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REF2014 was the first time the University of Chester made a return to Computer Science and Informatics, and coordinated computer science research activities were just beginning at that time. This is, therefore, one of the youngest Units in the UK to become research active in this area.

Research in Computer Science is focussed into four main themes:

  • Medical Visualization
  • Computational Modelling
  • Cybersecurity
  • User Experience Design.

The University’s targeted research funding has been bolstered by external funders including: The Royal Academy of Engineering, Innovate UK, EPSRC and the Welsh Ambulance Service.

8 staff were identified as having significant responsibility for research in REF2021, leading to a requirement for 19 outputs to be submitted.

Research outputs submitted to REF2021 are included in the Computer Science Collection of ChesterRep, the University of Chester’s online research repository.

The impact of research in this unit was exemplified through the following case studies:

Using Virtual Reality to Aid Cognitive Rehabilitation of Stroke Survivors: This research utilised affordable virtual reality (VR) technologies within several novel healthcare applications. In particular, an immersive environment was developed that has been shown to aid in the cognitive rehabilitation of stroke survivors. Previous use of VR in this area has focussed on physical rehabilitation and not addressed those activities of daily living that require cognitive processing. This system has had particular impact on the cognitive recovery of people with more severe impairments following a stroke. The system has undergone a clinical trial and is being commercialised. The goal is to improve patient treatment and reduce costs to the NHS.

Digital Control and Simulation of Complex Energy Systems: The Unit researched the underpinning science and algorithm development for the design of digital control systems and high-speed computational simulations of nonlinear dynamic multivariable models of Complex Energy Systems (CES). This research has, in collaboration with global industrial and academic partners, developed copyrighted high speed simulation software tools and patented appliance/system controllers on a global scale. Fundamental scientific research in digital nonlinear control theory for the design and modelling of complex nonlinear multi-input and multi-output control systems has been published and disseminated in learned society journals and conferences, and at the department’s research group iDEAS’s series of one day workshops for industry and academics in Artificial Intelligent Multi-vector Energy Systems (AIMES). The resulting software tools have been applied to real industrial and local authority cases. The results from the software tools and controller algorithm designs have had a commercial impact in excess of £100million, sustained 200+ jobs in the UK and reduced the UK’s carbon emissions by 50,000 tonnes of CO2 pa between 2014 and 2019.