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Published: 20 July 2017  

Unique training at physics-maths-life sciences interface

A group of 15 early-stage researchers are receiving training at the interface between physics, applied mathematics and life sciences, providing them with unique skills of value to both industry and academia. The knowledge gained will be integrated to create a single software package.

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The COSMOS project actually encompasses 15 distinct projects run by the early-stage researchers. While each will create new knowledge in complex signals, the end results will also involve integrating the knowledge acquired across the various projects to create a single software package.

Each project involves the analysis of complex signals (the result of several components combining). To identify the variables involved, participants will learn to mix top-down approaches (where knowledge of microscopic dynamical rules allows the researcher to formulate and test different conjectures) with bottom-up approaches (to extrapolate correlation between the observables selected).

The training, which forms a joint doctorate programme, is based on four main components:

  • Local training at the researcher’s university that provides the competences needed to launch the individual research projects, and the transferable skills needed to undertake a scientific career (scientific writing, communication in science, good ethical practice, fund-raising ability, etc.). Scientific training will include basics such as nonlinear dynamics, numerical methods, statistical mechanics and, where needed, neuroscience, physiology and system biology.
  • Secondments at a partner university, plus an industrial secondment of at least three months.
  • Network-wide training, including two schools, three workshops, one toolbox laboratory, and a final conference.
  • External schools, including conferences.

The researchers individual projects address topics as diverse as the cardiac phase response curve in health prognoses, network-network interaction in neuronal systems, and the role of external and endogenous noise in neural network dynamics and statistics.

Some topics will be addressed from different angles and within different projects. By integrating the data, the COSMOS team will check the consistency of the know-how collected and integrate them into a coherent and usable scheme that could be used by anyone needing to interpret time series data to form hypotheses.

The ultimate objective is to cross-test the toolbox developed by COSMOS partners and then transform it into a powerful software toolbox that could be used by industry.

Project details

  • Project acronym: COSMOS
  • Participants: Germany (Coordinator), UK, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria
  • Project N°: 642563
  • Total costs: € 3 878 421
  • EU contribution: € 3 878 421
  • Duration: January 2015 to December 2018

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