Researchers at the University of Warwick have been awarded £1.1 million to develop the statistics needed to pool the vast quantities of data generated by brain scans.
The university has also been awarded £500,000 to improve quality control in 3D printing.
Both projects are being run jointly between the Department of Statistics and Warwick Manufacturing Group.
Brain imaging has brought dramatic advances to neuroscience and there are now tens of thousands of academic studies that use neuroimaging data from equipment such as fMRI scanners.
To make sense of all of these studies, researchers use a tool known as meta-analysis that combines the findings of many different studies, producing results that are more reliable than any individual study.
Brain researchers studying everything from mental disorders to the aging brain depend on meta-analysis to make sense of the sometimes-conflicting literature.
The new £1.1 million project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, will develop new and sensitive statistical methods to combine information from fMRI studies.
It will also develop software tools to make it easier for scientists to share their data.
The project is led by Dr Thomas Nichols, jointly based in the Institute for Digital Healthcare at WMG and the department of statistics.
Mr Nichols said: “Neuroimaging has made huge advances in recent years but currently much data is lost when fMRI studies are pooled together.
“My team will develop statistical solutions so we can make better use of this data and ultimately better understand the human brain.”
A further joint project between the Department of Statistics and WMG has received £500,000 from the EPSRC in the area of additive manufacturing (3D printing).
For manufacturing purposes there is an urgent need to check whether printed objects accurately match the original design both in exterior details and – vitally - in internal structure.
This new research project, led by Professor Wilfrid Kendall, will investigate the use of statistics to analyse data from CT scans to determine the quality of this match as efficiently as possible.