer and Filippo Fazi, also of ISVR. The fellowship training was provided by Dr. Elaine Massung of Academic Smartcuts and Prof. Dan Allwood of Peak Writing. The closing address was given by Prof. Kirill Horoshenkov and Prof. Richard Craster, the Director and Co-Director of UKAN+.

Thirty-four applications were received for a total of twenty-five places. Eight-seven percent of attendees rated the event at 8, 9 or 10 out of 10, where 0 is ‘did not meet expectations’ and 10 is ‘exceeded expectations’. The same percentage rated the expertise of the presenters on the topic as ‘excellent’, and the remainder said ‘good’. Likewise, the venue was rated as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

A selection of quotes from attendees follow.

“I found both aspects of DSP and grant writing beneficial – a dual theme kept things balanced.”

“I feel extremely lucky and honored […] to have an opportunity to learn from world-class lecturers, and to have an opportunity to communicate with top experts in the field of acoustics. Everyday at the event was extremely rich in content, and the organisers have been extremely helpful, understanding and facilitating.”

“It has been a fantastic experience overall. I honestly can not think of any issues to improve. Thank you for a well-organised workshop.”

The event was organised by Drs. Simone Graetzer, Hasina Begum, Richard Colchester and Aidan Hogg. In particular, Hasina arranged a very enjoyable social event and Aidan organised a tour of the Imperial facilities. Thanks are due to the presenters, to Kirill Horoshenkov and Richard Craster, Imperial College, and to Network Manager, Zoë Hunter, for her support.

UK Acoustics Network Third Underwater Acoustics PhD Symposium Day

Following successful events in 2019 and 2021, the Special Interest Group for Underwater Acoustics (SIGUA) arranged the Third Underwater Acoustics PhD Symposium Day on 13 December 2023. On behalf of SIGUA, Dr Duncan Williams (Dstl Chief Scientist Acoustics) organised and co-chaired the symposium with Prof Jonathan Bull from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton where the event was held. The aim of the day was to bring together PhD students working in all areas of underwater acoustics, with other researchers, practitioners and users of underwater acoustics in government, industry, and academia, to present details about their research, promote discussion, and build links between the students and research groups.

In total, 17 PhD students, from 6 different UK universities, presented their research, covering everything from passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammal localisation and bio-inspired acoustic transducers, to physical and data driven acoustic modelling. Abstracts and presentations from all students are available on the UKAN website.

In addition, 3 invited speakers from Thales, Atlas Elektronik UK, and the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences presented highlights from their research careers in underwater acoustics, and everyone attending the event was invited to vote on the 2023 Early Career Research Soundings Competitions (details and winners here).

The final student presentation on the day was given by Francesca Pereira who talked about “Spice driven sound speed fluctuations in Fram Strain during Summer 2022”. Francesca is a Dstl Senior Scientist and a part-time PhD student at University of Southampton, working in collaboration with NATO CMRE, whose research has already highlighted how future changes to the ocean will have a major influence on underwater acoustics (more details here).

Advancing sustainable acoustics

On the 24th of January Hoare Lea offices in London hosted Sustainable Acoustics Workshop. A key point was to begin to develop the community's vision for the future of sustainable acoustics in the UK. The discussion was focused on sustainable acoustic materials, products and community's influence on the political and research landscapes in the UK.

The workshop was jointly organised by the Institute of Acoustics and UKAN+. Barry Jobling (Hoare Lea), Pete Rogers (Sustainable Acoustics), Kirill Horoshenkov (University of Sheffield) and David Waddington (University of Salford) gave short presentations to lay the foundation for the future work in this important area. A summary from the discussions and copies of the presentations will be shared with our members in February 2024. This workshop will lay the foundation for a wider consultations that will involve the UK's industry, academia and a range of professional bodies who are involved in acoustics related work.
UKAN+ Events

You can replay our various webinars via our YouTube, including UKAN+ Underwater Acoustics webinar - Luca Possenti and Gianluca Audone
Get in touch!
If you have any news for our March newsletter do drop us an email before the 26th February 2023. 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.