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Research grants and contracts awarded to the University January 2013

child coordination

Reading researchers are trying to discover why some children have difficulty with hand-eye coordination

Over £3 million was awarded in research grants and contracts to the University in January

In January, the total amount of money awarded in research grants and contracts to the University was £3,367,244. The grants awarded ranged from £3,979 to £609,800, and this money came from a number of national and international sources including the European Commission, UK Government, research councils, industry, other research institutions and charitable trusts.

Dr James Ferryman, Systems Engineering received £609,800 from the European Commission for a project entitled ‘A harmonised, modular reference system for all European automatic border points (FastPASS)'.

FastPASS is aimed at developing the next generation Automatic Border Control (ABC). At present, the current use of ABC, for example e-passport gates and the iris recognition immigration system at UK airports vary significantly by country with travellers experiencing very different systems.

The University of Reading, alongside 26 other partners covering the entire ABC value chain - system and component producers, research institutions, governmental authorities and end-users - are tasked with developing a harmonised approach that enables border crossing to be faster, more reliable and more cost-effective.

The Computational Vision Group, within the School of Systems Engineering, are responsible for the largest research and technological development work package in the project - traveller identification and monitoring. A key component of this work is to facilitate robust and rapid identification of travellers while defending against spoofing and other types of attack.

Dr Nick Holmes, Psychology received £461,517 from the Medical Research Council for ‘Parietal and cerebellar control of reaching and grasping and its dysfunction in developmental coordination disorder'.

Children with developmental difficulties in hand-eye coordination may take longer than typically developing children to learn to tie their shoelaces, to catch a ball, or to write legibly.

Around 1 in 20 children will have such difficulty that it interferes with their school-work, impairs their ability and desire to participate in sports, and lowers their overall life-satisfaction. This is a condition known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD).

We do not yet know which part (or parts) of the brain is affected in this disorder, and how the growth and development of such brain areas may relate to the child's hand-eye coordination. However, it is thought that an area of the brain known as the cerebellum is involved.

If the research can show that children with DCD have a delayed or dysfunctional development of the cerebellum, then it might be possible in the future to design better behavioural, or even pharmacological, interventions to target the underlying deficit, and to improve the shoelace-tying, ball-catching, and hand-writing skills of more than half a million children in the UK.

A comprehensive list of Research Awards from September 2011 to date is available to staff (you will need your University username and password to access this page) via the Research and Enterprise web pages.

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