Innovating through e-Science

September 14, 2005

The first projects to be funded under the UK e-Science Programme are now mature enough to demonstrate clearly how e-Science can enable faster, better or different research. Many will be discussed or demonstrated at this conference. Embargoed press releases on some of the highlights will be issued on EurekAlert! over the next few days.

Here is a taster of some:
  • Particle physicists will announce the next step in constructing a global Grid to enable them to exploit the massive data streams expected when the Large Hadron Collider in CERN turns on in 2007.
  • The AstroGrid project will announce the first release of a working 'Virtual Observatory' for astronomers.
  • A web services based system will be demonstrated that incorporates real-time weather forecast data into the SARIS search and rescue information system.
  • An e-Science technique will be presented that helps researchers to find needles of insight in haystacks of data generated by bigger and better facilities to probe matter with intense particle or X-ray beams.
  • The e-Materials project has predicted a previously unidentified crystal structure, or polymorph, of a drug molecule.
  • Archaeologists will demonstrate the use of e-Science techniques in the field.
  • A pharmaceutical company is using an output of the Discovery Net project to speed up the process of drug discovery
  • Results will be presented from the first use of UKLight, the UK's national switched circuit optical network.

    Journalists are invited to attend an informal media briefing at 3pm on Wednesday 21st September where they will be able to meet the researchers who have been involved in these and other developments (see below for registration details).

    The conference is a forum for all e-Science researchers, developers and users, no matter what their discipline. Sessions will address key Grid middleware issues, as well as scientific applications, including how to make e-Science usable, integrating data on the Grid, virtual research environments, text and data mining, security, visualisation on the Grid, and ontologies and the semantic web. e-Science results and achievements will be demonstrated at a major exhibition throughout the week.

    Keynote speakers include Professor Kelvin Droegemeir from Oklahoma University on using Grid computing and visualisation to model storms and Professor Depei Qian from Xian Jiaotong University, Shanghai on Grid developments in China. "I have found the China national programme to be more similar to the UK programme than any other national programme. For this reason we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Science and Technology in China and are developing close connections with the China National Grid programme," says Professor Tony Hey, outgoing director of the UK e-Science Core Programme.

    The conference is organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on behalf of the e-Science Core Programme and co-sponsored by the JISC.
    To attend the media briefing at 3pm on 21 September please-mail with the following details:

    Contact e-mail:
    Contact telephone number:
    I would like to attend the media briefing for journalists at 3pm: yes/no

    I would like to attend the full event (see below for website): yes/no

    Judy Redfearn, e-Science/Research communications officer, JISC/e-Science Core Programme tel. 07768 356309 e-mail:

    Notes for editors
    Conference website

    e-Science is the very large scale science that can be carried out by pooling access to very large digital data collections, very large scale computing resources and high performance visualisation held at different sites.

    A computing grid refers to geographically dispersed computing resources that are linked together by software known as middleware so that the resources can be shared. The vision is to provide computing resources to the consumer in a similar way to the electric power grid. The consumer can access electric or computing power without knowing which power station or computer it is coming from.

    The UK e-Science Programme is a coordinated £230M initiative involving all the Research Councils and the Department of Trade and Industry which runs from 2001-2006. It has also leveraged industrial investment of £30M. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council manages the e-Science Core Programme, which is developing generic technologies, on behalf of all the Research Councils.

    The UK e-Science Programme as a whole is fostering the development of IT and grid technologies to enable new ways of doing faster, better or different research, with the aim of establishing a sustainable, national e-infrastructure for research and innovation. Further information at

    JISC is a joint committee of the UK further and higher education funding bodies and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of information and communication technology (ICT) to support learning, teaching, and research. It is best known for providing the JANET network, a range of support, content and advisory services, and a portfolio of high-quality resources. Information about JISC, its services and programmes can be found at

    Development of the tools and technologies for e-Science are a subset of JISC's 'e-Research' activities. In 2002, it established its Committee for Support of Research to fund projects that establish best practice and develop prototype services and tools for the research community. JISC's funding of development projects therefore complements the research councils' funding for research projects.

    Activities jointly supported by the Research Councils and JISC include UKLight, the national switched circuit optical network, and the joint Security Task Force which is looking into e-Science security.

    Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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