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The University of Southampton

Launch of world-class Institute for Complex Systems Simulation

Published: 13 March 2009

A new institute that will generate a community of researchers prepared for some of the most pressing scientific and engineering challenges of the 21st century will be launched this month at the University of Southampton.

The Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS) will launch on Wednesday 18 March at an event that will attract academics, industrialists and students.

The Institute, which spans a range of science and engineering Schools within the University and involves over 20 industrial and governmental partners, will enrol its first 20 PhD researchers in October this year.

According to Dr Seth Bullock, Professor Jonathan Essex, and Dr Hans Fangohr, the Institute's directors, it will equip them to carry out high-quality, sophisticated simulations in the context of live research challenges.

The £12 million Institute is jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the University of Southampton and its partners. It will train doctoral students to combine complex systems ideas with powerful computational tools in order to address challenges within key application domains spanning climate, pharma, biosciences, nanoscience, medical and chemical systems, transport, the environment, engineering and computing.

"We will shortly be seeing, or in some cases are already beginning to see, simulation modelling used to drive the design of new drugs tested on simulated organisms, to shape our response to climate change, to redesign our transport systems, and even to inform exit strategies from wars. The quality of these simulations is becoming crucial," said Dr Bullock.

"At the moment, when the systems being modelled are increasingly complex, it is hard to know whether to trust some of the simulations that are being built. The ready availability of cheap computational power and the ease with which simulations can be constructed means that we will be seeing more and more of them. Over the next decade, our Institute will help create a generation of doctoral graduates equipped to act as research leaders in building and deploying credible complex systems simulation across a range of disciplines, from nanomachines to global ocean systems."

The Science Minister, Lord Drayson, on a visit to the University last week also endorsed the Institute.

He said: "Science will help us deal with some of the key challenges we face as a nation and a world. This is a great example of UK research helping to do just that in areas such as climate change, transport and drug design."

The launch event will be held from 12.30-4pm at the University of Southampton's Nightingale Lecture Theatre. To register attendance, please contact Dr Seth Bullock, Director of ICSS.

Notes for editors

  • For more information on the Southampton Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, visit:

  • For information about Dr Seth Bullock, Prof Jonathan Essex, and Dr Hans Fangohr, the ICSS Directors, please visit:,, and

  • With around 500 researchers, and 900 undergraduate students, the School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton is one of the world's largest and most successful integrated research groupings, covering Computer Science, Software Engineering, Electronics, and Electrical Engineering. ECS has unrivalled depth and breadth of expertise in world-leading research, new developments and their applications.

  • The University of Southampton's School of Engineering Sciences offers expertise in engineering disciplines that underpin every aspect of 21st century life. Evolving from its traditional engineering roots, the School continues to expand into new, exciting research areas. From orthopaedic implant modelling and modern fuel cell technologies, to enhancing satellite broadcast technology and improving the aerodynamics of Formula One racing cars and hydrodynamics of America's Cup yachts, the School is always at the leading edge of engineering research.

  • The School of Chemistry at the University of Southampton is one of the top 4 chemistry departments in the UK (The Times Good University Guide 2009) with excellent teaching and research programmes.
    Research in the School covers a broad range, from synthesis of novel molecules and materials to in-depth studies of chemical reactions and processes, and the modelling of chemical systems. The School has four research sections - Synthesis, Structure and Materials, Chemical Biology, and Electrochemistry and Surface Science - and a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration.

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