Imperial and France’s CNRS expand partnership with joint PhDs and data projects


Mathematics department

Imperial and France’s CNRS have further strengthened their links by announcing new joint PhD projects and the first awards of a big data seed fund.

Imperial and France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) have announced the first five projects of their joint PhD programme and the winners of a collaboration fund, focusing on big data.

Imperial's Theoretical Physics Group has also been selected as the UK lead of the CNRS International Research Network (IRN) in Quantum Fields and Strings.

Imperial's Vice Provost, Professor Nick Jennings, said: "Imperial and CNRS have led the way in bringing together the best mathematicians from Britain and France to share ideas and collaborate more closely.

"We look forward to this partnership now expanding into other areas such as physics, computing, medicine and engineering through these new joint PhDs and seed fund awards. 

"The best science involves international collaborations and Imperial is committed to working with partners, such as CNRS, to bring new discoveries and innovations to society.”

PhD projects: Mathematics, Physics, Computing and Aeronautics

Climate model
One of the PhD projects will focus on mathematics and climate modelling

The five PhD projects, which will start in October 2020, are focused on areas of ‘Mathematics, data and their applications in all areas of science’

The funded projects include climate modelling, new approaches in radiotherapy, regenerative medicine, aeronautics and nanopore sequencing.

The PhD programme builds on the CNRS-Imperial international research laboratory, UMI Abraham De Moivre, and expand links between mathematical sciences, modern statistics, AI and machine learning, and their application in key scientific disciplines.

For each project, two PhD students will be split between Imperial and  CNRS and will be expected to spend time at each institution over the course of their PhD.

The five PhD projects are:

  • Mathematics and climate modellingProfessor Darryl Holm, Department of Mathematics, and François Gay-Balmaz, Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD), UMR CNRS 8539.
    Variational Integrators for Stochastic Geophysical Fluid Models (VI-SGFDM)
  • Radiobiology and cancerProfessor Kenneth Long, Department of Physics, and Yolanda Prezado, Laboratory “Signalisation, radiobiologie et cancer”, UMR CNRS 3347. New Approaches in Radiotherapy
  • Regenerative medicine and biomathematicsProfessor Pierre Degond, Department of Mathematics, and Louis Casteilla, Laboratory “Cellules stromales, homéostasie, plasticité et réparation tissulaire” (STROMALab), ERL CNRS 5311. REGEN: Induced self-organised tissue regeneration - A Model-data framework
  • Mathematics and aeronauticsDr Georgio Rigas, Department of Aeronautics, and Taraneh Sayadi, Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert (DALEMBERT), UMR CNRS 7190. Model design and model reduction for fluid flows using machine-learning techniques
  • Nanopore sequencing technologyDr Thomas Heinis, Department of Computing, and Marc Antonini, Laboratoire d'Informatique, Signaux et Systèmes de Sophia Antipolis (I3S), UMR CNRS 7271. Mathematical Foundations of DNA storage

Innovative approaches

Imperial and CNRS are strengthening their ties with new PhDs and a joint seed fund

Professor Richard Craster, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Director of the UMI Abraham de Moivre, said: “Since we launched the joint mathematics laboratory two years ago, our partnership with CNRS has continued to flourish.

"Imperial has a depth of knowledge in data science, statistics and mathematical modelling that complements the strengths of French science and mathematics.

"These new PhD projects show the potential for Imperial and CNRS to broaden collaborations and impact further into other areas of science such as physics, engineering and medicine.”

Professor Alain Schuhl, CNRS's Chief Research Officer (Deputy Director General for Science), said: “The committee members were impressed with the high caliber of the applications received on the first year of this programme.

"We are confident that the five projects selected through the programme will lead to the implementation of innovative, collaborative interdisciplinary approaches and will allow the creation of strong links between research teams from CNRS and Imperial.”

Collaborative seed fund: Big Data

data science institute
The seed fund will enable researchers to establish new networks and carry out exploratory research

Imperial and CNRS have announced the first five winners of its collaborative seed fund focusing on big data.

The funding will support collaborations between Imperial and CNRS researchers and enable them to set up new networks, carry out exploratory research, support small-scale experiments or the development of prototypes, and assist with travel between the two institutions. 

The five projects are:

  • Rapid scalable realisation of exotic magnetic states for magnonics – Dr Will Branford, Department of Physics, and Nicolas Rougemaille, Institut Neel (NEEL), UPR CNRS 2940.
  • A global approach on sampling problems for imaging (GASPI) Professor Pierre Degond, Department of Mathematics, and Amic Frouvelle, Centre de recherche en mathématiques de la décision (CEREMADE), UMR CNRS 7534.
  • New experiments to unravel the interference between the interfacial instabilities Dr Grigory Kagan, Department of Physics, and Alexis Casner, Centre Lasers Intenses et Applications (CELIA), UMR CNRS 5107.
  • Empirical Market Microstructure  Professor Johanes Muhle-Karbe, Department of Mathematics, and Michael Benzaquen, Laboratoire d'hydrodynamique (LadHyX), UMR CNRS 7646.
  • Machine learning for water Cherenkov detector calibration Dr Mark Scott, Department of Physics, and Mathieu Guigue, Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire et de Hautes Energies (LPNHE), UMR CNRS 7585.

International Theoretical Physics Network

black hole
The IRN programme in Quantum Fields and Strings will help improve understanding of black holes

The Theoretical Physics Group at Imperial has been selected as the UK lead of the CNRS International Research Network in Quantum Fields and Strings.

The network involves over 80 international partners and is led by the research unit - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Hautes Energies (LPTHE) - UMR CNRS 7589.

As the UK lead, the Imperial group coordinates the participation of eight UK universities in the network. The other leads are based in the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, India and South Korea.

Professor Daniel Waldram, Head of the Theoretical Physics group, said: “This initiative brings together many of the world’s leading theoretical physics research institutions, and Imperial’s role as one of the network leads speaks to the excellence of the research being conducted here.

"The programme will address some of the most fundamental of questions; What is the nature of quantum gravity? How can we understand the physics of the very early universe and of black holes? And what lies beyond the standard model of particle physics?

"The exchange of ideas is so important to theoretical work, and this new network will be key to fostering multiple new collaborations. I’m excited by the promise of the new breakthroughs that will come from this initiative." 



Stephen Johns

Stephen Johns
Communications Division

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