The ‘Physics of Life’ (PoL) is an EPSRC/BBSRC supported Grand Challenge research theme, first launched in 2012 by a NetworkPlus grant. The first phase of the grant (PoLNET1) ran from 2012-2016 from the University of Sheffield (see PoLNET 1 Team), with the overall aim: ‘to develop a unified framework for understanding biology that integrates the molecular and the system levels of thinking into a coherent, unified whole’.
During this first phase a coherent interdisciplinary Biological Physics community was created. This community was fostered through a series of core activities (including plenary events, a series of facilitated 2-day residential workshops and early career researcher summer schools; see Past Events within PoLNET1), as well as a small number of collaborative research programmes which provided the basis for the launch of a number of major research initiatives.
It was decided that the critical mass established from PoLNET1 should continue and the community should be taken forward by applying for a second phase (PoLNET2) which EPSRC and BBSRC have now awarded funding for.
PoLNET2 commenced in 2017 and is run by a team from Durham and York University (see Meet the Team). It is envisaged that the second phase of this network will take the community on towards active research programmes, new topics, and continue to grow interdisciplinary connections in a sustainable way. PoLNet2 recognises that the environment is now different and ready for a new phase of activity. It constitutes an efficient way to realise the initial recommended actions of the ‘Roadmap for the Physics of Life’.
In response to the momentum created from the Physics of Life networks a major new funding call 'Building Colloborations at the Physics of Life Interface', supported by EPSRC, BBSRC and MRC has now been announced. This funding call aims to bridge research between the Life and Physical Sciences. The first funding call of £15 m (announced in December 2018) is anticipated to support between 5 and 8 high-quality, interdisciplinary research projects each 3 years in duration (2019-2022). It is anticipated a second funding call of similar scale will be announced in 2021 for 2022 grant start dates.
Upcoming 2019 Physics of Life Events
Physics of Evolution
8-10 July 2019, Francis Crick Institute
Chaired by: Bhavin Khatri, Tom McLeish and Ard Louis
Physics of Life Summer School: From Cells to Tissues and Organisms
15-19 July, Durham Business School, Durham University
The Fundamentals of Late Stage Cancer
19-20 September 2019, NW cancer Research Centre, University of Liverpool.
Chaired by: Peter Weightman, Sarah Coupland and Jamie Hobbs Register Now!