Faculty of Engineering - Dame Julia Higgins Postdoc Collaborative Research Fund

The Faculty of Engineering Research Committee, together with the PFDC, were delighted to run the fourth round of the Dame Julia Higgins Postdoc Collaborative Research Fund in 2021.

This fund was introduced to give postdocs at the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial the opportunity to apply for and be awarded their own research funding, develop and deliver a collaborative research project, and take a step towards becoming independent from the research of their PI.

The fund aims to promote collaboration between postdocs in the Faculty of Engineering, whereby funding applications submitted must involve a minimum of two postdocs from different departments in Engineering. To facilitate the interaction between the departments, an Engineering-wide online networking event precedes the proposal deadline.

A total of £20,000 was made available in the 2021 round to fund collaborative research projects. The selection panel received a high number of applications and were able to award eight proposals.

The proposals that have been funded in 2021 and in previous years are as follows:



Delivering cell penetrating peptides non-invasively into the brain to target glial-related brain diseases

Dr Othman Al Musaimi - Chemical Engineering; Dr Sophie Morse – Bioengineering 

GelPen: A Handheld Bioink Printer Using Microfluidic Mixing

Dr Nicola Contessi Negrini – Bioengineering; Dr Muhsincan Sesen -  Bioengineering; Dr Dominic Wales - Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Self-righting: from Insect to Robot

Dr Samuel Fabian – Bioengineering; Dr Maria Kaimaki – Bioengineering;  Dr Simon Smith-Bize - Computing 

Microneedle-Based Wearable Device for Continual Glucose Monitoring in Interstitial Fluid

Dr Yubing Hu - Chemical Engineering; Dr Yasin Cotur -  Bioengineering; Dr Pavani Cherukupally - Chemical Engineering 

Novel formulations delivered by focused ultrasound to treat Alzheimer’s disease

Dr Sophie Morse – Bioengineering; Dr Talia Shmool – Chemical Engineering 

Soft Metamaterial Wearable Sensors to Measure the Foot Contact Forces During Walking

Dr Inigo Sanz-Pena – Mechanical Engineering; Dr Hang Xu - Materials 

Understanding the pollution filtration properties of leaves using contrasting imaging and element mapping techniques

Dr Gloria Young – Materials; Dr Rebekah Moore – Earth Science and Engineering 

Adaptive Multi-stable Metamaterials for Contour Recognition

Dr Hang Xu – Materials; Dr Zhixiang Chen - Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Cartilage regeneration using electrical stimulation paired with conductive hydrogels

Dr Michael Bruyns-Haylett – Bioengineering, Dr Panagiotis Kassanos - Computing (Hamlyn Centre), Dr Meysam Keshavarz - Computing (Hamlyn Centre).

Development of Biorecognition-Element Implanted 3D printed Electrodes: Towards a Cervical Cancer Screening Test

Dr Robert Channon – Bioengineering, Dr Binbin Chen - Mechanical Engineering, Dr Xinhua Liu - Dyson School of Design Engineering

Biomechanics of ulceration in diabetic feet: a dynamic FEM-DEM approach

Dr Ado Farsi - Earth Science and Engineering, Dr Enrica Papi – Bioengineering

Metal 3D printed structures: evaluating the effect of residual stresses

Dr Nicolas Hadjipantelis - Civil & Environmental Engineering, Dr Ado Farsi - Earth Sciences and Engineering

Improving the reliability of low-cost brain monitoring systems for healthcare applications

Dr Syed Anas Imtiaz – EEE, Dr Hafiz Amin - Mechanical Engineering

Hollow core particles for non-invasive measurement of pressure

Dr Muhsincan Sesen – Bioengineering, Dr Wenqian Chen - Chemical Engineering, Dr Ado Farsi - Earth Science and Engineering

Hydrodynamic Sampling and Sensing of Nucleic Acids from Biofluids

Dr Sze-yin Tan - Chemical Engineering, Dr Robert Channon - Bioengineering

3D-printed bioadhesive hydrogel-based patches for regenerative healing of lung tears

Dr Dominic Wales - Computing (Hamlyn Centre), Dr Carmel Howe – Bioengineering, Dr Meysam Keshavarz - Computing (Hamlyn Centre)

Green suspension systems of road vehicles for improved ride comfort and fuel economy

Dr Min Yu - Mechanical Engineering, Dr Boli Chen – EEE, Dr Hailing Fu – Aeronautics


MINI - Multiscale Investigation of Nucleate-boiling and Interfaces

Dr Mirco Magnini – Chemical, Dr Edward Smith- Mechanical, Dr Victor Voulgaropoulos - Chemical

Closed-Loop Antibiotic Dosing

Dr David Freeman – Bioengineering, Dr Sally Gowers – Bioengineering, Dr Pau Herrero – EEE

Democratizing access to water resources usage through a high-performance approach to efficient modelling using cloud-based custom hardware

Dr Matei Istoan – EEE, Dr Jimmy O’Keeffe – Civil, Dr James Davis – EEE, Dr Shane Fleming – Chemical

Development of low cost orthotic device for foot and ankle trauma patients in landmine affected countries

Dr Grigorios Grigoriadis – Bioengineering, Dr Chris Natt – Bioengineering, Dr Geoffrey Ng -Mechanical

Novel High-Performance Graphene Nanocomposites for Industrial CO2 Capture

Dr Diana Iruretagoyena – Chemical, Dr Debashis Puhan – Mechanical, Dr Sarah Hedberg –Chemical, Dr Di Zhang - Chemical

Feasibility study combining an activity-based urban transport model with air turbulence flow simulation to analyse the impact of traffic on air quality in London

Dr Koen H. van Dam – Chemical, Dr Dunhui Xiao - Earth Science and Engineering

Novel microphone array structures for high resolution spatial audio processing

Dr Alastair Moore – EEE, Dr Lluís Guasch - Earth Science and Engineering

High-accuracy ultra-sonic monitoring of corrosion on metallic substrates

Dr Franky Bedoya-Lora - Chemical, Dr Bo Lan – Mechanical


Towards robot-assisted rehabilitation for Parkinson’s Disease

Dr Javier Andreu-Perez – Computing, Dr Enrico Franco – Mechanical, Dr Riccardo Secoli – Mechanical

Biocompatible electropolishing of additive manufactured titanium bone substitute

Dr Andrew Ballantyne – Materials, Dr Richard van Arkel – Mechanical

Extractability and mobility of pharmaceutical compounds from sewage sludge recycled to agricultural soil as a sustainable source of nutrients for crop growth

Dr Janice Kenney – ESE, Dr Jonathan Ritson – Civil & Environmental, Dr Hannah Rigby - Civil & Environmental

Additive manufacture of a spine surrogate for assessing injury risk during under vehicle explosions

Dr Nicolas Newell – Bioengineering, Dr Spencer Barnes – Mechanical, Dr Deborah Adkins – Dyson

A biomimetic approach to design green buildings based on thermoregulation and ventilation of termite mounds

Dr Kamaljit Singh – ESE, Dr Deborah Adkins – Dyson

Read the funded proposals and final reports (Imperial login required). 

Please contact Stefanie Edler-Wollstein with any queries.